By SAM McGAW
HUNTINGTON LEARNING CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK
Independence (5-5) at Smyrna (7-3), 7 p.m. Friday
After reaching the Class 5A championship in each of the past two seasons, the Independence Eagles face an uphill battle to begin the Class 6A postseason with a matchup at Smyrna.
The Eagles enter the bout on the heels of a 22-13 loss against Ravenwood. They’ve leaned heavily on running back Troy Henderson this season.
The senior has rushed for 105 yards or more in four straight games, including a 207-yard performance last week. He racked up 1,183 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns during the regular season.
TJ Sheffield, Isaiah Collier and Kendrell Scurry are Indy’s top playmakers at receiver.
Sheffield has 781 receiving yards and six touchdowns, while Collier has caught 28 passes for 518 yards and four scores. Scurry has 34 receptions for 471 yards and two touchdowns.
The major key for the Eagles this week will be their ability to protect the football. They have turned the ball over 21 times this season, including 17 interceptions by quarterback Nathan Cisco.
Outside of the picks, Cisco has provided production this year, passing for 2,085 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Cisco and his weapons will be met by a Smyrna defense that’s held its last four opponents to 14 points or less.
Defensively, the Eagles will look to stifle a Smyrna attack that’s averaging 21.3 points per game.
Running back Blake Watkins leads the Bulldogs with 842 rushing yards, 193 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.
Linebacker Blake Bixby leads Indy’s defense with 119 tackles and an interception.
Sam McGaw is the sports editor for Brentwood Home Page, Franklin Home Page, Nolensville Home Page and Spring Hill Home Page. Follow him on Twitter @SamMcGaw_.