Opening Drive (Nov. 30): Next stop, Cookeville

For the six area teams making the trek to Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium for one last go this week, the final 48 minutes represents the end of a journey most thought might not make it to the finish line at all.

But all six of them have something in common — they’ve been to this point before. And at least two of them will bring back gold balls, as a pair of title games feature matchups between area teams. That’s one more than last year, when Davidson Academy was the only area team out of seven to win a title.

Summit was the newcomer last year in the Class 5A final, making their return trip more about handling unfinished business from 2019. Among the finalists, the Spartans have perhaps been affected the most this season with multiple games lost due to opponents’ cancellations. No matter. They took care of business in the postseason, going on the road to two tough environments the past two weeks and coming home with wins to punch their ticket back to the BlueCross Bowl.

Brentwood and Oakland have also had scheduling hiccups along the way, with one such disruption creating the opportunity to play each other in October. Though it came on short notice, and Oakland rolled to a 37-0 victory, round two figures to be much different given the tests the Bruins have endured this postseason. Brentwood hasn’t been in the title game since 2002, while Oakland’s last visit came two years ago.

Davidson Academy’s run in Division II-A officially comes to an end on Thursday, and the Bears are seeking to depart that class as three-time defending champions.

CPA and Lipscomb Academy seemed to be on a crash course for a title game rematch for quite some time. The Lions want to put last year’s runner-up finish behind them, while the Mustangs will try to take CPA down for the second time this season in order to win their first title since their last title game appearance in 2007.

Meanwhile, catch up on what you might have missed from the Division I semifinals:

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