Blackman’s physical brand of football couldn’t match Siegel’s physicality when the two District 7-AAA football teams met more than two months ago.
The two teams meet again at 7 p.m. Friday for round two at Ken Nolan Stadium in the second round of the Class 6A football playoffs. It’s a safe bet that the team that is more physical will likely be the one still standing following the completion of their Class 6A second-round playoff game.
“Our kids have seen video from that game,” Blackman football coach Philip Shadowens said. “We were outplayed, outphysicaled, We had more turnovers — the whole nine yards. They played better in every phase of the game.
“But that game has nothing to do with this game. Our kids understand that this game is different. They understand what we need to win a football game and have prepared all week to do that.”
Shadowens said after the Blaze’s Week 2 42-7 loss that Siegel physically whipped the Blaze. It was hard to disagree. Siegel totaled 439 yards — the most the Blaze defense has given up this season. Siegel rushed for 235 yards, more than any other Blaze opponent. It quieted the Blaze and was the first of three regular-season mercy rule games against Rutherford County opponents.
“I thought we played scared the last time we played them,” Blackman senior defensive tackle Austin Singleton said. “We weren’t real physical. But we’ve proven to ourselves when we beat Brentwood and Riverdale that we could play physical. And if we do that, we can win the big games.”
And it served as a lesson learned for the Blaze as well as a declaration that the Stars were more than a high-octane, passing attack. They also could grind it on the ground as well as stop the run. Siegel held Blackman to 163 yards on the ground in the regular season.
“That game was pretty much our first test,” Siegel senior defensive end John A. Simpson said. “I think when we beat them, that opened a few people’s eyes. But I always had confidence in us. People still kind of doubt us. But I don’t listen to that stuff.”
Blackman (8-3) is the second straight District 7-AAA team the Stars have played in the postseason. Siegel (11-0) dismantled Oakland 58-13 to open the playoffs.
However, both Siegel and Blackman coaches and players realize that both teams are vastly different from their first meeting. Ten weeks have passed since they last met on the field.
“I see them being a whole different team,” Siegel junior linebacker Shawn McKnight said. “They’ve changed a lot of things around from the last time we played them. And we’re a lot better. I think it’s going to be a great game.”
Chase Smotherman replaced Matt Williams at quarterback shortly after the loss. Dee Mathers moved from free safety to corner. And Jauan Jennings moved from corner to free safety.
One thing that won’t change is the physicality from either team.
“Every game we play is going to be a physical one,” Siegel senior defensive tackle Jamison Frazier said. “You have to be physical. That’s how we want to play. We want to play hard.”