• 73°

Putting a bow on the regular season

It’s absolutely mind-boggling as I put this article into words that the 2020 regular-season in high school football will be wrapping up next week with the playoffs standing right at the doorstep.
Going into the season, no one knew whether the season could make it through a 10-game schedule, and for the most part, teams have been able to play a large majority of their scheduled games to this point.
Even though may have taken the short road using COVID-19 as an excuse to avoid playing the stronger teams in their conference, most teams were willing to take the challenge of playing with the chance of exposing themselves to COVID-19, and for that, all teams came out as champions for playing through the 2020 season.
At the writing of this column, the Elizabethton Cyclones stand on the cusp of winning their second consecutive conference title Thursday night at Sullivan South.
The Cyclones impressed many throughout the state as they won handily over the Greeneville Greene Devils earning all the top votes in this week’s prep poll.
Many feel in some ways this year’s Cyclone team is more complete than last season’s state title team and will have a very good opportunity to make it back to Cookeville this season.
The top four teams in Class 4A currently are the Cyclones, Greene Devils, South, and Grainger County and should the season end today these four would qualify for the playoffs.
In Class 2A, the Hampton Bulldogs found the sledding tough at South Greene last week dropping their contest in the last couple of minutes after leading pretty much throughout the contest.
With a win, the Bulldogs had the inside track to the number one seed and now must take care of the Cosby Eagles to secure a number two seed behind the Rebels.
Happy Valley has rebounded well and has set themselves up to earn a three seed in the upcoming playoffs meaning they would have a winnable road game to the two-seed of Region 2.
Warrior head coach Jason Jarrett finally has his offense clicking and are starting to peak at the right time.

Cloudland has shown to be a tough team to handle within their own 1A region and Coach Scott Potter and the Highlanders will go in as a number-one seed hosting the four seed out of Region 2.

The Unaka Rangers have been on the shelve the last couple of weeks due to COVID-19 and will have to remain focused as the Rangers finished as the two-seed in Region 1 1A and will be hosting a home playoff game for the first time in a month of Sundays.

Coach O’Brien Bennett has the boys on Stoney Creek believing and that is half the battle when it comes to the playoffs.

So, with all five teams in the county qualifying for the playoffs this season, the postseason is looking to be very exciting. Right now, however, the greatest challenge is to remain diligent and stay safe as unfortunately when in the playoffs if COVID-19 sidelines a team it is an automatic forfeit with the opposing team advancing to the next round.

That could work both ways as local teams could also pick up COVID-19 victories as well.

But knowing the coaches at each county school the way I do, the victory means more when you can earn victories on the field of play.

It’s been a fun ride so far and I for one am looking to the remainder of the journey as prep football enters its playoff stages.