Rutherford County TSSAA State Playoff Picks

Postseason play kicks off Friday night with four county teams hosting first-round TSSAA state playoff games.

No. 1 and undefeated Oakland plays host to fourth-seed Lebanon, which comes in at 5-5 overall.

The Patriots shouldn't have any problem advancing to the second round where they'll face either Mt. Juliet or Riverdale. However, first things first. Pick: Oakland 50, Lebanon 7.

No. 3 Riverdale (7-3) at No. 2 Mt. Juliet (6-4): The last time the Warriors played at Mt. Juliet they won as a No. 4 seed. The Bears are 6-4 and coming off a big loss to Hendersonville, but they're always a dangerous team at home. However, the Warriors and a large senior class would like nothing more than to get another crack at Oakland. Pick: Riverdale 24, Mt. Juliet 14.

No. 3 Wilson Central (6-4) at No. 2 Blackman (6-4): The Blaze have won three straight and five of their last six games going into the playoffs. Blackman played a rigorous non-region schedule, which should help it in postseason play. Pick: Blackman 42, Wilson Central 14.

No. 3 Stewarts Creek (8-2) at No. 2 Ravenwood (9-1): Stewarts Creek has enjoyed an outstanding season but will be facing the best team it has played. Ravenwood is considered one of a handful of contenders to make the BlueCross Bowl, while the Red Hawks are in the playoffs for just the second time.

No. 3 Independence (6-4) at No. 2 Smyrna (6-4): This is probably the best matchup of the night locally. Independence has the ability to score a lot of points, so Smyrna needs to control the ball, eliminate big plays and win the turnover battle. The Bulldogs have faced the best around in non-region games, which could be the deciding factor along with being at home. Pick: Independence 31, Smyrna 28.

No. 3 Eagleville (7-3) at No. 2 Houston County (9-1): Eagleville is making its ninth playoff appearance in 10 years. Houston County's only blemish was to region winner Waverly and it has allowed just 10 points a game all season while scoring 30 per game. Eagleville's defense should keep it in the game, but it might not be enough. Pick: Houston County 28, Eagleville 13.

No. 5 Fayette Academy (5-5) at No. 4 MTCS (4-6): Fayette Ware has lost its last four games, but one was in overtime and the others by a combined 22 points. The Cougars made the playoffs by winning their last three games. A tough non-region schedule could pay off, and quarterback Kemari McGowan has rushed for over 1,000 in just the last three games. Pick: Fayette Academy 45, MTCS 42.

Last week: 7-1. Season: 66-20

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