Cloudland has experience on its side for playoffs

Douglas Fritz • Updated Nov 6, 2017 at 5:32 PM

Cloudland will enter Friday’s Class 1A football playoff contest as the underdog, but the Highlanders can match just about any team when it comes to postseason coaching experience.

Mike Lunsford will be coaching in his 41st playoff game when Coalfield visits Roan Mountain.

His postseason record is 18-22, and his teams have won playoff contests in 10 different seasons. In four years (1996, 2001, 2002 and 2015) his teams won multiple postseason games. His 2001 squad at Cloudland reached the Class 1A title game before losing to Ezell-Harding.

Overall, Lunsford has 216 career wins against 64 losses.

Coalfield coach Keith Henry has also enjoyed playoff success with a record of 15-9. In 10 seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Henry’s teams have won multiple games five times. His 2014 team reached the title game before losing to Union City.


Sneak peeks

A quick statistical look at the some of the area’s second-round playoff matchups:

Elizabethton at Anderson County

The Mavericks’ resume reads like a defensive coordinator’s nightmare: 55, 56, 60, 49, 39, 56, 49, 47, 63, 70, 65.

It’s probably going to take more than just a few points for the Cyclones to earn a road win in what looks like a PlayStation matchup.

Austin-East at Johnson County

It’s more about schedule when looking at this contest. The Roadrunners’ opponents have combined for 61 wins on the season while the Longhorns’ opponents have 51.

Breaking it down further, the Johnson County total is boosted by 21 wins from lower-classifications teams. None of A-E’s opponents were below Class 3A.

Happy Valley at Meigs County

In seven of its last nine games, the top-ranked Tigers have allowed one score or less. In that same stretch, they have scored 36 or more points seven times. Those are No. 1-type numbers.

Coalfield at Cloudland

Continuing with the consistency theme, the Yellow Jackets have scored 33 or more points in every game this season. They have also held the opposition to a single score or less in seven contests.

Bradley Central at Dobyns-Bennett

The Bears have scored at least three touchdowns against every team not named Maryville, but have also allowed four scores or more six times this year.

Rockwood at Sullivan North

During its current six-game winning streak, the Tigers have outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 236-59, an average score of 39-10.


How do the picks look?

Prior to the start of the playoffs, predictions were made for each of the brackets in the six classifications. Here’s an update on how the predicted finalists are doing:

Class 6A

Oakland and Germantown rolled to easy first-round wins. Both undefeated teams face regular season rematches in round two.

Class 5A

After first-round blowouts, Beech and Knox Catholic face second-round challenges. Catholic meets a good Knox Fulton team while Beech goes against Hillsboro, which it only beat by six points in the regular season.

Class 4A

After combining for a 111-7 margin in first-round wins, Greeneville and Haywood should have similar success in round two.

Class 3A

Alcoa and Pearl Cohn won with shutouts in the opening round, and each team faces a second-round opponent it whipped in the regular season.

Class 2A

Meigs County faces a second-round challenge from a good Happy Valley bunch while Columbia Academy meets a team it defeated 26-21 just a few weeks ago.

Class 1A

South Pittsburg could have quite a battle with defensive-minded Jo Burns while Huntingdon should be able to stay the course against Moore County.


College signings

Science Hill baseball standouts David Bryant and Brandon Feathers will continue their careers as teammates. They will sign with Radford University on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the Science Hill gym. ...

Gabrielle Mardis will move on to Milligan College to continue her cross country career. The signing will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Science Hill gym. ...

Elizabethton’s Macie Herrmann will make her college choice official on Thursday. She will sign to play softball at Milligan at 3:30 p.m. at the high school. ...

Sullivan South softball standout Brynna Teal will move on to play at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. The signing ceremony will be Nov. 14 at 2:45 p.m. in the high school library. ...


Pick of the Week

Meigs County 21, Happy Valley 14

Points should be at a premium, which means Happy Valley would have a shot. But the Tigers pose just enough problems to hold off the Warriors.

Picks record: 8-4.


Player of the Week

Carter Everett, Elizabethton

Last season Everett broke free for a long run in the Week 10 contest against Northview Academy. The Cyclones’ quarterback was injured on the play and missed the playoffs.

Given a new opportunity this year, Everett made up for lost time. He put together one of the better performances of his career in a 62-35 win over Sequoyah. He connected on 21 of 25 passes for 371 yards and racked up a career-high six touchdown tosses.


The Hogs Award

Dobyns-Bennett Indians

In the opening round of the Class 6A playoffs, the Tribe Hogs cleared enough space for the backs to earn 192 yards on 47 carries in a 30-7 win over Ooltewah.


Defensive unit of the Week

Happy Valley Warriors

Defense has been a cornerstone for the Warriors in recent years, and it was a classic performance in Friday’s opening-round win over Oneida in the Class 2A playoffs.

The Warriors held the Indians to 138 yards of offense, and produced all the points they needed with a blocked punt return for a first-quarter touchdown in a 22-0 victory.

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