High school football fans will get one final preseason glimpse at all of District 7-AAA today at Smyrna High with the third annual Rutherford County Football Jamboree at Robert L. Raikes Stadium.
Just don’t expect to see much.
Starters will likely play limited snaps. And coaches aren’t going to show their 7-AAA coaching brethren anything special in two quarters of football.
Still, there are some position battles, players to watch.
Game times are as follows: Blackman plays Stewarts Creek at 6 p.m. Oakland plays Mt. Juliet at 7 p.m. La Vergne plays Siegel at 8 p.m. and Riverdale plays Smyrna at 9 p.m.
Here are three things per game to watch tonight.
Blackman vs. Stewarts Creek
How much has Jauan Jennings’ passing improved? Jennings worked on footwork and form during the offseason and it’s showed at times in the preseason. Here is one final test before next week’s ESPN2 game with Oakland. Jennings returns three receivers from a year ago in Quen Hardy, Ronnie Killings and Lorel Morton. They have been on the same page all summer.
Stewarts Creek’s offensive line must open holes. The addition of Father Ryan transfer Curtis Holbert at left tackle will help quarterback Mason Hall and the run game. The Creek O-line will be tested against the Blaze’s defensive front.
Is Creek ready to take the next step? Sure it’s just two quarters, but this is Creek’s shot to show the entire county how much they’ve improved from Year 1. The defense also has a chance to make a statement. It gave up 49.1 points a game in 2013.
Mt. Juliet vs. Oakland
Are the Pats past the ground and pound? Oakland has left the I-formation for the shotgun. That’s forced new blocking schemes for the offensive line, which has been an adjustment. However, will it lead to a more balanced offense in 2014? And can athletes JaCoby Stevens, George Gbesee and Tyler Black make plays on the perimeter?
Who is the starting quarterback? Oakland coach Thomas McDaniel wouldn’t say earlier this week who his starting quarterback will be for Week 0. Lebanon transfer Christian Haffner and sophomore Cody Miller have been competing all preseason. Will one of them win the job against the Bears?
How good is this defense?
With eight starters returning, the Oakland defense should be its strength in 2014. Ty Nix and Anthony Akers leads the defensive front. And Kevin Prather and Josh Smith are the best linebacker duo in the county.
Siegel vs. La Vergne
How good is Maleik Gray? The highly-touted sophomore already has college football offers from Florida State, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. The running back and safety started as a freshman. But he appears ready to have a breakout season this year. The one hitch is can the offensive line open holes?
Who wins the quarterback competition? Jordan Middleton and John Ross Langworthy both have competed for the Stars’ starting quarterback job. Both should play tonight. However, don’t be surprised if coach Greg Wyant splits snaps. He’s done it before.
Who will be the Stars receivers? Siegel lost a pair of good receivers with the graduation of Weston Hayes and Dominique Gooch. Colton Gipson has the most experience back, but he will need others to make plays with him. Plus, Gipson battled concussion issues last year.
Riverdale vs. Smyrna
Which spread looks better? Things will look vastly different when both Riverdale and Smyrna play in a spread offense. Don’t be surprised if there are some early hiccups. But both have good backs to make up yards on the ground.
One more QB battle. Cortland Owens and Marqwell Odom have each had their moments at quarterback for the Warriors. Could a strong showing solidify themselves as the Week 0 starter?
Fresh faces at Smyrna. There will be several new players on both sides of the ball for Smyrna, which has four starters returning on offense and defense. This could be one newcomer’s chance to grab their fans’ attention.
Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.
Rutherford Co. Football Jamboree
Where: Robert L. Raikes Stadium, Smyrna High
How much: $7
Radio: WGNS (1450-AM, 100.5-FM, 101.9-FM)
Matchups: Blackman vs. Stewarts Creek, 6 p.m.; Mt. Juliet vs. Oakland, 7 p.m.; Siegel vs. La Vergne, 8 p.m.; Riverdale vs. Smyrna, 9 p.m.