Trip to playoffs on the line Friday
Posted By Sparta Live | October 28, 2010 12:00 am
Friday’s football game between the Warriors and the Jets is a little more than a battle between neighbors.
For the second straight year, the game has serious playoff implications. A win by the Warriors coupled with a win by Cookeville over Coffee County would give WCHS second place in District 6AAA and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs. Whichever team wins could also garner a wildcard spot regardless of the outcome of the Cookeville/Coffee County game. The final playoff announcements will be made Saturday.
For the Warriors, a trip to the playoffs would be the first time in the history of the program; the team has earned back-to-back spots. (Playoffs have only been in effect since 1969.) The Warriors have made four trips to the playoffs (1982, 1999, 2005 and 2009). Last year’s trip with only one win left many across the state scratching their head and brought about changes to the playoffs. Earning a trip this season under the new qualifying rules could go along way in advancing the program.
The two met last season in the final game with the winner earning a trip to the playoffs despite what had happened to that point in the season. The Warriors defeated the Jets 21-14.
This season both teams come into the contest sporting identical 4-5 records. As far as district play goes, the Warriors have the upper hand. Cumberland County does not have a district win, while the Warriors defeated Coffee County. WCHS lost to Warren County in overtime. The Pioneers defeated the Jets 43-21. The Jets had a better showing against the Cavaliers losing by a score of 37-22 while the Warriors were defeated 32-6.
Outside of 6AAA, the Jets and Warriors have faced off against two other common opponents, Livingston and York. Cumberland County swept both teams defeating York 41-14 and the Wildcats 42-21. WCHS lost to Livingston 37-30 and defeated the Dragons 30-21.
The other two wins on the schedule for the Jets have come over Meigs County (34-0) and Stone Memorial (32-27).
Cumberland County opened the season with a 22-13 loss to Marion County. Their latest loss came at the hands of a very strong Kingston team in overtime 35-28.
The Jets have been putting points on the board averaging almost 29 points per outing and that all starts with quarterback Terrell Bowen. The senior signal caller has scored more than 30 touchdowns this season and is a dual threat on the field.
In the most recent loss to Kingston, Bowen carried the ball 27 times for 182 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw for 80 yards. He got help in that game from running back, Tyler Howard, who carried the ball 18 times for 80 yards and had a 97-yard kick return for a touchdown.
In the loss to Coffee County, Bowen rushed for 129 yards and then three for 113 yards completing three passes all for touchdowns. His leading receiver is Kyle Pritchard.
Bowen put on a show in the win over city rival, Stone Memorial, rushing for 202 yards and three touchdowns. He was four of four passing for 63 yards. Howard also rushed for 153 yards in that game.
In the loss to Warren County, the Jets held a 21-7 halftime lead before losing 43-21. Howard carried the ball 12 times for 114 yards in that contest.
Coach Tracy Malone commented on Friday’s encounter, “It’s a big one. We win, we go to the playoffs. If Crossville wins, they can get in so I guess they feel the same as us. That puts a lot of pressure on both teams. We feel we’ve got a good shot. They have put a lot of points up this year. Their quarterback is a really good player. He’s probably the best dual threat player we’ve seen this year. We have to limit him in order to be successful. For us offensively, they play a 50 defense. We’ve faced it two or three times. We feel we are better prepared for it this time. I look for a good ball game. I think it’s going to come down to who makes the least mistakes and who does a better job tackling. We missed too many tackles last week. Can’t do that this week.”
The pivotal playoff game is slated to kick off at 7 p.m. in Crossville.