5A First Round
Knox Gibbs at No. 1 Tennessee High
Tennessee High (9-1) has won nine straight, Knox Gibbs (7-3) has won four in a row and six of its last seven…Troy Davis operates the Eagles triple-option offense, which will challenge the Vikings to stay disciplined and play assignment football…”We have got to tackle the quarterback. He is the guy that makes everything go for them. They have a really good fullback and when they do throw, make sure we are guarding them because you can get lost in the option stuff. Everybody has a read they have got to make and play assignment football,” THS head coach Mike Mays said… Cole McBrayer has been able to mix the run and pass to a slew of athletes, including junior Jaden Keller, who received offers this week, via his Twitter account, from Virginia Tech, South Carolina and Western Kentucky… Tennessee High has had just one win decided by less than 23 points, while the Eagles have beaten just one team with a plus-.500 record, that being last week’s 28-17 win over Knox Central…It will be a cold night at the Stone Castle, and it might feel even colder on the trip back home.
Prediction: Tennessee High 27, Gibbs 21.
Mountain 7 District
John Battle at No. 3 Union
Last meeting: Union 12, John Battle 0 (Nov. 10, 2018 in Big Stone Gap, Va.)
In the final regular season game of 2018, Union led only 6-0 on a muddy field at John Battle until scoring on a one-yard run with just over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Union then blanked the Trojans in a first round playoff game as Mason Polier rushed for 72 yards, scored twice and made 10 tackles. …. Look for another heavy dose of Polier (23 TDs) tonight on offense and defense. …John Battle quarterback Jack Thurston, a 5-8 junior, has thrown for six scores while senior Zane Poe has four TD receptions. Entering this season, John Battle had earned three straight playoff berths. The Trojans still have an outside shot at another bid.
Prediction: Union 28, John Battle 7
Honaker at No. 5 Ridgeview
Last meeting: Ridgeview 58, Honaker 13 (Nov. 2, 2018 in Honaker, Va.)
Ridgeview rushed for 331 yards against Honaker last season while taking advantage of four Honaker turnovers. … With versatile quarterback Nick Phillips sidelined by injury last week, Ridgeview dropped a 67-28 decision at unbeaten Pikeville, Kentucky. … Trenton Adkins (37 touchdowns) will help Ridgeview secure the No. 1 seed in Region 2D with tonight’s victory. …Honaker, which features prolific running back Trevor Dye, currently holds the No. 8 playoff spot in Region 1D.
Prediction: Ridgeview 48, Honaker 7
No. 6 Wise County Central at Grundy
Last meeting: Wise County Central 28, Grundy 27 (Nov. 2, 2018 in Norton, Va.)
Wise County Central head coach Luke Owens returns to Grundy – the place he graduated from in 1998 –with a chance to make some history. The Warriors can establish a single-season record for wins with their eighth triumph tonight. … Central has ripped off four straight wins with a methodical rushing attack. Guards Josh Price and Brandon Hobbs have been the unsung heroes in blocking for C.J. Crabtree, Noah Bolling and Matthew Boggs. Linebackers Tyson Tester and Logan Mullins have played well on the other side of the ball. … Grundy opened the season 4-0, but hasn’t won since. Every loss in the Golden Wave’s five-game losing streak has been by double digits.
Prediction: Wise County Central 51, Grundy 13
Holston at No. 7 Chilhowie
Last meeting: Chilhowie 52, Holston 0 (Nov. 2, 2018 in Damascus, Va.)
Chilhowie failed to win the Hogoheegee District title last week after suffering a 16-13 loss to Patrick Henry, but don’t be anxious to write off the Warriors just yet. Their only losses have come at the hands of PH (10-0) and Narrows (9-0) by a combined nine points. … Lucas Greer continues to be a tackling machine for Chilhowie, while sophomore D.J. Martin has played a number of different roles and has been a threat as a punt returner. … Tight end/defensive end Kyle Plemmons and Jordan Williams (432 rushing yards, six touchdowns) have suffered season-ending leg injuries for Chilhowie. … After winning a combined five games from 2014-2017, Holston has posted back-to-back winning seasons under the watch of coach Derrick Patterson. The Cavaliers clinched a playoff bid with a quality road win over Eastside last Friday.
Prediction: Chilhowie 30, Holston 18