It wouldn’t seem like the football playoffs in Tennessee unless the TSSAA found a way to mess up the brackets in some fashion.
Advertising a bracket-release show to reveal the playoff matchups Saturday morning, the Internet stream basically didn’t work. Not to fear, said the TSSAA, just go to the organization’s website and view the brackets. One problem: the brackets couldn’t be pulled up.
Twitter was on fire with folks wondering why they couldn’t see the brackets. Finally, after a 40-minute delay, the TSSAA sent the brackets out to media via e-mail.
Once the smoke cleared, Science Hill wound up with arguably the best-case scenario in Class 6A’s Quadrant 1. The Hilltoppers are seeded third, and will play host to Knox Farragut.
Coming off their uplifting victory over Dobyns-Bennett, ending a near 20-year drought against the Indians, the ’Toppers didn’t get a pushover. Farragut made five straight trips to the quarterfinals from 2005-09.
But coming off a 3-7 season in 2012, the Admirals opened this year with a loss to Dobyns-Bennett. They beat Oak Ridge, but that is their only win against a team with six or more victories.
Science Hill (8-2) will be at home even though it has one fewer win than last season, when it had to travel in the first round.
“Any time you are at home in the playoffs, that’s good,” said Science Hill head coach Stacy Carter. “We feel fortunate. Last year being 9-1 and having to go to Oak Ridge, I think this year is a really good draw.”
Also, Science Hill is in the opposite bracket from everybody’s pick to win the Class 6A title, Maryville.
Furthermore, the ’Toppers would likely get Sevier County in the second round if they beat Farragut. That may not seem like a bargain because the Smoky Bears are 9-1. However, Sevier County’s loss was a 55-6 blasting delivered by Maryville. So Sevier County would seem to be a better bargain than Maryville.
“We’re away from Maryville, and we know Sevier County (from scrimmages), even though they are good,” said Carter.
Science Hill won a first-round game under Carter in 2011, but the prospects seem brighter for that and maybe more this year.
“Before we beat D-B, there wasn’t time to talk about other stuff,” said Carter. “Hopefully we’re in a good situation. We know Farragut will be a tough game, but we couldn’t ask for a better draw.”
Also in Class 6A, D-B will have a shot at a road win against Morristown East.
David Crockett won’t have an easy chore, traveling to Knoxville to take on West. An early estimate would put the seventh-seeded Pioneers as about a three-touchdown underdog.
West (9-1) has given up some points this year, but the inability of Crockett (5-5) to stop the run makes it a playoff longshot.
Despite whipping Crockett in the regular season finale and finishing ahead of the Pioneers in the Big Seven standings, Daniel Boone didn’t make the playoffs. Yes, that’s a flawed system.
Crockett benefitted from meek scheduling of Sullivan East, Unicoi County and Chuckey-Doak while Boone was punished for playing Greeneville and Sullivan South.
Tennessee High (6-4) earned a home game, and will take on what could be a tough challenge in South-Doyle (6-4).
Elizabethton’s season-ending win over Sullivan South produced two things. One, the Cyclones (9-1) will play at home against Scott County (7-3). Two, the Cyclones will be in Greeneville’s side of the bracket instead of Knox Fulton. Neither opponent would be a bargain.
“I think Greeneville and Fulton are in a category of their own,” said Elizabethton head coach Shawn Witten, whose team is seeded third. “I think they’ve both proven they are the top teams regardless of classification. It’s definitely a challenge regardless of which one you might play.”
Witten said he likes the matchup with Scott.
“That’s what great about the playoffs,” said Witten. “You get a chance to play a different opponent, somebody you don’t know anything about. It’s exciting to prepare for somebody new.”
No. 4 seed South (9-1) will also play at home, and actually got a nice draw against Carter. The Hornets are 9-1, but they are coming off a 68-0 beat-down by Fulton.
Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Unicoi County (4-6) could be as much as an seven-touchdown underdog against Fulton (10-0). It’s not much different for Grainger (4-6) against Greeneville (10-0).
Johnson County used its tough schedule to earn a No. 7 seed, and a first-round matchup where it won’t be a giant underdog.
The Longhorns (4-6) will travel to play second-seeded Chuckey-Doak (7-3), which used a second-place league finish to bump Gatlinburg-Pittman to No. 3.
No. 4 seed Sullivan North (6-4) earned a home game against Pigeon Forge (5-5).
Like Daniel Boone in Class 5A, Happy Valley missed out on the dance despite beating Johnson County and finishing with the same conference record as the Longhorns.
Hampton bumped itself all the way up to a bye with its regular season finale win over Cloudland.
The second-seeded Bulldogs (7-3) will await the winner of Silverdale Baptist and Rockwood. Silverdale bounced Hampton from the playoffs last year, and Rockwood sent them packing in 2009.
The Bulldogs made a very impressive run to earn their bye. They won five straight games, including the 21-12 decision on the road against Cloudland on Friday.
Cloudland fell to the No. 2 seed, where it will await the winner of Midway (7-3) and Unaka (4-6).
The Rangers made a strong run to earn their spot in the playoffs. After getting outscored 91-0 against Avery County, N.C., and South Greene, Unaka won three straight games — including Friday’s 47-0 thump-down of Cosby.
Cloudland (9-1) probably didn’t change its playoff fate much with its loss to Hampton. Potential second-round opponent Midway, the No. 3 seed, only defeated No. 4 seed Sunbright by a score of 28-27 in the regular season.
Friday, Nov. 8
Bradley Central (5-5) at Maryville (10-0)
Dobyns-Bennett (6-4) at Morristown East (9-1)
Knox Farragut (6-4) at Science Hill (8-2)
Cookeville (6-4) at Sevier County (9-1)
Cherokee (5-5) at Anderson County (9-1)
South Doyle (6-4) at Tennessee High (6-4)
Gibbs (5-5) at Campbell County (9-1)
David Crockett (5-5) at Knox West4 (9-1)
Knox Fulton (10-0) at Unicoi County (4-6)
Knox Carter (9-1) at Sullivan South (9-1)
Scott County (7-3) at Elizabethton (9-1)
Grainger (4-6) at Greeneville (10-0)
York Institute (4-6) at Alcoa (9-1)
Pigeon Forge (5-5) at Sullivan North (6-4)
CAK (4-6) at Gatlinburg-Pittman (8-2)
Chuckey-Doak (7-3) at Johnson County (4-6)
Knox Grace (10-0), bye
Tellico Plains (7-3) at Oneida (8-2)
Rockwood (7-3) at Silverdale (9-1)
Hampton (7-3), bye
Coalfield (7-3), bye
Greenback (6-4) at Sunbright (7-3)
Unaka (4-6) at Midway (7-3)
Cloudland (9-1), bye