By JOSH VARDAMAN
Marshall County (6-1, 3-0) at Spring Hill (4-3, 1-2), 7 p.m. Friday
Friday’s game for the Spring Hill Raiders against Marshall County could prove very important for their fate come playoff time.
Through five games this season, the Raiders sat at 4-1, but with back-to-back losses to Giles County and Father Ryan, they now sit at 4-3 and in the ever important fourth place in Region 4-4A. They are half a game ahead of Lawrence County, which they play the last week of the regular season for the final playoff position.
Last week against Father Ryan, Spring Hill gave up a second-half explosion in which the Fightin’ Irish, who controlled the game with their rushing attack, scored 24 points en route to a 45-14 win.
The Raiders gave up 315 yards on 55 carries and uncharacteristically couldn’t move the ball very effectively on offense. After averaging 38 points per game in its first six games, Spring Hill scored only twice and gained just 194 (98 rushing, 96 passing) yards as a team.
Donte Smith, who went into the game averaging 181 yards per game rushing, only ran the ball six times for 119 yards and a touchdown, which was a 75-yarder in the second quarter.
If Spring Hill wants to beat region-leading Marshall County, it will have to do a better job offensively. The Raiders will also need to find a way to slow down the Tigers’ passing attack.
Sophomore quarterback Bryce Wallace has completed 73 percent of his passes this year for 1,473 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His favorite two receivers, Tre Crutcher and Jay Howard, average 92 and 70 yards receiving per game, respectively.
If the Raiders drop the game Friday night, their playoff chances could take a severe hit.
Lincoln County (3-4, 1-3) at Summit (5-2, 3-1), 7 p.m. Friday*
After shutting out Franklin County last week, the Summit Spartans take their best record in school history into a home matchup with Lincoln County Friday.
The Spartans rolled past Franklin County 31-0 last week for their fifth win of the season, setting a new school record. Junior Tai Carter kept his strong season going with 215 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. He now has 971 yards rushing and 15 total touchdowns this season.
Lincoln County goes into the game riding a high after a 52-28 victory over Columbia last week. The Falcons’ outburst was unexpected, as they were averaging just 15 points per contest before that game.
The Spartans not only should feel good about stopping Lincoln County, but also they should be itching to let Carter and the rest of their wing-T offense go against a Falcon defense giving up 26 points per game.
A win Friday will put Summit at 4-1 in Region 5-5A. It currently sits in a tie for second with Stewarts Creek, a game behind undefeated Independence and a game ahead of Franklin County and Shelbyville.