In the Times News and Johnson City Press coverage area, two teams remain in the hunt for the BlueCross Bowl. Dobyns-Bennett hosts Maryville on Friday at J. Fred Johnson Stadium in a Class 6A battle, and Elizabethton is at home against Greeneville in a Class 4A contest.
Here are some reasons each of these teams should believe it will win Friday:
WHY D-B SHOULD WIN
Tradition — The Indians have been in the playoffs 26 times in the past 27 years, reaching the quarterfinals nine times and the semifinals four times.
Road game for Maryville — Dating to 2015, Maryville is 16-0 when playing at home in the playoffs. In true road games, the Rebels are 0-2 in that stretch.
J. Fred Johnson — D-B has the only stadium north of Knoxville that could actually put intimidation on the other foot. A big crowd could give the Tribe an edge.
Defense — The Indians have held six opponents to one score or less with four shutouts.
WHY MARYVILLE SHOULD WIN
Tradition — The Rebels have won 16 state championships dating to the Ted Wilson days in the 1970s. The Rebels have reached the finals 16 times in the last 19 years.
Efficiency — Maryville has scored between 42 and 49 points seven times in 12 games. The Rebels have scored at least 30 points in every game but one.
Defense — Maryville has posted four shutouts in its last five games.
Comparative scores — Maryville beat Science Hill (42-0) and Alcoa (17-3) while D-B lost to Alcoa (21-6) and Science Hill (23-17).
WHY ELIZABETHTON SHOULD WIN
Week 9 — The Cyclones have already shown they can beat Greeneville with the 24-21 decision.
Citizens Bank Stadium — Elizabethton has won six straight playoff games on its home field.
Defense/offense combination — The Cyclones have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 38-10.
Hunger — Elizabethton has knocked on the door at least seven times in the last 22 years — six semifinal appearances and a three-point loss at eventual state champion Alcoa in the 2016 quarterfinals — but hasn’t tasted the sweet success of the BlueCross Bowl.
WHY GREENEVILLE SHOULD WIN
Week 9 — The Greene Devils, up 21-7 late in the third quarter, were on the verge of getting the ball back when the Cyclones struck for a 59-yard TD pass on third-and-10.
Tradition — Greeneville has four gold balls in the house — including the last two in a row — and the Greene Devils have won 12 straight playoff games.
Defense/offense combination — The Greene Devils have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 42-12.
Strength of schedule — Greeneville opponents Powell and Austin-East are still alive in the Class 5A and Class 3A playoffs, respectively.
The TSSAA has joined a partnership agreement with MaxPreps. The organization recommends that coaches submit scores and statistics after each game to the MaxPreps website.
“Our goal with this partnership is to establish a clearinghouse of sorts for statistical information so coaches and schools can benefit from comprehensive statewide leaderboards for all the important stat categories,” said Bernard Childress, executive director of the TSSAA. “MaxPreps is an excellent supplement to our existing digital efforts and should make it very easy for coaches to submit updated stats after each game.”
MaxPreps.com is the nation's most visited site for high school sports.
PICKS OF THE WEEK
Maryville 21, Dobyns-Bennett 10
Playing the Rebels tough is one thing. Beating them over the course of four quarters is a much different challenge.
Elizabethton 28, Greeneville 21
The Cyclones have earned the right to believe. Now they have to make it stand up.
Picks record: 9-4.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Bryson Rollins, Elizabethton
It was all Elizabethton in a 49-7 pounding of Sullivan South, and the sophomore quarterback had a big hand in the success. The Class 4A Mr. Football semifinalist was 12-of-17 passing for 334 yards and five touchdowns and rushed two times for 24 yards.
Rollins will find out Tuesday at noon whether he is a finalist for the Mr. Football award. Tennessee Titans play-by-play announcer Mike Keith will announce the finalists on the team’s website, titansonline.com.
THE HOGS AWARD
The ’Clone Hogs’ run blocking provided room for 6.8 yards per carry while the pass blocking allowed time for 71% completions (12 of 17).
DEFENSIVE UNIT OF THE WEEK
Until the Rebels’ final drive, the Cyclones were pitching a shutout and allowed only 178 yards of total offense. Their defense also recovered two fumbles and held South to 2-for-9 in third-down situations.
Science Hill — Seven players signed Monday to play college soccer: Savannah Fields (Lincoln Memorial), Sydney Jordan (Montreat), Tori Sparks (Montreat), Natalie Torbett (Trevecca), Lina Powell (Anderson), Teagan Kersey (USC Akien) and Brenna Weber (Tusculum).
David Crockett — Maddie Pleasant and Morgan Barkley will sign to play volleyball at Walters State on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Crockett’s library.