Another big week of high school football got a whole lot bigger when it was announced Lipscomb Academy will be traveling to Oakland on Thursday, September 23. Serving as a mid-season measuring stick for both programs, this one offers up many opportunities for some talented gridiron gladiators.
First and foremost it will give the victor a chance to say “best in the state right now”.
Oakland is unbeaten and the defending TSSAA class 6A state champion. With two games being canceled this year they are yet to be really challenged in 2021. Ranked number one in the state in their classification, the Patriots are primed to defend their crown.
Lipscomb Academy finished as the state runner up in Division 2 last season among private schools. Off to an undefeated start, they too have manhandled their five previous opponents. Included in those wins was a 62-7 throttling of Independence in week two. Currently ranked at number one in their classification and number one overall in Tennessee by MaxPreps, the Mustangs are in search of their fourth state title and first since 2007.
On an individual level, the contest will serve as a proving ground for players. Two in particular that will be especially scrutinized are Lipscomb quarterback Luther Richesson and Oakland running back Jordan James. Each has earned the “special” label, but what happens in the games against top competition often defines a player.
Of course there is always the public school versus private school debate that has raged for years. Way back when all the schools were lumped together, it was always decided between the lines. After careful consideration, the different divisions were created to level the playing field between those that featured teams with a “zoned for” roster and those that could scholarship players. Needless to say, each is carrying the flag for their particular peeps.
Obviously a lot is on the line in a mid-season match-up like this. The importance of the kids up front will play a major factor as the battle at the line of scrimmage will decide what stars shine. But regardless of what the scoreboard says, this is a win-win situation. As long as everyone remains healthy, each program will be better afterward.
“You don’t get to see games like this in the regular season”, says Oakland head coach Kevin Creasy. “Usually these types of games happen in November or December. Facing a team of their caliber is a big challenge for us but we are excited for the opportunity.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 pm on Thursday at Ray Hughes Stadium on the campus of Oakland high school.