MURFREESBORO — Round two for Rutherford County begins Friday night.
Second-ranked Oakland (12-1) plays top-ranked Maryville (13-0) at Maryville High’s Shields Stadium in a state semifinal with the winner advancing to the TSSAA’s BlueCross Bowl Class 6A championship game. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (CST).
Maryville, which defeated Blackman 42-7 a week ago, is 7-0 against Rutherford County teams since bumping up from Class 4A to Class 6A when the TSSAA added a sixth class in 2009. The game is a rematch of last year’s semifinal, which Maryville won 26-14.
Maryville has won 43 straight games and is 99-4 since moving to Class 6A.
Rebels sophomore quarterback Dylan Hopkins has completed 108 of 153 passes for 1,977 yards with 17 touchdowns and one interception. Senior receiver Kelby Brock has 55 catches for 1,327 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“Everybody loves talking offense with them,” Oakland first-year coach Kevin Creasy said. “But if they didn’t have the defense they had, we wouldn’t be talking about how dominant they are.
“There are good teams, and then there are dominant teams. They are a dominant team because they get it done in all three phases of the game. It’s so easy for the casual fan to see all the trick plays, the efficiency of their offense and how good their sophomore quarterback is. But they are going to be the toughest opponent of the year for us because of their defense.”
Oakland has won 12 straight games since opening the season with a loss to Hoover, Ala. The Patriots’ stingy defense, which is giving up 12.1 points and 207.8 yards per game, is a concern for Maryville coach George Quarles.
“I thought they were all gone. They have shown about every front imaginable this year,” Quarles said. “They have mixed it up. I think they pressure more this year.”
Quarles said the Patriots’ defensive line might be the best his team has faced all season, including Alcoa and its two Class AAA Mr. Football finalists.
“They show you so many different fronts. (Ty) Nix is very disruptive,” Quarles said. “So is (Hudson Smith). And Turrell Ward played against us last year. They are pretty sporty.”
Oakland quarterback Brendan Matthews has completed 68 of 132 passes for 1,493 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. JaCoby Stevens, a Mr. Football finalist, has 32 catches for 806 yards and 16 total touchdowns, and running back Lazarius Patterson has 1,326 yards rushing on 198 carries with 19 touchdowns.
Quarles said he believes the Patriots will attempt to move the ball primarily on the ground. The Rebels are giving up 7.9 points a game.
“I think they would be content to go three to four yards at a time and hold on to the football,” Quarles said. “But the problem is you get locked in on the run, and they hit you with a big one. They will pop some big ones.
“(Patterson) is a big runner. He doesn’t get a whole lot of credit. They’ve got a good game plan. It will be a battle.”
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.
No. 2 Oakland (12-1) at No. 1 Maryville (13-0)
When: 6 p.m (CST), Friday
Where: Shields Stadium
Radio: WGNS (1450-AM, 100.5-FM, 101.9-FM)
How much: $8
Series: Maryville leads 1-0.
Last meeting: Maryville defeated Oakland 26-14 on Nov. 28, 2014.