The quarterfinals have finally arrived. Last week made the playoff picture much clearer. Some teams elevated their play in moments of intense pressure while others failed to rise to the occasion. This week is crucial to determine who will be in the final four.
Blackman at Maryville
Blackman faces their toughest challenge of the season as they travel to Maryville. Maryville was once ranked the number one team in the state and they will look to prove it against the Patriots. Both teams run the ball heavily but the deciding factor could be Blackman’s air raid attack. Also, both teams have great defenses. These two teams have similar tendencies and it should be a very close game. It will be a true test of which team will elevate their play when the pressure is on. The winner of this game could propel their momentum into the championship in the end.
Smyrna at Oakland
Oakland has been dominant all season long but this could be the biggest hurdle to get past. Smyrna will have extra motivation as they travel with revenge on their mind. Since entering the playoffs, Smyrna has scored 40+ in each of their two matchups so far. If they want to send Oakland packing, they will need similar production. However, that won’t be so easy with Oakland’s resilient defense. Oakland will need to mix up the game plan for a Smyrna team that is now better prepared the second time around.
Wilson Central at Whitehaven
After two weeks of doubt, Wilson Central is now the only team to begin the playoffs with a losing record and advance to the quarterfinals. A miracle run could to an abrupt ending against Whitehaven. Whitehaven has home field advantage and only have one game in the loss column. Whitehaven has been a dominant force for many years and they will hope to continue such dominance as they advance their quest for another ring. Wilson Central’s backs are against the wall but they have been since they entered the playoffs so it could be another potential upset.
Henry County at Centennial
Another team on the hunt for their first ring is Centennial, who have caught fire this season. Henry County is hoping to be a rude awakening for Centennial’s dream season. Centennial will need the mental toughness to power through the quarterfinals. They lack experience in the playoffs which could be their Achilles heel. Henry County, on the other hand, has had plenty of experience, including being crowned state champions in 2011. The key for both teams will be clock management and who can out rush the other. Henry County does have to travel to Centennial which could be a disadvantage and it’s up to Centennial to capitalize on this situation.
White Station at Ravenwood
This should be a very close matchup. Both teams have held a mantle of dominance in recent history. Both are previous state champions on the journey to another ring. Ravenwood will have to stick to the ground game and not abandon it if it doesn’t execute. For White Station their defense will need to key on the run, but be on their toes for play-action. The game really rests on the shoulders of White Stations defense. If they can limit Ravenwood to 3 touchdowns or less, and keep their offense off the field, White Station will have an opportunity at the upset. For Ravenwood, they can’t get rattled and must maintain their composure. The only thing that matters is who the better team is tonight because that’s all that matters.
To contact Interim Sports Editor Connor Ulrey, email firstname.lastname@example.org.