They say this week is not a trap game.
But Oakland football coach Thomas McDaniel and Blackman coach Philip Shadowens both admit to having heard comments about next week’s contest between state-ranked unbeaten teams when out in the community. But it has not been a distraction, they say.
However if either team looks past their opponent tonight, next week won’t be the game many expect it to be.
Both Blackman and Oakland travel to North Rutherford County tonight.
The Blaze face No. 10 Smyrna, a team on the rise after a 1-9 season. Smyrna is 5-2 this season and on the cusp of a return to the Class 6A playoffs. Smyrna’s defense is much improved from a year ago. The offensive line has grown up. And LaDarius Summers is talented enough to score on anyone if he can get through the line of scrimmage untouched.
However, this Blackman defense appears to get better each week.
The Blaze offense has rolled all season, and they have scored five touchdowns on special teams.
Kreager’s pick: Blackman 35, Smyrna 10
MTCS at Eagleville
Ninth-ranked Eagleville controls its destiny in District 9-A.
But MTCS can play the roll of spoiler as well as likely clinch a Class 2A postseason berth with a win over its Rutherford County rival.
The Cougars have the firepower to win with quarterback Justin Winn and barrage of receivers, led by Griffin Harper. The defense is improved from a year ago.
But Eagleville’s depth along with running back Chris Hale, who is Rutherford County’s leading rusher, are likely the differences tonight.
Kreager’s pick: Eagleville 34, MTCS 20
Oakland at La Vergne
Can La Vergne upset the Patriots two years in a row?
That’s the question for those traveling to Freedom Field. La Vergne took advantage of multiple Patriot turnovers a year ago in pulling off the win.
But this year’s Patriots have been very efficient on offense, rarely turning the ball over.
Oh, and La Vergne has struggled stopping the run this season, which happens to be the Patriots’ strength.
Kreager’s pick: Oakland 38, La Vergne 6
Stewarts Creek at Siegel
Siegel better not relax too much. The Stars, who are playing their first non-ranked opponent all season, has a growing number on the injury list. The biggest losses? Running back Andrew Knox and linebacker Nick Peters.
Stewarts Creek has been able to move the ball this season. But the Red Hawks’ defense won’t slow down Denzel Harding and Dakota Crane.
Kreager’s pick: Siegel 49, Stewarts Creek 7
Cane Ridge at Riverdale
Riverdale shut out Cane Ridge a year ago in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. This year may not end in a shutout, but the Warriors’ should get win No. 3.
Kreager’s pick: Riverdale 35, Cane Ridge 12
Cannon Co. at Smith Co.
Cannon County’s offensive woes continued last week. The Lions were shut out for the fifth time and managed under 100 yards of offense.
Things may not get any better tonight.
Kreager’s pick: Smith Co. 35, Cannon Co. 0
Last week: 0-0. Season: 46-9 (84 percent).
Tom Kreager is prep editor of The Daily News Journal. Contact him at 615-278-5168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.