With the game of the week in Pikeville and Sequatchie County on idle, we’ll be looking at the south end of the Valley for most of our Rundown action this week with Grundy County and South Pittsburg taking spotlights in week five.
The Pirates host Region 3-1A playoff contender Copper Basin down in Beene Stadium. Bledsoe County, of course, plays host to the Polk County Wildcats in 3-2A play. Also in that region, Marion County welcomes Brainerd to Bill Baxter Stadium. Grundy County hosts a surprisingly beatable Upperman team in Coalmont as they continue their quest for the playoffs. The Tigers are the only travellers this week as they head down to Tiftonia for a 3-1A clash with the Lookout Valley Yellow Jackets.
It’s a fine week for football action if you prefer the Sequatchie Valley flex its dominant muscle. It looks that way from the surface, and only two of the three AP-ranked teams are on the field this week.
BY THE NUMBERS
221.5–Combined Over/Under Total Points For All Week Five Valley Matchups
(-59) — Overall Spread for Sequatchie Valley Teams in Week Five
2–Number of TN AP Ranked Teams in This Week’s Matchups (South Pittsburg and Marion County)
3–Number of Wins By Valley Teams Last Week
4–Number of Teams Favored to Win Week Five Matchups
3–Number of Valley Teams favored to win by more than 10 Points in Week Five
1–Number of Valley Teams with Unblemished Records
BRAINERD AT MARION COUNTY:
Panthers Loose on The Plains
The Spread: Brainerd (+19.5) at Marion County
Over/Under (Total Points): (47.5 Points)
The Hype: The Warriors, after a loss against rival South Pittsburg will look to get region win number two against Brainerd in Jasper. The Panthers come in with an 0-3 record, playing it close with Chattanooga Christian in week one before being blown out in two straight matchups against Boyd-Buchanan and East Ridge. Marion County, on the other hand, sits at 4-1 with a region win under its belt already. The only blemish, against South Pittsburg, doesn’t really hurt their season but rather their pride. You can bet they’ll be coming into this one angry at the world and ready to play football.
Film Room: Marion County is famous for the Wing-T at this point. Everybody and their brother knows it, but that doesn’t make it any easier on Brainerd. The Warriors have a great set of backs with Isaiah Sampson really coming out of shell at the quarterback position. With Jacob Saylors, the Warriors have been able to put some balance in the mix rather well. They showed it against South Pittsburg and might have had another chance had the Pirate drive not been successful.
Against Chattanooga Christian and East Ridge the PAnthers were equally effective on the ground amassing roughly 150 yards per game. The passing game from senior quarterback Vesta Melvin, Jr. was more up and down in those games, although, he did have a QB rating of 99.4 against Chattanooga Christian in week one. It’s hard to tell if the Brainerd offense is great enough to overcome the No.3 team in the State, but there are some positives to the system they run.
Players to Watch
Brainerd: Vesta Melvin, Jr. (Senior Quarterback), Jamaul Herman, Jr. (Senior Halfback), Chris Cooper (Senior Wide Receiver), William Sullivan, Jr (Senior Wide Reciever), Denarius Holland (Junior Defensive End), Trey Holland (Senior Receiver/Cornerback), and Edward Taylor (Senior Outside Linebacker)
Marion County: Alex Kirkendoll (Senior Linebacker), Hunter Zeman (Senior Halfback/Quarterback), Kane Hale (Junior Wide Receiver/Free Safety), Eli Morrison (Senior Right Guard/Inside Linebacker), and Hunter McClain (Senior Fullback/Linebacker)
UPPERMAN AT GRUNDY COUNTY:
Searching for the ‘Upper’ Hand
The Spread: Upperman (-9.5) at Grundy County
Over/Under (Total Points): (41 Points)
The Hype: Grundy County fans are probably less than excited after a blowout loss in Watertown to the Purple Tigers, but they did win two weeks prior against a much improved Cannon County squad. And though it may seem less than possible at the moment, the Yellow Jackets still have a very good chance at a playoff spot. And if they can beat Upperman, by some chance, they’ll likely solidify a spot in week five. The Bees are coming off a loss against 4A Stone Memorial and boast a 1-3 record thus far after defeating Monterey. This will be the first region game for Upperman, so if Grundy County can find a way to win, they could alter, greatly, the course of Region 4-3A.
