It’s been seven weeks since Blackman’s football team has played in a second half without a continously running clock.
That could change tonight for the third-ranked Blaze.
Blackman (7-0 overall, 4-0 in 7-AAA) plays at rival 10th-ranked Smyrna (5-2, 1-2) at 7 p.m. today at Robert L. Raikes Stadium in the first of three state-ranked opponents for the Blaze to finish the high school football season.
Smyrna, which fell 42-12 to the Blaze a year ago, has lost two of its past three games — falling to No. 2 Oakland and No. 5 Siegel.
Smyrna is led by running back LaDarius Summers, who tops District 7-AAA in rushing with 134.3 yards a game. Second-year starter Matt Rodell is averaging 120 passing yards a game.
“They have some dangerous receivers as well, including (Darrell Haralson), who runs well,” Shadowens said. “He’s made some big plays against their best opponents. He’s caught balls against Oakland and Siegel. They have weapons. Rodell has done a good job getting the ball to those weapons.
“And they’ve gotten better up front. They block better. They’ve obviously grown up. They were young last year. They’ve gotten more confidence.”
Blackman is led by quarterback Jauan Jennings (111.0 passing ypg, 57.6 rushing ypg). Teammate Cole Notgrass leads the team in rushing with 92.1 yards a game.
Fifth-ranked Siegel (5-2, 1-2) hosts Stewarts Creek (1-6, 0-3) at 7 p.m. today at Ken Nolan Stadium in the Stars’ Homecoming game. The Red Hawks are the Stars’ first unranked opponent this season.
“Our first seven games were pretty tough,” Siegel coach Greg Wyant said. “Our kids know the next three games we’re not going to be underdogs. We play three teams that are not ranked. But they have to be sure and go out and play hard and get better as a football team. We cannot play sloppy and be complacent.”
The Stars, though, limp into the game. Linebacker Nick Peters is scheduled to have surgery on his thumb next week. Andrew Knox (shoulder) is out this week and questionable for next week. Wide receiver Colton Gipson is out until at least the first round of the playoffs. Right tackle Shane McKnight is out for the season with an injury.
But wide receiver/safety Dominique Gooch (shoulder) has returned to practice and should play. Greedy Howse, who missed part of the season with a shoulder injury, has moved to his natural position of running back from receiver.
Wyant said Tae Sneed (wide receiver/defensive back) and Steven Major (running back) will have expanded roles this week along with linebacker Adam Trigg.
Oakland (7-0, 3-0) travels to La Vergne (2-5, 1-3) for its District 7-AAA game this week. The Wolverines upset Oakland 24-21 a year ago. MTCS (5-2, 1-2 in 9-A) plays at ninth-ranked Eagleville (6-1, 3-0). Riverdale (2-5) hosts Cane Ridge (3-4) in a non-district game.