Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012 District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Preseason

In less than 24 hours, the 2012 high school football season will be underway. I've finally gotten a chance to evaluate each of the teams in district 3-AAA, and here are my thoughts going into Week 0:
  1. Oak Ridge - The Wildcats appear to be the team to beat in the district this season. A lot of talent returns on both offense and defense, with shifty athlete Rian Hall moving from the slot to the QB spot. This team should have a lot of talent in the backfield, a very balanced offense, and a solid defense. Opening game - At Farragut Friday night.
  2. Powell - The Panthers have a lot of talent to replace from last year's state runner-up team, but I expect another solid offensive season. Dustin McPhetridge is gone, but a very capable Hagen Owenby will replace him under center. The loss of Dy'shawn Mobley is huge, but look for the combo of Montario Washington and Ty'shawn Gardin to get the bulk of the carries. The big question mark on this team will be defense. An experienced secondary returns, but they are a young up the middle. Hosting Rhea County Friday night.
  3. Anderson County - The Mavericks could flip-flop positions with Powell, depending on their play early. This young team really missed Tanner Williams last season, but I expect them to be a more polished team offensively, with a lot more balance. The bigger question for the Mavs - Are they better defensively? They better be, if they want to compete with Oak Ridge and Powell. Hosting CAK Friday night.
  4. Karns - The middle tier in district 3-AAA is wide open, and the Beavers are looking to improve on their historic season last year. Toss up between Hardin Valley and Karns, but I think the Hawks have a lot more to replace in 2012. Hosting South Doyle Friday night.
  5. Hardin Valley - Dorian Eskridge is gone, and Aaron Blance is back at Webb. The Hawks weren't as good defensively as most thought they'd be last year, and they'll need to be solid early, while they find their offense. At Bearden Friday night.
  6. Campbell County - The Cougars could be the most improved team in the district, depending on how they replace Tuffy Shoupe. Hosting Seymour Friday night.
  7. Central - The Bobcats are still a very young team, but the combination of Josh Poplar and Xavier Johnson could be potent. This team still suffers from a lack of depth, especially on defense. At Catholic Friday night.
  8. Clinton - The Dragons showed improvement late in 2011, and they are looking to build on a near miss against Anderson County at the end of the season. Lots of work to do, but not quite as much to do as Halls. Hosting Dobyns-Bennett in Week 1. 
  9. Halls - The Red Devils have a lot of rebuilding to do. Lone win could come against Clinton, like last season. At Sevier County in Week 1. 
 
Other teams to watch out for in 5A (early title contenders):
  • Knox West
  • Lenoir City
  • Columbia
  • Henry County

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - After Week 9

  1. Powell (10-0) - For the first time in school history, the Panthers posted back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, shutting out Central 34-0 in their season finale. Powell remains #2 in the state. Dy'shawn Mobley inched closer to another school record, passing Andrew Tudor for the 2nd most rushing yards in a season. He needs 152 yards to break Derek Milligan's record (2,007 yards in 2002). The Panthers have a bye week before they host a first round playoff game. The Panthers toughest task will be playing the postseason without top DBs Jonathan Strozyk (torn ACL) and Jonathan Staggs (severe concussion).
    • Current playoff projection: Quad 1 (5A) - #1 seed (vs. #8 Anderson County)
  2. Oak Ridge (6-3) - OR is firing on all cylinders after pounding Clinton last week. The Wildcats locked up 2nd place in the district and an automatic playoff berth. They host Campbell County on senior night this Friday.
    • Current playoff projection: Quad 2 (6A)
  3. Karns (6-3) - Big game against HVA this week. A win would give the Beavers 7 wins, a rivalry win, an improved playoff seed, and keep the Hawks out of the playoffs.
    • Current playoff projection: Quad 1 (6A)
  4. Anderson County (4-5) - Crucial win against HVA. The defense really stepped up against Dorian Eskridge. Turnovers are still plaguing this team, but a win against Clinton should put the Mavericks into the playoffs.
    • Current playoff projection: Quad 1 (5A) - #8 seed (at #1 Powell)
  5. Hardin Valley (5-4) - The wheels are starting to fall off for HVA. This team is leaning heavily on Dorian Eskridge, and it cost them against AC, who slowed them down enough to get the win. As weak as district 3-AAA is, 5 wins likely won't get HVA into the postseason. The Hawks need to beat Karns to clinch a playoff berth.
  6. Central (2-7) - Completely shutdown against Powell. Cody Blanc had 8 carries for -14 yards and 3 catches for 1 yard against the Panther 1st team defense. Mobley outran him on 2 of his long TD runs. Big rivalry game against Halls this week.
  7. Campbell County (3-6) - Kudos to Tuffy Shoupe, who's had a great season, and who shredded the Halls defense last Friday night. Tough game at OR this week.
  8. Halls (1-8) - Completely embarassed by CC last week. Looking for a big win in the Battle of Black Oak Ridge against Central.
  9. Clinton (0-9) - Beating AC would be like winning the super bowl for the Dragons. Clinton would love nothing more than to get that elusive win and keep AC out of the playoffs.
5A Playoff Outlook

