Rutherford County TSSAA State Playoff Preview

Oakland begins defense of its 2018 state title Friday night when the Patriots play host to Lebanon in the first round of the TSSAA state playoffs.

The Patriots have won 23 straight games and are 10-0 on the season, while Lebanon comes in at 5-5.

"We could possibly have three straight playoff games, but it's going to be tough," Oakland coach Kevin Creasy said. "You never know what's going to happen.

"(Lebanon does) a really good job. I think they got upset a couple of weeks ago, and it threw everything into a whirlwind. We had no idea who we were going to be playing. There are a couple of teams over there that we would have much rather have played. They've got quality coaches, so we'll definitely have to get ready to prepare and do a lot better than we did (last) week."

Blackman earned the No. 2 seed out of Region 5 and will play host to third seed Wilson Central, which is 6-4 after winnings its first four games of the season, losing its next five and winning its last two.

"They've got a very tough group and we won't sleep on them in the first round," Blackman coach Kit Hartsfield said. "It's win or go home now. I had no idea who we were going to play coming into (last week). It looked like we were going to play Lebanon.

"We have to play well in all three phases if you want to win in the playoffs. We have to play tough football. We have to take care of the ball. You've got to play defense and stop the run. We've been doing a good job lately of that."

Smyrna earned a No. 2 seed by beating Stewarts Creek 24-21 last week and will host No. 3 Independence, a familiar playoff opponent, in the first round.

"Two years ago we played them and they beat us 14-13, and we thought we should have won the ball game," Smyrna coach Matt Williams said. "Last year they were just better than us and got us good. Whoever you play from Williamson County, you're getting a good team.

"The thing about this one is we've got to be as enthused as we have been the last two weeks. It's easy to get excited when you're playing La Vergne and Stewarts Creek. We've got to be able to run the football and keep them off the field. We have to find a way to cover (their receivers). We have to be really good on the back end and tackle well."

No. 3 seed Riverdale travels to Mt. Juliet, which was upset by Hendersonville and fell to the second seed.

"Mt. Juliet is a traditional powerhouse over there, and if we're not ready to play it will be our last game of the season," Riverdale coach Will Krieky said. "They do a great job over there and their kids will be excited.

"We have to be able to run the football. They're big and physical up front. We need to take care of the football and win the special teams. It's up to us to how we prepare. It's do or die Friday night."

Stewarts Creek will be a No. 3 seed and play at Ravenwood (9-1), which was expected to make a run at the BlueCross Bowl prior to the season.

MTCS will be at home as a No. 4 seed and play No. 5 seed Fayette Ware. Eagleville, a No. 3 seed, will play at No. 2 seed Houston County, which is 9-1.

TSSAA PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

East Bracket

No. 4 Lebanon at No. 1 Oakland

No. 3 Riverdale at No. 2 Mt. Juliet

No. 3 Wilson Central at No. 2 Blackman

No. 4 Cookeville at No. 1 Hendersonville

West Bracket

No. 4 Franklin at No. 1 Cane Ridge

No. 3 Stewarts Creek at No. 2 Ravenwood

No. 3 Independence at No. 2 Smyrna

No. 4 McGavock at No. 1 Brentwood

CLASS 2A

No. 4 Hickman Co. at No. 1 Forrest

No. 3 Eagleville at No. 2 Houston Co.

No. 3 Riverside at No. 2 Lewis Co.

No. 4 Summertown at No. 1 Wavery

Division II 1A

Fayette Academy at MTCS

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