Thursday, Aug. 25
Red Bank (0-0) at Soddy-Daisy (0-1)
The kickoff: 7:30
Coaches: Red Bank's Tim Daniels, Soddy-Daisy's Kevin Orr
Interesting stats/facts: Though his team played last Friday, this second game of the season will be Orr's first along the sidelines. He missed last week, suspended for a game because some of his extra players left the sidelines during a 7-on-7 scrimmage. ... The Trojans are coming off a shutout loss to Baylor and will have short work week to recuperate and prepare while Red Bank will be in its opener. ... The Lions have several players who will miss a series, a quarter, a half and maybe even this first game. They came up short on their end of a contract with head coach Tim Daniels regarding academics.
What to watch: The Trojans' Cedric Edwards was held below 100 yards by Baylor, but he is one of the quickest running backs in the area and should be a test even for the quick Red Bank defense. ... A definite key for Soddy-Daisy could be whether or not receiver/defensive back Talon Harris (shoulder) is back on the field. Harris is among the speediest receivers in town. ... Keep an eye on Red Bank's quarterback situation and whether the Lions go to a rotation between junior Hagen Wilkey and senior Niquia McDuffie.
Friday, Aug. 26
Baylor (1-0) at Bradley Central (1-0)
The kickoff: 7:30
Coaches: Baylor's Phil Massey, Bradley Central's Damon Floyd
Interesting stats/facts: Teams haven't played since 2000 when Baylor captured a 38-31 shootout. Bradley won in 1999 by a 32-9 margin. That 2000 team, then coached by Bill Price, made it to the third round of the playoffs before falling to eventual state champion Red Bank. Baylor's coach in 2000 was David Bibee, now an assistant at MTSU. ... Both teams won last week, Baylor 48-0 over Soddy-Daisy and Bradley 34-12 over Polk County.
What to watch: Bradley must be mindful of the Red Raiders' offensive balance, keyed by quarterback Matthew Oellerich and running backs George Porter, Connor Davidson, Mike Davis and Houston Clements. Bradley's offense might be pass-minded between quarterback Bryce Copeland and receiver James Stovall but running back Justin Houston had a 100-yard rushing performance last week.
Cleveland (0-1) at Knox Catholic (1-0)
The kickoff: 7:30
Coaches: Cleveland's E.K. Slaughter, Catholic's Scott Meadows
Interesting stats/facts: Meadows spent four seasons at William Blount (25-20) in Maryville before taking the job at Catholic. ... Slaughter played at Notre Dame when Dickie Sompayrac, now Catholic's principal, was an assistant to then coach Lamar Brown. Sompayrac said he remembered staying often after practice with Slaughter so Slaughter could do bear crawls but he didn't say what E.K. had done to earn the "extra duty." ... Catholic, which competes in a district with the likes of Farragut and Maryville, went 7-5 last year. ... Cleveland was also in the playoffs. ... The 21-0 shutout loss to Alcoa on Saturday marked the first time a Slaughter team had been blanked in his head coaching career. It also was the first time Cleveland had been held scoreless since a 2004 playoff loss to Powell. ... Catholic beat Knox Central 21-14.
What to watch: Every opponent is mindful of Blue Raiders QB Chad Voytik but the team could well have a better defense than what was anticipated in the preseason. Too, Slaughter wasn't devastated by last week's loss but rather most encouraged by what he saw on the field and on the sidelines from you sophomore-laden team. If they see tape of the game, Catholic's offensive staff will certainly notice linebacker Jesse Jones.
East Hamilton (0-1) at Ooltewah (1-0)
The kickoff: 7:30
Coaches: East Hamilton's Ted Gatewood, Ooltewah's Shannon Williams
Interesting stats/facts: This is a homecoming for Gatewood, who was the head coach at Ooltewah from 1997-2004 and took the Owls to the state semis in 2001. He also came back after a stint in private business and worked a couple of years under Benny Monroe who resigned after the 2009 season and was replaced by Williams, another of his assistants. ... East Hamilton is coming off a 34-13 loss to Signal Mountain while Ooltewah pasted Brainerd 41-7 after falling behind 7-0 on the game's first play from scrimmage.
What to watch: See if the Hurricanes continue with their two-quarterback system (Chris Moore and Hunter Moore). Linebacker Jay Rudwall is a defensive key for the Owls and he'll be hunting East Hamilton running back Logan Jackson. Hurricanes are big up front. Keep an eye on Owls receiver/defensive back Michael Creech.
Polk County (0-1) at Central (0-0)
The kickoff: 7:30
Coaches: Polk's Derrick Davis, Central's John Allen
Interesting stats/facts: Though both programs have been around for years, this is the first meeting between the two teams. ... Polk, which lost last week to Bradley Central, hasn't suffered back-to-back losses since 2007 (Sweetwater, Howard). ... Central has opened with a win in five straight seasons.
What to watch: Expect a physical game with two teams that prefer to run the football. ... Central didn't look anywhere near polished offensively in a jamboree loss, making a big play but then giving up the yardage on a penalty or a busted assignment. ... Both teams have some size up front but Allen, in his first year at the Pounders' helm, was talking about a different platoon of players for offense, for defense and for special teams. Polk's squad numbers about 60, more than 30 less than what the Pounders have for daily practices.
Tyner (0-0) at Signal Mountain (1-0)
The kickoff: 7
Coaches: Tyner's Wayne Turner, Signal Mountain's Bill Price
Interesting stats/facts: Signal Mountain's win streak now stands at 15 following last week's home win over East Hamilton. ... Although the game matches a pair of coaching veterans, Turner and Price have never coached against each other. ... Signal bested East Hamilton 34-13 despite 80-plus yards in penalties and having two TDs called back. Both of those scores came from senior wideout Will Queen, one of a punt return and the other on a 40-yard pass from junior quarterback Reese Phillips. ... A member of Price's staff is former Rams head coach Ernie McCarson.
What to watch: Phillips will have another target this week as senior Jon Patton gets on the field following a one-game suspension. He'll join Queen as the primary deep threats. ... See how deep Price goes in the running back rotation. Last week it numbered more than a half-dozen led by Tim McClendon, Zack Bowman and Andrew Price. ... Tyner has size and experience on both sides of the ball but depth could be an issue and Turner also was looking at a two- or even three-man rotation at quarterback.
The rest of the schedule:
Bledsoe County (1-0) at Marion County (0-1), 8
Brainerd (0-1) at Rhea County (0-1)
Boyd-Buchanan (1-0) at East Ridge (1-0)
Copper Basin (1-0) at Sunbright (1-0)
Grace Academy (0-1) at Cannon County (0-1), 7
Grundy County (1-0) at South Pittsburg (0-1), 8
Hixson (0-0) at Walker Valley (0-1)
Lookout Valley (1-0) at Chattanooga Christian (0-1)
McMinn County (1-0) at McCallie (0-0)
Meigs County (1-0) at Sequatchie County (1-0), 8
Notre Dame (1-0) at McMinn Central (0-1)
Silverdale Baptist (0-1) at Community
Whitwell (0-1) at Midway (0-1)
North Jackson at Madison Academy, 8
North Sand Mountain at Ohatchee, 8
Springville at Fort Payne, 8
Valley Head at Ider (Saturday), 8
Northwest Whitfield at Lambert
Southeast Whitfield at Murray County
Dalton at Calhoun
Chattooga at LaFayette
Ridgeland at Adairsville
Lakeview-F.O. vs. Ringgold at Finley Stadium
North Murray at Heritage
Dade County at Gordon Lee (1-0)
Gordon Central at Model
Armuchee at Trion
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...