Here are my 5A playoff projections, based on my predictions for week 10. These are definitely subject to change, depending on this week's results:

Quad 1 (easiest quad)
1 Powell (favorite)
2 Morristown West
3 South-Doyle
4 Cherokee
5 Sullivan South
6 Morristown East
7 Daniel Boone
8 Anderson County

1st Round
AC at Powell
SS at Cherokee
Mo East at SD
DB at Mo West

Quad 2
1 Columbia
2 Tullahoma
3 Knox West (favorite)
4 Ooltewah
5 Shelbyville
6 Centennial
7 Lenoir City
8 Cleveland

1st Round
Cleveland at Columbia
Shelbyville at Ooltewah
Centennial at West
LC at Tullahoma

Quad 3
1 Antioch
2 Gallatin (favorite)
3 Hendersonville
4 Beech
5 Clarksville
6 Springfield
7 Glencliff
8 Station Camp

1st Round
SC at Antioch
Clarksville at Beech
Springfield at Hendersonville
Glencliff at Gallatin

Quad 4 (toughest quad)
1 Henry County (favorite)
2 Ridgeway
3 Dyer County
4 Memphis East
5 Craigmont
6 Clarksville Northeast
7 Hamilton
8 Munford

1st Round
Munford at HC
Craimont at ME
Clarksville NE at DC
Hamilton at Ridgeway

Monday, October 17, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - After Week 8

  1. Powell (9-0) - Moves up to #2 in the state, following the 69-13 drubbing of Campbell County. Lost in Dy'shawn Mobley's stellar season is the great year Dustin McPhetridge is having. He had his best game of the year against the Cougars, rushing for 182 yards and 4 TDs (on 7 carries), while passing for 164 yards and 3 TDs (5-for-5 passing). Clinched their 2nd consecutive district title, and travel to Central with another chance to finish the regular season 10-0.
  2. Oak Ridge (5-3) - The Wildcats have clearly positioned themselves as the #2 team in the district, following their 42-7 win over Hardin Valley. One more win and the Wildcats should be a lock for the postseason. Should have no problems against Clinton and CC. Watch out for OR in the 6A playoffs.
  3. Hardin Valley (5-3) - Struggled both offensively and defensively against OR. This team relies solely on Dorian Eskridge on offense. They'll need him to come up big the next two weeks against Anderson County and Karns. The Hawks likely need one more win to clinch a playoff berth.
  4. Karns (6-3) - For the first time in 37 years, the Beavers will have a winning season, after edging AC 28-20. The win likely punched a playoff ticket for Karns. The Beavers would love to get the first playoff win in school history this November. Off this week, but a big game against HVA the following week.
  5. Anderson County (3-5) - The defense played a bit better against Karns, but they weren't good enough. The Mavs have a crucial game against HVA this week. A 6th loss would likely knock AC out of the playoffs.
  6. Halls (1-7) - Winable game against CC this week, before the Battle of Black Oak Ridge next week.
  7. Central (2-6) - Big test at home against Powell this week, before the Battle of Black Oak Ridge next week.
  8. Campbell County (2-6) - An injured Tuffy Shoupe played an impressive first half, but the Cougars just don't have the horses to hang with Powell. Looking for their 3rd win of the season against Halls this week.
  9. Clinton (0-8) - Could be a very ugly night for the Dragons at OR this week. Last chance for a win comes next week against AC.
Top 5 title contenders:
  • Powell
  • Knox West
  • Columbia
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East
Other contenders:
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
  • Ridgeway

