Greeneville at Sullivan Central
Last meeting: Greeneville 63, Sullivan Central 7 (Sept. 28, 2018, at Greeneville, Tenn).
Since an opening game loss that stopped a 30-game win streak, the Greene Devils (4-1) have tallied 40 points a contest to win four in a row…Sullivan Central (1-4), which has played Sullivan South and David Crockett since a win over Pigeon Forge, had scored at 23 points in each of its first four games before managing seven last week against the Pioneers…These teams have played the last three seasons, with the Greene Devils scoring 63, 69 and 84 points. The Cougars have tallied seven points…Greeneville has won the last two Class 4A state championships…Sullivan Central will visit Sullivan East next Friday. The Cougars snapped its 39-game losing skid with a home win last season against the Patriots.
Prediction: Greeneville 48, Sullivan Central 20.
Sullivan East at Grainger
Last meeting: Grainger 36, Sullivan East 26 (Sept. 28, 2018, at Bluff City, Tenn.)
Sullivan East (0-5) might be the best winless team anywhere around, having lost four of those games by 1, 3, 7 and 6 points…Grainger (2-3) has wins over Cumberland Gap and Pigeon Forge, who are a combined 0-10…The Grizzlies have been outscored 68-12 over the last three games…These teams have split their last four meetings, with the last two going to Grainger…Senior quarterback Dylan White has been a solid leader for the Patriots through a first half of the season…The Sullivan East defense has struggled to slow down the run…The Patriots will play three of its next four games at home, including next week against Sullivan Central… The Patriots have lost six straight and 16 of 18 decisions dating back to 2017…Rutledge is a scenic 100 mile drive from Bluff City.
Prediction: Sullivan East 27, Grainger 23.
Black Diamond District
Hurley at Grundy
Last meeting: Grundy 14, Hurley 6 (Oct. 5, 2018 in Hurley, Va.)
Both of these squads are in search of bounceback wins. … Grundy couldn’t stop Honaker last Friday in a 50-26 setback, while Hurley’s defense had similar struggles in a 40-34, triple-overtime loss to River View (West Virginia) two weeks ago. … Hurley has the edge in experience with a senior-dominated roster and strong line play. … This Buchanan County rivalry usually always produces spirited showdowns and this one should be no different.
Prediction: Hurley 35, Grundy 33
Eastside at J.I. Burton
Last meeting: J.I. Burton 41, Eastside 35 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Coeburn, Va.)
Esau Teasley and Mikey Culbertson have been the tone-setters for J.I. Burton as the Raiders have won two straight. Teasley has gained 449 yards on the ground and is averaging a sublime 18.7 yards per carry, while Culbertson has already amassed 39 tackles. … Najee Steele (107 receiving yards), Elijah Lovell (118 receiving yards), Jaymen Buchanan (329 passing yards) and Xadrian Taybron (28 tackles) have played well for the Raiders too. … “Big and fast,” Eastside coach Michael Rhodes said of J.I. Burton. … Eastside got its first win of the season last week as quarterback Will Stansberry led the way in a win over Lebanon. … Burton holds an 8-1 lead in the all-time series with Eastside and the Raiders are heavy favorites against the crew from Coeburn once again.
Prediction: J.I. Burton 33, Eastside 18
Mountain 7 District
Wise County Central at Abingdon
Last meeting: Abingdon 50, Wise Central 21 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Wise, Va.)
Abingdon collected 372 total yards in this game last season while holding Wise Central to 95 yards rushing. … After opening the season with two wins, AHS has allowed an average of 38 points in three straight losses. Martin Lucas leads the Falcons with 655 yards rushing and eight touchdowns while 6-2 sophomore Peyton McClanahan and 6-foot senior River Carter have combined for 21 receptions. …Central junior C.J. Crabtree has rushed for 607 yards while scoring nine times. Sophomore Ethan Mullins has added 348 yards passing with four scores. …Look for AHS senior Graham Griffith, who has converted two field goals from at least 35 yards, to decide this one.
Prediction: Abingdon 20, Wise County Central 14
Lebanon at Marion
Last meeting: Marion 50, Lebanon 19 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Lebanon, Va.)
Gritty quarterback Tanner Tate led Marion to victory last season by passing for 180 yards and three scores and rushing for 91 yards. …. Winless Lebanon, which allows 34 points per game, gave up 371 total yards in a 28-14 loss to Eastside last week. Senior Logan Smith has supplied four touchdowns for the Pioneers and accounted for 119 total yards last week. … Tate and receiver Devin Hamm will star in this one as Marion improves to 3-2.
Prediction: Marion 14, Lebanon 0
Tazewell at Honaker
Last meeting: Honaker 35, Tazewell 7 (Oct. 8, 2010 in Honaker, Va.)
