In one way, Science Hill got a very good draw. However, trouble could be looming.
The Hilltoppers will play at home in the first round of the TSSAA Class 6A football playoffs, taking on Knox Karns. However, they would likely meet No. 1-ranked Maryville if they defeat the Beavers.
“It’s a good draw because we thought we might be going to Farragut in the first round,” said Hilltoppers’ head coach Stacy Carter. “Being at home, that’s a big deal.”
All of the brackets were released Saturday by the TSSAA. Included in the mix is Happy Valley and Elizabethton getting a rematch in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs, and Daniel Boone hitting the road to play Knox West in Class 5A.
Here’s a class-by-class look at how things fell in Quadrant 1 for next week’s playoff games, which will start at 7 p.m. local time.
- Class 6A — It’s about as good as it could have been for Science Hill. The Beavers (6-4) are a team the Hilltoppers (7-3) had a lot of success against when they were conference mates in the Big East.
Science Hill won six of eight Big East games against Karns. And this year the Beavers suffered losses of 40-20, 35-14 and 31-7 in three of their last five games.
Carter said the bracket pairing with Maryville is just part of it.
“You would have to play them in the second or third round anyway,” said Carter. “That’s the way it should be. D-B and Sevier County are together, and we’re with Maryville.”
Maryville will be at home against Knox Bearden, a team it defeated 40-6 in the regular season.
D-B plays host to Jefferson County, a team it has beaten 18 times in a row. However, the Indians have lost six of their last eight playoff games.
Sevier County will be at home to take on Hardin Valley.
- Class 5A — Edging into the playoffs with a three-game winning streak, Daniel Boone has momentum but not a very good matchup.
West is 8-2 and its only losses came against Class 6A powers Maryville (30-7) and Farragut (20-14).
One good thing for Boone is a first-round upset could produce a second-round meeting with Sullivan South, a team Boone defeated in Week 9. The Rebels play host to South Doyle.
Also, Cocke County is at Morristown West, and Cherokee visits Morristown East.
- Class 4A — Honestly speaking, there is not a single team in Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 2 that Greeneville has a legitimate reason to fear.
Signal Mountain’s use of an ineligible player forced the team to vacate six wins, and eventually prevented it from earning a playoff berth. The removal of last year’s Class 2A state champ from this year’s Class 4A playoffs leaves the door wide open for Greeneville to reach the state title game for a third straight season.
The Greene Devils (9-1) open defense of their state championship at home against Scott County (5-5).
- Class 3A — When Elizabethton traveled to play Happy Valley in Week 2, the Cyclones rolled to a 41-0 win. However, the Warriors get a second chance.
“We were on Survivor and were voted off,” said Happy Valley head coach Larry Shively. “Now we’re ready for Redemption Island.
“I think we are a lot better than we were at that point in the season. There’s a spring in the kids’ step and a gleam in their eye. We wanted a shot at redemption and we’re excited.”
The last time Happy Valley visited Rider Field, it took an 80-yard drive and a last-minute score for the Cyclones to pull off a 13-10 win.
Also in this bracket, Austin-East will travel to play West Greene for the second straight season. The Roadrunners had to stop the Buffaloes at the goal line to win last year.
As for the rest of the bracket, No. 1 seed Sullivan North will play host to South Greene, and Chuckey-Doak visits Pigeon Forge. The bracket sets up nicely for the Raiders, who will be favored to reach at least the quarterfinals.
- Class 2A — Like Greeneville, there doesn’t appear to be a great deal of resistance ahead for Hampton.
The Bulldogs (9-1) get a first-round bye and then face the winner of Cosby at Oneida.
Oliver Springs could present a challenge, but Hampton wouldn’t see the Bobcats until the quarterfinals. North Greene (6-4) also got a bye, and will play the winner of Wartburg at Oliver Springs.