Welcome to round 2 of the high school football postseason.
Four Rutherford County football teams — Blackman, Eagleville, Riverdale and Siegel — remain alive in their respective TSSAA football playoff brackets. However, one of those teams is guaranteed to be eliminated this week with Blackman playing at Siegel in a Class 6A second-round playoff contest.
Here are four things we know entering the second round of the TSSAA football playoffs.
Blackman different from first Siegel meeting
Blackman High enters Friday night’s rematch with Siegel a vastly different team from what it was in Week 2 when the Stars beat the Blaze 42-7.
Current starting quarterback Chase Smotherman was playing defense in the secondary when the two teams kicked off in both teams’ first district contest.
Smotherman was inserted into the lineup during the loss to the Stars. His play since inserted into the lineup helped stabilize the Blaze offense.
However, there are other changes to the Blaze lineup since that loss. Dee Mathers is back at cornerback, where he’d been a starter. And Jauan Jennings, a sophomore, has played at free safety since then where Mathers played.
Siegel must endure physical road
Second-ranked Siegel avoided any serious injuries during the regular season and finished undefeated with its first regular-season championship in the process.
However, maintaining that trend won’t be easy.
While the Stars won with ease in a 58-13 rout of Oakland to open the playoffs, they withstood a physical Patriot bunch. It included hard hits with a handful of personal fouls.
The physical play up front will likely continue this Friday when the Stars host Blackman.
Blackman has thrived off physical play on defense and on offense. That style of defensive play helped shave off 96 yards of total offense by opponents from 2011 to 2012 as well as six points a game.
To date, Siegel’s most significant injury belongs to junior running back Denzel Harding, who hyper-extended his knee in a win over La Vergne. He doesn’t appear to be back 100 percent, but is close.
The Stars can’t afford to have any other significant injuries it it hopes to extend its season.
Eagles ready for revenge
Like Blackman-Siegel, Eagleville meets at Moore County in a rematch of a Week 2 contest. Moore County defeated Eagleville 25-20 in that game en route to a perfect regular season.
However, the Eagles are on a five-game winning streak and appear to be as healthy as they have been all season. Chris Hale was injured in the loss to Moore County. The running back and defensive back is now back on the field and provides a huge offensive weapon.
Eagleville had a chance to defeated Moore County in the regular season with the Eagles driving inside the Moore County 5-yard line as time ran out.
Wounded Warriors now road Warriors
Riverdale traveled to Cane Ridge this past Firday for a rare first-round Class 6A playoff road game for the Warriors.
If Riverdale wants to get out of quadrant four, the Warriors must continue to win on the road. Riverdale travels to McMinn County for a second-round game in Athens on Friday.
Riverdale is 3-0 lifetime against McMinn County, but the two teams haven’t meant since the 1998 season opener, which was a Riverdale 58-13 rout.
Riverdale amassed more than 300 yards against Cane Ridge a week ago. The win gives Dillon Woodruff a week to mend his ankle sprain. Woodruff threw for 97 yards and had a rushing touchdown in the Warriors’ 31-0 shutout of the Ravens.
He’ll need to be healthy against McMinn County (10-1).