By JOSH VARDAMAN
The Spring Hill Raiders take their 2-0 record on the road Friday when they battle the Page Patriots, while Summit faces a tough challenge with a road contest at Shelbyville Central.
See below for a closer look at those matchups:
Spring Hill (2-0) at Page (0-1), 7 p.m. Friday*
The Spring Hill Raiders are riding a lot of momentum going into Week 3 while their opponents, the Page Patriots, are coming off essentially a bye week.
After lightning delayed Page’s game in Week 2 against Lipscomb Academy after just one quarter, the two schools decided to cancel the contest, instead of coming back for the rest of the game Saturday The decision made it as though the one quarter of play didn’t exist. Page still stands at 0-1 on the season.
Spring Hill’s Friday night was much different. The Raiders, not Mother Nature, brought the thunder at home against McGavock, and they won easily 47-15.
Friday’s matchup between the Raiders and Patriots will place a Page defense that has looked stout in its only game this season against a Spring Hill offense that has been dynamic and dangerous.
In their first game of the season, the Patriots limited Fairview to just 13 points and 238 total yards of offense. The Raiders bring a greater challenge offensively, though, after they averaged 36 points in their first two wins this season.
Spring Hill’s three-headed offensive monster of quarterback Blake Lovell, running back Dontae Smith and wide receiver Justin Oden will hope to keep their potent offense going, while Page’s defense led by a handful of All-Region players from last year will try to continue their stinginess.
Smith rushed for 172 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries in last week’s win.
He enters Friday’s matchup with 308 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 33 carries.
Lovell has 340 pass yards, five touchdowns and one interception, while Oden has eight catches for 228 yards and one touchdown.
Page’s offense is led by quarterback Jacob Van Landingham and wide receiver Will Pierce.
Summit (1-1) at Shelbyville (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday*
It was a long weekend for the Summit Spartans in Week 2.
They had to travel all the way to Clarksville for a battle with Clarksville Northwest not once, but twice after lightning postponed the game from Friday to Saturday.
Despite having to travel so much and playing under difficult weather conditions, Summit was eventually able to come away with a 17-7 victory..
“We were very proud of the way they responded as far as going back Saturday,” SHS head coach Brian Coleman said. “We really didn’t know how they would respond going back, because Friday was pretty physical. They executed the game plan pretty well.”
The Spartans will log more bus miles this Friday, as they will travel 80 miles round-trip to take on the undefeated Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles.
Shelbyville will provide a challenge to Summit up front with their size, especially on defense, according to Coleman.
“Their defense is a big three-man front,” he said. “One of their outside linebackers, who’s also their starting tailback, is probably going to be the best athlete on the field for both teams. It’s going to be a struggle for us.”
The Spartans will have to try and overmatch the Golden Eagles’ size in order to spring free their rushing attack.
Tai Carter and Tyler Palmer lead the ground attack. Carter, rushed for 54 yards and touchdown on nine carries last week, while Palmer led the team with 68 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
Coleman said the health of their running backs could be a big factor against Shelbyville.
“I guess one of the biggest things is getting healthy,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of our backs dinged up, and we haven’t really had the starting group in there since the first series against Spring Hill [in Week 1]. This week we get everybody back mostly.”
On the other side of the ball, Summit will try to contain a Shelbyville offense that has looked potent at times this season. After opening with 41 points in Week 1, the Golden Eagles scored 26 to beat Giles County 26-21 last week.
“What they do is they try to spread us out to run the ball,” Coleman said. “If you don’t honor the wide receivers they will just throw it out to them on quick stuff to get to the outside, but if you give too much attention to the guys on the outside they’re going to run the ball. You have to find the happy medium.”
To help his defense catch a breath after the long weekend, Coleman and the Summit coaching staff decided to have very light practices early in the week.
“We cut down a lot [Monday],” he said. “We didn’t have much contact, if any at all. Just having Sunday to recoup was the only day they had, so we were really easy on them [Monday].”