Six teams in the WBIR coverage area will be competing in the state semifinals on Friday night with a trip to the state championship in Cookeville on the line.
6A: Maryville at Oakland
The Rebels and Patriots have been on a collision course all season. Both are undefeated and neither has really been challenged much. Maryville beat Oakland in the semifinals in each of the last two seasons. Oakland has only given up more than seven points once in 12 games (13 points to Hillsboro on ESPNU) and has shut out its opponent five times. The Pats D features the number one ranked safety in the nation, LSU commit Jacoby Stevens. But Maryville is on its perennial mission to Cookeville and Oakland won't get in the way of the Rebels 16th straight state championship game appearance. Prediction: Maryville 24, Oakland 14
Both teams are looking to reach the state title game for the first time in school history. South-Doyle is playing in its first semifinal game, while Farragut hasn't been this far since 1995, the year before Eddie Courtney took over as head coach. The Admirals beat the Cherokees in the regular season, 63-26, and South-Doyle will be without star running back Kent'ta Tanner. Prediction: Farragut 56, South-Doyle 42
Marshall County has won its three playoff games by a combined score of 104-13, but none of those teams are nearly as good as Central. The Bobcats have had a tough playoff slate, having to go on the road to undefeated Greeneville and needing to beat powerhouse Fulton for a second time this year. Central has had a magical season and always comes up with a big play when it needs it, whether its a Jadarius Sackie blocked punt in the last minute or a deep pass to the endzone in the final seconds. I don't expect the magic to stop.
Central 28, Marshall County 24
The Indians are 13-0 and have ventured past the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1996. Alcoa wasn't at its best last week but grinded out a 17-14 win over Elizabethton. I expect the Tornadoes to up their game this week.
Prediction: Alcoa 38, Sequatchie County 24
The Roadrunners are trying to get back to the state title for the first time since they won it all in 2001, when head coach Jeff Phillips was playing receiver and defensive back for Austin-East. Marion County is no stranger to Cookeville. The Warriors have been there each of the last two seasons, but lost both teams. You know they're eager to get another shot at a gold ball. Austin-East has the offensive firepower to keep them from going back.
Austin-East 49, Marion County 45
Greenback is 13-0 and hasn't gone undefeated since 1987, its only state championship season. Many think this Cherokees team is better than that title squad. Greenback has steamrolled everyone in its path with the exception of Coalfield, who it squeezed by last week for the second time this season. Perennial contender South Pittsburg is all that stands in the way of a return trip to Cookeville. The Pirates are in the playoffs for the 16th straight season and are in the semifinals for the sixth time in the last ten years. South Pitt won state in '07 and '10 and reached the title game in '09 and '11.
Greenback 33, South Pittsburg 30.