A look at the top high school football teams in Middle Tennessee, as ranked by The Tennessean:
10. Nashville Christian (13-1) — Nashville Christian secured its first-ever state championship appearance on Friday, routing defending Class 2A champion Peabody 42-7 behind Mr. Football finalist and Tennessee commitment Daniel Bituli’s four-touchdown performance. Last week: NR. This week: Friday vs. Greenback (12-2).
9. Pearl-Cohn (10-4) — Quarterback Jimmy Ferrell threw for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns while the Firebirds’ defense forced three turnovers in a 27-14 semifinal triumph over Memphis East. Last week: No. 10. This week: Saturday vs. Knoxville Catholic (10-4).
8. Centennial (12-2) — An early onside kick recovery, followed by a Cougars field goal, caught their opponents off guard, but unbeaten Independence quickly regrouped, outscoring Centennial 56-12 in the final 3½ quarters. Last week: No. 7.
7. CPA (13-1) — Wallace Barrett returned a kickoff for a touchdown in a second straight game as the Lions secured their third consecutive Class 3A championship appearance Friday, blanking previously unbeaten Liberty Magnet 21-0. Last week: No. 8. This week: Friday vs. Alcoa (13-1).
6. Blackman (10-3) — Senior running back Taeler Dowdy eclipsed the 2,000-yard mark, helping lead Blackman to a largely successful 10-win season, but first-year coach David Watson and the Blaze came up a couple games short. Last week: No. 5.
5. Ravenwood (13-1) — The Chris Rowland-led Raptors managed just 116 yards of offense in Friday’s semifinal game against Whitehaven, but the 5-foot-9, 170-pound speedster scored on an 80-yard, second-quarter kick return, as well as a 23-yard third-quarter run, leading his team to a hard-fought 20-13 triumph. Last week: No. 5. This week: Saturday vs. Maryville (15-0).
4. Oakland (13-1) — Oakland gave Maryville a pretty good game in Friday’s semifinal, but the 15-time champion Rebels would not be denied, eventually capturing a 27-13 win over the Patriots and first-year coach Kevin Creasy. Last week: No. 3.
3. Independence (14-0) — Andrew Bunch and Nate Johnson hooked up nine times for 230 yards and five touchdowns in Friday’s 56-15 semifinal win over Centennial, clinching the Eagles’ first championship game appearance since their 2007 runner-up finish. Last week: No. 4. This week: Friday vs. Sevier County (12-2).
2. MBA (12-1) — Junior running back Ty Chandler has rushed for 539 yards and eight touchdowns in postseason wins over McCallie and Christian Brothers, and the DII-AA Mr. Football finalist will likely need to duplicate those efforts if the Big Red hope to win a second straight state title. Last week: No. 2. This week: Thursday vs. Brentwood Academy (12-1).
1. Brentwood Academy (12-1) — The Eagles, led by dual-threat standout Jeremiah Oatsvall at quarterback, along with a dominating offensive front, are just one win away from capturing their first state championship since 2006. Last week: No. 1. This week: Thursday vs. MBA (12-1).