Film Room: As for the Grundy County offense, the split-back veer doesn’t change much and could gash the Bees if they’re caught sleepwalking. Upperman is the epitamy of a Region 4-3A defense, being able to matchup against passing attacks, but what the Yellow Jackets bring is a rush-heavy style of play. That alone could hinder the Bees down the stretch. The split-back veer is different and it’s hard to prepare for, but if Upperman can win the line of scrimmage, Grundy County will have a less than ideal home game.
The Bees will run shotgun formations with a lot of outside rushes and passess. This, though, is not the same Upperman team of 2015 that could torch you with ease. They still might be able to throw, but it’s a lot tougher with some lost players across the board. The Bees should look to pass as as possible against the Jackets if they want to cement a victory up on the Mountain as that is where the Bees found a region win last season.
Players to Watch
Upperman: Duke Maresh (Sophomore Quarterback), Joseph Oracion (Senior Defenisve End), Sam Burton (Senior Tight End), Derek Windrow (Senior Offensive Tackle), Braxton Greenwood (Freshman Offensive Guard), Cole Pierce (Senior Halfback) and Allen Fields (Senior Kicker)
Grundy County: Kevin Castro (Senior Halfback), Dewayne Grooms (Senior Offensive Guard/Linebacker), James McDaniel (Senior Halfback), Matt Burrows (Senior Wide Receiver/Cornerback), and Grayson Lawson (Sophomore Offensive Tackle/Defensive Tackle)
COPPER BASIN AT SOUTH PITTSBURG:
Beginning the Regional Journey
The Spread: Copper Basin (+24) vs. South Pittsburg
Over/Under (Total Points): (57.5 Points)
The Hype: The Cougars are looking to shock the region and the Chattanooga area by taking down the Pirates in Beene Stadium. The chance of that are slim, but he Cougars are a playoff contender in Class 1A. If the Pirates hope to coast, this is not the team to do it against. That being said, the Pirates have momentum coming off of a huge win against Marion County, so the train will be hard to stop for Copper Basin.
Film Room: The Pirates are based out of the Wing-T and aren’t afraid to show it. Look for explosive outside plays early from Joseph Lilly and Cade Kennemore. Hogan Holland showed that he can make the ball fly through the air with ease last week, so don’t be surprised if he has a great game against the Cougars.
Copper Basin may not quite have the athletes that South Pittsburg does, but they play team ball. They can get out on explosive plays if they go unchecked. Still, their running game will not be translatable to a team ranked No. 7 in Class 1A.
Players to Watch
Copper Basin: Peyton Sosebee (Senior Halfback), Jake Taylor (Senior Middle Linebacker), Tim Leslie (Junior Offensive Center), Austin Montgomery Sophomore Fullback), Hunter Newman (Senior Defensive End), Cade English (Sophomore Slotback), and Austin Lance (Senior Nose Guard)
South Pittsburg: Hogan Holland (Senior Quarterback), Kyree Pryor (Senior Halfback/Defensive Back), Drew Daniels (Senior Offensive Lineman/Defensive End), Mitch Butner (Senior Linebacker/Tight End), and Cade Kennemore (Junior Wide Receiver/Defensive Back)
WHITWELL AT LOOKOUT VALLEY:
Path to the Playoffs, Part One
The Spread: Whitwell (-22.5) at Lookout Valley
Over/Under (Total Points): (41 Points)
The Hype: The Tiger have not had the best of luck, losing to Division II power Davidson Academy after leading them at halftime and in overtime against Bledsoe County at home, 22-21. It’s a new week, though, and the region comes into play as they begin their quest for the region crown against the Yellow Jackets. Lookout Valley is undersized, but they have some speed, so that could be their key to success if there is any to be had.
Film Room: The Tigers’ new pistol offense could strike similarities to the Lookout Valley spread at times, but for the most part, it will consist of different schemes. The Yellow Jackets may have trouble accounting for the sheer volume of formations and schemes Malone has installed into the program. The Tigers will still have to bring their best rushing attack, but there needs to be a lot of work in the passing game if they hope to surprise some teams with it down the road.
Players to Watch
Whitwell: Dawson Holloway (Senior Quarterback), Garrett Shrum (Junior Tight End/Defensive End), Trace Condra (Junior Halfback/Strong Safety), T.D. Argo (Junior Offensive Line/Defensive Line), Austin Nunley (Junior Kicker), and Hudson Petty (Sophomore Halfback/Defensive End)