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 7

  1. Powell (8-0) - Remains #3 in the state. Starters didn't play a down in the second half against Clinton, cruising 49-7. Powell hosts Campbell County this week. Panthers shouldn't face another tough test until the playoffs.
  2. Oak Ridge (4-3) - Impressive win against Karns, 35-14. Game really wasn't as close as the score indicated, as the OR defense dominated for 3+ quarters. Zullinger appears to have a sprained shoulder, and may be out for this week's game at Hardin Valley.
  3. Hardin Valley (5-2) - Dominated Halls, 37-12. Big game against OR this week, with the winner likely earning the #2 spot in district and an automatic playoff berth.
  4. Karns (5-3) - Struggled to get going against OR, until the game was out of hand. Huge game against Anderson County this week. A win gets the Beavers their first winning season since 1974.
  5. Anderson County (3-4) - How will the defense fair against Karns? The Mavs need to win 2 more games to make the playoffs. Should get one against Clinton, but will face 2 tough defenses (Karns and HVA) along the way.
  6. Halls (1-7) - Crushed by HVA last week. The Devils have the week off, before finishing the season against CC and Central.
  7. Central (2-6) - The offense came alive again, as the Bobcats cruised against CC. Central is playing their best football of the year so far. Off this week, before finishing the season against Powell and Halls.
  8. Campbell County (2-5) - Thumped by Central, 34-7. The Cougars had a tough matchup with Powell this Friday.
  9. Clinton (0-8) - Fortunately, the Dragons have a week off. They are a young team and will be better next season. Travels to OR next Thursday.
Top 5 title contenders:
  • Powell
  • Knox West
  • Columbia
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East
Other contenders:
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
  • Ridgeway

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 6

  1. Powell (7-0) - Cruised against Hardin Valley, but dropped to #3 in the state. Another huge offensive performance for Mobley/McPhetridge, while the Powell defense held HVA to under 200 total yards. Powell plays at winless Clinton this week. Panthers shouldn't face another tough test until the first Friday of November.
  2. Oak Ridge (3-3) - Throttled Anderson County last week. Zullinger's return gave the Wildcats a big lift. Huge game at Karns this Friday, followed by a trip to HVA, both with playoff implications.
  3. Hardin Valley (4-2) - Overmatched against Powell. Outside of a brilliant TD run by Eskridge early in the 1st quarter, the Hawks couldn't get anything going against the Panthers. Travel to Halls this week, with big games against OR and Karns looming.
  4. Karns (5-2) - Found their offense against Halls, and annihilated the Devils. As good as the Karns defense has been, this team could really be dangerous, now that their offense appears to be coming around. Another win guarantees the Beavers their first winning season since 1974, and could even lock up a playoff spot. Tough game against OR this week, followed by AC and HVA.
  5. Anderson County (3-4) - Blown out by OR. This team just can't seem to play any defense. The Mavericks have a week off before they head to Karns. The Mavs need to win at least 2 more games to have a shot at the playoffs. Should get one against Clinton, but will face 2 tough defenses (Karns and HVA) along the way.
  6. Halls (1-6) - Just when it looked like this team was turning the corner, they lay an egg against Karns. Still not sure what to make of this team, especially after last week. Tough game against HVA this week.
  7. Campbell County (2-4) - The Cougars still have a couple of winable games left to play (Central and Halls). Big game against the Bobcats this week.
  8. Central (1-6) - Got just enough offense to get their first win, against a winless Clinton squad. Plays CC this week, with a chance to extend the winning streak to 2 games.
  9. Clinton (0-7) - Barring some sort of miracle, this should be a winless season for the Dragons. Host Powell this week.
Top 5 title contenders:
  • Powell
  • Knox West
  • Columbia
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East
Other contenders:
  • Morristown West
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
"Overrated" teams in 5A
  • Ridgeway
  • Dyer County
Sleeper teams in 5A
  • Lenoir City
  • Cleveland (figured something out against Red Bank)

