For seven weeks, Rutherford County teams have battled on the football gridiron.
Bruises, ankle sprains and other, more severe injuries, have sprouted up during that time. This week is a chance for players to heal.
They get a week off — well sort of.
Oakland and MTCS are the lone Rutherford County teams in action this week among TSSAA schools. The rest of the county are off this week, coinciding with fall break. But all will get on the field some this week to stay crisp.
“I think you have certain kids you want to limit a little bit to make sure they fully heal,” said Riverdale coach Ron Aydelott, whose team will practice Wednesday and Thursday this week. “You want to try to keep your timing and all of that stuff doesn’t get all the way out.”
Oakland (4-3) plays at Ravenwood (1-5) at 7 p.m. Friday. MTCS (0-6, 0-3 in 9-A) plays at Forrest (3-3, 1-1).
Oakland football coach Thomas McDaniel said despite his team having a game this week it will have some time off to rest and get away from football.
The Patriots will practice Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for Friday’s game with Ravenwood, which won its first game of the season this past week against Franklin.
McDaniel said the extra time off is important to his team.
“I’m going to give them a couple days off,” he said. “Even though we have a game Friday, mentally they need a break from us. We’ll go Wednesday and Thursday regular practices and hope that we’re not worn out Friday. We’ll bring them in and do a walk through Friday afternoon.
“I think they need a couple of days. Even though the score (this past Friday) wasn’t that even, I thought it was a very physical game. I know there were a lot of big hits in the game. We’ve got some people banged up. That’s not why we’re taking off. They just need a couple days to mentally be away from football. Win or lose, we were going to do that.”
The biggest injury for the Patriots in their 35-0 loss to second-ranked Siegel was junior Emmanuel Smith. The two-way starter sustained a knee sprain late in the first half when he slipped on the tarp on the sideline and fell into the trainer’s table.
McDaniel said the injury isn’t believed to be severe.
“I think Emmanuel will be back,” McDaniel said. “If we had a brace to put him in at the time, I think he could have gone back in.”
Tyler Black sustained bruised ribs in the game and Rhett Stacey had a minor injury, but didn’t miss any time. Both should be back against Ravenwood. However, defensive lineman Anthony Akers is out for the season with a back injury.
Siegel (7-0) will be off until Thursday. The Stars too are a little banged up. The most severe is center Jacob Schultz, who separated his shoulder against Oakland. Schultz was was just coming off a torn meniscus in his knee.
Eagleville (3-4) has been decimated with injuries during the season. The break should allow the Eagles to get two-way starters Chris Hale and Blake Solomon back.
“We’ve got a chance now to get four starters back before our next ballgame, which is big for us,” Carson said. “It would really give us a boost going into the home stretch.”