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Coaches pick Blackman as Region 3 preseason favorite

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Tennessee prep high school football guru Murphy Fair expects Rutherford County to be anothering dominating force during the 2017 season.

In his recently released Tennessee High School Football magazine, Blackman is projected to win Region 3, followed by Oakland, Riverdale, Cookeville and Siegel.

"For a long time people across the state have pointed to Murfreesboro not only as a place that hosted the state championships, but it's place they call themselves champions," he said. "Riverdale had a great run, Oakland has made multiple appearances and Blackman has been so close. Smyrna also has a couple of state titles.

"There is something very special about Rutherford County, and it's not any one thing you can put your finger one. But it's also the same in basketball and baseball. It's a standard way of live. I don't know of any other place in the state that has been able to boast such success."

Fair says you can simply point to the number of college recruiters who flock to Rutherford County as to the reason football is so strong here.

"Tennessee as a whole used to be a place where college recruiters drove through," he said. "Now it's a place they come to for a purpose. Rutherford County is a hotbed, but the whole state has become a place where big-time programs come and recruit more than ever."

"Cookeville was one of the four teams picked to play in the playoffs (by the coaches), just ahead of Siegel," Fair said. "I know coach (Jimmy) Maynord would have rather been placed in the northern Hamilton County region. But i think his biggest concern is replacing some good coaches."

Meanwhile, Fair said Blackman's returning talent is why the coaches picked the Blaze to win the region.

"Everyone seems to be pointing to David Watson and the Blackman Blaze," he said. "They've got one of the top running backs in the state (Master Teague), but they've got other players that you're going read about. They've got outstanding receivers and athletes.

"After that, I think it's really a crapshoot. Oakland had incredible senior class. If you want to say Oakland is rebuilding, that's OK, but they're probably reloading. They've got guys you haven't seen, but they've got great athletes over there. I've never seen a Kevin Creasy team not fully prepared. He's going to put a good product on the field.

"Riverdale has a lot of talent coming back and coach (Will) Kriesky is going to a good job with them. I think they'll take another step."

Smyrna, Stewarts Creek and La Vergne will now compete in Region 5 with Antioch, Cane Ridge, Overton and McGavock.

"(Smyrna coach) Matt Williams lost a lot of good seniors, but I think moving into that Nashville region will be a good move," Fair said. "I think they'll stack up with the Nashville schools. Stewarts Creek made the playoffs and they'll have a good shot. La Vergne is an enigma. They've had some really good athletes who have gone on to the next level. (La Vergne coach) Stanton Stevens hired Mike Woodward from Antioch, and I think he will really help them as their offensive coordinator."

Eagleville will compete in Region 5A with Columbia Academy, Community, Forrest, Lewis County, Loretto and Summertown.

MTCS has moved to Division II and will be in the East Class A region with Concord Christian (Knoxville), Donelson Christian, Ezell-Harding, Friendship Christian (Lebanon), Grace Baptist (Chattanooga), Mt. Juliet Christian and The Kings Academy (Seymour).

Fair's magazine is currently on sale. Fans can go to murphyfair.com to order it or click on magazine outlets to find locations where it can be purchased.

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Blackman football, Monte Hale Jr., Murphy Fair
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