Monday, September 26, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 5

  1. Powell (6-0) - Remains ranked #2 in the state. Panthers rolled over Karns, building a 40-7 lead early in the 4th quarter. Mobley's stats (through 6 games): 87 carries, 1140 yards, 19 TDs. The Panthers last big test of the regular season is this Friday, hosting Hardin Valley with first place on the line.
  2. Hardin Valley (4-1) - Held off Central last week, 24-14. Hawks have yet to hit their stride offensively. Still not sure what happened against Heritage, otherwise this team would be unbeaten. Battle the Panthers for first place in the district this week.
  3. Oak Ridge (2-3) - Couldn't get anything going against Maryville, which wasn't a shock. The Wildcats need Zullinger back in a big way, but he still hasn't been cleared to play. Big game at Anderson County this week.
  4. Karns (4-2) - Came back down to earth after getting crushed by Powell. The Beaver defense still looks good, but the offense just isn't there. Intriguing game with an improving Halls team this week.
  5. Anderson County (3-3) - Won a close shootout against Halls. Still has yet to stop anyone defensively, which will likely cost them against OR this Friday.
  6. Halls (1-5) - Came up short against AC. The offensive is definitely improving, but the defense just isn't there. Tough game against Karns this week.
  7. Campbell County (2-4) - Big win against Clinton. The Cougar offense is starting to click the 2 games. Off this week.
  8. Central (0-6) - Still can't seem to find any offense. The Bobcat defense continues to keep games close, but if you can't score, you can't win. Hosts Clinton this Friday, so someone gets their first win of the season.
  9. Clinton (0-6) - Edged by CC, which was their best chance for a win. Travel to Central this week, with one more chance for that elusive first win.
Other teams to watch out for in 5A (early title contenders):
  • Morristown West
  • Knox West
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
  • Columbia
  • Clarksville NE
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

District 3-AAA Power Rankings - Week 4

  1. Powell (5-0) - Ranked #2 in the state, and still looks like a title contender. Looked very focused in their blowout win at Anderson County. Hosts Karns this week.
  2. Oak Ridge (2-2) - Struggled against Halls, but scored 2 TDs late to put the game away. Look for Zullinger to return soon. Tough test against Maryville this week.
  3. Hardin Valley (3-1) - Edged a bad Campbell County squad, 26-20. The Hawks have been Jekyll/Hyde so far this season, but are still a talented bunch. Should get back on track this week against Central.
  4. Karns (4-1) - Big win against Central - only their second win over the Bobcats in school history. Hard to believe that this is the same team that looked awful against South Doyle in week 0. The Beavers found a way to slow down Powell's offense last season. We'll see if they are up to the task again on Friday.
  5. Anderson County (2-3) - Crushed by the Panthers. This team really lacks a defense, but as bad as the bottom half of the district is, AC should easily earn a playoff spot. Hosts Halls this week.
  6. Halls (1-4) - Impressive performance against OR for 3+ quarters, but the defense just couldn't hold up. Tough test against AC this week.
  7. Central (0-5) - The Bobcats still can't find any offense, recording 57 total yards of offense and scoring just 3 offensive points against Karns. Thankfully, they've played great defense this year, which keeps them out of my bottom two. Things won't get any easier at Hardin Valley this week.
  8. Campbell County (1-4) - Surprising effort against Hardin Valley. Winable game at Clinton this Friday.
  9. Clinton (0-5) - Blown out by Knox Central (KY). Failed to score any offensive points. Best chance for a win comes this week against CC.
Hard to believe that one of the bottom four teams will earn an automatic playoff spot.

Other teams to watch out for in 5A (early title contenders):
  • Morristown West
  • Knox West
  • Tullahoma
  • Gallatin
  • Columbia
  • Clarksville NE 
  • Henry County
  • Memphis East