published Friday, October 4th, 2013

Runningback Desmond Pittman's status uncertain for Ooltewah Owls

Ooltewah's Desmond Pittman (3) attempts to break free from East Hamilton defenders during the first half.
Ooltewah's Desmond Pittman (3) attempts to break free from East Hamilton defenders during the first half.
Photo by Dan Henry.

Ooltewah running back Desmond Pittman will be a game-time decision for the Class 5A fourth-ranked Owls tonight against Bradley Central.

Pittman, who is second in the area in rushing with 956 yards and 10 touchdowns, sustained a leg injury in the second quarter of last week's 10-3 victory over Dobyns-Bennett. He had 60 yards at the time of his injury.

"We're going to check Desmond out during pregame warmups and see if he can go. We'll make a decision from there," coach Mac Bryan said Thursday. "If he can't go, we have a number of guys that we would use, and we can change them out throughout the game if necessary."

Brandon Byrd, who has 123 yards rushing this season, could be the main ball carier if Pittman can't play.

Raiders' Massey out

Cleveland will play tonight without junior outside linebacker Austin Massey, who was injured last week against Knoxville West. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Massey, also the team's backup quarterback, has 17 tackles and a caused fumble this season for the seventh-ranked Blue Raiders, who visit third-ranked East Hamilton tonight.

Raiders coach Ron Crawford said that junior Rod Dennard will take over Massey's position.

Bucs aim to end skid

After five weeks of playing opponents from larger classifications, Boyd-Buchanan will welcome getting to face a team its own size tonight, traveling to Grace Academy for a District 5-A matchup.

The Buccaneers (1-4) have lost four straight, but two of those were by four points or less, including last week's 16-12 defeat at unbeaten Donelson Christian Academy. Although this is the worst start to a season since 2006, when the Bucs began 0-6 before rebounding to reach the second round of the playoffs, they have won all six previous meetings with Grace by an average margin of 35 points.

The schedule doesn't get much easier to finish out the season, as the Bucs host Class 1A's second-ranked South Pittsburg next week and also play Sequatchie County and state-ranked Silverdale Baptist after a game against winless Copper Basin.

Sonoraville 'scary'

When two players go off as Sonoraville's Andrew Slaton and Cody Long have the past two weeks, opposing coaches tend to take notice. The duo have rushed for nearly 800 combined yards in two Region 5-AAA wins.

"After watching film of their last two games, they are one of the best running teams we have seen," said Ringgold coach Robert Akins, whose Tigers will match 2-0 league records with the Phoenix tonight. "When you've got the 100-meter track champion in your backfield (Slaton), it's scary, and the quarterback (Long) is also good at getting extra yards. The key will be getting a hat on a hat up front."

Akins reported that D.L. Goins, Ringgold's second leading rusher coming off a three-touchdown game, was on crutches this week and likely is out for the game.

about Stephen Hargis...

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 ...

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