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NET football teams start afresh in region play

Douglas Fritz • Sep 3, 2019 at 12:30 PM

Football season, unlike any other, gets serious right from the start.

But there is a chance for a fresh start. It comes in Week 3 when the region schedule gets underway.

With the exception of a few teams, everybody else dives into region play Friday. The top four finishers in each of the area’s six regions earn berths in the playoffs.

While all coaches are quick to say all region games are important, some teams face more important openers than others. Here is a ranking of teams, according to their level of need for starting region play with a win:

1. Science Hill — If the Hilltoppers can’t find a way to beat Hardin Valley, a losing season becomes a realistic scenario with Greeneville, Knox Catholic, Farragut and Dobyns-Bennett still on the schedule.

2. Sullivan South — The schedule is much more friendly for the Rebels than what Science Hill faces, but an 0-3 start would be a serious blow for the team’s confidence. And unbeaten Grainger is a challenge.

3. Cherokee — Life is good at 2-0 and the win over South looks nice on the resume. But if the Chiefs want to be a major player in Region 1-5A, beating Morristown East is a must.

4. Dobyns-Bennett — Both nonregion tests were passed with flying colors, but Bearden is the first Class 6A test on the slate. And the Indians are only 13-13 over their last 26 league games.

5. Tennessee High — An early loss in Region 1-5A wouldn’t doom the Vikings, but an 0-2 start and fourth straight loss to Daniel Boone would create a tough recovery point.

LARKINS WATCH

With his standout effort in Friday’s win over Science Hill, David Crockett’s Cade Larkins moved into 10th place on the state’s all-time passing yardage list.

Including the unofficial total of 181 yards in the opener against Ooltewah, Larkins has passed for 511 yards and moved his career total to 8,694. That pushed him past Jake Overbey (University School of Jackson, 2007-10).

The all-time record is 11,122 by Kyle Akin (Trinity Christian, 2011-14).

Crockett’s season-opening game against Ooltewah was suspended late in the third quarter because of lightning. The TSSAA is currently checking with the National Federation of High Schools to see if there is any rule that would prohibit counting the stats totaled by Larkins if the game is not completed. Crockett and Ooltewah agreed to complete the game later this season, but only if it impacts the playoffs.

HOW WE VOTED

Here is a look at which area teams received votes from the Johnson City Press/Times News in The Associated Press polls (along with No. 1 selections):

Class 6A

Dobyns-Bennett — No. 5

Oakland — No. 1

Class 5A

David Crockett — No. 2

Knoxville Central — No. 1

Class 4A

Elizabethton — No. 3

Haywood County — No. 1

Class 3A

No coverage-area team received a vote

Alcoa — No. 1

Class 2A

No coverage-area team received a vote

Peabody — No. 1

Class 1A

No coverage-area team received a vote

Huntingdon — No. 1

THE FOOTBALL TOP 10

David Crockett’s convincing win over Science Hill vaulted the Pioneers into the top spot over idle Elizabethton.

Team W-L Prv
1. David Crockett 1-0 4
2. Elizabethton 1-0 1
3. Dobyns-Bennett 2-0 3
4. Daniel Boone 1-1 2
5. Cherokee 2-0 7
6. Science Hill 0-2 5
7. Sullivan South 0-2 6
8. Tennessee High 0-1 9
9. Sullivan North 2-0 10
10. Johnson County 1-1 8

GAMES OF THE WEEK

Dobyns-Bennett at Bearden

The Indians should be plenty motivated by the memory of last year. A 17-point second-half lead disappeared entirely when the Bulldogs scored with eight seconds remaining in the game for a 33-30 win.

Science Hill at Hardin Valley

It is a potential major turning point for the Hilltoppers, who started the year with a loss to Class 4A Elizabethton and a blowout defeat by Class 5A Crockett.

Tennessee High at Daniel Boone

With two weeks to prepare and the Trailblazers coming off an encounter with Greeneville, the Vikings have a physical edge.

Sullivan South at Grainger

The Grizzlies are off to a good start at 2-0, so this is definitely a challenge spot for the Rebels.

Hampton at Happy Valley

It may not decide the Region 1-2A title, but the loser will be scrambling all season in an attempt to make up ground. The Warriors have allowed just 12 points in two games, but this is a big test for their defense.

Hancock County at Unaka

Hancock lost to Cosby and Unaka beat the Eagles, so there’s reason for the Rangers to believe they can get off to a good start in Region 1-A.

PICK OF THE WEEK — Dobyns-Bennett 30, Bearden 27

The Indians should not look at the Bulldogs’ winless record. They simply need to play at the same level they’ve displayed in the first two weeks.

Picks record: 0-2.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

5-Star

Cade Larkins

David Crockett, QB

The senior finished 21-of-32 passing for six touchdowns. Larkins had scoring strikes of 34, 2, 55, 31 and 30 while also rushing for a score.

4-Star

Prince Kollie

David Crockett, WR

Doing all of his offensive damage in the first half, the junior racked up 151 yards receiving on seven catches and scored three touchdowns.

3-Star

Collin Trent

Cherokee, QB

The Chiefs earned a thrilling 32-30 win over Sullivan South with the senior totaling 272 yards and five touchdowns. He rushed for 160 yards and four scores.

2-Star

Devin Ramsey

Unaka, WR

In a 34-28 overtime win over Cosby, the sophomore caught seven passes for 176 yards and a TD. He also added seven tackles and two picks, including the clincher on the game’s last play.

1-Star

Julian Reed

Sullivan South, RB

In the heartbreaking loss to Cherokee, the senior had the best game of his career. He rushed for 267 yards on 22 carries and scored four touchdowns.

THE HOGS AWARD — Dobyns-Bennett Indians

The 41-6 whipping of Oak Ridge started up front. The Tribe Hogs allowed time for 15 completions in 20 attempts by starter Zane Whitson, leading the way to 392 yards of total offense.

DEFENSIVE UNIT OF THE WEEK — Sullivan North Raiders

In a hard-fought 12-7 win over Johnson County, the Golden Raiders gave up a 45-yard touchdown on the game’s first play — and then nothing else. North’s stout defensive unit picked off four passes, including Tristen Jobe’s game-saving grab late in the fourth quarter.

SOCCER UPDATE

Science Hill went 1-2 in the Bearden event over the weekend. The Lady Hilltoppers (7-3-1) lost to Girls Preparatory School and Clarksville and claimed a 4-2 win over Chattanooga Notre Dame.

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