Week 9 is going to get a bad reputation.
With Science Hill playing host to Daniel Boone, it’s not like the week doesn’t boast a somewhat interesting game. But since pretty much everybody has been waiting all season for three area rivalry games to decide conference titles, it’s hard not to wish Week 9 would just hurry and turn into Week 10.
Yes, coaches don’t like to look ahead, but it’s OK for fans and sports writers. It’s not like people aren’t already talking about Science Hill at Dobyns-Bennett, Elizabethton at Sullivan South, and Hampton at Cloudland.
This would be a perfect opportunity to toss out some early speculation on who will win these games. Take a deep breath, coaches. We will wait until next week for that.
Playoff updates: The following matchups are based on current standings and favorite roles for upcoming games.
If Morristown East finishes first or second in its district, the Hurricanes could bump to No. 4 and flip the site for the 4-5 matchup.
— Hardin Valley at Maryville
— Knox Powell at Sevier County
— Knox Farragut at SH/D-B winner
— Morristown East at SH/D-B loser
South-Doyle is the wild card here. If the Cherokees lose their last two games, the door is slightly open for David Crockett to get a home game — as long as Oak Ridge stays in Quadrant 2.
— Clinton at Anderson County
— Tennessee High at Knox West
— Knox Central at Campbell Co.
— David Crockett at South-Doyle
Fulton has bumped ahead of Greeneville in the first tiebreaker, but that could change back. It’s a tightrope walk right now.
Unicoi County needs some help, but can still sneak in on a tiebreaker if it wins one of its last two games.
— Unicoi County at Knox Fulton
— Grainger at Greeneville
— Scott County at Eliz-SS winner
— Eliz-South loser at Knox Carter
Happy Valley could still get in, but likely needs two wins. Johnson County is currently hanging on, but CAK can hurt the Longhorns.
— Johnson County at Alcoa
— CAK at Gatlinburg-Pittman
— West Greene at Chuckey-Doak
— Pigeon Forge at Sullivan North
Class 2A and 1A
First-round byes enter the picture here. Currently Hampton would be No. 6 and travel to face Oneida in the first round.
In Class 1A, Cloudland has basically locked up the top seed. The Highlanders would play host to the winner of Greenback and Midway in the second round.
Follow Douglas Fritz on Twitter @FritzBlitzzz.
Points of interest: Logan Birchfield has been nailing extra points all season for Elizabethton. The junior made all five of his attempts in Friday’s 38-0 win over Johnson County, pushing his season total to 46 for 46.
Birchfield made his final attempt in 2012, so his streak stands at 47 in a row. That’s good enough for ninth place on the state’s all-time list for consecutive extra points made. Birchfield is just 12 kicks away from third place, but the state’s record is 106 — set in 2008 by Nashville Hillsboro’s Jacob Noe.
Volleyball update: Science Hill put up a tough effort, but came up short in a sectional contest against Knox Farragut.
The Lady Hilltoppers were forced to travel after their runner-up finish to Dobyns-Bennett in the region. Farragut took the first game 25-12, but Science Hill bounced back for a 25-22 win in game two.
A strong 25-13 win gave the Lady Admirals the momentum, and they earned a 25-15 victory in game four to take the match. …
State tournament action gets under way Wednesday in Murfreesboro with contests at Blackman, Siegel, Stewarts Creek and Middle Tennessee State University.
The championship matches are set for Friday at MTSU.
Dobyns-Bennett (39-9) would have to battle through a maze of powerhouses to earn the Class AAA title. The Lady Indians won the event in 2009 and finished runner-up in 2010.
Three-time defending state champion Ravenwood (44-4) and Brentwood are the teams to watch. Brentwood (55-3) has reached the finals 15 times in the last 21 seasons and won eight titles.
In Class AA, Sullivan South (43-8) certainly has to get a look as the favorite. The Lady Rebels won Class AAA titles in 1995 and 1996, and posted runner-up finishes in 1998, 2005 and 2006. South also won a non-classification state title in 1984 and finished runner-up in 1985.
In Class A, South Greene carries an impressive record of 35-2 into the event, but the Lady Rebels will have to take a backseat to Goodpasture Christian for the role of favorite. Goodpasture is 44-0.
Soccer update: District 1-A/AA champion University High will try to keep its season alive in the region semifinals against Chuckey-Doak.
