Up next: A familiar foe in the Powell Panthers

Oak Ridge will get the chance to avenge its only Region 3-5A loss of the season when it takes the field Friday night.

The Wildcats notched a stunning comeback victory, prevailing 13-12 over Region 4-5A champion McMinn County Friday in the second round of the TSSAA football playoffs in Athens.

ORHS trailed at halftime and sealed the victory with a blocked field-goal attempt on the final play of the game.

Oak Ridge (7-5) will make the short trip to Northwest Knox County to take on defending Class 5A state champion Powell (10-2) Friday night at Scarbro Stadium. It will be the Wildcats’ second trip to Powell in 2022. The Panthers topped Oak Ridge 30-14 in the regular-season matchup Sept. 30.

“They’re playing good ball right now,” Oak Ridge Coach Scott Cummings said.

Oak Ridge is playing pretty well, too.

“We’re better than when we first met them,” Cummings noted. “We’ve figured some things out.”

Notable, as well, is that Oak Ridge is fairly healthy.

“We’re the healthiest we’ve been since pre-season,” the coach said.

The “health” issue also included a first-round playoff win when half the team had the flu or were coming off the flu.

With the Wildcats healthy and the steady improvement of Nathan Garza under center, the Panthers will see a different version of the Wildcats than the first time around.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

The Panthers, who won the Region 3-5A championship for the second consecutive season, are in the midst of a 10-game winning streak and are the defending Class 5A state champions.