This is one of the most intriguing matchups on Friday night’s docket. … Tazewell is 3-1 and beat Princeton (West Virginia) 10-7 last Friday on a field goal by Tanner Wimmer with 1:46 remaining. Star running back Chancellor Harris suffered a major injury in the first quarter of that game and will be sidelined indefinitely. … Honaker was hitting on all cylinders in last week’s 50-26 hammering of Grundy as Trevor Dye led the way. Offensive linemen Lucas O’Quinn, Peyton Hess, Hunter Goodie, Travis Musick, J.C. Horn and Jayson Mullins have paved the way for the Tigers.
Prediction: Tazewell 17, Honaker 15
Castlewood at Northwood
Last meeting: Castlewood 36, Northwood 6 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Castlewood, Va.)
Castlewood has been one of the most improved teams in far Southwest Virginia since the season began under the direction of first-year head coach Chris Lark. … Jeremiah Allen has been a stud on both sides of the ball for the Blue Devils, leading the team in both rushing (235 yards) and tackles (50). … Candler Dudley (203 rushing yards) and sophomore Ben Neece (39 tackles) have been reliable as well. The Blue Devils are averaging 188.8 rushing yards per game. … Castlewood has made it a point to improve on special teams, having allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown in a loss to Thomas Walker and missing eight of its 10 extra-point attempts. … Northwood is making progress in Tim Johnson’s first season at the helm as the Panthers are seeking their own level of improvement. “Coach Johnson and the Panthers utilize multiple spread formations and like to have several running backs to run the ball,” Lark said. “We need to be able to line up correctly and tackle to have a chance.”
Prediction: Castlewood 40, Northwood 18
Harlan Independent (Ky.) at Thomas Walker
Last meeting: Thomas Walker 29, Harlan 24 (Aug. 31, 2018 in Harlan, Ky.)
Thomas Walker not only suffered its first loss of the season last week to Pineville (Kentucky), the Pioneers also saw wide receiver Logan Ely go down with a high ankle sprain. He will be sidelined for one to three weeks. … Thomas Walker’s defense has been pretty stout all season, but the Pioneers must be more consistent offensively. …. Kenny Ball has rushed for 362 yards and four touchdowns and is a tough runner for TW. … Harlan is 1-4 and the Green Dragons have struggled to score at times. Jeremiah Mills and Britt Lawson lead the way for the defense. “Harlan is big and physical,” said Thomas Walker coach Nick Johnson. “I think they will be looking to run the ball and control the clock. We will need to be more physical up front in order to be successful. They present some challenges for us with size, but if we can execute and do what we do, I think it should be a good game. No matter what their record is, they aren’t gonna come over here and lay down.”
Prediction: Thomas Walker 21, Harlan Independent 14
Narrows at Holston
Last meeting: Narrows 34, Holston 14 (Sept. 28, 2018 in Narrows, Va.)
Narrows (4-0) beat Giles for the first time since 2002 two weeks ago. That was also the same year the Green Wave last started a season with four consecutive wins. … Defense has been the calling card for Narrows. Offensively, Matthew Morgan (46 carries, 344 yards) and Chad Blaker (36 carries, 238 yards) have been the tone-setters. … Holston suffered its first loss last week to Rural Retreat and the Cavaliers will face another physical squad tonight. … Narrows is just one of just five VHSL Class 1 teams with an undefeated record. Patrick Henry, Riverheads, Northumberland and King & Queen Central are the others.
Prediction: Narrows 30, Holston 8
Perry County Central, Ky. at Lee High
Winless Lee High has allowed an average of 54 points and 394 yards rushing over the past three games …Perry County, a Class 4A school located in Hazard, has been outscored 150-74 en route to five straight losses. The Commodores are coming off a 21-20 loss at Letcher County Central. … Lee quarterback Tanner Laster makes the difference as coach Alec Haston earns his first win for the Generals.
Prediction: Lee High 14, Perry County Central 7
Radford at Richlands
Last meeting: Radford 62, Richlands 0 (Nov. 17, 1972 in Bluefield, W.Va.)
Richlands allowed 587 total yards in a 52-38 loss to Bluefield last week but trailed only 24-21 at halftime. Blue Tornado quarterback Cade Simmons, a 6-2 and 210 senior, has passed for over 650 yards and four scores behind a large and experienced line… Despite season-ending injuries to its top offensive threat (running back P.J. Prioleau) and top defensive player in senior linebacker Justice Marshall. Radford moved to 4-0 last week with a 42-0 thrashing of Giles. The main weapons for Three Rivers District favorites are sophomore running back Darius Wesley-Brubeck and 6-2 junior quarterback Zane Rupe. ... The home field advantage will be crucial here.
Prediction: Richlands 24, Radford 21