published Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Tonight's greater Chattanooga area high school football matchups

All games kick off at 7:30 EDT unless noted

East Hamilton Hurricanes at Signal Mountain Eagles, 7

Storyline: The Hurricanes opened what would be a very good 2012 season (11-2) with a shocking and surprisingly easy (55-14) victory over the Eagles. East Hamilton will find out quickly if RB Matt Milita is a capable replacement for graduated Logan Jackson, the young school's all-time leading rusher. The Hurricanes have a college-bound QB (Central Arkansas) in Hunter Moore. Signal will rotate seven RBs: Diamez Franklin, James McClellan, Caleb Menzel, Nathan Johnson, Cale Shelton, Hunter Vandyken and Skye Wilson.

Boyd-Buchanan Buccaneers at Red Bank Lions

Storyline: The Bucs defense disappointed coach Grant Reynolds at the jamboree last week although he's replacing 10 of 11 unit starters from 2012. That lone returnee is Jim Cardwell, who also gives them a huge offensive spark at QB. Red Bank is breaking out a new offense -- more option with rookie QB starter Mike Robinson -- after using more spread a year ago.

Howard Hustlin' Tigers at Baylor Red Raiders

Storyline: Nick Tiano is the Red Raiders' starting QB, but coach Phil Massey surely will start breaking in a No. 2 if the chance presents itself. RB George Porter should alleviate some of the pressure. The Tigers are short on depth and will rely on QB/DB Terrance Brooks, RB/LB Kentarius Hampton and WR/DB Lorenzo McCauley. These programs haven't met since 1992, a 35-6 Baylor victory.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Knoxville Catholic Irish Fighting Irish

Storyline: The schools haven't met in football since 2004, a 42-7 Catholic win. An up-tempo offense behind RB/WR Kareem Orr and QB Alex Darras are key for Notre Dame. Catholic has abandoned the wing-T for an up-tempo spread offense thanks to first-year coach Steve Matthews, a former University of Tennessee QB signee who transferred to Memphis before a pro career.

Bledsoe County Warriors at Cumberland County Jets, 8

Storyline: Bledsoe opened the 2012 season with a win over the Jets, whose last winning season was 2002 (8-3). The Warriors struggled after that win last year, winning just one more game. Coach Jason Reel is hoping RB Bradley Smith and WR Nathaniel Collins can help turn that around.

Sequatchie County Indians at Community Vikings, 8

Storyline: Community is looking for its first winning season in at least five years and is coming off a 4-6 season. First-year Sequatchie coach Ken Colquette will be taking his Dunlap team slightly more than 200 miles and close to four hours on a bus to play the Class 2A Vikings. He'll be looking for QB Dylan Harvey, RB Blake Cates and SE Brad Thompson to get the Indians off to a quick start.

Walker Valley Mustangs at East Ridge Pioneers

Storyline: Both East Ridge coach Tracy Malone and Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan are entering their second seasons at these schools. The Pioneers will have an opportunity to test their new 4-2-5 defensive scheme, but it will come against a wing-T offense that led the Mustangs to the playoffs last season.

Bradley Central Bears at Polk County Wildcats

Storyline: The key to this game is Zach Miller. The game will hinge on the amount of the production the workhorse Polk fullback has against the Bears' defense. A big game for him limits the Bradley offense's time on the field, but if he is held in check, the Bears will have opportunities for backs Logan Fetzner and Baylor Terrell and receivers Dee Crisp and Cal Pickel to make plays.

McMinn Central Chargers at McMinn County Cherokees

Storyline: This county rivalry has been one-sided the past few seasons, with the Cherokees winning the last three meetings by an average of 26 points. It could be closer this season as the hosts replace six of their defensive front seven from a year ago and must try to control Chargers back Denzel Boyd. The Cherokees return some weapons on offense, however -- namely, quarterback Corbin Powers and tailback Dre Sanders.

Ooltewah Owls at Brainerd Panthers

Storyline: Each program is ushering in the era of a new coach with Mac Bryan at District 5-AAA's Ooltewah and Brian Gwyn at District 6-AA's Brainerd. Bryan inherits a bigger squad, and the Owls also return their leading passer in 2012 in Brody Binder and leading rusher in Desmond Pittman. Gwyn must decide the best way to use athlete Sam Caffey and fill in from there.

Chattanooga Christian Chargers at Grace Academy Golden Eagles

Storyline: These teams are looking to get off to better starts than in their openers last year, when they both wound up 2-8. Both teams see this as a winnable game. The Chargers don't have many seniors but do have some experienced players, and Grace returns running backs Will Slack and Dequan Hughes, who teamed to rush for more than 1,000 yards last year.

Lookout Valley Yellow Jackets at Silverdale Baptist Academy Seahawks

Storyline: Both teams were state-playoff participants last year, Lookout Valley in Class 1A and the Seahawks in 2A. Silverdale returns more players from last year's squad, but graduated quarterback Spencer Mossburg leaves a leadership void to be filled. The Jackets' only shutout loss last year was to SBA.

Coalfield Yellow Jackets at Copper Basin Cougars

Storyline: Copper Basin has some spots to fill from last year's 8-4 second-round playoff team, most particularly at quarterback. Also, returning 1,000-yard rusher Denzel Brown may have a couple of freshmen blocking for him at times. The Cougars can only hope Coalfield is rebuilding after an 11-2 season in which it lost to eventual champion Gordonsville in a Class 1A state semifinal.

Ringgold Tigers at Dalton Catamounts

Storyline: The only game tonight in northwest Georgia matches two teams with several returning stars. Ringgold returns 10 offensive starters, including three-year starting quarterback Slade Dale and a huge offensive line that Dalton coach Matt Land calls the key to the game. The Catamounts have several starters with injury issues, including tailback Kelvis Rhodes, but Land said none have been ruled out of the game.

about Ward Gossett...

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 ...

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