There are always questions leading into a season, and for some teams, they’re all over the place. For others, the expectations and ability is there and the only question is whether they get the lucky breaks or not.
We look at all six teams and ask ourselves what we want to know about each team. Whether it’s something that can be fixed now or in the postseason, it’s still interesting to think about the what if’s and more importantly the how’s.
And if you have any questions, be sure to comment below what you want to know about each team?
Can Sequatchie County Make a Lasting Mark on the Postseason?
The Indians are pretty much a lock for the playoffs, but up in the air, you’ll find their home game and deep run chances. They’re slim in case you’re wondering. That being said, Sequatchie County has always been a team on the brink of make a Cookeville run, but unfortunately, they’ve never had all the pieces together or someone else did. Even with the best linebacker corp in the Chattanooga area, they’re not even favored to win the region with Dekalb County boasting several preseason all-state players.
The question is one that all teams must ask themselves, but with Sequatchie County, is their goal to make the playoffs with a great team and fall apart in the first or second round, or can they break through with an upset or two along the way? Depth and lack of injury will be a big part of their success if they hope to take down teams like Notre Dame, Upperman, Dekalb County, and whoever the second man up in Region 3-3A is. The secondary is also an issue as it was lackluster at best last season, but a lot can change in just one offseason. Just ask Adam Caine who went from 3 to 7 wins in 2015.
Does Marion County Have Enough Talent in the Right Places?
Laugh if you may, but this question does not concern their regular season slate. The talent and depth they have is something 4A and 5A schools envy, but as the ease on past the first and second rounds, Joey Mathis’ squad will have to be on point to continue. The defense is stout, and champions are made on that side of the ball, but there are still some questions on offense.
Can the quarterback transition be seamless? Can the offense pick up right where it left off with the losses of Bryce Massengale, Josh Henderson, and Logan Walters? Can they match Tyner, Boyd-Buchanan, and Meigs County? Can they make passes down the field on a consistent basis? As the questions start to meander out, it’s clear that you can print out wins and losses on paper through Week 11, but after that, it’s really the result of injury and hot play.
Will Whitwell Be Able to Shock Their Way to Wins?
As much as we talk about the wild card Whitwell brings to the Sequatchie Valley, will it really work out when it comes to key matchups? Sure, early in the season, the pistol formations might be hard to account for, but as the season goes on and the film gets out, the Tigers might encounter some roadblocks. the shock value definitely has its perks but if you expect the shock to win championships, then you’re living in a fantasy land far beyond the Mountains.
Still, it’s not an offense you have to account for every week, so it could have the draw of a split-back veer in the sense that you only have one week to prepare for it. And a week is not enough time for a unique system like that. Malone is banking on the fact that teams won’t have enough practice time to prepare for his offensive scheme. Maybe he’s right, but film is film, and when coaches like Vic Grider get their hands on it, things could easier said than done.
Can Bledsoe County Outlast the 3-2A Fence Straddlers?
The Warriors might have their best shot at a deep postseason since the start of the modern era. In the region they currently reside, they have to beat the bottom-feeders of a very elite region, which is easier to proclaim than to execute. With Marion County and Tyner placed at the top, Boyd-Buchanan falling a step back, and Meigs County fielding one of its stronger teams, this year will be a dog fight.
Brainerd, Polk County, and Meigs County were all the Warriors had to squeeze through to find the playoffs in 2015. This year, it will be a more uphill battle if they even want to travel to a postseason affair. Many thought, they would step up this season, but with their competition stepping up, can the Warriors take a step ahead of the others in a region that might as well be a surefire play-in game for the State Title game.
Can Grundy County Make the Playoffs?
As odd as it sounds, the Yellow Jackets have a legitimate chance at the playoffs. The real question is whether Grundy County’s defense can stop 4-3A teams from scoring at will. When we visited Tate a few weeks ago, his main concern was defense. In fact, players named off their defensive positions before their offensive ones. The Yellow Jackets’ secondary was most problematic last season, so improvement there will determine success.
Last season, the Jackets had problems getting it done in the weight room, so their advancement in that category will push them to be an average team. Their cohesion on the field and schematic knowledge will have to bolster them the rest of the way. Down in the trenches, they have an advantage with size, but if they can’t get some quickness, they’ll be dead in the water. Staying healthy, though, will be the factor that could keep them out if they’re sitting at home come week 12.
Are There Any Class 1A Teams That Can Stop The Veteran Elite From South Pittsburg?
You’d be hard-pressed to find a Class 1A team, let alone a Region 3 team, that could take the Pirates at full force. With a veteran quarterback and line, coupled with the fact that they return 20 out of 22 starters, you could say they’re favored in almost every regular season game. The question that we present is if they could possibly be stopped.
The Pirates, more than any team in the Valley, have the potential to win 15 straight games with a lackluster, top-heavy region. And even beyond that, their only hurdle is Columbia Academy in the 1A playoffs until they reach Cookeville. The teams with best chance in season are Sequatchie County, Whitwell, and Marion County. The Warriors probably have the best in a rivalry game that ends up being a blowout one way or another year-in and year-out. Still, the Pirates have to show up to go 15-0 yet again, and the way Vic Grider is tingling in the locker room shows that they just might have a shot yet.