Shocking the World Yet Again
In the hills of Tennessee, there is a force unrivalled by most: the spirit of the game.
And yes, it still exists out in Coalmont, Tennessee where the Yellow Jackets are readying themselves for their upcoming game against Smith County. And it’s a matchup that will leave Grundy County indifferent on the Region spectrum–playoff eligibility has now eluded them after a loss against Sequatchie County in Week Ten.
So as head coach Casey Tate and company run out onto Crisp field Friday night, they’ll have only a will and a way to back them. There’s no postseason, no other games to prepare for, and more importantly there are no more chances to shock the world.
But shock the world, they already have.
With close losses to Upperman and Dekalb County by a combined scoring margin of four points after leading both by double digits in the fourth quarter, the world no longer has to be proven wrong. But then again, there should be a long future for Tate who may have amassed two-three wins in two seasons but has showed tremendous improvement on the field.
The Owls still come to town Friday night, and with that there’s another chance to shock the world as the Owls can still claim the fourth spot with a Sequatchie County victory against Upperman, which is very likely. The mantra of ‘Shock the World’ has been the cry of the Yellow Jackets this season, and although there is nothing to gain for themselves with a season finale in a 1-8 season, they can prove that this season has molded them by pulling in a full 48-minute performance where depth is managed greatly.
And the Yellow Jackets want to start a record turnaround next season, now’s a good a time to start as any with young players on the roster for years to come.
Smith County at Grundy County
Crisp Field, Coalmont, Tennessee
Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM CT/8:00 PM ET
RIVALRY RECAP: LAST TEN MATCHUPS
All Time Series Record: Smith County, 2-0 (Since 2001)
Owls 42, Yellow Jackets 6; October 23, 2015
Owls 33, Yellow Jackets 7; October 10, 2001
No Other Matchups Recorded
PLACE YOUR BETS
DISCLAIMER: These are not actual spreads or odds, and cannot be used in kind of sports betting context.
The Spread: Smith County (-2.5) at Grundy County
Odds to Win: Smith County 5 to 6; Grundy County 4 to 5
Over/Under (Total Points): (32.5 Points)
Breaking Down the Bets: ‘The Spread’ is based on who is favored in the matchup and by how many points. ‘Odds to Win’ are the odds for a certain team to win that game and is not related to the odds of ‘The Spread.’ The ‘Over/Under’ is how many points both teams are expected to combine for, unrelated to ‘The Spread’ or “Odds to Win.’ These betting lines are simply to display what Vegas would perceive the matchup at and cannot be used in any sports betting enterprise.
QUICK HIT STORYLINES
Yellow Jackets Will Try to Finish Season Up with Second Season Win
Smith County can Grab the No. 4 Region Seed with win and Upperman loss
Both Squads have Played Close with Upperman and Dekalb County
Grundy County Will Not be Playoff Eligible but can keep Smith County Out
INSIDE THE FILM ROOM
The Owls look to run shotgun sets with a spread out look under 5’8″ junior quarterback Carson Hackett. A lot of the sets feature three receivers, a tight end, and a back accompanying Hackett which calls for some work in the Grundy County secondary. The Owls’ Shemar King accompanies Hackett, and is a solid inside and outside threat for the Owls. Balance is the key in 4-3A, and the Yellow Jackets emphasize the run on defense. They weren’t able to stop the Owls through the air last season, so things could get interesting through the air.
The Yellow Jackets have held true to their split-back veer while adding to the passing arsenal under Ethan Nunley in Week Ten versus Sequatchie County where he threw for 175 yards to five different targets. The biggest of those were Evan Nunley and Josh Wingo who both snagged nearly 50 yards worth through the air. Their rushing offense, however, was stoppable with only 45 yards against a at stout Linebacker group. Still, the Yellow Jackets have the same average scoring margin against Upperman and Dekalb County as the Owls: 2 points a game. So the game should be closely contested. Head coach Casey Tate will have to manage what depth he has to keep his players from getting winded in the 4th in order to pull out a victory in the season finale. Depth has been the issue all season, espcially against Dekalb County and Upperman where they blew a double digit lead halfway through the fourth quarter in each.
KEY ON-THE-FIELD MATCHUPS
Ethan Nunley vs. Carson Hackett
Very rarely are two underrated quarterbacks matched up in a game like this, but Crisp Field may want to manage drought conditions with the barn-burner that could be coming to Coalmont. The Owls likely know about Grundy County’s split-back veer, but will they have enough time to prepare for that and a passing game that has improved drastically in past weeks?
Josh Wingo and Evan Nunley vs. the Owls Secondary
On Yellow Jackets’ side of the ball, Evan Nunley and Josh Wingo erupted and gave Grundy County a wide receiver duo it hasn’t seen in awhile. The Owls have had a lackluster passing defense in the past, but they’ve sewed it up in previous weeks, so the battle to watch for may not be in the trenches but down the field. If the Yellow Jackets can be successful in the rushing game early, they might be able to get some play-action going their way as well.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Smith County: Shermar King (Junior Wide Receiver/Halfback), Carson Hackett (Junior Quarterback), J. Edward Trainham (Senior Lineman), Kaleb Chabarria (Senior Wide Receiver/Cornerback), and Dalton Ausderau (Junior Wide Receiver/Cornerback)
Grundy County: Kevin Castro (Senior Halfback), Dewayne Grooms (Senior Offensive Guard/Linebacker), James McDaniel (Senior Halfback), and Matt Burrows (Senior Wide Receiver/Cornerback)