By: Nick Griesback // Contributing Writer
Houston County (5-0) at Huntingdon (5-0): In a matchup of two undefeated teams we will see similar styles of offense that both rely heavily on the run game. With Houston County averaging 273.8 yards per game on the ground, including 18 touchdowns rushing. Huntingdon averages 375.4 yards and has 28 rushing touchdowns on the season.
Huntingdon is ranked fifth and Houson County is ranked ninth in Class 1A. The player to watch will be Huntingdon linebacker Austin Russell who leads the team in total tackles (38), sacks (3), and tackles for loss (8). With the home field advantage, a strong running attack and a stout defense, Huntigdon has the advantage heading into Fridays contest.
Pigeon Forge (4-1) at Elizabethton (4-1): In 3A, No. 5 Elizabethton will be at home against No. 9 Pigeon Forge. Both teams come in with a 5-1 record, and Elizabethton comes in with a strong defense, one proven to create turnovers.
Pigeon Forge fullback Noah Whaley has already rushed for 1,038 yards on 128 attempts and ran 16 in for touchdowns. As a team, Pigeon Forge has averaged 274.2 yards a game and scored 20 touchdowns. Elizabethton’s defense will be looking to stop the ground attack of Pigeon Forge and force them to throw, the lesser of their offensive strengths.
Hardin County (5-0) at Haywood (4-1): No. 3 Hardin County comes in undefeated in Class 4A. Haywood will be looking for the upset with a well-balanced attack passing for 101.6 yards per game and rushing for 139.8 yards per game.
Haywood also has a strong defense, and defensive end Emmitt Gooden who has 37 tackles, four sacks and 14 tackles for loss, leading the way. I think Haywood can pull the upset if they are able to control the time of the clock and win the turnover battle.
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