Rutherford County TSSAA State Playoffs Preview

Oakland and Mt. Juliet met in the state quarterfinals a season ago, with the Patriots winning a 14-7 classic on the road.

A rematch is set for Friday night when the two teams meet in the second round of the playoffs at Ray Hughes Stadium.

Mt. Juliet (7-4) looked to be on its way to a regular-season region title, but was beaten by Hendersonville in the regular-season finale, meaning the Bears dropped to a No. 2 seed.

With Mt. Julliet's 20-14 victory at home over Riverdale last week, the Bears earned another shot at Oakland this week.

"I think it makes for a great matchup between Wilson County and Rutherford County," Oakland coach Kevin Creasy said. "One of our goals is to be the last team standing. In all of Rutherford County there is only three and we want to survive and advance.

"We've had a hard time seeing any film on them. ... Mt. Juliet kind of spreads it out and keeps their wing-T principles, but they find ways to get their playmakers the ball. They're physical on defense and definitely have some athletes. You can't trick them. It's going to be a challenge. They've got some tremendous coaches. It's going to be a great matchup, and not just on paper."

Blackman, which lost to Mt. Juliet in the second round, will have a road matchup again Friday but against Hendersonville, which is a No. 1 seed at 6-5.

"We've got to prepare well this week because this next one on the road is against a hot team that has played a very good schedule," Blackman coach Kit Hartsfield said. "Their record speaks nothing of what type of team they are right now. They're a totally different team right now than they were at the beginning of the season.

"They have a great home atmosphere. Their season was a lot like us and they played a very tough non-district schedule. They had a chance to kind of tank or get it fixed, and they did the same thing we did and got it fixed. It's going to be an extremely tough challenge. I saw on film them beat Mt. Juliet by 40 points and then score 58 on Cookeville."

Eagleville is the other remaining Rutherford County still alive and will travel to regular-season region champion Forrest. The Rockets beat the Eagles 28-7 in the regular season back on Sept. 6.

"It's always fun when our two programs get together," Eagleville coach Floyd Walker said. "It's a healthy rivalry and it's a region opponent. Because of the distance between us, the kids run into each other. It will be a great night for both football teams and both communities, and it will be great to be part of that football game. It's always a fun game and a lot of times a close game, and when it's over those kids will appreciate each other.

"We have to understand that mistakes will get you beat. We survived some last week. They're a good football team, so we'll have to play a lot cleaner."

FRIDAY'S SCHEDULE

Mt. Juliet (7-4) at Oakland (11-0)

Blackman (7-4) at Hendersonville (6-5)

Eagleville (8-3) at Forrest (11-0)

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