Oakland football coach Thomas McDaniel knows exactly what to expect when his second-ranked Patriots line up against third-ranked Blackman at 7 p.m. Thursday at Ray Hughes Stadium..
Across town, Blackman coach Philip Shadowens knows the same about McDaniel’s team.
Yes, there are no secrets in District 7-AAA with game film swaps as well as an understanding on how the coaches in the county run their program.
And that’s fine with the two coaches.
“I like playing coach Shadowens teams,” McDaniel said. “I like playing them because they are physical and fundamentally sound. He is not going to do anything outside of the rhealm of what Blackman does every week. We aren’t going to line up and see something that they’ve never done before.
“I know how they are going to line up and he knows how I’m going to line up. We’ll play physical football and there will probably be some bloody noses on the line.”
Oakland predominately runs an I-formation on offense with running backs Fred Wade and Darryle Hood Jr. getting the bulk of the touches. Blackman also has played some in the I-formation, but has become more of a one-back team with dual-threat quarterback Jauan Jennings. Cole Notgrass and Charlie Davidson have shared the running back duties.
However, neither do anything tricky. Neither goes into a no-huddle, uptempo attack like Siegel.
Yes, the state’s marquee matchup this week isn’t about frills. Although, both have played exciting football and have dynamic players on either side.
Both are 8-0 this season. Both have dominated their competition. And both have stayed relatively healthy.
Blackman enters averaging 41.4 points a game while giving up 12.0 points. Oakland averages 37.6 points and is giving up 11.1 points.
“I’m sure both teams have a gadget, or a wrinkle or something to match a personnel set,” Blackman coach Philip Shadowens said. “But we’re going to do what we do, and Oakland is going to do what they do.
“It’s going to be a really physical, high-energy game. It’s going to be fun with kids flying around to the ball. This is what everyone has been waiting on.”
Blackman last won the District 7-AAA championship in 2009 — Shadowens’ first year — in the first season of the TSSAA’s six-class system. Oakland won the 2008 Region 4-5A title, but has never won the all-Rutherford County league.
But that could change Thursday when the two meet on a televised game for the second consecutive season.
The two programs met earlier this year in the second annual Rutherford County jamboree, playing to a scoreless tie in a half of football. Neither coach tipped the other much of what kind of offensive firepower they had that night.
“Both of us got to kind of feel each other out for around a quarter, or a touch over a quarter,” Shadowens said. “It kind of confirmed some of the things we already knew.”