South foul-up another black eye for TSSAA

Douglas Fritz • Oct 29, 2012 at 8:08 PM

A word of warning for high schools across the state: Don't count on the TSSAA to have the football playoff pairings correct. Do your own homework.

Yes, that's kind of like telling a student to do the principal's job, but the TSSAA has left high schools with no other choice.

After making a complete bungled mess of things a few years ago, the TSSAA whiffed again — this time leaving Sullivan South out of the playoffs.

It appears the organization that governs high school athletics in Tennessee needs to govern itself. How could the TSSAA not know its own rule, namely that only the first 10 games count toward the tiebreaker that examines whether a team has at least a .500 record?

The TSSAA didn't know Enka, N.C., was a .500 team — despite its 5-6 record, which really makes no sense to have such a rule (but I digress) — and South was bumped out by Cleveland during Saturday's web-streamed playoff pairings show.

South likely wouldn't have caught the mistake without an assist from rival Daniel Boone — hence the aforementioned warning.

Once informed of the mistake, TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress made the half-hearted offer to send the Rebels halfway across the state to include them in the playoffs.

In a release from the TSSAA, the official stance was, “This is not the first time that a mistake has been found after the initial release of the brackets. In every situation in the past, it has been dealt with by making the correction that affects the least amount of teams in the bracket.”

Let me translate, “Umm, my bad. Therefore, your bad, too.”

This attitude is a reflection of the disjointed leadership at the TSSAA. For an organization that makes a big deal about sportsmanship, this amounts to the TSSAA saying something like, “We are not concerned about what is fair and right. We are only concerned about what causes the least amount of people to gripe at us. We will, at all costs, protect ourselves and our own interests — even if it means Sullivan South suffers unfairly.”

What credibility does any TSSAA “play by the rules” program have now? Zero.

By TSSAA rules, Sullivan South qualified for the playoffs and deserves to be in Quadrant 1. Childress and company basically say the rules don't matter in this situation, and we're sending Sullivan South where they don't belong.

Sportsmanship apparently applies only on the playing fields and courts, but not in the TSSAA offices.

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Malik Foreman pulled off a rare Triple Crown for Dobyns-Bennett this season. The senior standout led the Indians in rushing, passing and receiving.

Foreman started the year at wide receiver, racking up most of his 14 catches and 278 yards in D-B's first four games. By the end of the regular season, Devaun Swafford's total of 12 catches for 227 yards ranked second.

With his 254-yard effort against Science Hill on Friday, Foreman ended the regular season with 936 yards rushing, sprinting past Swafford's total of 885.

And in passing, Swafford's 55-yard total on Friday gave him 412 for the season and pushed him past the injured Chris Cook (374).

Foreman actually had the Quadruple Crown for D-B as he totaled 152 points (25 touchdowns and 2-point conversion) to outdistance Swafford's total of 138.

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Official attendance figures are in for the “Showdown in K-Town,” and D-B athletic director Cary Daniels said the total likely fell just short of 10,000.

A total of 4,867 general admission tickets were sold, along with 3,670 reserved seats. D-B's band (340) and Science Hill's band combined for 500 people while student-pass attendance was estimated at 200.

Throw in approximately 400 free entries for Big Eight Conference or TSSAA passes, and the final total came to 9,637.

Yes, it's short of 10,000 but still one of the biggest gates in Northeast Tennessee football history.

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Five wasn't the magic number for football teams to reach the playoffs. Across the state there were five five-win teams who missed out on postseason play: North Greene (2A), Cleveland (5A), Memphis Central (6A), Franklin County (6A) and Rossview (6A).

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Dobyns-Bennett won the state scoring title. The Indians total of 547 points was 64 better than the second-best team in the state, regardless of classification.

Science Hill missed by three points of making it a one-two finish for the Northeast Tennessee powerhouses. Lexington totaled 483 points to take second place while Science Hill was third with 480.

