One of the biggest games of the year has made its presence known in the form of the AP Poll in which both Marion County and Boyd-Buchanan are ranked in the top three.
They battle this week down in Jasper, making a pair of games with big-time opponents at Valley schools. The other, Grundy County, plays host to South Pittsburg, also ranked in the AP Polls, in Coalmont as they continue to search for win number two on the season. The Pirates are looking for a continuation of the streak after losing to Sequatchie County in week one. The Warriors look to build their road from the ground-up against Boyd.
Still, the atmosphere of this week’s matchups is almost too much to handle with Rivalries and State-caliber showdowns galore. We just hope the high of having great games lasts longer than a single Friday.
BY THE NUMBERS
148.5–Combined Over/Under Total Points For All Week Five Valley Matchups
(-8.5) — Overall Spread for Sequatchie Valley Teams in Week Five
4–Number of TN AP Ranked Teams in This Week’s Matchups (South Pittsburg, Sequatchie County, Marion County, and Boyd-Buchanan)
4–Number of Wins By Valley Teams Last Week
3–Number of Teams Favored to Win Week Five Matchups
2–Number of Valley Teams favored to win by more than 10 Points in Week Five
1–Number of Valley Teams with Unblemished Records
BOYD BUCHANAN AT MARION COUNTY:
The ‘Two-Three Punch’ Showdown
The Spread: Boyd-Buchanan (+8.5) at Marion County
Over/Under (Total Points): (32.5 Points)
Last Six Matchups: Boyd 21-14 (2015) | Marion 28-7 (2013) | Boyd 22-6 (2010) | Boyd 28-6 (2009) | Boyd 21-7 (2009) | Marion 7-6 (2008)
The Hype: As far as the road to Cookeville is concerned, this matchup might as well be the end all, be all for Class 2A. The winner will likely go further in the postseason with a higher seed. Though last year, Marion county didn’t need to win to enter the gates of State as competitors. Still, an easier road lies ahead of the victor in this one. As the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams in the latest Class 2A poll, the winner will likely be vaulted above Adamsville, who currently sits at the top of the polls. In essence, had a rivalry not popped up the same night, we’d be talking about this one as Game of the Week.
Film Room: The Warriors, of course, will come out in a Wing-T scheme, without much change throughout the game. The passing facet, though, has evolved with Jacob Saylors standing out in the rushing and receiving categories. Pounding the rock is still the Warriors’ specialty, though with Hunter McClain and Hunter Zeman in the backfield, protected by a very stout, veteran line. Marion County, though, had trouble against Boyd-Buchanan’s defense last year, only scoring 14 points, a season low.
The Buccaneers lead toward more of a pro-style offense after being more spread out in previous years. They mostly run the system out of ace formations with a tendency to pull options out of their sleeves from time to time, especially on short yardage. The offensive line is also a strength of this team pushing forward for a lot in-the-trenches rushing. Look to senior tailback Jeremy Borders along with senior quarterback Ross Wortman to lead this team in a schematic fashion, with their name being called on a lot of big plays.
Players to Watch
Boyd-Buchanan: Jeremy Borders (Senior Running Back/Cornerback), Ross Wortman (Senior Quarterback/Outside Linebacker), Kohl Henke (Junior Free Safety/Wide Receiver), Will Rains (Senior Defensive Tackle/Offensive Guard), and Will Watkins (Junior Middle Linebacker/Offensive Tackle)
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)
SOUTH PITTSBURG AT GRUNDY COUNTY:
Without a Sting
The Spread: South Pittsburg (-34.5) at Grundy County
Over/Under (Total Points): (52 Points)
Last Six Matchups: South Pittsburg 46-6 (2015) | South Pittsburg 49-27 (2014) | South Pittsburg 32-8 (2013) | South Pittsburg 58-25 (2012) | South Pittsburg 43-7 (2011) | South Pittsburg 53-14 (2010)
The Hype: South Pittsburg, moving up to the No. 7 spot in the AP Polls this week, looks to put up as many points as possible against the sometimes helpless Yellow Jackets. Whether true or not, the Jackets have seemingly put less importance on Valley matchups and more on those in the Region, nearly taking down Upperman last week before a miraculous comeback in the final five minutes by the Bees. South Pittsburg had no trouble with Copper Basin, and this week, they could actually sleepwalk, not because of how bad Grundy County seems on the surface, but because the Jackets might not put as much stock in a game that ultimately doesn’t matter for either team.
Film Room: Still, the Split-Back Veer is a beast and a half when done right. The Yellow Jackets proved that against the Bees last week going tit-for-tat early on well-executed plays. In a perfect world, it would nearly be impossible, within a week, to prepare for such a diverse offense, but in reality, South Pittsburg is a State caliber team while Grundy County hasn’t exactly put all the pieces together on offense. They’ll have to run downhill for success, and stay away from the air and outside in pressure situations. The linebacker corp for South Pittsburg is diverse and includes hard-hitting might with the agile ability to go from sideline to sideline. The option has to work perfectly in able to the get the steps ahead necessary to account for the lack of speed you have.
The Pirates, on the other hand, will be difficult to stop with speed and an outside run game coming out of the Wing-T. With the addition of an excellent passing game from Hogan Holland to Cade Kennemore this season, the Pirates just improved, significantly, an already Cookeville-caliber team. Balance is the name of the game, so the Pirates have a better than average chance of bringing home the win in Coalmont. They’ll have to run their base offense with a trick play or two in order to keep Grundy County on edge and in an uncomfortable zone, schematically speaking. The Yellow Jackets still have some size, so they’ll have to account for that on the offensive end, especially down the middle.
Players to Watch
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)
Grundy County: Kevin Castro (Senior Halfback), Dewayne Grooms (Senior Offensive Guard/Linebacker), James McDaniel (Senior Halfback), and Matt Burrows (Senior Wide Receiver/Cornerback)