High school football teams across the state begin the road to Cookeville tonight with the start of the high school football playoffs.
Six of seven playoff bound Rutherford County schools will be in action tonight. The seventh — Middle Tennessee Christian — has an extras week off before its postseason run begins.
Here is a look at the high school football playoffs, from A to Z.
A — Admission. The price to get into each playoff game the next four weeks is $8. The TSSAA receives half of each playoff ticket while the two schools competing split the remainder.
B — Bye. The top two seeds in each quadrant of Class 1A and 2A receive a first-round bye. MTCS (9-1) is a second seed in 2A to receive a bye this week. The Cougars host the Trousdale County-Whitwell winner next week.
C — Cookeville. La Vergne has faced the Cavaliers in the first round in three of the Wolverines’ four playoff appearances including tonight. La Vergne defeated Cookeville in 2006 when the north Rutherford school last made the playoffs.
D — Defense. Fourth-ranked Oakland has given up just 11.7 points a game this season. Top-ranked Maryville leads Class 6A playoff teams by giving up just 7.7 points a contest.
E — End. The playoffs mark the end of the all-Rutherford County District 7-AAA league in football. Next season, La Vergne and Stewarts Creek will compete in Class 5A due to reclassification.
F — Five. For the first time since 2010, five teams from District 7-AAA advanced to the Class 6A playoffs.
G —Gold ball. The trophy awarded to each of the eight state champions. The championship games are Dec. 4-6 in Cookeville.
H — History. Red Boiling Springs plays in its first playoff game in school history at home versus Midway tonight. RBS has been known for lengthy losing streaks, including one that reached 56 games.
I — Interceptions. Riverdale’s Marquise Cantrell and Smyrna’s Ikenna Okeke and D.J. Williams all finished with five interceptions during the regular season.
J — Jauan Jennings. The Blackman quarterback and Tennessee commitment has led the Blaze to a top seed in Quadrant 2 of the Class 6A playoffs. He has 2,430 total yards this season.
K — @Kreager. Follow DNJ prep editor Tom Kreager @Kreager on Twitter for game updates throughout the high school football playoffs.
L — Lawson, Cameron. The Georgia transfer rushed for 1,092 yards in his first year at Eagleville, which plays at Jackson County in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.
M —Maryville. The defending Class 6A state champions opens its title defense with Walker Valley (5-5).
N — No-huddle. Riverdale has gone to a uptempo spread offense in its return to the playoffs after running the Wing-T in past seasons under
O — Offense. Knoxville Fulton enters the Class 4A playoffs averaging 61.7 points a game. Science Hill enters the 6A playoffs averaging 50.5 points a game.
P —Pancake block. Tennessee commitment Jack Jones has over 80 of them entering the postseason despite missing three games due to a knee injury.
Q —Quadrants. Each playoff bracket in Division I is separated in four geographic quadrant. The combined record of the No. 1 seed in the four quadrants in Class 6A is 39-1.
R —RoShea Grays. The La Vergne running back led all Rutherford County rushers with 1,522 yards. La Vergne as a team rushed for 2,010 yards. Grays also leads the county with 102 points scored.
S — Smyrna. The Bulldogs travel to Riverdale to play the Warriors tonight for the second time in eight days. Smyrna is trying to win its first playoff game since finishing 6A runner-up in 2010.
T — Tucker Stadium. The Tennessee Tech football stadium is the site for Tennessee’s eight high school football championships.
U — Undefeated. There are 15 undefeated teams in the high school football playoffs. That includes three in Class 6A — Maryville (10-0), Ravenwood (10-0) and Whitehaven (10-0).
V — Victory formation. Every team in the state hopes to be able to take a knee to end tonight’s game to secure a win in the opening round of the playoffs.
W —White Station. The Spartans are the first Class 6A football team to reach the playoffs as a wild card with a losing record. White Station (4-6) plays at top-seed Whitehaven in the first round of the playoffs.
X — X-ray. Eagleville has been banged up this season, losing two-way starter Alex Ware for the season with an ACL injury.
Y — Yards after catch. Oakland athlete George Gbesee has 509 yards on 21 catches. He has broken several long plays on short passes this season for the Patriots (9-1).
Z —Z-plan. This marks the final year of the current TSSAA playoff sytem. It’s been a system met with controversy due to bracket errors and district teams facing each other in the first round of the playoffs.
Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.
(All games at 7 p.m.)
Cane Ridge at Blackman
Smyrna at Riverdale*
La Vergne at Cookeville
Mt. Juliet at Oakland
Eagleville at Jackson Co.
*WGNS (1450-AM, 100.5-FM)