County a hotbed for prime time football this week

Published 12:17 am Wednesday, October 16, 2019

If ever there was a time that Carter County had the spotlight shining bright on it for high school football, it would be this coming Friday night as every county school has a game that will play bearing on the upcoming playoffs when the regular season is completed in three weeks.
It is worth taking a snap-shot look at what is going down under Friday Night Lights so everyone can make adequate plans to where they are looking to spend their Friday night this week.
It’s going to be a tough choice with so many great games to choose from. As always, stay with the Elizabethton Star and check out the weekend edition for reports from the games.
#1 Greeneville (6-1, 3-0)  vs #2 Elizabethton (7-0, 3-0)
All eyes in the state in Class 4A will be watching this game very close as the state’s top two teams meet at Citizens Bank Stadium Friday night with no room expected for fans once everyone occupies their little piece of real estate to catch this contest live.
Last season in Greeneville, there were an estimated 7,000 people on hand for the game plus those that watched on television.
This year will be no different as the Cyclone coaching staff has already issued a call for an orange out for the game as the fans will be counted on to be the 12th man in this game that will more than likely determine the Region 1-4A champion which is huge to stay at home in the playoffs.
This game should be more evenly matched than in the previous four years as are gone from Greeneville are 28 stellar seniors from last season’s team including Mr. Football Cade Ballard and his father, head coach Caine Ballard.
Not that the cupboard was left bare as senior Ty Youngblood brings a tough-nosed style of play from the fullback position to compliment a solid returning core for the Greene Devils.
Elizabethton has probably the best all-around team they have had in a few years thanks in part to a stringent offseason weight program that has seen the Cyclones be more physically competitive this season and the program has carried on throughout the season.
The Cyclones will be leaning heavily on quarterback Bryson Rollins, running backs Cade Maupin and Nate Stephens, wideouts Parker Hughes, Zach C. Hartley, and Braden Holly and placekicker Jaxton Holly to make a quick statement and maintain possession of the football while keeping the Greene Devils offense on the sideline.
Oh, and don’t forget the job done in the trenches this season by those hogs up front on both sides of the football on the offensive and defensive line who have helped the Cyclones to a 7-0 start.
This one is going to be a dandy and could come down to the last possession of the game to determine the winner. Get there early if you want a seat or bring a blanket just in case.
#6 South Greene (8-0, 2-0)  vs Hampton (5-2, 1-1)
Former Happy Valley coach and current South Greene head skipper Scotty Verran brings his undefeated and the state’s sixth-ranked  Rebels to JC Campbell Stadium on Friday night in a game where the Bulldogs can do a couple of things and that is put a blemish on the South Greene ledger as well as pull even in the conference with the Rebels with a win.
After starting the season in an uncharacteristic way, the Bulldogs have regrouped and are rolling offensively and defensively to put themselves in a position to get back toward the top of the conference after losing to Happy Valley early in the season.
The Bulldogs deserve a pat on the back after righting the ship and as Hampton skipper Michael Lunsford and Happy Valley head coach Jason Jarrett both mentioned before the season began that the champion of Region 1-2A may not be decided until the final game of the regular season.
A raucous Hampton crowd should provide a tough evening for the visiting Rebels.
#9 Happy Valley (6-1, 2-0) vs Sullivan North (4-3, 1-2)
The Warriors moved into the ninth spot in Class 2-A football in this week’s state’s AP rankings but will need to be on upset alert when they travel to Kingsport to take on Sullivan North Friday night.
The Golden Raiders haven’t had a dazzling season to this point but a win would go a long way in getting the Raiders ready for the postseason and knocking the Warriors out of the driver’s seat in the region.
Happy Valley, meanwhile, has came together defensively to be one of the toughest units around and will need to be at the top of their game to pull this one out against the Wing-T of the Raiders offense.
A loss by the Warriors would create a log jam at the top with seeding all-important at this time of the season heading into the playoffs as staying home is crucial for any team.
Jellico (3-4, 1-1) vs Cloudland (2-5, 2-0)
It takes only one look at the overall record to see that the Highlanders haven’t had the greatest of seasons to this point but it could get much sweeter Friday when Cloudland host Jellico and with a win the ‘Landers win Region 1-A.
That would give Cloudland home-field advantage for the first couple of rounds of the playoffs should they win. Interim coach Scott Potter will have the boys in blue and gold ready to go in the biggest contest of the season on Roan Mountain.
Unaka (1-6, 0-3) vs Rye Cove, VA
Even though this game carries no regional value, the Rangers and head coach O’Brien Bennett want to get back in the win column and finish off the season strong heading into the playoffs after a tough first half of the season.
The Eagles aren’t a team to be overlooked as they beat Hancock Co. 36-34 earlier in their season so Rye Cove can put a lot of points on the board.
After a bye week, the Rangers should be ready to get back into battle and fight toward victory.
It’s going to be a great week of football. Hopefully, everyone is already making plans to go out and support your community’s school.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox