Six games that had an impact on various region races (or in the case of this non-region week, various teams’ trajectories):
Smyrna 27, Riverdale 17: The Warriors drop from the ranks of the unbeaten, thanks in large part to a freshman quarterback coming on in relief for the Bulldogs. Let’s not overlook Smyrna in that Region 5-6A race. As for Riverdale – they’ll be fine. Just one of those nights.
Cane Ridge 33, Stewarts Creek 23: Same goes for Stewarts Creek – they’ll be fine. I’m chalking this up to a desperate Cane Ridge team that was back near full strength. The Ravens are nearly back to where we thought they might be in the preseason. The Red Hawks were minus-2 in the turnover department in this one, and the score reflects it. Cane Ridge reassumes its role as the Region 5-6A favorite, however.
Gallatin 7, Mt. Juliet 0: Spencer Briggs is poised to cross the 1,000-yard rushing mark next week after 184 more on Friday. But it was the Green Wave defense that provided the muscle this time around. Gallatin’s going to beat a lot of teams on its schedule, so Mt. Juliet shouldn’t be so concerned with this loss. It does, however, make next week’s contest against unbeaten Wilson Central even juicier than before.
Beech 18, Hendersonville 17: Same goes for Beech – they’ll also beat a lot of teams on their schedule. But Hendersonville might want to take a step back and figure out a way to flush this one. Special teams failed the Commandos as they coughed up a 17-6 lead in the fourth quarter. Those losses don’t flush easily. Next up is the TV spotlight as the Commandos face Lebanon, and a loss there means they’ll have to beat Mt. Juliet for a home playoff game.
Ravenwood 61, Pulaski Academy (Ark.) 47: We thought this might produce a lot of points, and it did just that. But this was the Andrew Mason show and we were all tuned in to see it. Mason tied the state record with seven touchdown receptions (set by Whitehaven’s Robert Tolbert in 1994) and pulled himself into a tie for fourth for most combined touchdowns in a game with eight. (That record belongs to Hartsville’s Phil Dickens with 13 in 1931). If you’re worried about Ravenwood’s defense, don’t be – Pulaski Academy’s different strategic approach (no punting, onside kicks and constant 2-point tries) usually results in more points for the Bruins than they scored on Friday.
Independence 49, Blackman 13: The message has been sent. Independence isn’t going away. The Eagles could very much make noise in Region 6-6A, and it’s all in front of them, too. That loss to Summit to begin the season won’t define their year. Blackman falls to 1-3 and while they’ve played good teams, at some point you’ve got to beat one of them if you hope to have a deep playoff run.