(All kickoffs at 7:30 EDT unless noted)
McCALLIE BLUE TORNADO (3-2, 1-0) at ENSWORTH TIGERS (4-0, 2-0)
Storyline: The Blue Tornado are facing their second straight defending state champion. McCallie lost last week to Kentucky champ Bowling Green, 40-36. After a 3-0 start on wins over Cleveland, McMinn County and Pope John Paul II, McCallie has lost two straight. The Blue Tornado have never beaten Ensworth, whose average margin of victory the last three games has been 43 points.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN EAGLES (4-1) at BRADLEY CENTRAL BEARS (3-1)
Storyline: Bill Price returns to a school where he coached for five seasons (1998-2002) and does so with a much-heralded rushing attack. The Bears had some success last week stopping the run but must continue to progress in that area against the Eagles, who have run the ball on nearly 90 percent of their plays this season. Offensively, Bradley will look to QB Brett Standifer and their other top playmakers to make things happen.
DOBYNS-BENNETT INDIANS (3-2) at OOLTEWAH OWLS (4-1)
Storyline: There is no break for the Owls, who after their emotional win over rival East Hamilton on Friday now entertain a dangerous Indians team. Ooltewah has relied a ton on senior RB Desmond Pittman, who is averaging almost 180 yards rushing per game -- but the Owls defense will be tested in trying to stop QB Josh Holt and the Kingsport team's potent perimeter game.
CLEVELAND BLUE RAIDERS (4-1) at KNOXVILLE WEST REBELS (3-1)
Storyline: This will be a battle of the defenses, as the Blue Raiders face a West team that runs a split-veer offense, with three primary options -- Nathan Cottrell, Seth Marshal and Justin Hodge -- capable of making plays in the run game. The Rebels' 3-4 defense will try to stop a Cleveland attack averaging 460.4 yards and 40.8 points per game.
SODDY-DAISY TROJANS (2-2) AT TYNER RAMS (0-4)
Storyline: Few teams have faced a tougher schedule to start the season than the Rams, who have faced three state-ranked foes whose combined record is 15-4. But Tyner is plenty athletic enough to bounce back and reach the playoffs. The Trojans also are battle tested, having played a couple of state-ranked opponents as well, and will try to continue building confidence under first-year coach Justin Barnes before heading back into a tough district schedule. Hunter Maynor leads a Soddy-Daisy offense that can be tricky to stop.
WALKER VALLEY MUSTANGS (3-2) at POLK COUNTY WILDCATS (3-1)
Storyline: The Mustangs are coming off a loss to Bradley Central and facing this week another team they have never defeated. They have four backs, led by Tanner Dillard and Holt Spencer, with more than 20 carries. Chris Wimberley, the Wildcats' solo tackles leader, is questionable to play because of a shoulder injury. Their rushing leader, Zach Miller, had his 100-yard game streak ended at 13 by McMinn Central last week.
RED BANK LIONS (2-3) at RHEA COUNTY GOLDEN EAGLES (3-1)
Storyline: This is the teams' first meeting since the 2008 season. The Golden Eagles won that one 9-6 on the way to a 10-3 year under Jason Fitzgerald. Dimitrius Patterson leads them in scoring with 42 points, and he averages 8.9 yards per carry.
SWEETWATER WILDCATS (3-1) at SILVERDALE BAPTIST ACADEMY SEAHAWKS (5-0)
Storyline: This may be SBA's toughest task to date. Seahawks coach Al Rogers doesn't plan on wavering from their ball-control approach offensively but admits Sweetwater is a little bigger from tackle to tackle, which could make it tougher. Things may be even more interesting when the Wildcats have the ball. They average 34 points per game, while Silverdale allows 3.8.
McMINN CENTRAL CHARGERS (1-4) at MEIGS COUNTY TIGERS (1-3)
Storyline: These teams mirror each other in ball-possession type offenses, and they've also mirrored each other so far by committing costly mistakes, particularly with penalties at crucial times. Ultimately, this one may be more about execution than game-planning.