Greeneville just missed a top 10 finish, ending with 420 points in 12th place. Here is the top 10 list:

Team Class Pts

Dobyns-Bennett 6A 547

Lexington 4A 483

Science Hill 6A 480

CAK 3A 476

Cheatham County 3A 453

DeKalb County 4A 442

Giles County 4A 440

Friendship Christian 2A 437

Knoxville Fulton 4A 436

Gordonsville 1A 427

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Soccer update: Elizabethton drew Chattanooga Christian in the first round of the Class A-AA state tournament, and will play Wednesday at 11 a.m.

The bad news for the Lady Cyclones is the event will be played at Chattanooga Christian, so it's basically a road game for Elizabethton. It is the first-ever trip to the state for the Cyclones.

Elizabethton is 13-6-2 while Chattanooga Christian is 15-4-4.

Christian Academy of Knoxville and Christ Presbyterian Academy are favorites to reach the title game.

The semifinals are scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday. Saturday's championship match is set for 11 a.m.

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Volleyball update: Brentwood Ravenwood won its third straight Class AAA state title last week. The Raptors stopped rival Brentwood in the finals in a five-game thriller. Sullivan South finished third.

In Class AA, Goodpasture Christian rolled to the title, beating CAK in four games.

And in Class A, Friendship Christian topped Boyd-Buchanan in the title match.

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Football playoff odds

Class 6A — Oak Ridge by 2 over Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett by 15 over Knox Bearden

Class 5A — Daniel Boone by 7 over Tennessee High, Columbia by 14 over Sullivan South

Class 4A — Greeneville by 17 over Corryton Gibbs

Class 3A — Elizabethton by 14 over Johnson County, Sullivan North by 21 over Unicoi County, Cumberland Gap by 10 over West Greene, Gatlinburg-Pittman by 8 over Chuckey-Doak

Class 2A — Hampton by 4 over Silverdale Baptist Academy

Class A — Cloudland by 3 over Midway

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Pick of the Week — Science Hill 27, Oak Ridge 24.

It's time for the Hilltoppers to rise up, and shake off the ghosts of Oak Ridge past. Science Hill did it for 47 minutes against D-B, so it just needs to add a minute against the Wildcats.

Oak Ridge is a good defensive team, but Science Hill should be able to put the ball in the end zone multiple times.

Picks record: 11-0.

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Player of the week — Malik Foreman of Dobyns-Bennett.

It was a close call between Foreman and Science Hill's Reed Hayes, but Foreman got the nod for leading his team to a 37-34 victory over Science Hill in a battle of undefeated teams.

Foreman carried 24 times for 254 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 1, 46, and 51 yards. He also added 55 yards passing and 32 yards on a kickoff return to put his all-purpose total at 331.

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The Hogs Award — Dobyns-Bennett Indians.

With the Big Eight Conference title on the line, the Indian Hogs paved the way for the win over Science Hill.

D-B racked up 431 yards rushing on 52 carries for an average of 8.3 per attempt.

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Defensive unit of the week — Elizabethton Cyclones.

In a 56-7 win over Sullivan East, the Cyclones' defense did not allow any points as the Patriots' only score came on an interception return.

Elizabethton held East to 80 yards of total offense and forced 13 incomplete passes. They picked off a pass, and forced three punts.

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This Week in Prep History — October 27, 2000.

In one of the biggest games in David Crockett football history, quarterback Wes Dulaney completed 15 of 20 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns as the Pioneers clinched their first-ever playoff berth with a 28-21 win over Cherokee.

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Chuckey-Doak edges into the fray in the final Prep Top 10 of the season.

Team W-L Prv

1. Dobyns-Bennett 10-0 1

2. Science Hill 9-1 2

3. Daniel Boone 8-2 3

4. Elizabethton 8-2 4

5. Sullivan North 9-1 5

6. Greeneville 7-3 6

7. Hampton 9-1 7

8. Tennessee High 6-4 8

9. Sullivan South 5-5 9

10. Chuckey-Doak 6-4 nr

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