This week’s slate of high school football playoff games features 11 region rematches involving Midstate teams. Here’s a look at the top six:
Class 5A: Henry County (6-4) at Centennial (10-1)
First meeting: Centennial 34, Henry County 7, Oct. 28
Henry County quarterback Savon Stewart threw three interceptions in the Week 11 loss, and the Patriots couldn’t slow down Zyon Lee, who amassed 220 rushing yards and scored three touchdowns.
What to expect: Centennial’s secondary has shut down opposing quarterbacks this season, collecting 17 interceptions with five returned for touchdowns. Expect the Cougars to add to that total this week if they can force Henry County to throw.
Quotable: “It’s real tough when you play a team two weeks ago and have to prepare for them again. It’s a huge challenge for us.” — Centennial coach Matt Kriesky
DII-AA: McCallie (7-4) at Brentwood Academy (7-2)
First meeting: Brentwood Academy 42, McCallie 32, Oct. 28
Brentwood Academy’s Jeremiah Oatsvall outduelled McCallie’s Robert Riddle in a showdown of Division II-AA Mr. Football semifinalists. The game featured a combined 761 yards through the air.
What to expect: Another high-scoring affair is likely for this Division II-AA quarterfinal at Carlton Flatt Field. Brentwood Academy will be looking for its 12th straight win over McCallie, dating to the Eagles’ 2006 state championship victory.
Quotable: “For us it has been exacerbating because we had a bye, we played them, we had a (first-round) bye because of our seeding and now we’re playing them again so it has been four weeks of them. The main thing is boredom with the kids, seeing the same kids over and over.” — Brentwood Academy coach Cody White
Class 5A: Beech (8-3) at Cane Ridge (11-0)
First meeting: Cane Ridge 17, Beech 16, Sept. 16
A couple of weeks removed from an emotional overtime win against Hendersonville, Cane Ridge avoided a midseason letdown, clawing out the win over Beech thanks to a critical two-point conversion stop late in the game.
What to expect: Unbeaten Cane Ridge has grown accustomed to close calls this season, winning four games by 10 points or fewer, and the Ravens actually faced a three-touchdown first-half deficit in last week’s win over Summit. A similarly sluggish start probably will lead to a season-ending loss.
Quotable: “The biggest thing is just correcting our mistakes from the first time. I feel like last time we came out very flat on offense, and they did a very good job of managing the game. We only ran 12 plays in the first half.” — Cane Ridge coach Eddie Woods
Class 4A: Giles Co. (8-3) at Marshall Co. (10-1)
First meeting: Marshall Co. 45, Giles Co. 10, Sept. 16
Marshall County outscored the Bobcats 31-0 in the second half to blow open a four-point game at the half. Marshall County quarterback Bryce Wallace and Giles County quarterback John Bachus helped direct their offenses to 735 total yards.
What to expect: The final score wasn’t very indicative of how close the game was as Marshall County pulled away in the fourth quarter and Giles County had a touchdown pass dropped in the third quarter. Look for both teams to rely on the pass as the two combined for 407 yards in the first meeting.
Quotable: “The game was tooth and nail for a long time. We can go back to (2014) when we beat them in the regular season (34-17) and they then beat us by three (38-35) in the playoffs. That’s what we’re drawing on.” — Marshall County coach Thomas Osteen
Class 6A: Ravenwood (6-5) at Mt. Juliet (9-2)
First meeting: Ravenwood 12, Mt. Juliet 7, Sept. 2
The two teams combined for just 405 total yards in a game littered with penalties — Ravenwood had 10 for 112 yards. Ravenwood’s McCain Marrow was 17-of-29 passing for 139 yards. Mt. Juliet didn’t score until late in the fourth quarter on Mason Earls’ 10-yard touchdown run.
What to expect: Mt. Juliet has revamped its offense since the loss and rattled off eight straight wins. The Bears have increased the tempo on offense, and Aidan Raines has moved from receiver to running back on a permanent basis.
Quotable: “We’re finding ways to get explosive plays. And we’re scoring on defense and special teams. We’re blocking a punt or returning a kick or getting a pick-six. That adds up.” — Mt. Juliet coach Trey Perry
Class 3A: CPA (5-6) at Stratford (11-0)
First meeting: Stratford 7, CPA 6, Sept. 30
Class 3A Mr. Football semifinalist T.J. Carter scored Stratford’s only touchdown in this Region 5-3A struggle. CPA lost a fumble and threw a pair of interceptions in the defeat, but the Lions’ missed extra-point with 1:34 remaining was the difference.
What to expect: Stratford will be without senior quarterback Josh Trueheart, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in a Week 8 win over Goodpasture. CPA’s Ryan Eledge is coming off his best performance of the season — throwing for 313 yards and five touchdowns against Camden.
Quotable: “We’re facing a team that has played in state championships and won state championships, and we’re going to have to play at a championship level in order to be successful.” — Stratford coach Maurice Fitzgerald
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