BOYD-BUCHANAN BUCCANEERS (1-3) at DONELSON CHRISTIAN ACADEMY WILDCATS (5-0)
Storyline: Boyd-Buchanan entered the year feeling good about its offense operating behind a veteran quarterback. But concerns abounded on defense with so many new faces. And those concerns have been validated by the Bucs' rugged early-season schedule. The Wildcats, who have scored more than 40 points four times, only add to the difficulties for a defense giving up 30 points per game.
GRACE ACADEMY GOLDEN EAGLES (1-3) at EAGLEVILLE EAGLES (4-1)
Storyline: Grace coach Bob Ateca is concerned about whether his group can match the Eagles' physical play up front. The Golden Eagles, who have scored 87 points thus far, will try to find which of their multiple formations can best help them attack Eagleville's 50 defense. Lack of field position has often plagued Grace, which had its full team at practice for the first time Tuesday.
LOUDON REDSKINS (0-5) at EAST RIDGE PIONEERS (3-2)
Storyline: Health and fear are key words at East Ridge this week. The Pioneers are as healthy as they've been since their season opener, but the coaching staff spent all week emphasizing the need to play their A-game against the winless Redskins. "We're not good enough yet to just walk out there and beat somebody," coach Tracy Malone said. However, Loudon's closest shot at winning was a seven-point loss to previously winless Howard.
BRAINERD PANTHERS (0-5) at AUSTIN-EAST ROADRUNNERS (0-5)
Storyline: It's a something's-got-to-give game. The Roadrunners have given up 50-plus points in four of their five losses, and their closest brush with a win was a 28-12 loss to Sweetwater on Sept. 13. The Panthers have given up 35 or more in four of their losses but came within a field goal of a win against Red Bank on Sept. 6. The Panthers' LaTony Word, Gequan Ladmon and Kevin Albert have been invited to attend Saturday's LSU-Georgia game in Athens.
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN CHARGERS (2-2) at WHITE COUNTY WARRIORS (4-1)
Storyline: The Chargers have settled in with Jared Miller at QB while Zach Mercer played a lot at running back. The defense, led by Tucker Youngblood and Austin Mansell, has come up with at least two takeaways every game. White County is predominantly a running offense, featuring Blake Lynn and River Boruff.
HIXSON WILDCATS (3-2) at LIVINGSTON ACADEMY WILDCATS (1-3), 8
Storyline: The Wildcats are coming off their first win (14-7 over Macon County), but this game will be their home opener. They'll have to contend with a potent Hixson running game that features Isaiah Robinson and Kedrick Bradley. They combine to average 230.8 yards per game. Livingston depends on its passing game -- QB Caleb Qualls to primarily Wade Eldridge. The Wildcats' top RB is Jordan Savage. Hixson has won both of its road games to date, but the trek to Livingston (110 miles) will be its longest of the regular season.
HOWARD HUSTLIN' TIGERS (1-3) at GREATER ATLANTA CHRISTIAN SPARTANS (4-0)
Storyline: GAC is ranked second in Georgia and is averaging 47.5 points per game. The Spartans have allowed just 47 points total. They're a passing team with returning starters at QB, WR and both RB spots. Howard's defensive scheme will be aligned accordingly with coach Michael Calloway working his guys hard on adjustments that will allow the Tigers to get all of their best athletes on the field at the same time.
SALE CREEK PANTHERS (0-4) at TELLICO PLAINS BEARS (3-2)
Storyline: It's a struggle in their first year of varsity competition but the Panthers continue trying for the school's first win. They're averaging a touchdown per game behind Cody Daniel, Cody Heard and Vince Roddy. Defensive leader Chris Huffman has 22 tackles and two fumbles caused.
BLEDSOE COUNTY WARRIORS (1-4) AT LOOKOUT VALLEY YELLOW JACKETS (0-4)
Storyline: It's a chance for one of these teams to grab some needed momentum before going back into district play. Already thin in numbers before the season started, the Yellow Jackets have been plagued by injury, but they finally got QB Evan Walker back last week and will need big plays from him and athlete Jaylen Wynn, while the Warriors look to rely more on the running of Joseph Gore and Bradley Smith.
