The stage is nearly set and the television cameras are almost ready for fans who will fill the seats this week to watch undefeated Oakland host undefeated Blackman as part of MyTV 30 "Thursday Night Lights."
Coming into the matchup, both teams are currently 8-0 this season. Whoever wins the Thursday, Oct. 24, game will be the District 7-AAA regular season champions.
In the latest Associated Press Top 10 high school poll, Oakland is ranked No. 2, while the Blaze are. No. 3. Maryville still has control of the top spot in the Class 6A poll.
Both teams are glad the anticipated game between two of the top teams in the state is here.
“We are pumped, it’s two undefeated teams going for the championship in the district,” Oakland senior lineman Austin Barrett said. “It does not get any better than that.”
Blackman head coach Philip Shadowens added: “Playing 8-0 Oakland makes it exciting for us. I think both teams will be extremely excited to get this matchup on. Everybody has talked about this matchup from day one. That week is finally here and we can start preparing for that opportunity.”
Each of the combatants mirror one another in many ways. Both offenses like to put up points,, while both defenses have proven to be stingy. The Oakland offense has scored 30 points or more in seven of the eight victories this season, while the defense has only allowed teams to score 14 or more points in three games.
While the Blaze counters on offense by scoring at least 28 points in every game this season, the defense has only allowed two teams to score 21 or more points. However, it has not happened since August, when Blackman defeated Brentwood 38-28 during Week One of the season.
Both teams feel like they are ready for the other team’s best shot tonight.
“We are going to have to capitalized on Oakland’s sometimes inability to come out and start a game against a better team,” junior Blackman lineman Caleb Lafleur said. “We need to capitalize and score some points in the beginning and continue to play well.”
“Our defense has got to come out and do what they always do, and the offense has got to put up points on the board for us,” senior Oakland wide receiver Emmanuel Smith added.
Oakland head coach Thomas McDaniel announced this week seats will be added at Ray Hughes Stadium on the school’s campus in anticipation of the sellout crowd for the game, which starts at 7 p.m.
“It’s at an all-time high and it should be,” McDaniel said. “It’s a game with a lot at stake, it’s just one football game, but it carries a lot of weight for the playoffs. It’s also an opportunity for us to win the district championship for the first time in several years.”