The contest is scheduled to begin today at 6 p.m. and will be played at ETSU’s Summers-Taylor Stadium.
In a regular season contest in August, the Lady Junior Bucs (8-4) defeated Chuckey-Doak (8-6-2).
Also in today’s semifinals, Greeneville (15-6) will play host to Sullivan South (9-8-1) at 6 o’clock. …
In Class AAA, district champion Dobyns-Bennett (13-2-3) will play host to South-Doyle. Meanwhile, Tennessee High will travel to face Morristown West (16-1).
Cross country update: The Region 1-AAA and 1-A/AA meets will be held Thursday at Daniel Boone’s course in Gray.
Action gets under way at 1 p.m. with the Class A-AA girls. The AAA girls follow at 1:45 p.m.
At 2:30, the Class A-AA boys will run, and the Class AAA boys follow suit at 3:15 p.m.
Competitors will be trying to earn spots in the state meet, which is scheduled for Nov. 2 at the Steeplechase Course in Nashville.
Football games of the week: Daniel Boone at Science Hill, Tennessee High at David Crockett, Hampton at South Greene, Signal Mountain at Greeneville.
Trailblazers vs. Hilltoppers — This series has been pretty competitive in recent years, but there hasn’t been a really tight contest since 2000.
It looks like Boone’s tough schedule has damaged the team’s confidence, but even coming off four straight losses the ‘Blazers might be able to put together a tough performance against a big rival.
Vikings vs. Pioneers — This is kind of a how-far-have-you-come contest for Crockett. The Pioneers have won three in a row since getting outscored 203-28 in a three-game stretch, but they have never come closer than three touchdowns against the Vikings in nine games (43, 47, 27, 44, 22, 51, 23, 21, 28).
Bulldogs vs. Rebels — Scores against common opponents suggest a close game. Hampton has won three in a row, but this still amounts to a tough road contest.
Eagles vs. Greene Devils — Signal Mountain has a big team, and scoring points hasn’t been any problem. The Eagles hit the 60s three times and got close to 50 in two other games.
Meanwhile, Greeneville has scored scored over 40 points in every game and hasn’t allowed more than one score in any contest.
Pick of the Week — Tennessee High 47, David Crockett 22.
Defending the run has been an issue all season for the Pioneers, and that keeps their high-powered offense on the sidelines. Tennessee High has gotten better on the ground as the season has gone along, and can still throw the ball with just about anybody.
Picks record: 9-0.
Since 2010: 28-1 (regular season), 35-2 (overall).
Player of the week — Luke Fronckoski of Unicoi County.
After putting together a solid and consistent season, the junior running back went above and beyond in a 33-30 win over rival Happy Valley.
Fronckoski carried 37 times and rushed for what is believed to be a school-record 361 yards. He also scored five touchdowns, including the game-winner from four yards out with 1:35 left in the game.
Included in his scoring plays were runs of 41, 28 and 22 yards.
The Hogs Award — Tennessee High Vikings.
In a 31-7 victory over Daniel Boone, the Vikings’ linemen helped produce 199 yards on 40 carries for an average of five per attempt.
Pass protection was solid as the Vikings completed 12 of 17 passes for 71 percent.
Defensive unit of the week — Sullivan South Rebels.
Once again boasting the area’s top defense, the Rebels shut down Sullivan North in a 43-0 decision. South allowed just 126 yards on 45 rushing attempts for 2.8 yards per carry, and only 11 passing yards. The Rebels picked off two passes, recovered three fumbles, and forced six punts.
This Week in Prep History — October 23, 1998.
Unicoi County’s Ben Lamie broke loose for 173 yards rushing on 28 carries in his team’s 50-34 win over Claiborne County. Lamie also scored five touchdowns.
Chuckey-Doak makes an appearance in this week’s Prep Top 10.
Team W-L Prv
1. Greeneville 8-0 1
2. Sullivan South 8-0 2
3. Elizabethton 7-1 3
4. Science Hill 6-2 4
5. Dobyns-Bennett 6-3 5
6. Cloudland 8-0 6
7. Tennessee High 4-4 7
8. David Crockett 5-3 8
9. Sullivan North 5-4 9
10. Daniel Boone 3-5 10
(tie) Chuckey-Doak 6-3 nr