published Monday, September 30th, 2013

Gossett blog: Rivalry week or decision week?

For some this is, pure and simple, rivalry week. For many more, though, Friday is shaping up as Decision Week, chapter one.

The biggest rivalry on Lookout Mountain, and perhaps in the Chattanooga area, will take place at Baylor when the Red Raiders host McCallie.

But there are games just as big with just as much, if not more,on the line.

And you can take your pick among and in no particular order:

• Cleveland at East Hamilton

• Notre Dame at Signal Mountain

• East Ridge at Hixson

• Howard at Brainerd

• Bradley Central at Ooltewah

• Bledsoe County at Sequatchie County

• Tyner at Central

• Ridgeland at Dalton

• Bradley's Dee Crisp put Signal Mountain in a hole early, scoring the Bears' first TD on a 38-yard pass from Brett Standifer and getting their second on a 37-yard interception return. Both came in the first quarter and gave Bradley an early 14-0 lead on the way to a 36-27 win over the Eagles.

• Two Notre Dame players spent part of the weekend as guests of Ohio State -- running back Auston Banks and receiver/defender/returner Kareem Orr. The Irish were off Friday night and will have had two weeks to prepare for the Eagles.

• It may have gone unnoticed but Signal Mountain surely had time of possession edge on Bradley. As a team they ran for 425 yards374 yards, 175 from James McClellan and 149 from Diamez Franklin. That is a 400-yard average over the past two weeks.

• Think Notre Dame may be entertaining thoughts of putting eight or nine guys in the box Friday night.

• Of the 24 games reported Friday evening, more than half were interception-free. Top performers included Polk County's Josh Silas, Rhea county's Austin Dotson, Sale Creek's Jarod McGee, Bradley's Brett Standifer, Ringgold's Slade Dale, South Pittsburg's Kitt Grider, Grundy County's Houston Mainord, Sonoraville's Cody Long, North Murray's Hinton McKonkey, Northwest Whitfield's Caleb Shiflett and Scottsboro's Trey Lewis.

• Congratulations to Tyner's Rams, which finally got in the win column. They had such high hopes in the preseason. Before they're written off, though, please note that they've played just one district game. A run to the playoffs is still definitely in their 2013 scenario.

• Condolences to East Ridge, which blew it big time, seeing a three-game win streak ended by a winless team (Loudon). The Pioneers, like Tyner, are very much in the 6-AA playoff picture. They'll find out if they're going to stay there this week when they travel to Hixson.

• It may be a different story for Dobyns-Bennett next season when both East Hamilton and Ooltewah travel to Kingsport, but there must be something about seeing the Hamilton County line out on I-75 that leaves the Indians cold. They lost to East Hamilton earlier this season at East Hamilton and then lost to all-of-a-sudden defense-minded Ooltewah last Friday.

• As congrats go, hats off to Todd Windham's Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe bunch. They got a shutout and their second win against Gordon Central.

• Sale Creek is hanging in there although the Panthers are still winless in their first year of football. They did have a highlight against Tellico Plains when Chris Huffman returned a kickoff 80 yards.

• An unsung hero -- he often gets overshadowed by teammate/quarterback Slade Dale -- Ringgold's Kyle Sholl. Not too often with a 100-yard performance rushing or receiving but steady show like Friday's 86 rushing yards and 91 receiving yards.

• Understand Dade County's overtime win over Pepperell was its first in the series. Who in Trenton is going to care that it took two overtimes?

• For some reason their coach refuses to call in Scottsboro's games, but a player to watch may be Trey Lewis, their quarterback. He threw four TD passes and ran for another score in a shutout win over North Jackson.

• Ditto for Northwest Whitfield, which hasn't reported games all that often. The quarterback, Caleb Shiflett, had five TD passes and 298 yards (on a 16-for-22 night), in a big win over River Ridge.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.

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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