The Summit Spartans battle Stewarts Creek Friday for second place in Region 5-5A. Spring Hill aims to break up its 3-game losing streak at Lipscomb Academy.
See below for a closer look at each team’s matchups:
Summit (6-2, 4-1) at Stewarts Creek (4-4, 3-2), 7 p.m. Friday*
The Summit Spartans can lock up the second spot in the Region 5-5A standings with a win at Stewarts Creek Friday.
Should the Spartans get a win, they would ensure their first-ever playoff game would be played at home.
“That’s some pretty good motivation for them,” Summit head coach Scott Coleman said. “I think if you win out you possibly get second and if you lose one out of two you could be in fourth.”
The Red Hawks are trying to stay in the coveted fourth spot in the region standings to stay in the playoffs. They go into Friday limping, losers of back-to-back games to Independence and Shelbyville.
Both defenses could benefit by seeing opposing offenses they should be very used to. Summit and Stewarts Creek both run wing-T offenses.
“They’re a lot like us on both sides of the ball,” Coleman said. “They have two very good running backs… I think that will be their biggest advantage.”
The Red Hawks feature four running backs that have carried the ball 39 times or more, led by Zach Long and Ke’shawn Walker.
Offensively, Summit will have to contend with a Stewart’s Creek defense that will bring more size up front than the Spartans have to offer along their offensive line.
“They’re going to be big up front,” Coleman said. “It’s going to be tough to stop those guys from slanting in our gaps, so I think that could be the trouble for us.”
Junior running back Tai Carter (1,074 yards rushing, 15 touchdowns) will lead the Spartan offense. Backs Dalton Fisher (589 rushing yards) and Tyler Palmer (440 rushing yards) will also try to gash the Red Hawks.
After a season-opening loss to crosstown rival Spring Hill, the Spartans have won six of seven games in convincing fashion. They hold an average margin of victory of 28 points in their six wins this season.
“I knew these seniors were going to be good leaders after going through the offseason and seeing the way they matured,” Coleman said. “We had a setback with that Spring Hill game, and that may have helped us more than hurt us. After that game we rattled off some pretty good wins.”
A win Friday would put another nice note on what has been the best season in Summit’s brief history. The Spartans’ regular season concludes on the road at Columbia next week.
Spring Hill (4-4) at Lipscomb Academy (5-2), 7 p.m. Friday
A once-promising season for the Spring Hill Raiders has turned a little sour over the last three weeks.
After roaring out of the gates this year to a 4-1 start, the Raiders lost their last three contests and now sit at just 4-4 overall and 1-3 in Region 4-4A play, good enough for a tie for fourth place in the standings.
Spring Hill gets a chance to work on some things this week without the fear of dropping another region game. It travels to Lipscomb Academy Friday to take on the Mustangs, a Region 6-4A team.
Over the last three weeks, the Raider offense has slowed from its torrid pace to start the season, while their defense has struggled mightily.
After averaging 39 points per game through five games, Spring Hill has only scored 22 points per game during its losing streak. The Raiders have given up 50 points per game during the three-game skid.
Lipscomb Academy, winner of three games in a row, has averaged 27 points per game this season (40 in the last three games) and is giving up just 14 points per game.
A win this week would do a lot for Spring Hill’s confidence ahead of its season finale against Lawrence County. The Wildcats, who also step out of Region 4-4A play this week, are currently tied with the Raiders for the important fourth and final postseason spot in the region.