SEQUATCHIE COUNTY INDIANS (3-1) AT MARION COUNTY WARRIORS (4-1)
Storyline: Any time legendary former Marion boss Ken Colquette returns to Jasper, it's a big deal. Even though this is not a district game, it's an old valley rivalry with a lot of pride on the line. Both teams rely on a heavy dose of running the ball, the Indians led by the trio of Keith Billingsley, Blake Cates and Dylan Harvey, while Marion has one of the area's top battering-ram rushers in all-state junior Blake Zeman. Logan Walters has also become a dangerous dual-threat at WB for the Warriors.
SOUTH PITTSBURG PIRATES (4-1) AT GRUNDY COUNTY YELLOW JACKETS (1-4)
Storyline: Since a Week 2 loss to Hixson, the Pirates seem to be finding their stride under new coach Tim Moore. The defense has allowed each of the last three opponents eight or fewer points, while new QB Kitt Grider now gives balance to an offense led by RBs Jajuan Lankford and Kahlil Mitchell, each averaging more than 100 rushing yards per game. Meanwhile Grundy County is reeling, having been outscored an average of 49-7 the last three weeks.
WHITWELL TIGERS (1-4) AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE CHRISTIAN COUGARS (4-1)
Storyline: After going winless last season, the Cougars are off to a fast start this year thanks to 15 returning starters and an offensive line in which each starter weighs at least 215 pounds. The Tigers have relied heavily on their running tandem of backfield brothers Dusty and Clay McHone and Cody Ingrassia. This is a much-needed nondistrict win if Whitwell hopes to reach the playoffs.
COAHULLA CREEK COLTS (1-3, 0-1) at CARTERSVILLE PURPLE HURRICANES (4-0, 1-0)
Storyline: Cartersville must have known what it was doing when it scheduled the Colts for homecoming. Coahulla Creek has lost three straight games, and none were close. Hurricanes quarterback Brooks Barden was nearly perfect last week.
COOSA EAGLES (2-2, 0-1) at CALHOUN YELLOW JACKETS (3-1, 1-0)
Storyline: The Yellow Jackets are undefeated in their region and now play in front of the largest high school video board in the Chattanooga area, and they are finding their offensive rhythm under quarterback Fields Chapman.
CHATTOOGA INDIANS (0-4, 0-1) at MURRAY COUNTY INDIANS (1-3, 0-1)
Storyline: It's a story of desperation. For Chattooga County it's the constant search for four quarters of good football. For Murray County, it's the search for its first region win since 2005.
PEPPERELL DRAGONS (1-3, 0-1) at DADE COUNTY WOLVERINES (2-2, 0-1)
Storyline: The winner of this mid-season matchup will have a leg up in the standings and a better shot at the No. 2 seed. They're both big physical teams. Troy McMahan, Zac Freeman and Reid Hulgan are playing well for the Wolverines.
WHITEFIELD ACADEMY WOLFPACK (1-2) at GORDON LEE TROJANS (3-0)
Storyline: The Trojans are through playing schools from larger classifications but beat three teams that have combined to win three games, which doesn't help in the postseason power-poll. The Gordon Lee defense has allowed a total of 27 points this season.
TRION BULLDOGS (3-1, 0-0) at DARLINGTON TIGERS (3-1, 0-0)
Storyline: The Bulldogs and Tigers begin Region 6A-A competition, and both teams have impressive victories in the nonregion schedule. Trion's offense needs to get back on track after gaining 271 yards last week.
ADAIRSVILLE TIGERS (3-1, 1-0) at RINGGOLD TIGERS (3-1, 1-0)
Storyline: An early Region 5-AAA showdown features two of last season's four league playoff teams and two squads with an eye on a home playoff game this season. Adairsville brings a three-headed rushing attack of Sidnee Johnson, Tristin Smith and QB Marcus Childers, while PK Dakota Hines is one of the best in the country. Ringgold counters with two defensive stars in end Zach Morris and LB Dakota Baer, while the offense is geared around QB Slade Dale and playmaker Kile Sholl. Whichever teams makes the other go away from the ground game has a strong chance in this one.
