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Rebels, Cyclones favored in Region 1-4A games

Douglas Fritz • Sep 20, 2019 at 4:30 PM

Sullivan South and Elizabethton both have Greeneville in the back of their minds when it comes to Region 1-4A play. But both teams must deal with the tasks at hand before meeting each other and Greeneville.

On Friday night, the Rebels entertain Sullivan Central and the Cyclones host Grainger in a Touchdowns Against Cancer game. In another league contest, Sullivan East hits the road to battle Union County.

All games are scheduled for kickoff at 7:30.

SULLIVAN CENTRAL (1-2, 0-0) at SULLIVAN SOUTH (2-2, 1-0)

The Rebels enter as a solid favorite, but coach Justin Hilton said the Cougars have plenty of ability.

“Offensively their skill players are talented,” Hilton said. “Their quarterback (Will Nottingham) is a good athlete with a good arm. Defensively Nick Harrison is a good player, and they play hard as a collective defensive group.”

The Rebels will lean on the terrific running of Julian Reed, who has rushed for 745 yards and scored nine touchdowns in four games.

“Julian has worked hard to get stronger, and he has benefited from a veteran offensive line,” Hilton said.

“We have quite a bit of youth at the other offensive skill positions, so Julian’s leadership has been instrumental.”

GRAINGER (2-2, 0-1) at ELIZABETHTON (3-0, 1-0)

The Cyclones have handled the Grizzlies over the past two seasons, outscoring them by a margin of 105-6.

Elizabethton coach Shawn Witten said his team must be prepared for Grainger’s style of play.

“It’s another wing-T type team,” Witten said. “They force you to play disciplined defense and tackle well.”

When Elizabethton has possession, Witten said he wants his team to continue to spread the football around. The Cyclones have been run-heavy with a 78% ground attack.

“We like what the offensive line is getting done in the run game, and we’ve leaned on them and tried to keep them in a groove,” Witten said. “But we have great receivers who need to get more in the game plan.”

This is a “Go Gold” game for Elizabethton’s participation in Touchdowns Against Cancer, which raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Elizabethton currently ranks first in Tennessee with $1,060 raised. The school is No. 17 in the nation.

Gold buckets will be passed out at the game for more donations with 100% of the money going to St. Jude.

SULLIVAN EAST (0-3, 0-1) at UNION COUNTY (1-3, 0-1)

After losing games by one point and three points this season, the Patriots are hungry for their first win.

They could have a shot against the other Patriots, who have been held to six points or fewer in three of their four games.

Unfortunately for Sullivan East, those three opponents — Cherokee, Greeneville and Halls — have a combined record of 11-1. And Union County racked up 54 points in its lone victory.

Region 1-6A

JEFFERSON COUNTY (3-1, 1-0) at SCIENCE HILL (1-3, 1-0)

The Hilltoppers, in a three-way tie atop Region 1-6A, will be trying to maintain their status in the standings.

One thing that could lift or lower Science Hill’s chances against the Patriots is the status of running back Chris Thomas. He suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s loss to Greeneville and missed almost all of the second half.

’Toppers coach Stacy Carter said the recovery reports are positive for Thomas, but added, “We don’t know. It will be a game-time thing.”

If Thomas can’t go, Malik Bowman will start at running back. Cade Fleeman and Joshua Santiago would also be in the mix.

Jefferson County is led by dual-threat quarterback Tanner Atkins, who passed for over 100 yards and rushed for just under 100 in each of the Patriots’ first three games. He also totaled eight touchdowns.

The Patriots run out of a spread formation and throw the ball more than they run it.

Region 1-3A

JOHNSON COUNTY (0-1, 1-2) at WEST GREENE (1-0, 2-1)

Facing a two-game losing streak and the potential of falling out of the region title chase, the Longhorns have their backs against the wall.

West Greene was strong in its first two games but lost 34-0 to Class 2A county rival South Greene last week.

CLAIBORNE (0-1, 2-2) at UNICOI COUNTY (1-0, 2-2)

The Blue Devils have righted their ship after starting with a pair of losses, but they shouldn’t take the Bulldogs for granted.

Claiborne has scored 28, 45, 28 and 54 points this season, proving to be a stout offensive team. Unicoi, which has totaled 100 points over the last two weeks, may have to outscore Claiborne.

Region 1-2A

SOUTH GREENE (4-0, 0-0) at SULLIVAN NORTH (3-1, 1-0)

The Golden Raiders must get off the deck after last week’s four-touchdown loss to Chuckey-Doak, and it won’t be easy against the Region 1-2A favorite.

Easily handling each of their first four opponents, including Class 5A Cocke County and a pair of Class 3A foes, the Rebels are averaging 39 points per game while also authoring a shutout and a seven-point performance on defense.

Levi Myers and Luke Myers are the Rebels’ top offensive threats in a tough-to-stop ground attack.

HAPPY VALLEY (3-1, 1-0) at COSBY (1-3, 0-1)

The Warriors don’t have time to lament their five-touchdown bruising at the hands of Unicoi County last week.

Cosby scored at least 26 points in its first three games but crashed hard in last week’s 50-7 blitzing by Midway.

Region 1-1A

CLOUDLAND (0-3, 0-0) at HANCOCK COUNTY (2-2, 1-0)

The Indians are averaging 37 points per game, so it’s a challenge for the Highlanders. Cloudland is averaging only nine points per contest.

The good news is Cloudland hasn’t lost to Hancock since 2011, and the seven straight wins have all been blowouts.

UNAKA (0-1, 1-3) at JELLICO (0-0, 2-1)

The Rangers haven’t had any trouble putting points on the board, but stopping the opposition has proved difficult.

Unaka is averaging 33 points per game while surrendering 41. And Jellico has scored 67 points in its last two games, both victories.

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