BY CORY WOODROOF | ARCHIVE PHOTO BY KINDELL BUCHANAN
You could say that Friday’s Cool Springs bout with host Centennial duking it out with Summit could be our first playoff game of the season.
Both teams are in the thick of each of their region races, with the Cougars especially teetering the line from making the fourth slot in Region 6A and staying on the couch as November roll around.
Summit might be a bit more secure in 5A, but they are head-to-head with Franklin County in jostling for a better playoff seed.
A win for Centennial here would mean a lot for a team that can nary fall to 3-6 with Franklin right on their heels for that fourth and final playoff spot in 6A. A win for Summit could get them to a winning 5-4 record and help them build some momentum as they enter the latter portion of the schedule.
This game will probably come down to two of the county’s electrifying talents: Centennial RB Jariel Wilson, an Austin Peay commit who is prone to go off for 250+ and three touchdowns on any given night, and Summit RB George Odimegwu, a tantalizing do-it-all threat with college potential.
The Cougars love to get Wilson out into space as much as possible, something that no defensive coordinator likes to have to deal with. He’s a touchdown machine and ground force few opponents seem to have an answer for, and he’ll be running on his home field. Summit’s defense is quite uneven this season; some weeks, they’ll make stops, others, they’ll struggle to contain much of anything. If the Spartans want this one, they’ll need to box Wilson up the best they can and force Centennial to throw.
Freshman QB Cannon Plowman could get the start for the Cougars if QB Grayson Marcel is unable to go, and being in front of a friendly crowd will help the young signal caller as he tries to will his way to his second win under center.
Summit’s Odimegwu will need his offensive line to help him out, as the Spartans don’t pass a ton with QB Destin Wade starting. They like to run the ball as much as possible, with Wade a dual-threat option just starting to find his potential as a freshman, and guys like Tre Hunter, Christian Jolley and Nafis Weldon also able to take carries (Hunter eclipsed 100+ yards just recently). If the Spartans let Wade air it out a bit to guys like Odimegwu, Jolley and TE Brayden Stem, it could make that offense a lot harder to defend.
The poor scoreboard might get plenty of work in Friday night, if only in the clock-running department. Both teams are likely to run the ball as much as possible, so this one should be over well-before 9:30.
The advantage will wait for which defense is able to slow down the opponent’s run game. Stop the ground, and you’ll get the win.
Both teams could use a victory with playoffs approaching and nothing sure until the final brackets are set.
It should be shaping up for an exciting night at Centennial for two opponents who could use a win right now.