Six things from the opening round of the TSSAA playoffs that stood out:
Biggest upset: Clarksville going to Cane Ridge and winning. The Wildcats have dealt with a lot of adversity this year, even well before the season started, and it must be a satisfying feeling winning a road playoff game to continue your season. Clarksville has endured the death of Juland LaFortune in the offseason, the season-ending injury to starting quarterback Davin Garinger, numerous injuries to other players and facing a more difficult schedule. Yet they’ve kept going and will get a second-round game for the third consecutive season as a result.
Least surprising ‘upset’: Nolensville over Station Camp. These two squads had been going in opposite directions in the past three weeks and the Knights were moving in the right one. Coby Walton’s six-TD night powered the Knights into the second round. Nolensville gets another shot at Page and don’t be surprised if this meeting is closer than the last one.
Congratulations in order: Cannon County recorded its first playoff victory since 1978 and its second in school history on Friday with a 10-7 victory over Signal Mountain. The Lions were making their first trip to the postseason since 2009 and only their second since that 1978 season. Green Hill hosted its first-ever playoff game and while things got wild in the second half, the Hawks survived with a 48-40 victory over Franklin County. Pope Prep also recorded its first-ever home playoff victory by shutting out St. Benedict.
Sweep, but not the one we thought: Last week in this space, Region 7-6A was the candidate for a first-round sweep, but Independence fell at Collierville to prevent a 4-0 mark there. Instead, it was Region 5-6A that swept 6-6A, with Clarksville upending top-seeded Cane Ridge and Gallatin knocking off second-seeded Smyrna.
Top second-round games: Riverdale at Lebanon, Pope John Paul II at Brentwood Academy, Friendship Christian at DCA, Brentwood at Summit, Ravenwood at Collierville, Nolensville at Page, Pearl-Cohn at Hardin County, Waverly at East Nashville, Trousdale County at Meigs County, Marion County at Watertown.
Quick thoughts: If a struggle means a 27-7 victory for Summit, look out. The Spartans have another level to hit and that’s a problem for the rest of 6A … There haven’t been many wins in Macon County’s playoff history, but rallying from 13 down at halftime to win over Chattanooga Central is certainly notable … Westmoreland’s defense gave Marion County fits for a while, but like most of the season, its offense couldn’t get much going in a 28-7 loss … Davidson Academy and BGA could give Division II-AA all four semifinalists if they win on the road next week … Gallatin got its first playoff win since 2013 by knocking off Smyrna on the road.