DALTON CATAMOUNTS (1-2, 0-0) at CASS COLONELS (2-2, 0-0)
Storyline: Dalton welcomed Kelvis Rhodes back into the lineup and the results were instant against Gilmer County. The key tonight, though, will be on the defensive side, where the Cats, led by S Eder Mora and an underrated line, have played strong. Cass is prone to turnovers -- the Colonels had six against Northwest Whitfield last week -- so expect Dalton to be aggressive.
RIVER RIDGE KNIGHTS (1-3, 0-0) at NORTHWEST WHITFIELD BRUINS (3-0, 0-0)
Storyline: The Bruins are still awaiting their first complete game, but at 3-0 coach Josh Robinson isn't complaining. The Northwest defense has been the team's best offense lately and has forced at least four turnovers in each game, including six a week ago. The offense, though, turned it over five times last week. The Knights and QB Steven Spears have moved the ball against each of theur opponents, but capping drives has been the issue.
SONORAVILLE PHOENIX (1-3, 1-0) at NORTH MURRAY MOUNTAINEERS (1-3, 0-1)
Storyline: This will be a battle of young, talented QBs. Sonoraville sophomore Cody Long had more than 200 total yards last week in a win over Coahulla Creek, while North Murray's Hinton McConkey has started to move a Mountaineers offense that has all new skill players. The North Murray defense, though, has allowed 120 points in its three losses, but the Phoenix scored just 16 total points before last week.
PICKENS COUNTY DRAGONS (2-1, 0-0) at RIDGELAND PANTHERS (1-2, 0-0)
Storyline: It's likely the walking wounded at Ridgeland won't return just yet in this final tuneup before subregion play begins, which is bad news against a Pickens offense featuring one of the league's top playmaking duos in RB Shannon Brooks and QB Tanner Brumby. The Panthers' best bet is to put together a few long drives behind RB Noah Cooper. Ridgeland has begun to have a bit more success through the air, with Trey Stubbs stepping up as the go-to guy.
CEDARTOWN BULLDOGS (4-0, 0-0) at SOUTHEAST WHITFIELD RAIDERS (2-1, 0-0)
Storyline: The Raiders, off a bye week, have had extra time trying to find a way to do what nobody else has seemed to accomplish: Stop Nick Chubb and a suddenly potent Cedartown offense that has put up 40, 33, 62 and 36 points in its wins. The Raiders have played well defensively, but the offense has sputtered since an impressive opening game. Southeast has the bulk up front defensively to control Chubb, but do the Raiders have the speed to keep him from turning the corner?
LaFAYETTE RAMBLERS (0-3, 0-0) at GILMER COUNTY BOBCATS (3-1, 0-0)
Storyline: Penalties, turnovers and mental mistakes, oh my. The Ramblers have had plenty of all three in addition to allowing too many yards on the ground. That may be an issue again tonight as an angry group of Bobcats, coming off a 31-0 shellacking at Dalton, await. Keeping Tyler Bertolini, Johnie Flakes and company in control is a must to keep this game close.
LAKEVIEW-FORT OGLETHORPE WARRIORS (1-3, 0-1) at GORDON CENTRAL WARRIORS (0-4, 0-1)
Storyline: These two lost by a combined 97-8 last week in Region 5-AAA openers. LFO, which has allowed 132 points in its losses, has consistently put its defense in bad position, while Gordon Central, in large part due to injuries to an already-thin offense, just can't score. These two put up big numbers last year, but each is looking for someone to step up and be a playmaker.
NORTH JACKSON CHIEFS (0-4) AT SCOTTSBORO WILDCATS (2-2)
Storyline: The Chiefs are off to the worst start in program history and have been outscored 88-14 in the second and third quarters combined. But they can soothe the sting from those struggles if they can extend their nine-game winning streak over their cross-county rivals. North Jackson has dominated this series, claiming 19 of the 25 previous meetings, including last year's thriller when they rallied for a two-point win. C.J. Cobb has been the team's most consistent offensive player with a team-leading 209 rushing yards and 233 passing.
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