After a few Roane County teams gave fans a taste of region play last week, the various football programs will be back in non-region games tonight.
That’s not to say they will be any less exciting or important.
The headlining game will be the continuation of a long County Rivalry game and another one will have already been played by the time this hits the street.
The others will show fans how teams rebound from hard losses as the season progresses into week four.
Rockwood @ Kingston
Tonight, the Rockwood Tigers will visit the Kingston Yellow Jackets at Dr. Nat Sugarman Field in Kingston.
For many football fans in Roane County, the annual gridiron contest between Kingston and Rockwood is THE RIVALRY.
The Tigers are going to be coming into the match-up riding high after beating Cloudland on the road, 36-6, to rebound from a tough loss to Sweetwater in week two.
The Jackets will be undaunted as they currently are in ownership of an unbeaten 3-0 record.
Last Friday’s region game against Brainerd was Kingston’s first real test and the Jackets passed with flying colors.
Kingston fought back from early snafus and a 14-0 deficit to take the decision 17-14.
At first glance, the teams are similar.
Both are predicated on the philosophy of power offense and strong defense.
The similarities begin to waver there.
Rockwood has the advantage in overall team speed and in experience with a bevy of talented upperclassman at its disposal.
Not to be outdone, the Jackets have their share of speed and talent as well, but on average the team is not as experienced compared to their rivals.
The Tigers’ quick strike run game rides the legs of Dakota Waldo, Pudge Hannibal and Dryston Turner.
The trio has shown they can be dangerous whenever they touch the ball and are capable of big gains.
Kingston has weapons of its own.
Rylan Guettner has to be accounted for anytime he is on the field with his big play ability.
Kain Ladd, known for his defensive prowess, has shown he is more than capable of bearing the load when it comes to the power run.
Mix in quarterback Mason Martin’s scrambling ability along with speedy Carcel Whitehead and the Jackets’ rushing game can be tough to stop.
Defensively, both teams are opportunistic and stingy.
Perhaps the deciding factor may come down to the kicking game.
Kingston’s Connon Littlefield has really showed off his leg thus far this year.
His play is all the more remarkable considering the Jackets aren’t necessarily known for their kicking game.
Littlefield’s kick offs have more often than not ended up as touchbacks along with an ability to punt his team out of trouble and make clutch field goals.
Rockwood’s kicker, Hayden McClaine has been accurate thus far this year, but hasn’t been called yet to come through in the clutch.
Oliver Springs @ Oneida
This is the game that will have already been played by the team the edition is on the stands.
The Oliver Springs Bobcats are still looking for their first win of the year as they travel to take on another tough opponent in the Oneida Indians.
The Bobcats is coming off a 41-7 road loss to Gordonsville last week.
The young Oliver Springs team is gaining needed experience in the unforgiving school of hard knocks.
The Bobcats’ schedule if filled with tough competition against top teams.
Having said that, Oliver Springs has shown signs of improvement as the defense has been playing tough.
In order for the Bobcats to start seeing success, the offense needs to start clicking.
Against an 1-2 Oneida team, Oliver Springs may find the missing puzzle piece.
The Indians have a reputation of being a top 2A team each year, but so far they’ve struggled to complete games.
Oneida lost a close one to Williamsburg, KY, 28-27, in the opening week and that was followed up by a 13-10 loss to Greenback.
The Indians first win of the year came last week against the Wartburg Bulldogs, 30-6.
So, compounding any issues the Bobcats may have is the fact they are getting a perennially tough team in a losing season directly after a big win.
Sale Creek @ Harriman
The Harriman Blue Devils will welcome the Sale Creek Panthers to the confines of Wallace Black Field tonight in a non-region game.
Harriman is a team capable of brilliance, but so far in the young season, it has struggled at times to find it.
The Devils lost to county rival Kingston in the opening week of the campaign, 51-0, but rebounded well in the next game with a 47-12 blowout of Wartburg.
Last week’s 55-14 loss to region powerhouse Coalfield, possibly derailed any momentum Harriman may have built with the Wartburg win.
The Devils has talent and weapons to use, in Camyan Campbell, Nasir Stokes, Grayson Kreis and quarterback Nick Pelfrey.
Much like some other teams this year, Harriman is predominantly young though.
Many of the players on the roster are still gaining needed game experience and no one is it more evident than on the offensive line.
As the linemen grow and improve, it will pay off for Harriman in the long run, but there are likely some bumps still on the road.
Defensively, the Devils are sound, but football is a team and unit sport.
If the offense isn’t giving the defense time to rest, the opposing team will find holes in the tough defensive front.
Sale Creek will be looking for its first when it takes the field.
The Panthers so far have lost close ones to Midway, 22-14, in the opener and a 7-2 game against Jackson County a week ago.
The key will be whether Harriman can get a sizable lead and maintain it as it appears a close game will play more in Sale Creek’s favor.
Midway @ Tellico Plains
The Midway Green Wave will play its fourth road game this year with a trip to Tellico Plains tonight.
The Green Wave is a young team with some able youngsters leading the way.
It makes for an exciting recipe, but with that youth, there are times when problems may arise.
That’s been the case for the last two weeks as Midway has lost to Lakeway Christian and Oakdale after starting the season out with a win against Sale Creek.
The Green Wave has deviated so far this year from traditional Midway play of passing first.
The running game has been effective though.
With the duo of sophomore Brennan Reed and freshman Tate Mason in the back field, the Green Wave hasn’t been shy about hitting the opposition full on in the face.
Last week against Oakdale, Midway was dominant throughout three quarters of play before the Eagles found life in the fourth to shock the Green Wave for a come from behind win.
Tellico’s record mirrors Midway.
The Bears are 1-2 on the year with a 27-21 victory against Sequoyah to open the season before losing to McMinn Central and Polk County in the next two games.
The key for the Green Wave will likely be to trust in their tough defensive play while limiting turnovers and penalties.
All games except for the Oliver Springs and Oneida game are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.