Intriguing matchups to jumpstart high school football

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Siegel at Ravenwood Thursday, Overton at Stewarts Creek Friday and Blackman and Oakland games on Saturday all on NewsRadio WGNS.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: All nine Rutherford County football coaches size up their respective season-opening game this week.)

Week One of the high school football season will offer a little bit of everything.

There is a Thursday night game, a Friday night rivalry game and two games on Saturday at MTSU's Floyd Stadium.

Siegel gets the head start among county teams as it will travel to Ravenwood on Thursday night to face the Raptors, who finished state runner-up in Class 6A last season

The Stars had no problem defeating Summit 21-7 in the Rutherford County Jamboree last Friday night, but the task obviously gets much tougher this week.

"They graduated quite a few guys, but anytime you get to the state championship game you build a lot of confidence in your program and you play with a lot of confidence," said Siegel coach Greg Wyant. "I think we match up pretty well with them position by position. I think it will be a great challenge to go over there on Thursday night and kinda see where we are. Hopefully our kids will get prepared this week."

Smyrna and La Vergne are no longer in the same league as LHS dropped down to 5A. However, year-long bragging rights are still at stake when the two meet at La Vergne.

"It doesn't matter; it's still Smyrna," said La Vergne coach Stanton Stevens, whose team defeated Oakland 6-0 in the jamboree. "We're real excited about this. It's first time since I've been at La Vergne that we've been on TV, so it's a great way to showcase our school. It's more about football, it's about La Vergne High School. We'll be ready to play and look forward to a great football game."

Smyrna has dominated the series, but Bulldogs coach Matt Williams expects a tightly-contested game.

"La Vergne moved down to 5A, but if they were in 6A they'd be a contender," Williams said. "They're that good. They're a very good football team, and I know they're hungry and I know we are. We know we haven't accomplished anything yet, but we'll be prepared. ... It will come down to who makes the least mistakes."

Blackman and Oakland each have the daunting task of playing two of the top programs from the state of Alabama in Clay-Chalkville and Hoover, respectively.

Blackman will face Clay-Chalkville at 4 p.m. in the Middle Tennessee Football Classic at MTSU's Floyd Stadium, while Oakland meets Hoover at 7 p.m.

"I had never heard of them," Oakland coach David Watson said of Clay-Chalkville, the defending Class 6A state champion in Alabama. "They've got some really good players. They've got one going to Alabama, and I think another going to Missouri.

"Their quarterback scored like 60 touchdowns. They've got great facilities, great support. It will be a good challenge and exciting and a great venue. I probably wouldn't want to open up with somebody so strong, but we're fortunate to be in position to play one of these type games.

Oakland first-year coach Kevin Creasy said his team respects the national power Hoover, but he highly anticipates the matchup. He also said don't put much stock on the jamboree, which saw the Patriots fall 6-0 to La Vergne.

"Hoover had 19 guys that went on to play college ball, and we had eight that went on to play college ball," Creasy said. "So, we've both lost a lot. Do I think we have a good chance against Hoover? I certainly do.

"We're going to come out guns ablazling. We're not going to hold anything back. They're supposed to beat us, but I promise you Oakland fans will be happy with the product we put on the field. We know how dangerous they are, and we've been concentrating on these guys for a few weeks."

Stewarts Creek will look to build on an impressive jamboree performance when it host John Overton on Friday night.

"We haven't traded any video with them, so I really don't know a whole lot about them," Stewarts Creek coach David Martin. "I know coach (Steve) Williams will have them prepared.

"Overton has great tradition and has a long-standing excellent program in Metro. It's probably one of the programs in Metro that has been consistently good. It's going to be a big challenge, but really, the opponent is our ourselves."

Riverdale will be on the road its first three games, beginning with Friday's matchup at Ooltewah.

"Ooltewah is very talented and they play fast football," said Riverdale assistant coach Will Kriesky. "They're very similar to us. They have a lot of depth at the skill position.

"They graduated their quarterback last year, but their new quarterback is a very good athlete who can run and throw. They've got four receivers who can catch it. It's going to be a very tough match coming out of Week One."

Eagleville will field a young team as 28 of its players are freshmen. The Eagles open up against Lewis County at home.

"The senior class is going to have to lead us," Eagleville coach Steve Carson said. "Everybody is optimistic right now, but if we struggle out of the gate then we'll find out what kind of leadership we've got.

"If these young people learn how to compete, and I think they will, then we'll be all right. They'll be getting thrown to the wolves Friday night."

MTCS, coming off a 9-2 season and district championship, also will open the season at the home Friday when it hosts Ezell Harding.

"Last year is over and we've got new goals set," said MTCS coach Fred Shambaugh. "We've got young guys and they've got new goals that they want to accomplish.

"We went out and scrimmaged two tough opponents in Columbia Academy and Franklin Road. The kids are open and embracing (the challenge). We've got a team we have never beaten in Ezell, so if we can't get fired up for

Sports editor Monte Hale Jr. may be contacted at mhale@murfreesboropost.com

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