The high school football playoffs continue on Friday night with the quarterfinals.
6A: Blackman vs. Maryville
Maryville has reached the state championship game every season since 2003. George Quarles has been the head coach of the Rebels for longer than Blackman has been a school (founded in 2000). Maryville dispatched Blackman in the quarterfinals last season and in the semifinals in 2013 (the Blaze’s deepest playoff run, Vols’ WR Jauan Jennings was their QB). The Blaze have won eight in a row since starting the year 1-3
6A: Hardin Valley vs. Oakland
Since the start of the 2013 season Oakland is 48-5, with its only losses coming against Maryville, Blackman and Hoover (AL). Hardin Valley (9-3) is making its deepest playoff run in program history (established 2009). The Hawks have held their opponents to 14 points or less in seven of their last eight games (the lone exception being a 45-0 loss at Maryville). Oakland (12-0) averages 49.8 points per game and only allows 4.5 per game (five shutouts). The Patriots closest margin of victory was 28 over Hillsboro in the second game of the season. Oakland boasts two SEC-bound defensive backs and a four-star defensive tackle.
5A: Morristown West vs. South-Doyle
Chris Thomas: "Remember the last time that South-Doyle actually hosted a playoff game was the 2014 quarterfinals when they lost to eventual state-champion West. And this football team after upsetting Gibbs a week ago is playing as good as it has all season. I love Caleb Wender, what he's been able to do with the football, he's kind of been an emotional leader for this football team, but Ken-Ta Tanner has been the difference. His ability to run the football, and then of course Ton'Quez Ball, the dynamic sophomore wide receiver. I expect a lot of points in this football game, but I expect Morristown West, that defense and the tandem of Daymion Blevins the running back who's had numerous three hundred yard outings this season, and John Foreback, the quarterback who continues to get better. If Foreback can limit the interceptions and Blevins has one of his typical big nights that he's been having here the last few weeks, Morristown West has a good chance to get to the semi-finals."
5A: Ooltewah vs. Farragut
Farragut is looking to reach the state semifinals for the first time since 1995. Ooltewah last reached the semi's in 2008.
4A: Fulton vs. Central
Chris Thomas: "No upset though was as meaningful in terms of the landscape of Class 4A, as Fulton dominating Catholic last week. This is what we expected this Falcons team to look like this season but the inconsistency at times has gotten in the way. Now you come in and face a Central team, winning on a Hail Mary pass last week to upset Greenville, how are you in terms of the let down effect? I think both teams have to deal with this. Central won this game in the regular season, remember these two teams met. They won it 21-19 and the difference was Fulton didn't convert a PAT, had to go for two and didn't get it. That was the difference in the game. I like the Falcons to get it done this time and advance to the semi-finals.
3A: Elizabethton vs. Alcoa
Alcoa and Elizabethton met in the 3A semifinals in 2009 and 2010, both Alcoa victories. This time it's a quarterfinal matchup. The Tornadoes have won 25 straight games against teams not named Maryville.
2A: Happy Valley vs. Austin-East
Austin-East is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011, when the Roadrunners beat Sullivan North before falling to eventual state champ CAK in the semifinals. Mr. Football finalist Darius Harper leads an explosive A-E offense that has averaged 53.6 points over its last eight games. Happy Valley's offense can score too, the Warriors have put up 60+ points in five of their games.
1A: Coalfield vs. Greenback
Chris Thomas: "Coalfield is trying to get back to the state championship game for the first time since 2014. So, you've got your last two state runners-up here. You've got dynamic football players all over the field. Parker McKinney at quarterback, he's a guy that's going to get some Division I looks. Dynamic player, he can run and he can throw. You mention Kayne Roberts, he's a Mr. Football Finalist. Josh Silvey, the defensive tackle, Mr. Football Finalist. You've got a good game in Class 1-A. I think the winner of this one has a really good shot to get back to Cookeville. Greenback I think has more horses, but don't be surprised if Coalfield keeps this close, maybe has a chance to pull the upset."
DII-A Semifinal: Webb vs. St. George's
Division II has less teams in the playoffs, so these teams are a week ahead and in the semifinals. A trip to Cookeville is on the line in this one. St. George's is the defending champ, but Webb won the previous three state titles. The two schools last met in the 2013 state championship game, a 28-14 Spartans win.