’Toppers draw Oak Ridge; South forgotten

Douglas Fritz • Oct 27, 2012 at 9:38 PM

Bracketology wasn't Science Hill's friend Saturday morning — nor was it kind to Sullivan South.

The Hilltoppers expected to be a No. 6 seed, but wound up No. 5, giving them a first-round road matchup against Oak Ridge and putting them on the same side of the bracket with Maryville — instead of Dobyns-Bennett.

“We wanted to be in there with D-B because we wanted another chance to play them,” said Hilltoppers' head coach Stacy Carter, whose team lost 37-34 to the Indians on a last-minute field goal on Friday night. “It is disappointing to us, but it is what it is.”

The second-seeded Indians drew a home game against Knox Bearden.

Meanwhile, the TSSAA made a giant mistake and left Sullivan South out of the Class 5A bracket. If not for Daniel Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins, who notified South coach Sam Haynie of the mistake, the Rebels might have been left out in the cold.

“Coach Jenkins called and told us,” said Sullivan South athletic director Anthony Richardson, who found out late Saturday afternoon.

South thought it was out of the playoffs because of Enka, N.C., being a sub-.500 team. Enka played 11 games and finished 5-6. However, the TSSAA only counts the first 10 games, and Jenkins pointed it out to Haynie. Therefore, Enka's 5-5 record gave South an extra spot in the tiebreaker, bumping Cleveland out of the playoffs.

Richardson notified TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress, who admitted the organization's mistake. On the TSSAA bracket show Saturday, a comment was made about how the organization didn't make mistakes like it did in the first year of the new playoff process.

The compromise on the table Saturday night was for South to replace Cleveland in Quadrant 2, and travel to play Columbia.

“They want us to take Cleveland's spot and offered to pay our expenses,” said Richardson. “We don't want to go to Columbia. I asked Bernard, 'What if we win, and have to go further the next week?' He said, 'We didn't think about that.'

“The TSSAA just needs to do what is right, and put us in Quadrant 1 and re-do the bracket. It's Saturday. They have time to do this.”

Late Saturday night the organization ruled that South would have to travel to Columbia.

Barring bracket changes, the other two Big Eight Conference teams who made the playoffs were paired against each other as Daniel Boone will play host to Tennessee High.

In Class 4A, Greeneville will play host to Corryton Gibbs.

As for Class 3A, Elizabethton gets a home game against Johnson County while Unicoi County hits the road to face Sullivan North.

Also, West Greene is at Cumberland Gap and Chuckey-Doak travels to take on Gatlinburg-Pittman.

In area small-school matchups, Hampton will have a home game against Chattanooga Silverdale Baptist Academy in Class 2A. And in Class A, Cloudland will play host to Midway.

Science Hill (9-1) at Oak Ridge (9-1) — It would be a tough matchup for the Hilltoppers even at home.

“It is disappointing to go on the road with a record of 9-1,” said Carter. “And to have to play another 9-1 team is tough, but that's how it worked out.”

The Hilltoppers have played Oak Ridge three times in the playoffs, losing 50-0 in 1979, 18-15 in 1993, and 48-28 in 2005.

Science Hill is 10-15 overall in the playoffs, and 1-2 under Carter with both losses coming against Maryville — including last year's 45-7 decision.

Oak Ridge has a long playoff tradition with a record of 61-26. The Wildcats have won five of their last seven postseason games, and reached the quarterfinals last year.

The only loss this season for Oak Ridge came at the hands of Maryville, a 38-23 decision in Week 5.

Knox Bearden (8-2) at Dobyns-Bennett (10-0) — It's a very interesting first-round draw for the second-seeded Indians because the Bulldogs kicked them out of the playoffs in 2010.

Dobyns-Bennett is 25-29 all-time in the playoffs, but the Indians have lost eight of their last 11. They had undefeated teams stopped in the second round in each of the last two seasons.

Seventh-seeded Bearden is 8-16 in the playoffs.

Tennessee High (6-4) at Daniel Boone (8-2) — It's a familiar matchup for these teams, who also met in the playoffs in 2009 — where the Trailblazers pulled off a major upset of the previously unbeaten Vikings.

Tennessee High had beaten Boone 51-26 in the 2009 regular season.

The third-seeded Trailblazers are 7-9 in their playoff history, having gone 3-3 in their most recent games.

Sixth-seeded Tennessee High is 19-19 all-time in the playoffs.

Corryton Gibbs (6-4) at Greeneville (7-3) — Having reached the state title game for three straight seasons, the Greene Devils will have to do it as a No. 3 seed this time.

The will meet the sixth-seeded Eagles, who lost to Greeneville 42-3 in 2010.

Two-time defending Class 4A state champion Greeneville is 33-19 in the playoffs and has won 10 straight games. The Greene Devils have gone 19-3 in the playoffs since 2007.

Johnson County (4-6) at Elizabethton (8-2) — Sneaking into the playoffs despite losing its last two games, the eighth-seeded Longhorns will have to meet the top-seeded Cyclones.

Elizabethton defeated Johnson County 34-7 a couple of weeks ago. The Cyclones have won seven of their last 10 playoff games and are 25-21 overall.

Johnson County is 1-11 in the playoffs with its win coming in 1988.

Unicoi County (5-5) at Sullivan North (9-1) — The seventh-seeeded Blue Devils will make their first playoff appearance since 2006 while the No. 2 seed Raiders are hoping to duplicate last year's run to the state quarterfinals.

It's a rematch of Friday's 48-12 victory the Raiders.

Unicoi has two playoff victories in school history, both coming in 1985. The Blue Devils are 2-6 overall while North is 8-15.

Silverdale (9-1) at Hampton (9-1) — The fourth-seeded Bulldogs got a tough draw in a very tough bracket. Five of the six teams have won nine games.

Fifth-seeded Silverdale will be looking for its first-ever playoff win. The relatively new school lost in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Hampton last won a playoff game in 2009, and is 15-25 overall.

Midway (5-5) at Cloudland (7-3) — The third-seeded Highlanders have met the sixth-seeded Green Wave four times in the playoffs, and won the three most recent matchups.

Cloudland defeated Midway in 2005, 2002 and 2001. Midway's victory came in 1988.

Overall, Cloudland is 15-24 in the playoffs and has lost five straight.

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