High school football has officially returned to Tennessee.
Ravenwood and Siegel kick off the season with a Thursday night contest. Both programs chose prior to the 2015 season that they would open the season on Thursday night in an effort to bring a larger crowd as the only game in town.
Here are five game picks with intriguing story lines as well as picks for every football game involving a TSSAA Middle Tennessee program for Week 1.
Upset of the week
But this is a new team with a new coach and new coaching staff.
Richie Wessman replaced Will Hester in the offseason after Hester resigned to become the Nolensville athletic director and football coach.
While Siegel struggled last season with just three wins, the Stars have enough firepower with new quarterback Brendan Crowell and running back Rodney Murray to beat the new-look Raptors.
The pick: Siegel 35, Ravenwood 28.
Under the radar
The best game not among The Tennessean’s top 10 list for best Week 1 games has to be Davidson Academy at Friendship Christian. Both teams are ranked in The Tennessean’s Midstate small school poll. Davidson is ranked fifth and Friendship is seventh.
The Bears beat Friendship Christian 15-8 in 2015. And that was with Memphis commitment and offensive lineman Obinna Eze ineligible due to TSSAA transfer rules. Eze bolsters Davidson Academy’s offensive front.
The pick: Davidson Academy 20, Friendship Christian 13
Best rivalry game
Coffee County can accomplish something Friday night that it hasn’t done in 34 years — beat Tullahoma for back-to-back years and keep the Coffee Pot trophy.
Tullahoma holds a commanding 58-30-2 edge over the Wildcats’ county rival. That includes wins in 10 of the past 12 games.
The rivalry started in 1924 with the Coffee Pot trophy being introduced in 1937. No game was held in 1944-45 because of World War II.
But Coffee County won 42-7 a year ago and features Tennessee commitment Alontae Taylor, a junior, at quarterback and in the secondary. The Red Raiders do face depth issues. That led to coach Ryan Sulkowski to not schedule any preseason scrimmages in an attempt to keep his team healthy.
If Coffee County can win Friday, it will mark the first time since 1982 that it beat Tullahoma back-to-back years.
The pick: Coffee County 35, Tullahoma 14
Nationally-ranked Trinity (Ky.) comes to Nashville on Friday to play Ensworth on the heels of a 45-0 rout of the Tigers in 2015. It marked Ensworth’s first loss in three meetings against the Kentucky Class 6A football power. The Shamrocks, who have 23 state titles, are ranked No. 19 in the USA TODAY Sports Super 25 poll.
Trinity finished 11-2 in 2015 while Ensworth endured its first losing season in school history at 5-7.
The pick: Trinity 42, Ensworth 28
Recruiting stars align
It would be hard to find a game with as much big-time talent as La Vergne at Smyrna.
La Vergne has a pair of SEC commitments in Maleik Gray and Princeton Fant. The two Tennessee recruits were No. 3 and No. 8 on The Tennessean’s Dandy Dozen, which features the top 12 senior prospects for the Class of 2017 from Middle Tennessee.
Smyrna also has its share of talent. Three-year starting quarterback John Turner has committed to Middle Tennessee State. Running back Casey Perkins and linebacker Deylon Williams each have several offers from mid-major schools. And Smyrna linebacker Nick Okeke, the younger brother of Texas A&M freshman Ikenna Okeke, has received offers from FCS schools.
Smyrna has lost just one time to La Vergne in school history. Loss No. 2 isn’t coming this season.
The pick: Smyrna 20, La Vergne 13
Portland over Franklin Simpson, KY
Parkview, Ga. over CPA
Wilson Central over Beech
Brentwood Academy over Olive Branch, MS
Cane Ridge over Antioch
Community over Cannon Co.
Jo Byrns over Cheatham Co.
Clarksville Academy over Harpeth
Clarksville Northeast over Sycamore
Clarksville Northwest over Hunters Lane
Jackson Co. over Clay Co.
Shoals Christian, AL over Collinwood
Cookeville over Upperman
Mt. Juliet Christian over Cornersville
Cumberland Co. over Oliver Springs
DeKalb Co. over Warren Co.
Dickson Co. over Creek Wood
Franklin over Centennial
MBA over Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.)
East Nashville over Rossview
Page over Fairview
Springfield over Greenbrier
Mt. Juliet over Gallatin
Liberty over Henry Co.
Houston Co. over East Robertson
MTCS over Ezell-Harding
FRA over Fayetteville
Forrest over Huntland
Marshall Co. over Franklin Co.
Giles Co. over Columbia
Whites Creek over Glencliff
BGA over Goodpasture
Watertown over Gordonsville
Hickman Co. over East Hickman
Father Ryan over Hillwood
Independence over Brentwood
Kenwood over West Creek
Hillsboro over Pearl-Cohn
Lewis Co. over Eagleville
CAK over Livingston Academy
Hendersonville over McGavock
Montgomery Central over Stewart Co.
Cascade over Moore Co.
Mt. Juliet over Gallatin
Nashville Christian over Red Boiling Springs
Stewarts Creek over Nashville Overton
Oakland over Jackson Northside
Riverside over Perry Co.
Clinton County, KY over Pickett Co.
Sale Creek over Richland
Riverdale over Ooltewah
Shelbyville over Lawrence Co.
Macon Co. over Smith Co.
Clarksville over Station Camp
Stone Memorial over York Institute
Stratford over Maplewood
Loretto over Summertown
Summit over Spring Hill
Trousdale Co. over Westmoreland
Waverly over Camden
Wayne Co. over Mt. Pleasant
White Co. over Monterey
White House Heritage over White House
Melrose over Pope John Paul
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-259-8089 and on Twitter @Kreager.