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Kia of Murfreesboro Game of the Week: Smyrna at Oakland

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Oakland will be looking to complete an undefeated regular season, while Smyrna will try to bounce back from a bitter defeat Friday night when the two face off in the Kia of Murfreesboro Game of the Week at Oakland.

No. 2 Oakland (9-0, 6-0) has clinched no worse than a share of the Region 2 championship and a No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Smyrna (6-3, 4-2), meanwhile, has slipped to fourth in the district.

"They're the most physical team I've seen on film and the most athletic," said Smyrna coach Matt Williams, whose team suffered a tough 23-20 home loss to Riverdale last Friday. "We'll have to have a great week of practice.

"We've got to find a way to get stops and we can't let their receivers get behind us. We've got one or two ways to go. We can turn our shoulder pads and helmets in and forget about it, or we can move on. We'll find out if we've got a good attitude and get over it."

Oakland is averaging 48 points a game and has allowed just 40 points all season, so Smyrna's margin for error is obviously slim.

"They're one of the best football teams in the state," Williams said. "We'll have to play well; that's the bottom line. If we turn the ball over and hurt ourselves, we'll get beat. That's the plain and simple of it."

Oakland is coming off another dominating performance, beating Cookeville 56-7 to clinch the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

The game will feature two of the top quarterbacks in the Midstate in Oakland's Brendan Matthews and Smyrna's John Turner.

"Both quarterbacks' touchdown to interception ratio is incredible," said Oakland coach Kevin Creasy. "Ours is 19 to 2 and I know Turner's numbers are incredible as well. He's thrown for 2,000 yards already. When they put out a release to promote him for Mr. Football, I saw he had an incredible GPA, like 3.9.

"Both have great GPAs and ACT scores and they're both good students and good people off the field. It's a great matchup for the fans. They battled it out twice last year, and I think quarterback play will be significant in this game and probably dictate the outcome of this game."

Despite Smyrna falling to Riverdale last Friday, Creasy said he expects the Bulldogs' best effort this week.

"They match us athlete for athlete," he said. "Their defense is always very strong. I have a lot of respect for coach Williams. They always play hard, that's the thing about Smyrna. You know you're going to get their best game.

"They've got very good athletes and they're well coached, and that's a rough combination for the opponent. And I'm sure they'll be real ticked off with the way their game ended (against Riverdale). They'll be fired up and ready to roll and will want to get that bad taste out of their mouth. We expect Smyrna's best game. I think it will be worth the price of admission. It will be another knockdown, drag out game."

Reach sports editor Monte Hale Jr. at mhale@murfreesboropost.com

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Monte Hale Jr., Oakland football, Smyrna football
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