The Saturday Six: The Saturday Six: Smyrna honors late coach, Rockvale’s historic night and a potential nightmare tiebreaker in 5A

Despite Week 9 being the lightest week of the regular season schedule-wise, there was plenty that stood out about the games this week. Here’s a half-dozen of them:

Carter sets school record as Smyrna honors Gary Mooney: Arion Carter had the best night of his career and the best night a Smyrna runner has ever had on Friday, rushing for a school-record 280 yards and five touchdowns on 29 carries as the Bulldogs improved to 5-2. Earlier in the day, the Smyrna program announced it would honor assistant coach Gary Mooney, who passed away last week, with a large purple M on the left side of its helmets for the remainder of the season. Christ Presbyterian Academy’s team and head coach Ingle Martin provided the decals for Smyrna ahead of its 49-20 victory at Dickson County, which did not kickoff until nearly 9:30 p.m. due to storms that went through the Dickson area.

Rockvale blasts off to the postseason: Year three has been quite the revelation for the Rockvale program, as the Rockets clinched their first-ever TSSAA playoff berth with a 50-45 victory over visiting Blackman on Friday. The Rockets can finish no worse than third in Region 4-6A and are still in contention for the region title, but would need to defeat Oakland on Oct. 29 to earn that accomplishment. LaMarcus Nelson’s 232-yard, five-touchdown rushing performance led the way for the Rockets.

Minchey’s arm, Southard’s leg lift Pope Prep: Pope John Paul II needed every yard of Kenny Minchey’s 478-yard passing performance on Friday, as well as a 47-yard field goal from Andrew Southard as time expired to knock off Knoxville Catholic 36-33. Stephen Carter caught nine passes for 211 yards for the Knights (6-2 overall, 2-2 Division II-AAA East/Middle), while Colin Cook added 10 receptions for 171 yards and a score. The win puts Pope Prep in line to host a first-round playoff game and keeps them in contention for a first-round bye in the postseason if certain results fall their way.

Cannon County’s resurgence: Cannon County has had just two winning seasons since 1978. The Lions have only one region title in that span as well, last coming in their most recent winning season (2009). They were outscored 380-75 in going 1-10 last season. But with one more win in two weeks over Giles County, the Lions can win the Region 4-3A crown and get to six wins. With an open date next week, they’d need at least one playoff win to get to seven, which would be the most since that 1978 season when they went 10-2.

Richesson’s perfect night: Luther Richesson’s outstanding senior season continued Friday, as the Lipscomb Academy standout quarterback had a perfect stat line – 20-for-20 passing for 314 yards and six touchdowns – all in the first half of the Mustangs’ 70-10 rout of Etowah (Ala.), leading them to a 7-1 record in the process. Lipscomb Academy now sets its sights on a region title, as the Mustangs host CPA next week in the marquee matchup of Week 10.

The head-spinning tiebreaker scenario in Region 5-5A: Station Camp’s perfect start was upended 33-27 by Portland in a non-region game on Friday, but the loss could still have far-reaching implications in Region 5-5A in the next two weeks. Green Hill (7-1 overall, 4-1 5-5A) and Mt. Juliet (6-2, 3-1) were both idle in Week 9, while the Bison dropped to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in region play. With two weeks left, region attention turns to the Station Camp-Green Hill game on Oct. 22. If Station Camp wins, the region is theirs. If Green Hill wins, one of two things could happen depending on the Hillsboro-Mt. Juliet outcome – a Mt. Juliet win takes the race to Week 11, while a Hillsboro win would hand the Hawks the region title in their first year of playoff eligibility.

But it’s October, so a nightmarish scenario presents itself. Should Green Hill and Mt. Juliet win in Week 10, then Mt. Juliet and Station Camp both win in Week 11, there would be a three-way tie for first with each team having five region wins. Here’s the tiebreaker order in this particular case:

  1. Head-to-head: in a tie with three or more teams, one team would have to beat all of the others to break the tie. Won’t happen in this scenario, as each team would be 1-1 against the other two.
  2. Total wins (not winning percentage): All three teams would have eight wins in this scenario.
  3. Teams played that have won 50 percent or more of their games: Using the current standings, it’s Green Hill with six, while Station Camp and Mt. Juliet each have four. That, however, could change in the final two weeks depending on numerous results with Kenwood, Gallatin, and Portland. White County could also factor for each team, but since all three have played and defeated White County, it would affect each of them equally. (Mt. Juliet needs Gallatin to win its final two games, as well as Portland and Kenwood to each lose their final two games for this to advance to the next tiebreaker.) The edge goes to Green Hill, since Kenwood has 1-7 Northwest still to play, while Portland still has both Springfield and Henry County yet to play, which could hurt Station Camp.
  4. Team with most wins over opponents who have won 50 percent or more of their games: As of this writing, Green Hill and Station Camp both have three, but Mt. Juliet only has one. If Gallatin wins out, and both Portland and Kenwood lose their final two games, each team would then have three such victories and the tiebreaker would continue.
  5. Team whose opponents have earned the most victories: In this scenario, every team’s opponents come into play.
  6. Team whose opponents have received fewer defeats: Same as the last step, only with the fewest losses breaking the tie.

There is another step beyond these six, which would be a coin flip. However, it won’t mathematically reach the coin flip unless more teams are forced to cancel games due to COVID protocols. There are opponents on both Station Camp’s and Mt. Juliet’s schedules that will not have 10 games on their records due to earlier cancellations, so either step 5 or step 6 would break the tie.

If at any point, one of the three teams is eliminated from the tiebreaker, it goes back to head-to-head to determine first place. After that, the head-to-head meeting between the other two teams would determine second place. Here’s how each team’s schedule currently shakes out (teams underlined currently count toward third and fourth tiebreaker):

Green Hill (7-1, 4-0)Station Camp (7-1, 4-0)Mt. Juliet (6-2, 3-1)
Siegel (3-5): WWhite House (7-1): WGallatin (3-4): W
Kenwood (4-4): WHillsboro (2-6): WMaplewood (1-6): W
Wilson Central (5-3): WWhite County (3-5): WHunters Lane (1-7): W
Columbia (5-4): LGallatin (3-4): WWarren County (1-5): W
Hillsboro (2-6): WWest Creek (1-7): WWhite County (3-5): W
White County (3-5): WMt. Juliet (6-2): WWilson Central (5-3): W
East Nashville (5-3): WWilson Central (5-3): WStation Camp (7-1): L
Hunters Lane (1-7): WPortland (4-4): LLebanon (7-1): L
Station Camp (7-1): Oct. 22Green Hill (7-1): Oct. 22Hillsboro (2-6): Oct. 22
Mt. Juliet (6-2): Oct. 29Hunters Lane (1-7): Oct. 29Green Hill (7-1): Oct. 29
Opponents’ total record: 41-40Opponents’ total record: 39-40Opponents’ total record: 37-39
  • Remaining schedules for the teams that could help determine the third and/or fourth tiebreakers:
  • Gallatin: at Lebanon, vs. Clarksville
  • Kenwood: at Northwest, at Northeast
  • Portland: vs. Springfield, at Henry County
  • White County: at Hunters Lane, vs. Sequatchie County

Again, if Station Camp wins next week, absolutely none of this matters, but it’s wild to think about.

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