East Ridge, Baylor try to continue postseason road success

East Ridge, Baylor try to continue postseason road success

November 13th, 2016 by Ward Gossett and Lindsey Young in Sports - Preps

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 11/11/16. Red Bank High School defenders close in on East Ridge High School quarterback Eric Bennett (7) during the first half of play at the Lion's home field on November 11, 2016.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

The philosophy all Tennessee high school football coaches shared a couple of weeks ago was that their teams were embarking on a new season.

As the playoffs began, each of the participating teams was 0-0 and the standings were equal.

"It's bonus ball," East Ridge coach Tim James has repeated to all within earshot.

His Pioneers now are 2-0 in the postseason with road wins over DeKalb County, the No. 2 finisher in Region 4-3A, and Region 3-3A champion Red Bank.

Asked if the successful motivation was simply playing in the postseason, playing on the road or a combination, the personable James replied, "The verdict's still out on that."

The answer is more visible for Baylor, which failed to win a road game during the regular season. The Red Raiders are using the Division II-AA postseason as a steppingstone to respectability. They first avenged the school's first loss to Pope John Paul II with a 35-20 victory in Hendersonville, and then this past week they packed up the bus for that long trip to Memphis and left with a 16-12 win over previously unbeaten Memphis University School.

Both East Ridge and Baylor have big road challenges this Friday — the Pioneers at undefeated Sequatchie County and the Red Raiders at Brentwood Academy — and they will be joined as travelers from the Chattanooga area by 5A Ooltewah (at Farragut), 2A Marion County (at Forrest) and 1A South Pittsburg (at Columbia Academy).

Though unkind to Baylor during the regular season, the road still provided education the Raiders have taken to heart.

"We had a dip (during the regular season), and we had to dig deep to find the character our team had," still bleary-eyed coach Phil Massey said. "It was a gut check. I think our seniors have pulled the reins tighter and we have kids buying in."

He obviously was mindful of adversity building character when he added, "I think it made us stronger as a team. We've gained some identity on offense, and defensively we have come alive. Confidence and believing become contagious, and that's where we are right now."

The Pioneers evened the score with Red Bank on Friday but shift now to playing new faces. Baylor, though, has yet another shot at redemption.

"What we have told our guys is that we can't do anything about the past but we can control the now, and two things we can control are our effort and our attitude," Massey said.

Area Georgia teams shine

Friday night was a bonanza for northwest Georgia teams as the GHSA playoffs began.

Eight of the nine teams playing won, with only Class A Trion losing, and that was a 34-31 thriller. No. 2-ranked Dalton improved to 11-0 with a 42-7 Class AAAAAA win over Winder-Barrow, while in AAAA Ridgeland avenged last year's first-round loss to St. Pius X, 21-14; Northwest Whitfield earned the program's first home playoff win, 31-20 over Oconee County; and Heritage won its playoff debut, 37-30 at Stephens County.

In Class AAA, fourth-ranked Calhoun was a 42-0 winner over Monroe Area, North Murray won its playoff debut 28-14 over Jackson County, and Sonoraville won a road game for the second consecutive season, 15-9 over Franklin County.

Class AA Chattooga, which has been playing football since 1961, earned its first playoff win, 44-14 at Lamar County.


Tennessee third round

(All times EST)

Class 6A

Last Friday’s game

Blackman 38, Bradley Central 35


Ooltewah (10-2) at Farragut (11-1), 7

Last Friday’s games

Ooltewah 45, Walker Valley 20

Farragut 33, Rhea County 30


East Ridge (7-5) at Sequatchie County (12-0), 8

Last Friday’s games

East Ridge 35, Red Bank 28

Sequatchie County 56, Notre Dame 28


Marion County (11-1) at Forrest (11-1), 8

Last Friday’s games

Marion County 49, Watertown 15

Forrest 16, Meigs County 13


South Pittsburg (11-1) at Columbia Academy (11-0), 8

Last Friday’s games

Columbia Academy 20, Whitwell 13

South Pittsburg 42, Fayetteville 0


Baylor (8-4) at Brentwood Academy (8-2), 8

Last Friday’s games

Baylor 16, Memphis University School 12

Brentwood Academy 37, McCallie 29

Georgia second round

(All kickoffs 7:30 EST)


Lovejoy (7-4) at Dalton (11-0)

Last Friday’s games

Dalton 42, Winder-Barrow 7

Lovejoy 48, Richmond Hill 28

Class AAAA

Spalding (7-4) at Ridgeland (9-1)

Northwest Whitfield (9-2) at Woodward Academy (10-1)

Heritage (8-3) at Mary Persons (9-2)

Last Friday’s games

Ridgeland 21, St. Pius X 14

Spalding 24, Eastside 17

Northwest Whitfield 31, Oconee County 20

Woodward Academy 42, Upson-Lee 0

Heritage 37, Stephens County 30

Mary Persons 45, North Clayton 12

Class AAA

Jackson (8-3) at Calhoun (9-2)

North Murray (8-3) at Peach County (10-1)

Sonoraville (8-3) at Liberty County (10-1)

Last Friday’s games

Calhoun 42, Monroe Area 0

Jackson 44, Brantley County 7

North Murray 28, Jackson County 14

Peach County 42, Tattnall County 13

Sonoraville 15, Franklin County 9

Liberty County 56, Pike County 10

Class AA

Chattooga (7-4) at Washington County (8-3)

Last Friday’s games

Chattooga 44, Lamar County 14

Washington County 49, Berrien 22

Class A

Last Friday’s game

Taylor County 34, Trion 31