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Which teams likely to open postseason at home?

Douglas Fritz • Oct 22, 2019 at 12:30 PM

Area football teams set their sights each season on reaching the playoffs. But having a first-round home game usually means a great deal in terms of advancing.

Following is a look at where area teams are likely to land in the first round of postseason play.

CLASS 6A

Barring an upset loss by Farragut against Hardin Valley or Jefferson County, Dobyns-Bennett will take the top spot even if it loses to Science Hill on Friday. In a three-way tie, the Indians’ overall record would break it.

Science Hill’s only hope for a home game would be for Farragut to slip.

Projected pairings

Cleveland at Dobyns-Bennett

Bradley Central at Farragut

Science Hill at McMinn County

Bearden at Maryville

CLASS 5A

Tennessee High is in a great spot to claim the No. 1 seed. The Vikings can lock it up by beating Cherokee.

David Crockett has the inside track for the other home game.

Projected pairings

Gibbs at Tennessee High

Halls at David Crockett

Cherokee at South-Doyle

Daniel Boone at Knox Central

CLASS 4A

Elizabethton needs to defeat Sullivan South to clinch the top spot. Greeneville has the inside track for the No. 2 position.

Projected pairings

East Ridge at Elizabethton

Howard at Greeneville

Sullivan South at East Hamilton

Grainger at Anderson County

CLASS 3A

Chuckey-Doak has locked up the No. 1 seed. Johnson County and Unicoi County will decide home-field advantage in Week 11.

Projected pairings

Kingston at Chuckey-Doak

Gatlinburg-Pittman at Unicoi County

Johnson County at Austin-East

West Greene at Alcoa

CLASS 2A

Hampton will have a vested interest in the Week 11 tilt between Happy Valley and South Greene. If South Greene wins, Hampton can get the No. 1 spot.

Projected pairings

Cumberland Gap at Happy Valley

Rockwood at Hampton

South Greene at Oneida

Sullivan North at Meigs County

CLASS 1A

Region play is finished with Cloudland taking the top spot, followed in order by Hancock County, Jellico and Unaka.

Projected pairings

Harriman at Cloudland

Oliver Springs at Hancock County

Jellico at Coalfield

Unaka at Greenback

THE TOP SPOT

Elizabethton was ranked No. 1 in this week’s TSSAA Class 4A poll. It is the first time the Cyclones have occupied that spot since 1999 — yes, a young man named Jason Witten was on that team.

The Cyclones held that position for three weeks. They eventually lost a heartbreaker in the state semifinals, a 20-17 overtime setback against Knox Central.

Elizabethton was also ranked No. 1 for two weeks in 1951. The only perfect regular season in school history came that year when the Cyclones went 10-0 under coach John Treadway.

The 1938 state championship team went 9-0-1.

CADE LARKINS UPDATE

David Crockett suffered its first loss of the season, but Larkins still reached a milestone in the 28-21 decision against Tennessee High. He passed for 232 yards, pushing his career total to 10,014.

Larkins remained in the No. 6 spot on the all-time Tennessee list, only 199 yards away from the top five. He is 1,108 yards away from Kyle Akin’s record.

Larkins moved to No. 40 on the all-time national list.

With two touchdown passes Friday, Larkins moved his career total to 99. He remained at No. 7 on the state’s all-time list.

REGION SOCCER

Things are getting serious for area soccer teams, starting with the region semifinals Tuesday.

In 1-AAA play, Science Hill (16-3-1) is at home against Knox West (9-5-3). The Lady Hilltoppers are ranked No. 4 in the state and favored in the match that begins at 7 p.m. at Tipton Stadium.

Dobyns-Bennett (6-7-1) has the difficult task of traveling to face No. 6 Bearden (16-2-1) for their 7 p.m. game.

In 1-AA, Sullivan Central (10-8) will try to keep its season alive in a game at Seymour (9-6-2).

And in Class A, University High (8-4-3) will hit the road to Alcoa (10-4) at 6:30 p.m.

