I see a potential trap game tonight.
Scratch that. I see two potential trap games tonight.
It doesn’t take a genious to see how big next week’s Riverdale-Siegel showdown is in the district standings and in the Associated Press rankings. Both are currently ranked in the top five by the AP. Since the preseason, the two squads have been penned in as the favorites to win District 7-AAA.
But the problem is both teams must play non-district foes tonight.
Siegel, which is ranked fourth in this week’s AP poll, travels to Ooltewah in the Chattanooga area. The Owls are 2-1 and are in Class 5A. Riverdale, which is ranked second in this week’s AP poll, hosts Maplewood, which is the 2011 Class 4A state runner-up.
But both teams won convincingly a year ago when they met these non-district foes.
Siegel coach Greg Wyant said he has heard no talk whatsoever about looking toward Riverdale. Senior Tae Martin confirmed that no one is looking past the Owls.
Riverdale coach Ron Aydelott acknowleded this week his team could do that, but Maplewood was a good enough opponent to keep them focused.
It’s human nature to look ahead. Heck, fans are already asking who is favored in the game. It’s hard to say with a game to be played tonight. Too much can happen this week that could change the outcome of weeks to come. But here are nine picks for tonight’s games.
Siegel at Ooltewah
Siegel has outscored opponents 144-14 through three games this season. The Owls do have some special skilled players. Had they held onto the ball against Cleveland last week, the Owls would be 3-0.
But this one could get over quickly the way Denzel Harding is running the football.
Kreager’s pick: Siegel 49, Ooltewah 13
Maplewood at Riverdale
No one has been able to stop Mariko Odom through the first three games this season. There is no reason to think that the Panthers will figure out how to do it.
Maplewood, though, can score points and will tonight.
Kreager’s pick: Riverdale 47, Maplewood 18
Blackman at Signal Mountain
Veteran coach Bill Price leads a young Signal Mountain team with a veteran quarterback in Reese Phillips, a Kentucky commitment. If Blackman doesn’t fix its issues from a week ago this game could get very interesting.
Blackman’s run game should be able to move the football behind the trio of Antonio Allen, Cole Notgrass and Dee Mathers. The question will be if the Blaze can continue to work on moving the ball via the air.
Kreager’s pick: Blackman 34, Signal Mountain 14
Oakland at Gallatin
Two storied programs face off at Calvin Short Field tonight needing a win.
Gallatin enters having won back-to-back games, but those wins comes against teams with a combined 0-6 record. This will be the Green Wave’s biggest test since its Week 0 loss to Wilson Central.
Oakland must get on track quickly after falling to La Vergne a week ago. This win is almost a necessity in the grand scheme of things in regard to potential at-large playoff berths.
Travon Willis is questionable against the Green Wave after sustaining an ankle sprain against La Vergne.
Kreager’s pick: Oakland 26, Gallatin 21
Mt. Juliet at La Vergne
La Vergne is on cloud nine after claiming its first district/region game in five years.
But it’s time to refocus on a very talented Mt. Juliet squad. The Bears have scored mored than 40 points in each of their first three games this season. That equates to a big test for the La Vergne defense.
Kreager’s pick: Mt. Juliet 38, La Vergne 18
Smyrna at Olive Branch, Miss.
There isn’t anyone with a more difficult schedule to start the season than Smyrna.
Thus far, Smyrna’s first three opponents are a combined 9-0. Olive Branch, which is ranked second in Class 6A in Mississippi is 2-0 so far this season.
Get the picture?
Kreager’s pick: Olive Branch 34, Smyrna 6
Eagleville at Collinwood
The injury woes have continued at Eagleville. Running back Chris Hale is questionable tonight for the Eagles. Linebacker Blake Solomon is likely out. That just adds to an ever growing injury list for Steve Carson’s squad. But if Eagleville plays well and continues to play hard, the Eagles will be in the game late.
Kreager’s pick: Collinwood 34, Eagleville 21
MTCS at Cosby
MTCS is getting better — honest. But right now the Cougars are playing players physically stronger and more mature. Don’t be surprised if this is a ball game in the second half. If MTCS can limit turnovers and run the ball with a little success it could be nail biter.
Kreager’s pick: Cosby 24, MTCS 14
Cannon Co. at Westmoreland
For a team to be successful in the game of football, it must score points and it must move the football forward. Last week, the Lions didn’t do either as they were shut out and had minus-57 yards of offense. The Lions have scored just 13 points in 144 minutes of football this season.
Kreager’s pick: Westmoreland 48, Cannon Co. 6
Last week: 4-1. Season: 15-5 (75 percent).