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Mapping out the best football games for the 2018 season

Douglas Fritz • Jul 30, 2018 at 7:10 PM

Many high school football fans are tied to one team — a loyalty born of things like school spirit, community pride or family ties.

But for Northeast Tennessee fans who want to catch the best game each week, here is the Impartial Football Fan’s Guide to the 2018 Season.

Week 1 (Aug. 17)

Science Hill at Elizabethton

The Hilltoppers and Cyclones have a longtime rivalry, and their season-opening battle almost always paints an eye-opening picture for the kind of year these teams will have.

Week 2 (Aug. 24)

Hampton at Johnson County

Don’t forget the smaller schools for the showdown tour. This mountain tussle is a perennial dandy, and the impartial fan will appreciate the competitive nature of this rivalry.

Week 3 (Aug. 31)

Dobyns-Bennett at Science Hill

Yes, you’ve already seen the Hilltoppers, but this is a can’t-miss showdown. It is traditionally the most entertaining contest on the Northeast Tennessee schedule because of the heated nature of the rivalry.

Week 4 (Sept. 7)

Science Hill at Greeneville

I know, it’s the Hilltoppers again. But you simply have to see the defending Class 4A state champion Greene Devils at least once. And this could be Greeneville’s toughest game on its regular season schedule.

Week 5 (Sept. 14)

Wild-Card Week

The big-game schedule is thin, so this is the only chance to see one of the eight area teams that didn’t make the list.

Here are the choices, in order of rivalry nature: Cherokee at Volunteer; Sullivan South at Sullivan Central; Sullivan North at South Greene; Union County at Sullivan East; Cosby at Happy Valley; Jellico at Unaka.

Week 6 (Sept. 21)

Tennessee High at Elizabethton

This is a historic rivalry that has managed to stay afloat despite the change in classifications. It has that big-game feel to it despite not having playoff implications.

Week 7 (Sept. 28)

Knox Bearden at Dobyns-Bennett

It’s a good idea to catch a game at the area’s biggest stadium. And this series has produced a competitive long-distance rivalry.

Week 8 (Oct. 5)

Hampton at Cloudland

It doesn’t get much better than this for the small schools. This rivalry is sincere and fierce, and the Roan Mountain experience on Friday nights should be on the things-to-do list.

Week 9 (Oct. 12)

Elizabethton at Greeneville

It is arguably the best tight-knit-community rivalry in NET history, and this battle has taken on added significance with the move to the same region and the Greene Devils’ state title.

Week 10 (Oct. 19)

Daniel Boone at David Crockett

There’s no argument. If you’re going to get the full picture of NET football, the Musket Bowl has to be on the list. It is up there with Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett in terms of what this game means to each school.

Week 11 (Oct. 26)

Johnson County at Unicoi County

These teams aren’t true rivals, but they are working in that direction. Also, this battle figures to have championship significance.

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