HOW WE VOTED

Coverage-area teams receiving votes from the Times News/Johnson City Press in this week’s Associated Press state football poll, along with the No. 1 selection. (Coverage area is Sullivan, Washington, Carter, Unicoi, Johnson, Hawkins counties):

Class 6A — Oakland (No. 1), Dobyns-Bennett (No. 3)

Class 5A — Knox Central (No. 1), Tennessee High (No. 6), David Crockett (No. 7)

Class 4A — Elizabethton (No. 1)

Class 3A — Alcoa (No. 1)

Class 2A — Peabody (No. 1), Hampton (No. 6)

Class 1A — South Pittsburg (No. 1)

THE TOP 10

Elizabethton’s win over Greeneville was enough vault the Cyclones into the top spot in this week’s rankings.

It was almost a tie for No. 1 with Dobyns-Bennett, but Greeneville has routinely beaten Class 6A teams in recent years. So the Elizabethton win carries a lot of weight.

Teams W-L Prv
1. Elizabethton 8-0 3
2. Dobyns-Bennett 8-0 2
3. Tennessee High 7-1 4
4. David Crockett 6-1 1
5. Science Hill 3-5 5
6. Cherokee 6-2 6
7. Sullivan South 5-3 7
8. Unicoi County 5-3 8
9. Hampton 6-2 10
10. Happy Valley 6-2 9

GAMES OF THE WEEK

Science Hill at Dobyns-Bennett

The Indians won this rivalry game for a couple of decades before Science Hill embarked on a five-game winning streak. D-B snapped the skid last year. Does that mean the Indians are getting ready to go on another run?

David Crockett at Daniel Boone

The Pioneers lost last week, which probably isn’t good news for the Trailblazers. The first regular season loss since 2017 takes some pressure off Crockett, which could regain tons of momentum by beating its biggest rival.

Cherokee at Tennessee High

The Chiefs might be the forgotten team in Region 1-5A with Crockett and Tennessee High grabbing most of the spotlight. But Cherokee is still in position to claim a share of the league title.

Sullivan South at Elizabethton

How will the Cyclones respond after perhaps the biggest regular season win in school history? The Rebels are still in position to force a three-way tie at the top of Region 1-4A.

PICK OF THE WEEK

Dobyns-Bennett 24, Science Hill 13

The Hilltoppers will likely need quite a few scores to upset the Indians. But the Tribe simply hasn’t been giving up points this season.

Picks record: 6-3.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

5-star — Cade Maupin, Elizabethton, RB

In a battle between teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the state, the senior had 173 total yards in the Cyclones’ 24-21 win over Greeneville. Maupin had a game-changing 50-yard run and a 16-yard pass catch to set up the game-winning field goal.

4-star — Jaxton Holly, Elizabethton, PK

With 12 seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the senior knocked a 34-yard kick between the posts to lift his team to the three-point win over Greeneville.

3-star — Kody Lewis, Unicoi County, RB

In leading his team to a 53-34 win over West Greene, the senior carried 19 times for 126 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 1, 4, 12, 2, 22 and 5 yards.

2-star — Yancy Dolen, Sullivan North, RB

In a 24-14 upset of Happy Valley, the senior averaged 13 yards per carry. Dolen totaled 129 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

1-star — Matt Hughes, Hampton, RB

Facing previously undefeated South Greene, Hampton earned a 30-0 rout behind the running of the senior. Hughes had 178 yards rushing with a touchdown.

THE HOGS AWARD

Sullivan South Rebels

No matter who was running the ball, the Rebel Hogs made sure there was room to operate in a 42-7 win over Sullivan East.

Seven South running backs combined for 308 yards on the ground.

DEFENSIVE UNIT OF THE WEEK

Hampton Bulldogs

For the second straight week, Hampton earned this honor.

This time, facing a team that was averaging 40 points a game, the Bulldogs pitched a 30-0 shutout. They held South Greene to 10 yards of offense in the first half. For the game, the Rebels managed only 82 total yards.

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