MURFREESBORO — Five games in, things are beginning to pan out for high school football games across the state.
Here are five things we know for Rutherford County football teams entering the second half of the season.
Oakland in driver’s seat
The Patriots are one of three 2-0 teams in Region 2-6A — joining Cookeville and Smyrna — entering Friday’s Homecoming game with Coffee County . But with a win over eighth-ranked Blackman last week, Oakland is the favorite to win Region 2-6A.
The Patriots still have games with Warren County (0-4, 0-2) and Riverdale (3-2, 1-1) before ending the season with Cookeville and Smyrna in consecutive weeks.
Oakland’s offense has shown improvement under first-year QB Brendan Matthews. And the defense had its best game of the year last week against the Blaze when it held them to under 200 yards.
Smyrna faces tough second half
Smyrna is off to a 4-1 start, but the second half of the season is filled with tough region challenges. Smyrna, which faces Siegel (0-5, 0-2) on Friday at Robert L. Raikes Stadium, plays Blackman on Oct. 2 in its final game prior to fall break.
But don’t discount the Stars despite their record. Smyrna is 0-14 against Murfreesboro teams since the 2012 season.
Smyrna also has games with Cookeville and Oakland. The Bulldogs’ success this season coincides with first-year running back Casey Perkins’ successful start. Perkins has 485 rushing yards through five games.
Blaze must find more offensive options
Blackman sophomore Connor Mitchell was the Blaze’s third-best offensive weapon prior to sustaining a knee injury during last week’s 21-7 loss to Oakland.
His absence in the lineup will force coach David Watson to find other options to move the ball beyond running back Taeler Dowdy and quarterback Miller Armstrong.
But there are options. Darius Simple and teammate Cedriontis Wilson have shown the ability to make plays on offense. Wilson, a shooting guard for the Blaze basketball team, is in his first season playing football. And tight end Joeseph Sewell can make plays as a receiver.
And don’t forget running back Master Teague. The running back could also see his role expand.
Now or never for Warriors
Riverdale has quietly won back-to-back games, but by a combined four points. That streak should continue Friday against a winless Warren County team that will be without two players due to ejections.
That gives the Warriors another week to get their offense in sync at quarterback. Riverdale has played three quarterbacks — Brandon Bea, Christian Souffront and Gene Odom — this season.
MTCS needs upset, help
MTCS (3-2, 2-2 in Region 5-1A) sits in fifth place — one spot from a Class 1A playoff berth — entering this week’s region game with Pickett County. That will likely mean the Cougars will need to upset either Nashville Christian or Trousdale County and receive help from the rest of the region to advance to the Cougars’ third straight postseason.
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.
Week 6 Games
(All games at 7 p.m.)
Siegel at Smyrna*
Antioch at Stewarts Creek
Watertown at Eagleville
Warren Co. at Riverdale
Blackman at Cookeville
Coffee Co. at Oakland
Maplewood at La Vergne
MTCS at Pickett Co.
Upperman at Cannon Co.**
*WGNS (1450-AM, 100.5-FM, 101.9-FM)
*WBRY (1540-AM, 96.7-FM)