The temperature has dropped across the state, the leaves are changing, and it is getting darker earlier in the evening. That can only mean one thing in Tennessee, it's time for playoffs. This week features some great match ups across the state including some games that will decide playoff positions.
Starting in West Tennessee where Coach Joe Gaddis and his Paris-Henry County (Tenn.) Patriots will take on the Savannah-Hardin County in a battle to solidify position in the playoffs. The Patriots led by quarterback Marsalis Teague, 5-10, 175 pounds and running back Dominque Allen, 6-0, 250 pounds have already locked up first place. Teague has been deadly to all teams in his path and has the Patriots cruising along as one of the best teams in 4A. Allen, who has recently begun looking into LSU, is a big time back that will make teams pay going into the playoffs with his combination of size and athleticism. Another name to watch for on the Patriots roster is 2010 prospect Shontae Sims.
On the other side the Tigers look to have a big game from senior quarterback and Memphis commitment Will Gilchrist, 6-2, 190 pounds. Gilchrist much like Teague is a threat on the ground and in the air. The Tigers will need to maintain control of the football and create turnovers to keep Teague and Allen from turning this game into a two man show.
In the Middle/East region of division II the Wildcats from Franklin-Battle Ground Academy will take on the Tigers from Nashville-Ensworth in hopes of securing first place. If the Wildcats pull off the win over the number one team in the state they will finish first in the region. Led by quarterback Jamal Ramsey, 6-2, 174 pounds the Wildcats will have to play keep away to pull of the upset. The Tigers are led by possibly the best running back duo in the state between senior quarterback Tavarres Jefferson and junior running back Orleans Opoku-Darkwa. A win for Nashville-Ensworth would give them their first undefeated season and an outright claim to the region championship.
For the first time since 1992 the Warriors from Murfreesboro-Riverdale (Tenn.) will not make the playoffs. Another bizarre twist is that unless the Wildcats from Oak Ridge (Tenn.) pull off an upset over Knoxville-Farragut and have a little help with a Athens-McMinn County High School (Tenn.) loss they too will not qualify for the playoffs. This will mark the first time since the late 1980's that neither one of these teams was in the playoff hunt.
The Tornadoes of Alcoa (Tenn.) will take on the Redskins of Loudon (Tenn.) in a battle for the region title. Look for the Tornadoes led by young talent like junior tight end Tyler Robinson, junior running back Jaron Toney, and sophomore running back Taharin Tyson. Alcoa has been rolling once again in 2A and looks to make a strong push in the playoffs to get back to Murfreesboro to defend their state championship.