Two great games are coming our way this Friday as Clinton travels to Oak Ridge to take on the Wildcats and Anderson County hosts Jefferson County.
Oak Ridge has had a middling season so far, going 2-3 overall and 1-1 in their district. Clinton has gone 0-5 overall and 0-1 in their district. Clinton currently sits ranked at 186 in the state and 33 in their division, while Oak Ridge is currently 78 in the state and 18 in their division. Both teams are 5A schools, making this a conference game. Oak Ridge is coming off a 24-7 loss against West, while Clinton is coming off a 48-7 loss against Powell.
Last year Clinton hosted the yearly game between the two schools and Oak Ridge won 54-28 after a hard-fought game by both teams, but Oak Ridge at this time last year was 5-1. This year will undoubtedly be more interesting as Oak Ridge struggles to live up to their record of last year and Clinton comes hungry for their first win of the season against its old rivals.
Coach Randy McKamey said he believes it should be a close game.
“The kids are excited. It’s one of the healthy rivalries we have and, as a Clinton alumni myself, I know it’s our true rivalry. Plus it’s always good to coach against Gaddis. It’s always good to coach against a legend. “
Clinton has only won twice at Blankenship since 1940. Once was in 1997, and the other was in 2009.
“It gives them a chance to do something at Blankenship that a lot of other Clinton teams haven’t been able to do in the past. Oak Ridge this year isn’t the Oak Ridge of years past. The boys are ready for their first win of the season and hopefully their third win at Blankenship.”
Clinton’s schedule for the season has been incredibly top-heavy, with their opponents’ collective record currently standing at 24-1 (Anderson County lost to Powell). McKamey said he’s optimistic going forward, though.
“We’ve got some games now that we’ve got a chance against. I think all of our games are winnable going forward. We’ve proven to everyone that we’re gonna be competitive, and when you’re being competitive, anything can happen on a Friday night.”
Anderson County takes on Jefferson at home. The 6A school is currently 3-2 overall and 1-1 in their district. They’re currently ranked 36 in their class and 137 in the state. Compare that to the Mavericks, who are 5-1 overall and 2-0 in their district. The Mavs currently stand at second in their class (behind Greeneville) and 28 in the state.
The Mavs are coming off three consecutive wins, including an upset win against South-Doyle and a 42-0 sweep against Howard Tech, while Jefferson County is coming into Friday nursing losses against Science Hill (42-8) and West (49-22).
Jefferson finished last season with a record of 4-6, going 0-6 within their district. Anderson County, meanwhile, went 12-1 and undefeated in their district.
Finally, Anderson County has scored more than 100 points against opponents in their last three games, while Jefferson has scored exactly 50.
David Gillum, Anderson County’s head coach, said he’s looking forward to the challenges the game will bring.
“Jefferson’s a different animal. They’re a bigger, physical football team and a little different from everything we’ve seen so far. It gives us a good change to go against them and put together a different gameplan and see how well we can execute it. Their quarterback is a really athletic guy who can run and pass both, so how well we contain him and tackle him will really determine how much success they’re able to have on offense. They’re a big physical team on defense, but as long as we throw and catch the way I know we’re capable of, it should be a big night for us on offense hopefully.”
He finished by saying how happy he is to see how the team is progressing.
“The team seems to be progressing nicely and everybody seems to be getting a little better each week. At this point we’re making a lot of progress weekly toward the playoffs. As a coach I’m excited we haven’t had any steps backwards. Everything seems to be heading the right direction.”