Journal West 10 Media breaks down its coverage-area teams headed into the first week of the football playoffs.
West No. 4 St. Benedict Eagles (7-3) @ West No. 3 Briarcrest (7-3)
Maybe the Eagles didn’t want to show too much this past Friday night at Briarcrest. But losing 42-5 means St. Benedict will have to fly right back to the home of the Saints to kickoff the playoffs. With identical 7-3 records, both teams traveled different paths. St. Benedict dominated teams like Kingsbury, Overton and B.T. Washington. The three losses came to MUS, Christian Brothers and Briarcrest. Meanwhile the Saints picked up impressive victories over White Station, Haywood and the Eagles. Briarcrest dropped games to Madison Ridgeland, CBHS and MUS.
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: Briarcrest 68%, St. Benedict 32%
West No. 4 Harding Academy Lions (6-4) @ West No. 2 St. George’s Gryphons (4-6)
The Gryphons finished the season under .500, but the four wins included an upset of ECS and a 56-26 win over Harding. St. George’s has battled one of the toughest schedules in 2018, taking on Arlington, Lausanne, Collierville, Houston and Center Hill. The Lions have compiled a 6-3 record, beating quality opponents like Trezevant and USJ. But Harding’s overall schedule is a lot lighter than St. George’s.
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: St. George’s 65%, Harding Academy 35%
Middle No. 4 Lipscomb Academy Mustangs (2-8) @ West No. 3 ECS Eagles (8-2)
The Mustangs ride into Shelby County with just a pair of victories over Goodpasture and Kenwood. Lipscomb had to endure the likes of Ensworth, Pope John Paul II, Franklin Road, East Nashville and Battle Ground Academy. Meanwhile the Eagles flew around the state, beating the likes of Knoxville Webb, USJ, Battle Ground Academy, Arlington and Harding Academy. In 5 of their 8 wins, the Eagles tallied 34 or more points.
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: ECS 85%, Lipscomb Academy 15%
West No. 5 Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels (5-5) @ East No. 4 Grace Baptist-Chattanooga Golden Eagles (6-3)
This is the first time these two school will meet. The Golden Eagles will not see the Rebels at full strength with key injuries to Jake Roane and Howard Gray. Maybe TRA will catch Grace Baptist at the right time. The Golden Eagles have dropped their last two games after winning five in a row. Two of those victories were shutouts over Silverdale Academy and Boyd Buchanan. The Rebels have a pair of goose eggs as well, coming over Greenfield 30-0 and 42-0 over MASE. Will the long travel get to the Rebels?
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: Grace Baptist 58%, TRA 42%
Region 7-4A No. 4 Ripley Tigers (3-7) @ Region 8-4A No. 1 Millington Trojans (4-6)
The Trojans claimed the 2018 Region title, going unbeaten in league play. Millington took on the likes of Munford, Germantown, Dyersburg, St. Benedict and Raleigh-Egypt — all playoff teams. The Trojans are battle-tested and winners of three out of the last four games.
The Tigers have to travel down Highway 51, taking on a motivated Trojan squad. Ripley was 3-3 as of Sept. 21 after beating Fayette-Ware. Then the Tigers were beaten by Haywood, Covington, Dyersburg and Decatur Country Riverside.
Both teams have played difficult schedules. Both teams are familiar with each other through scrimmages. This game should come down to the wire.
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: Millington 52%, Ripley 48%
Region 8-5A No. 4 Munford Cougars (6-4) @ Region 7-5A No. 1 Henry County Patriots (9-1)
The Cougars were 4-1 at the midway point. But playing in one of the toughest Regions in the state becomes a test of endurance. Munford has to beat rival Brighton this past Friday to claim the final spot behind Kirby, Southwind and Ridgeway. The Cougars’ reward is the powerhouse Patriots in Paris. Henry County dominated its league going 6-0. The Patriots only defeat came to unbeaten Germantown. Beside a 14-7 win over Beech and 29-26 win over Haywood, Henry County blew out the rest of the competition. Can the Cougars sustain their running attack and mix in enough passing to keep the Patriot offense on the sideline?
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: Henry County 78%, Munford 22%
Region 8-6A No. 3 Central Warriors (7-2) @ Region 7-6A No. 2 Cordova Wolves (7-3)
The best matchup on paper, both teams will feature good defense and solid offenses. This game might come down to home field advantage. Central’s only losses came to Germantown (28-7) and Whitehaven (35-14). Cordova knows tough competition as well only losing to Whitehaven, Houston and Pearl Cohn.
The Wolves have averaged 41.5 points in their final two wins of the season over Arlington and Bartlett. Meanwhile the Warriors dropped that game to Germantown, then outlasted White Station 22-19 to conclude the season.
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: Central 53%, Cordova 47%
Region 7-6A No. 4 Arlington Tigers (5-5) @ Region 8-6A No. 1 Germantown Red Devils (10-0)
The Tigers limp into the playoffs losers of their last three. All-State caliber running back Kenneth Walker is down and the Arlington offense has been searching for an identity. Meanwhile the Power 10 champion Red Devils have survived a marathon schedule unblemished. Germantown has defeated the likes of Henry County, Whitehaven, Millington and Houston — all either Region champs or the No. 2 seed out of their league. The Red Devils are owners of back-to-back undefeated seasons. Germantown is motivated after an early exit in 2017.
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: Germantown 91%, Arlington 9%
Region 7-6A No. 3 Collierville Dragons (5-5) @ Region 8-6A No. 2 Whitehaven Tigers (7-3)
The Dragons broke even in 2018 despite losing quarterback Mitch Austin for a stretch. Collierville’s defense has been fierce at some points of the season. That unit will need to have its best performance of the year Friday night in the Haven. The offense needs to clicking to get enough points to outlast the Tigers. Whitehaven has taken on a national championship-worthy schedule. The Tigers only losses came courtesy of Lausanne, North Little Rock and Germantown. But the rest of the schedule has fallen victim to the tradition of dominance from the Black and Gold.
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: Whitehaven 77%, Collierville 23%
Region 8-6A No. 4 White Station Spartans (3-7) @ Region 7-6A No. 1 Houston Mustangs (9-1)
Do the Spartans have a real shot at winning this game? Just ask the 2017 Germantown Red Devils. White Station is known for November magic. The Spartans are battle-tested every year, with 2018 featuring Briarcrest, DeSoto Central, CBHS, MBA, Germantown and Hernando. Beside a couple of games, the Spartans have had a shot for victory in each game. The pleasant surprise of 2018 is the 9-1 record of Houston. The Mustangs have only suffered a 49-28 loss to Germantown. The rest of the competition took beat downs from Houston with 8 wins a row. Only Cordova pushed the Mustangs to the edge, going down 21-13. Houston scored at least 39 points in the rest of the games.
CHANCE FOR VICTORY: Houston 53%, White Station 47%
Go to: Millington-News.com