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NET Notes: At the halfway point, what have we learned?

Douglas Fritz • Sep 17, 2018 at 8:29 PM

Halfway can be a tricky place for just about anything.

Whatever has been accomplished only equals what remains to be done. So while we can look at the first half of the football season and say, “Here’s what we’ve learned,” it doesn’t mean there won’t be major changes ahead.

Taking that into consideration, here is what we’ve learned in some area regions — with a catch:

1-6A

Farragut’s body of work is convincing, including a win over Oak Ridge, which hammered Dobyns-Bennett. The Admirals are deserving of their No. 5 ranking in the state.

The catch: Farragut still has to prove it against Science Hill (Sept. 28), D-B (Oct. 5) and Bearden (Oct. 11).

1-5A

David Crockett is flat-out good. There’s no hesitation in ranking the Pioneers in the top 10 in the state. They are good on both sides of the football.

The catch: It will be Oct. 12 and 19 before Crockett can prove its title worthiness, when the Pioneers play Tennessee High and Daniel Boone, respectively.

1-4A

Elizabethton has been good in all of its preseason question-mark areas, giving the Cyclones a reason to think they can be competitive against Greeneville on Oct. 12.

The catch: The Cyclones can’t look ahead because they could get quite a challenge Friday from Tennessee High — even though the Vikings lost to Boone and Elizabethton drilled the Trailblazers.

1-3A

Johnson County and Unicoi County each have one game they would like to have back but appear to be on a Week 11 collision course.

The catch: Johnson County has already navigated Chuckey-Doak, but the Black Knights still pose a problem for the Blue Devils (Sept. 28).

1-2A

There is no longer a front-runner with Sullivan North’s surprising loss to South Greene.

The catch: Maybe Hampton is the team to beat? The Bulldogs will get a chance to prove it Sept. 28 against the Golden Raiders.

A STAT WORTH FOLLOWING

Greeneville quarterback Cade Ballard continued his impressive statistical work in Friday’s 41-7 win over Pisgah (N.C.).

Ballard still has more touchdown passes (16) than incompletions (13) this season. He is 65-of-78 passing for 83.3 percent and 1,178 yards. He also has 299 yards rushing with five more scores. 

FOOTBALL GAMES OF THE WEEK

Daniel Boone at Science Hill — After this one, both teams have only region games remaining, so this is crucial for momentum — especially since it is a rivalry contest. It’s a good bet the Trailblazers remember last year’s 63-6 beatdown in which Boone played without starting quarterback Noah Shelton and star running back Charlie Cole.

Dobyns-Bennett at Alcoa — There will be a lot of interest in this one even beyond Northeast Tennessee because of Alcoa’s 34-28 win over Maryville on Sept. 7. This is the Tornadoes’ last game this season against a higher-classification school. In other games this year, Alcoa has outscored its opponents 201-14. However, the Indians are likely still steaming after last year’s 35-31 loss that included a controversial pass-interference call that kept the game-winning drive alive. Alcoa scored in the final minute to win.

Tennessee High at Elizabethton — Will this be a trend-buster? Elizabethton has won five in a row in a series that has rarely produced close games. The outlier was the one-point game at Tennessee High in 2015. The Cyclones won handily in the other four, and the previous six meetings dating to 2004 were runaway wins for the Vikings.

Happy Valley at Cloudland — The Highlanders haven’t sniffed the end zone in the last two meetings, getting outscored 88-0. This is an important momentum game for the Warriors, who face three rugged games in a row after playing the Highlanders.

PICK OF THE WEEK — Science Hill 35, Daniel Boone 20

It’s a battle of teams that like to run the football, but the Hilltoppers have more of a threat to stretch the field as quarterback AJ Stewart has been effectively picking his spots for the deep ball.

Picks record: 3-1.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK — Trey Courtney, Cherokee

Cherokee entered with a long winning streak against rival Volunteer, but the Chiefs were winless in 2018.

That changed when their senior quarterback passed for 107 yards with three touchdowns. He also rushed for 207 yards and a score in the 48-27 win.

THE HOGS AWARD — Unicoi County Blue Devils

The Blue Hogs were rocking the pancakes as they steamrolled Claiborne for 361 yards rushing on 40 attempts for an average of 9 yards per carry. Unicoi won 42-13.

DEFENSIVE UNIT OF THE WEEK — Happy Valley Warriors

The defense posted a shutout after Cosby’s only score in the 44-6 contest came with Happy Valley’s offense on the field. The Warriors locked down the Eagles, allowing only 19 yards of total offense.

GIRLS SOCCER

With rematches against Tennessee High (Thursday) and D-B (Sept. 25), Science Hill can wrap up the regular-season district title. The Lady Hilltoppers beat those teams by a combined margin of 12-1 in their first meetings.

Football rankings

Unicoi County is the newcomer in this week’s Top 10 (only teams in the Johnson City Press/Times News coverage area are ranked).

Team (W-L) ― Last Week

1. Elizabethton (5-0) ― 1

2. David Crockett (5-0) ― 2

3. Dobyns-Bennett (2-2) ― 3

4. Daniel Boone (3-1) ― 5

5. Tennessee High (4-1) ― 4

6. Science Hill (2-3) ― 6

7. Sullivan North (4-1) ― 7

8. Sullivan South (4-1) ― 8

9. Johnson County (4-1) ― 9

10. Unicoi County (4-1) ― NR

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