The high school football postseason kicks off Friday across Tennessee.
Here are five intriguing first-round playoff games involving Middle Tennessee teams:
Gallatin at Independence
Jordan Mason — Gallatin’s all-time leading rusher — suffered an injury in the Green Wave’s 54-28 loss to Cane Ridge on Friday night. His presence will be needed if Gallatin (6-4) is to advance in the Class 5A playoffs. Independence’s win streak reached 25 with a 56-19 win over La Vergne.
Independence (10-0) has been on a roll as of late, winning its last three games by 37 points or more. Of the Eagles’ 10 wins, only one — a 21-20 win over Brentwood in Week 1 — was less than two scores.
Baylor at Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II stunned Baylor 21-19 on Oct. 14. The Knights get a shot at a second win over the Chattanooga program on Friday in the Division II-AA playoffs.
Quarterback Ben Brooks threw for 212 yards on 22 of 34 passing in the first meeting for JPII (6-4). Jamaal Thompson had 94 yards on 17 carries.
Harpeth at Goodpasture
Second-year coach Jerry Joslin turned the Goodpasture program around this season, leading the Cougars (8-2) to the Class 3A playoffs for their first postseason appearance in three years. Athlete Jermaine Mason is a big reason for that turnaround.
Mason has made plays out of the backfield both running the ball, as a receiver and special teams.
Harpeth (8-2) dropped to third in Region 5-3A Friday after a loss to Fairview combined with Cheatham County’s forfeit of a Week 11 win over East Hickman for playing an ineligible player. Harpeth would have been second with a home playoff game due to the overall win tiebreaker without Cheatham County’s forfeit.
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East Nashville at Fairview
Don’t ignore East Nashville despite its 4-6 record. Three of those losses are to Stratford (10-0), Goodpasture and Christ Presbyterian Academy (4-6) — all of which are capable of deep Class 3A playoff runs. The Eagles’ defense is led by Oklahoma commitment Jacob Phillips at linebacker.
However, seven of Fairview’s 10 wins have been by two touchdowns or more. That includes a 46-11 win over Harpeth on Friday.
Summit at Cane Ridge
Summit’s first seven-win season helped the Spartans make their first Class 5A state playoff appearance. Their reward? A trip to Cane Ridge, which went 10-0 in the regular season for the first time in school history.
Summit has depended on the ground game, averaging 324.6 rushing yards. Tai Carter leads the Spartans with 1,259 rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns.
However, the Ravens can also run the ball with Jordan Bell.
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.
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