Battle Ground Academy, Page and Fairview open the postseason with home matchups Friday.
See below for a closer look at their matchups:
King’s Academy (4-6) at Battle Ground Academy (7-3), 7 p.m. Friday
Battle Ground Academy enters this year’s Division II-A playoffs in a much better way than it did a season ago.
After starting 2015 5-0, the Wildcats limped into the playoffs and were knocked out of the first round by Harding Academy by a 41-6 score. They lost four of their last five games to end the season.
For a couple of weeks this year, it looked like déjà vu for BGA. After starting 4-0, it lost three of four contests in the middle of the season. The Wildcats got things figured out, though, and enter the playoffs winners of three out of four games and as Division II-A East/Middle Region District 2’s top seed.
The prize for BGA’s strong finish to the regular season is it gets to host its first-round game against The King’s Academy, out of Seymour.
The Lions had a roller coaster-type of season. They started slow before picking up the pace through the middle of their schedule, going 0-5 then following with a four-game winning streak before being beaten by Knox Webb 35-7 last week to end the regular season.
King’s Academy’s offense seemed to be the determinant for if it was going to win or not during the regular season. In the Lions’ four wins they averaged 48.75 points per game, while in their losses they scored just 21 points per game.
BGA will counter with a defense giving up 20 PPG to opponents. In the Wildcats’ back-to-back wins to finish the regular season, they limited Ezell-Harding and Franklin Road Academy to just 20 total points.
Offensively, quarterback Drew Martin, wide receiver Kel Hawkins and do-it-all man Joseph Pasley will try to lead the Wildcats past a Lion defense that has been suspect this season. King’s Academy is giving up 31.6 points per game this year.
Chattanooga Central (3-7) at Page (6-3), 7 p.m. Friday
The Page Patriots will have to put a bad loss behind them as they enter the first round of Class 4A playoffs.
After entering the final week of the regular season undefeated in Region 4-4A, the Patriots were demolished 51-0 by Marshall County in what was a league title game.
Though it struggled last week, Page still gets the luxury of hosting its first-round game Friday against Chattanooga Central.
The Pounders, the three-seed out of Region 3-4A, have won three games this season. All of their victories have come against Region 3-4A opponents.
It was a struggle for much of the regular season for Chattanooga Central to find wins. It averaged just 14 points scored while giving up 22 to opponents.
The Pounders did appear to find some sort of answer in the last three weeks defensively. During that stretch, in which they won two of three games, they gave up just 22 points total.
While its defense looked better in the last few weeks of the regular season, Chattanooga Central’s offense never found its stride. That was never more apparent than in its last game of the season, a 13-12 loss against 1-9 Cumberland County. The Pounders managed just 12 points against a Cumberland County defense that gave up 32 points per game this season.
Page will look to get to an early lead to put the game out of reach for the poor Chattanooga Central offense.
Junior quarterback Jacob Van Landingham (1,406 passing yards, 16 total touchdowns) and freshman running back Bubba Johnson (858 rushing yards, 11 TDs) will lead the way for the Patriots.
Defensively, the Pats are spearheaded by safety Cruze Kerrigan and defensive end Turner Smith.
Should Page get the victory, it will advance to face either Spring Hill or Stone Memorial in the Class 4A second round.
East Nashville (4-6) at Fairview (10-0), 7 p.m. Friday
The Fairview Yellowjackets ended their undefeated regular season in a big way last week.
With the Region 6-3A title on the line, the Yellowjackets throttled Harpeth 56-11 to enter the postseason undefeated for the first time since 1990.
Fairview will take on East Nashville at home Friday in the Class 3A first round. The Eagles are the fourth seed from Region 5-3A.
Behind running backs Jake Beathard (1,074 rushing yards, 17 touchdowns) and Hunter Caldwell (714 rushing yards, 12 total TDs), the Yellowjackets will look to exploit what has been a difficult East Nashville defense to read, due to its tough schedule.
The Eagles are giving up an average of 20.7 points to opponents, but have two shutouts this season against region foes Greenbrier and Whites Creek, and they feature one of the best linebacker prospects in the state. East Nashville senior Jacob Phillips, an Oklahoma commit, has 104 total tackles and three interceptions this season.
Fairview’s defense, which was very steady in the Yellowjackets’ last three games, will hope to stay hot against an East Nashville offense that is looking for someone to step up.
The Eagles don’t have a rusher or receiver that eclipsed 400 yards this season, nor a quarterback who has thrown for more than 650.
While on paper it looks like Fairview could be the easy pick in this game, the Yellowjackets can’t sleep on East Nashville. The Eagles are battled-tested from playing in a tough Region 5-3A that includes 10-0 Stratford, 7-2 Goodpasture and last year’s Class 3A state runner up Christ Presbyterian Academy as its other playoff teams.
Should they win, the Yellowjackets would advance to the second round to face the winner of Harpeth and Goodpasture.