The season is coming to a close, but there’s still business to attend to as we get ready for playoff runs galore.
With one team completely eliminated from the playoffs (Bledsoe County), there’s still a chance left for Grundy County, who could make the fith Valley team in this season. Sequatchie County, Marion County, South Pittsburg, and Whitwell have all locked down playoff berths and the prior three have locked down playoffs games in the first round.
That being said, stranger things have happened, so always be prepared for a Sequatchie Valley Shakedown as we give you the rundown for this week’s games!
GRUNDY COUNTY AT SEQUATCHIE COUNTY:
The Battle For Daus Mountain
ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Sequatchie County Leads 22-13 (Since 1959)
The Spread: Grundy County (+29) at Sequatchie County
Over/Under (Total Points): (45 Points)
History: Largest Margin (GC: 82-6, 1977) | Longest Streak (SC: 8, ’83-’92)
First Matchup (SC 13-7, 1959)
Last Five Matchups: Sequatchie County 49-0 (2015) | Grundy 36-35 [OT] (2014) Sequatchie 34-7 (2013) | Grundy 35-14 (2012) | Sequatchie 17-7 (2011)
The Hype: As much as the Indians and Yellow Jackets love to hate each other, both come in from two completely different world, divided by a cliffside. The Indians are up top–way up top–sitting at No. 2 in the 3A Football polls. On the other end, Grundy County is listed at 48 out of 55 in that same class according to the Sonny Moore Power Ratings, which lists all teams together and in their classes by their rating. It couldn’t get much more divided than it is at the current time, but Grundy County is in a must-win situation if they are to make the playoffs. Even with that, they’ll need help from Smith County, who they will also have to beat in week eleven.
Film Room: The Yellow Jackets stick with the Split-Back Veer for the most part, trying to build the passing game off of play-action and option situations. A lot of their big plays are on the ground, several of which happened last year out in Smithville. Behind an above average backfield, the Yellow Jackets could push past the Indians defense at times. If Grundy County pulls out the win it will be due to their successful passing game, which hasn’t shown up as much this season, and might not against an improved Indians secondary.
The Indians come in with a Wing-T set, expanded for use in Region 4-3A. That includes pistol and shotgun formations used with both rushing and passing plays. Ethan Barker has the passing game clicking which can be deadly late in the season against a slate that looks a lot easier to control than originally thought. There are some injuries, but they look to be healed pretty soon and to be a non-factor in a game like this.
Players to Watch
Grundy County: Kevin Castro (Senior Halfback), Dewayne Grooms (Senior Offensive Guard/Linebacker), James McDaniel (Senior Halfback), and Matt Burrows (Senior Wide Receiver/Cornerback)
Sequatchie County: Austin Stevens (Senior Halfback), Hunter Davenport (Senior Fullback/Linebacker), Ethan Barker (Junior Quarterback), Kyle Cates (Senior Tight End/Linebacker), and Gabe Jackson (Senior Lineman)
BRAINERD AT BLEDSOE COUNTY:
Succumbing to the Inevitable
All-Time Series Record: Bledsoe Leads 1-0
The Spread: Brainerd (+6.5) at Bledsoe County
Over/Under (Total Points): (29 Points)
Last Five Matchups: Bledsoe 14-12 (2015) | No Other Matchups Listed
The Hype: It’ll be hard for Josh Owensby and company to be motivated after a loss at Marion County that ultimately cost them a playoff spot. Though there were other games that could have helped their case, the Warriors seemed to have lost the drive they had a year ago late. Still, this is a game that could put them higher up in the standings and maybe at a No. 5 seed if things go well. The Panthers have very little motivation after going 0-8 and 0-5 in the region. Could be interesting to see how low scoring these two teams could possibly go. The Warriors should pull out a pretty sizeable victory in this one.
Film Room: Expect the Warriors to come out in shotgun sets, spreading the ball out while also keeping it traditional with some pro and under-center formations from time to time. Joseph Gore will be in the backfield with Sorrows, which creates a pretty balanced approach down the stretch. The Panthers have a somewhat improved secondary and may be able to take away the pass minutely if the Warriors decide to throw. They can shut down a rushing game somewhat, but Gore’s legs might be the key in this one.
Against Chattanooga Christian and East Ridge the Panthers were 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 playoff-less Warriors, 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)
Bledsoe County: Chaise Sorrows (Senior Quarterback), Joseph Gore (Senior Halfback/Cornerback), Harley Smith (Junior Offensive Guard/Nose Guard), Derrick Pursley (Senior Linebacker/Offensive Lineman), and Kevin Whitson (Junior Linebacker/Tight End)
WHITWELL AT COLUMBIA ACADEMY:
‘Gaze into the Crystal Ball’
All-Time Series Record: Columbia Academy Leads 2-0
The Spread: Whitwell (-21) at Columbia Academy
Over/Under (Total Points): (43 Points)
Last Five Matchups: Bulldogs 54-6 (2015) [2nd Round–1A Playoffs]
Bulldogs 41-24 (2015) | No Other Matchups Listed
The Hype: This game is, more or less, a chance for South Pittsburg to get a common opponent comparison on a team that ended its season last year. That’s not to say the Tigers are without hope or not invested in the matchup. They, too, could very well end up with another matchup against the Bulldogs past the regular season, and with a No.2 seed, they’ll likely travel in the second round to tango in Columbia. So this game could be the tale of the tape in regards to the playoffs, which are fast-approaching.
Film Room: Whitwell’s pistol sets have surprised many this season, but a powerhouse like Columbia Academy won’t be fooled so easily. With Hudson Petty on your side with the improved passing game the Tigers should have little trouble against a relatively new Panther squad. Look for outside runs and passing to lead the charge in a game that can add a lot of dimension to a Whitwell team getting ready to take on Columbia Academy next week.
Columbia Academy, with its ‘Sling-T’ formation, looks to spread the field out while maintaining a hard-nosed edge over their opponent. The Bulldogs rely a lot on the passing game with senior signal-caller Dylan Johnson who has done very well through the air this season. With a lot of motion-involving plays and play-action, they’ll seek to confuse the Whitwell defense with sets and schemes alone. Tracy Malone, though, is sure to have his kids ready against stout and title-contending Bulldogs squad.
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)
Columbia Academy: Dylan Johnson (Senior Quarterback), Matthew Fox (Senior Offensive Tackle), Timmy Riley (Junior Outside Linebacker), Rush Lansdell (Sophomore Free Safety), Logan Neal (Senior Halfback), Briggs Hall (Junior Defensive Tackle)