Friday's BlueCross Bowl game capsules

Friday's BlueCross Bowl game capsules


Friday's BlueCross Bowl game capsules


Game capsules for Friday’s three BlueCross Bowl state championship in Cookeville.



When: 11 a.m.

Last meeting: Union City won 31-29 in the 2009 1A championship.

Coaches: Tim Moore, first year at South Pittsburg (12-1). Darren Bowling, sixth year at Union City (52-22).

How they got there: South Pittsburg beat Moore Co. 40-21, Fayetteville 49-0, Coalfield 43-22. Union City beat Hollow Rock-Bruceton 61-25, Humboldt 10-6, Nashville Chr. 42-34

Players to watch: South Pittsburg — RB Jajuan Lankford (1,548 rushing yards, 23 TDs), FB/LB Kahlil Mitchell (1,200 rushing yards), WB/FS Corbin Fitzgerald (500 rushing yards, 200 receiving, 75 tackles, four interceptions). Union City — FB Ricky Henry (1,914 rushing yards, 30 TDs), QB Garrett Walton (1,021 rushing yards, 10 TDs, 457 passing yards, 4 TDs), LB Jamison Blackwell (82.5 tackles, including 2.5 sacks)

Finals history: South Pittsburg 5-5, last won in 2010. Union City 1-3, won in 2009.

Bottom line: Union City’s defense faces a difficult task in trying to contain Lankford, a Mr. Football back winner. Dealing with South Pittsburg’s speed on both sides of the ball will be a challenge. Special teams could decide the game like in 2009 when Spanish exchange student Jorge Guerrero’s 22-yard field goal with two seconds left gave Union City a win over South Pittsburg in the 1A final.


ALCOA (13-1) vs. CPA (14-0)

When: 3 p.m.

Last meeting: This is first meeting.

Coaches: Gary Rankin, eighth year at Alcoa (103-12). Ingle Martin, third year at CPA (39-3).

How they got there: Alcoa beat York 45-7, Pigeon Forge 61-13, CAK 42-14, Upperman 75-18. CPA beat White House-Heritage 42-7, East Nashville 38-14, Fairview 35-20, Lewis Co. 36-28.

Players to watch: Alcoa — TB Jaquez Tyson (1,630 rushing yards, 27 TDs), QB Peyton Wall (1,437 yards, 17 TDs , 1 int), DT Braylon Young (Mr. Football finalist). CPA — QB Zack Weatherly (1,923 passing yards, 21 TDs), WR Thomas Richard (65 catches, 1,094 receiving yards, 13 TDs), DE/LT Paul Adams (26 tackles, including one sack)

Finals history: Alcoa 12-1, last won in 2010. CPA 2-0, last won in 2002.

Bottom line: CPA’s defense must put a priority on discipline and gang tackling against Alcoa, which is averaging 55.8 points in the playoffs. Lions center Conner Brown needs a big finale in his 54th consecutive start against Alcoa’s Young. Alcoa tackles Kyle Mitchell and Blake Holder need strong showings to hold off CPA defensive end Paul Adams, the Mr. Football winner who has committed to Missouri.


KNOX WEST (13-1) vs. HENRY CO. (14-0)

When: 7 p.m.

Last meeting: This is first meeting.

Coaches: Scott Cummings, 12th year at Knox West (87-56). James Counce, fifth year at Henry Co. (57-7).

How they got there: Knox West defeated David Crockett 60-0, Campbell Co. 50-18, Anderson Co. 32-19, Cleveland 49-14. Henry Co. defeated Kenwood 52-8, Memphis East 17-14, Ridgeway 42-21, Northeast 43-14.

Players to watch: Knox West — TB Nathan Cottrell (1,759 rushing yards, 20 TDs), QB Seth Marshall (1,894 total yards, 28 total TDs), LB Cody Underwood (168 total tackles, 18 for loss). Henry Co. — QB Colton Randolph (1,875 total yards, 23 total TDs), TB Chase Henderson (988 rushing yards, 18 TDs), LB Dennis Tharpe (95 total tackles, 10 sacks).

Finals history: Knox West 0-0; Henry Co. 1-0, won in 2011.

Bottom line: Knoxville West’s veer offense has created problems for opposing defenses all year, scoring 40-plus points in nine games. With five senior defensive starters, Henry County will have to play assignment football on that side of the ball and continue its own offensive explosiveness. The Patriots have scored 40 or more points seven times.

— Chip Cirillo, Maurice Patton /Gannett Tennessee


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