Tale of Two Teams: Winning Cookeville Now the Goal
The Warriors continue to impress as always as they’ve blasted through their season with minor damage while the Bears of Trezevant have had a harder road to the title.
The only loss the Warriors endured this season was a last-second, rivalry-heated touchdown versus perennial power South Pittsburg. Other than a possible Brainerd protest in the week after that, MArion County pretty much fell of the face of the publicity earth, winning game after game with no shock, dismay, or frustration.
Trezevant, on the other hand, had some issues on and off the field, mainly by fault of the Shelby County School System, but they still found their way into the state title game with a 9-5 record. This was a team that was one loss away in the first round from ending their season in sub-.500 catergory, but they somehow made it to Cookeville.
And that’s not to say the Bears won’t be a threat–they will–but 2016 has been a treacherous season thus far. Here’s a little recap.
On Thursday September 29–Week Six of the regular season–the Shelby County school system announced that Trezevant would forfeit wins because of grade discrepancies during an internal investigation. Trezevant was also forced to suspend its football program until further notice, forfeiting all the games they had already played. In the meantime, they would have to forfeit to Memphis Academy of Health Sciences, who was a region opponent.
The next Tuesday, Shelby County Schools basically came forward saying they had messed up in the process and that the school was allowed to play again. The TSSAA said the forfeits were self-imposed except for the MAHS game where the BEars elected not to play because of the grade discrepancies.
And when you’re in a region of five teams, two losses can be killer if the right circumstances abound. In fact, the Bears were a No. 3 seed in the playoffs making their road a harder one initially than they would have hoped to have.
The Warriors woes were not as great as they remained undefeated in region, claiming a No. 1 seed and facing opponents in the playoffs that were not even close to their standards. In fact, every game they’ve won, they’ve done it by two touchdowns or more all season while scoring at least five a week during the playoffs.
It is truly the tale of two teams in this one. The question is whether Trezevant can win as beat up physically and emotionally as the been this season against a polished and easy-road-ladened Warrior squad.
See Our Preseason Preview of the Warriors
Including Interviews From Players and Coaches
Marion County vs. Trezevant
Tucker Stadium (Tennessee Tech), Cookeville, TN
Kickoff Time: Saturday, December 3rd at 11:00 AM CT/12:00 PM ET
RIVALRY RECAP: LAST TEN MATCHUPS
All Time Series Record: Trezevant, 1-0 (1 Meeting Since 2015)
Bears 40, Warriors 35; December 5, 2015
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: Marion County (-6.5) vs. Trezevant
Odds to Win: Trezevant 3 to 1; Marion County 5 to 1
Over/Under (Total Points): (62.5 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
Marion County comes in on an 10-Game Win Streak
The Warriors have scored at least five touchdowns per contest in the past seven games
The Bears Trounced the Warriors Last Season to Take the Title, 40-35
Both Teams Have a Mr. Football Winner for Class 2A in Cordarrian Richardson and Alex Kirkendoll.
INSIDE THE FILM ROOM
The Warriors have their Wing-T offense running on all cylinders as they get ready to take on Trezevant. More balanced than ever as they continue to dominate the playoff field, Marion County leaves no doubt that they’ll contend for the title in Cookeville. The Warriors have proven time and time again that they can handle whatever and offense can thrown at them with Mr. Football winner and runner-up Alex Kirkendoll and Hunter McClain, respectively. With Jacob Saylors and McClain giving Sophomore quarterback Isaiah Sampson all the help he can handle, Trezevant will struggle to keep it together defensively. And we’ll finally know the answer to the question, Is one Mr. Football Finalist at Trezevant better that two in Marion County?
The Bears look to run out of a Power-I, or at least under shotgun, rushing the ball at will with seasoned running back Cordarrian Richardson. Quarterback Tywon Johnson may not be much of a passing threat, but he can definitely run with Richardson, and that’s what they’ve done thus far. In fact, Johnson rushed for more than he threw in the early part of the season, only accumulating 110 yards in a five game span. The defense for the Bears is just as impressive as they’ve had a lot of sacks and tackles for a loss from Tijuan Mason on the defensive line. Trezevant appears to be better than the team that faced Marion last season in the Title game, but the Warriors have also brought a lot of preparation and experience against the Bears.
KEY ON-THE-FIELD MATCHUP
Cordarrian Richardson vs. Alex Kirkendoll/Hunter McClain
This is probably one of the more interesting matchups of the entire Blue Cross Bowl Series. It’s a Mr. Football vs. Mr. Football. Kirkendoll, of course, won the Lineman of the Year award for his duties at Linebacker, but Richardson was voted Back of the Year in the same classification. McClain was a Runner-Up in the Lineman of the Year Category as well, but look no further than the Runner-Up in Richardson’s Category to see what Kirkendoll and McClain are capable of. It was Austin-East‘s Darius Harper who lost both his semifinal matchup and the Mr. Football hardware. Richardson seems to be next on the Warriors’ hit list.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Marion County Warriors: Hunter McClain (Senior Linebacker/Running Back), Alex Kirkendoll (Senior Tight End/Linebacker), Eli Morrison (Senior Offensive Lineman), Jacob Saylors (Junior Running Back/Defensive Back), Ishamel Avila (Senior Lineman), Ty Heifner (Senior Lineman), and Kane Hale (Junior Wide Receiver/Free Safety)
Trezevant Bears: Cordarrian Richardson (Senior Running Back), Tijaun Mason (Senior Defensive End), JonDarius Smalls (Senior Middle Linebacker), Antonio Nelson (Senior Defensive Tackle), Joshua Reed (Junior Running Back), Tywon Johnson (Senior Quarterback), Tavion Starks (Freshman Running Back), and Desmond Clayton (Freshman Defensive Lineman)