Friday, Nov. 15
TSSAA playoffs (second round)
Baylor (7-4) at Montgomery Bell (9-1)
McCallie (4-7) at Memphis Univ. School (8-2)
Moore County (6-5) at South Pittsburg (9-1)
Silverdale Baptist (10-1) at Hampton (7-3)
Marion County (9-2) at Boyd-Buchanan (4-6)
Tyner (5-6) at Upperman (11-0)
Notre Dame (8-3) at Polk County (9-2)
Knox Catholic (8-3) at Signal Mountain (8-3)
Sequoyah (9-2) at Hixson (8-3)
Cleveland (8-3) at Rhea County (9-1)
East Hamilton (9-2) at Ooltewah (9-2)
Alexander at Dalton
Northwest Whitfield at Carrollton
North Hall at Ringgold
Sonoraville at Buford
Kendrick at Calhoun
Manchester at Dade County
Need to add the Georgia teams once the bracket is out
If familiarity does in fact breed contempt, the second round of the TSSAA football playoffs is set up to be one cold-hearted Friday night.
There's certainly a familiar feel to this week's matchups as four games involve Chattanooga-area teams going against each other. Another, Baylor at Montgomery Bell Academy, is a rematch from the third week of the regular season.
In the Class 5A bracket, East Hamilton travels to neighborhood rival Ooltewah while Rhea County hosts Cleveland. In 3A, Notre Dame travels to Polk County, and in 2A, Boyd-Buchanan hosts Marion County. Both Ooltewah and Polk County claimed two-point regular-season wins over their second-round opponents.
This also will be the first round of the Georgia state playoffs, with six area teams qualifying so far. The Class A bracket will be released Wednesday.
"The old saying 'It's hard to beat a good team twice' is very true," Ooltewah coach Mac Bryan said. "But you have to play good teams in the playoffs, regardless of who it is.
"It should be a full house again and a great atmosphere. Games like this one are what high school football is all about."
Ooltewah is ranked No. 7 in the final state poll and East Hamilton is No. 8. The Hurricanes have not yet beaten the Owls in program history. In their first meeting the Owls got 264 yards on 30 tough carries by Desmond Pittman and held on late thanks to an interception. However, Pittman is no longer on the team, and in his place Ooltewah has turned to freshman Omari Kendrick, who ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns in a 40-point opening-round win.
Cleveland (No. 5) and Rhea County (No. 6) also are ranked among 5A's top teams, but because Rhea's Eagles changed districts this season, this will be the first meeting since their two-point win in the final game of the 2012 regular season, a loss that ultimately cost the Blue Raiders a playoff spot.
Cleveland was very impressive in a 34-point road win over White County in the first round. By having four teams remaining in the same quad, the area is guaranteed to have a 5A team reach the semifinals.
Notre Dame has won four straight games since the two-point loss at Polk County, scoring 34-plus points in three of those. In their first meeting, the Wildcats built a 12-0 lead before holding off a late Irish rally. The teams were closely matched that Polk County outgained Notre Dame by just 1 yard in total offense.
"Naturally for us this is a shot to correct some mistakes and see where we are now," Irish coach Charles Fant said. "It's all about taking the next step for us. We reached the second round last year, and now that we're back to that point again, we want to make that progression to the next round."
After having a week-one bye, thanks to winning its district title, Boyd-Buchanan will be tested by Marion County, which boasts one of the area's top rushing attacks, led by all-state runner Blake Zeman.
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...