In the Times-News and Johnson City Press coverage area, two teams remain in the hunt for the BlueCross Bowl. Dobyns-Bennett will play host to Maryville on Friday at J. Fred Johnson Stadium in a Class 6A battle. And Elizabethton will be at home against Greeneville in a Class 4A contest.
Here are some reasons why each of these teams should believe they will win Friday:
WHY D-B SHOULD WIN
The Indians have been in the playoffs 26 times in the last 27 years. They have reached the quarterfinals nine times and the semifinals four times.
Road game for Maryville
Dating back to 2015, Maryville is 16-0 when playing at home in the playoffs. In true road games, the Rebels are 0-2 in that stretch.
J. Fred Johnson
D-B has the only stadium north of Knoxville that could actually put intimidation on the other foot. A big crowd could give the Tribe an edge.
The Indians have held six opponents to one score or less with four shutouts.
WHY MARYVILLE SHOULD WIN
The Rebels have won 16 state championships, dating back to the Ted Wilson days in the 1970s. The Rebels have reached the finals 16 times in the last 19 years.
Maryville has scored between 42 and 49 points seven times in 12 games. They have scored at least 30 points in every game but one.
The Rebels have posted four shutouts in their last five games.
Maryville beat Science Hill (42-0) and Alcoa (17-3) while D-B lost to Alcoa (21-6) and Science Hill (23-17).
WHY ELIZABETHTON SHOULD WIN
The Cyclones have already shown they can beat Greeneville with the 24-21 decision.
Citizens Bank Stadium
Elizabethton has won six straight playoff games on its home field.
The Cyclones have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 38-10.
Elizabethton has knocked on the door at least seven times in the last 22 years — six semifinal appearances and a three-point loss at eventual state champion Alcoa in the 2016 quarterfinals — but hasn’t tasted the sweet success of the BlueCross Bowl.
WHY GREENEVILLE SHOULD WIN
The Greene Devils led 21-7 late in the third quarter and were on the verge of getting the ball back when the Cyclones struck for a 59-yard touchdown pass on third down and 10.
Greeneville has four gold balls in the house — including the last two in a row — and the Greene Devils have won 12 straight playoff games.
The Greene Devils have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 42-12.
Strength of schedule
Greeneville opponents Knox Powell and Austin-East are still alive the Class 5A and Class 3A playoffs, respectively.
The TSSAA has joined into a partnership agreement with MaxPreps. The organization recommends for coaches to submit scores and statistics after each game to the MaxPreps website.
“Our goal with this partnership is to establish a clearinghouse of sorts for statistical information so coaches and schools can benefit from comprehensive statewide leaderboards for all the important stat categories,” said Bernard Childress, executive director of the TSSAA. “MaxPreps is an excellent supplement to our existing digital efforts and should make it very easy for coaches to submit updated stats after each game.”
MaxPreps.com is the nation's most visited site for high school sports.
PICK OF THE WEEK
Maryville 21, Dobyns-Bennett 10
Playing the Rebels tough is one thing. Beating them over the course of four quarters is a much different challenge.
Elizabethton 28, Greeneville 21
The Cyclones have earned the right to believe. Now they have to make it stand up.
Picks record: 9-4.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Bryson Rollins, Elizabethton
It was all Elizabethton in a 49-7 pounding of Sullivan South, and the sophomore quarterback had a big hand in the success. The TSSAA Class 4A Mr. Football semifinalist connected on 12 of 17 passes for 334 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed two times for 24 yards.
Rollins will find out Tuesday at noon whether he is a finalist for the Mr. Football award. It will be announced by Tennessee Titans’ play-by-play announcer Mike Keith on the team’s website at www.titansonline.com.
THE HOGS AWARD
The ’Clone Hogs made the offense purr like a well-oiled machine.
The run blocking provided room for 6.8 yards per carry while the pass blocking allowed time for 71 percent completions (12 of 17).
DEFENSIVE UNIT OF THE WEEK
Until the Rebels’ final drive of the game, the Cyclones were pitching a shutout and allowed only 178 yards of total offense. The Cyclones’ defense also recovered two fumbles and stopped South seven times on nine third-down situations.
Seven players signed to play college soccer on Monday: Savannah Fields (Lincoln Memorial), Sydney Jordan (Montreat), Tori Sparks (Montreat), Natalie Torbett (Trevecca), Lina Powell (Anderson), Teagan Kersey (USC Akien) and Brenna Weber (Tusculum).
Maddie Pleasant and Morgan Barkley will sign to play volleyball at Walters State on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the high school library.