When the TSSAA cross-pollinated football teams across the state by taking conferences and turning them into hybrid regions, it created an organism that must be studied before definitive understanding can be obtained.
For example, folks in Northeast Tennessee know how Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett look when paired with the Volunteers and Sullivan Centrals of the football world. They look big, strong, mean and dominant.
But how will those teams look in a regular season game against Maryville? Or Hardin Valley Academy?
Will Daniel Boone and David Crockett be competitive against Morristown East and Morristown West? Would they stand a fighting chance against Sevier County?
The truthful answer to those questions is this: We just don’t know. When the TSSAA first got all whacked out in 1993, it took some time to figure out how Science Hill would do against South-Doyle, or how Dobyns-Bennett would match up against Knox Bearden. And it will take some time to figure things out here.
Some teams handle travel better than others. Some teams won’t be in awe of teams, and surprise them. Others won’t respect teams they should, and will get flattened.
And it’s going to take some time for things to shake out. For example, Elizabethton doesn’t play a “new” region opponent until Oct. 2 against Pigeon Forge. That’s the first game against five straight new opponents.
On the flip side, Science Hill opens with Bradley Central and Maryville, teams the Hilltoppers have seen — but never in a conference setting.
Expect some unexpected things this fall. From that standpoint, it should be a very entertaining season.
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It’s “go time” for high school fall sports.
Football season won’t officially begin until Thursday, and golf teams have already enjoyed their first swings of the season. As for girls soccer, volleyball and cross country, they were allowed to hit the ground running for the first time Monday.
Here’s a fall sport-by-sport look:
Defending Class AAA state champion Daniel Boone is ready for another strong run, and the Trailblazers will get things rolling Saturday in the Clash of the Classes in Boone, N.C.
Science Hill opens its season Aug. 29 in the Blacksburg (Va.) Relays while David Crockett’s first meet is Aug. 29 in the Run for the Hills event at South Holston Dam near Bristol.
Elizabethton, Happy Valley, Unicoi County and University High open competition today in the Hog Hollow Two-Miler at Tri-Cities Baptist Church in Gray.
The state cross country meet is Nov. 7 at the Steeplechase Course in Nashville.
Science Hill will kick things off today with home contest against Volunteer. It’s a Big Seven Conference contest with start time set for 6 p.m. at Tipton Stadium.
It will be the Lady Hilltoppers’ first contest under new head coach David Strickland, who guided the boys team to the Class AAA state championship contest in May.
Also today, Daniel Boone opens its season at Dobyns-Bennett with a 5:30 p.m. start, and David Crockett will play host to Elizabethton on Thursday at 6 o’clock.
In Class A-AA, Elizabethton begins its season today at Morristown East (6 p.m.) while University High plays host to Unicoi County on Thursday (6:30). Happy Valley takes on Hampton at home today at 6 p.m.
The girls state soccer tournament is set for Oct. 28-31 at the Richard Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro.
Science Hill gets a test right off the bat as the Lady Hilltoppers will be at home today to take on perennial power Sullivan South at 6 p.m.
Daniel Boone at David Crockett open their seasons against each other today in Jonesborough at 4 p.m.
In Class AA, Elizabethton started Monday at Greeneville while Unicoi County played host to Providence Academy. The Lady Blue Devils battle Greeneville at home today. Johnson County started Monday at Sullivan Central.
The volleyball state tournament is set for Oct. 21-23 in Murfreesboro.
This sport got a head start because postseason play begins much sooner for that sport. The Big Seven Conference tournament is scheduled for Sept. 3 at Buffalo Valley Golf Course, and the District 1-AAA event is set for the week of Sept. 14. The Region event is set for Sept. 21, and the Class AAA state tournament is scheduled for Sept. 29-30 at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester.
The District 1-A/AA tournament will be the week of Sept. 28 while the region event is Oct. 5. The Class A-AA state event is Oct. 13-14, also in Manchester.