Identifying the biggest game of every week in an eleven-round season can be really easy early, but with so many variables, late season games can be hard to get to right. Over the past five years, we’ve hit about 60%.
Of course, when most of us, “old timers,” were in school, 60% was a “D” – barely passing. And yet, like the ACT, we’re going to try again.
WEEK ONE-AUGUST 19
This one is both easy and crowded. Three county rival games that should not have a real effect on the play-offs headline the opening week.
Defending Class 5A State Champ Independence travels to Brentwood in a most intriguing battle. The Eagles may be the most solid returning team in the county; you can talk about all the talent that graduated, but the cupboard is far, far from bare. The Bruins should continue their expected upswing as Coach Ron Crawford is no longer returning, he’s re-Crawford-ized the whole program.
At Franklin, the Rebels open with cross-town rival Centennial. The Cougar’s 20-0 win on Mallory Lane last year helped to finally solidify this contest as a rivalry game. Franklin brings one of the biggest offensive lines in recent county history while Centennial is a bit of a questions mark with new faces and a new coach in Matt Kriesky following the school’s best season ever.
Finally, when Page visits Fairview, it’s a 20-mile neighborhood dogfight. But last year was more whimper than growl as the Patriots lit up the Yellow Jackets, taking a 38-7 win in Rudderville. You can bet the Jackets will be anxious to repay the favor in West Williamson County this year.
WEEK TWO-AUGUST 26
Another loaded week and, again, the pressure falls on big rivals.
Had 2015 been any other year, Centennial would have brought the state championship to Williamson County. Unfortunately, 2015 was the Year of the Eagle and Indy proved it twice, 49-7 in the regular season and 56-15 in the semi-finals. But Indy must travel to Franklin for this one and the Cougars will be lying in wait.
Just north, Brentwood faces a second tough, important game when arch rival Ravenwood comes calling. The Bruins were just getting their feet back under them last year while Ravenwood was rolling towards a state title. This will be a good test for the Raptors and their chances at a second straight title.
WEEK THREE-SEPTEMBER 2
Local private school Grace Christian takes the spotlight in Week Three, hosting Cornersville in a game that should set the tone for the rest of the season for the Lions.
WEEK FOUR-SEPTEMBER 9
Another pick ‘em week. Franklin hosts Brentwood to continue one of the oldest, and most even, rivalries in the county. On the other side of Brentwood, Ravenwood will be looking for some payback when the Raptors host Centennial. The Cougars put the only blemish on a championship record in 2015.
WEEK FIVE-SEPTEMBER 16
Independence continues with the target on their backs as the Eagles go to neighborhood foe Summit. While Indy ended champs, the Spartans came within a game of making the playoffs as a fourth year program.
The week also features the last of the county rivalry games when Ravenwood and Franklin lock horns on Wilson Pike in a contest sure to be key to final standings in Region 3-6A.
WEEK SIX-SEPTEMBER 23
With most county teams either on the road or taking the week off, BGA will be the focus of the country as the Wildcats renew their rivalry with Page. Long an annual staple, the game got lost in one of the myriad of division, region and district changes Tennessee schools have faced in the past two decades. Renewed last year, it was a classic, with BGA pulling out a 28-27 overtime win on a controversial 2-point attempt.
WEEK SEVEN-SEPTEMBER 30
Eyes across the state will be focused on Granny White Pike when Ensworth visits Brentwood Academy. The Eagles added another state title last season while the Tigers were unusually toothless. That won’t be the case this year.
WEEK EIGHT-OCTOBER 7
This could be a preview of the Division II-AA state title game again as Brentwood Academy goes to MBA. The Big Red dropped two dogfights to Brentwood Academy last year, including a 1-point, double overtime setback in Cookeville.
WEEK NINE-OCTOBER 14
Brentwood will host Centennial, the expected first step in determining the Region 7-5A winner. The Cougars won last year 24-10 and both teams will face Henry County in the last two weeks of the year, the final two steps in naming a regional champ.
WEEK TEN-OCTOBER 21
Depending on what happens in Week Nine, Brentwood will either be confident or hungry when Henry County comes calling. The Patriots are the odds-on favorites to win Region 7-5A; the Bruins will be their first real test.
Out west, Fairview will travel to Camden in what has become a big rivalry, especially when the region title is on the line.
WEEK ELEVEN-OCTOBER 28
Region titles and seeding for the playoffs will dominate the final week of the year. LaVergne travels to Independence in what many consider the Eagles’ toughest Region 5-5A test. The Region 4-4A title is expected to be decided in Rudderville when Marshall County invades Page.