All nine BlueCross Bowl championship games are set following Friday’s Division I semifinal games, with some frantic finishes and outstanding efforts. As we do every week following the games, some reactions to what transpired on the field:
A rally for the ages: Consider that the 5A semifinal between Henry County and Page didn’t have a single point scored in the first quarter. It didn’t go to overtime. Yet it still finished with 108 points between the two teams as a whirlwind fourth quarter ended with Page scrambling back with four touchdowns in the final six minutes to pull out a 56-52 victory. We’ll just let these numbers speak for themselves:
First-timers breakthrough: East Nashville will join the Patriots as first-time state championship participants after the Eagles’ defense clamped down on Dyersburg in the 3A semifinals. They’ll face Alcoa on Friday looking to become the first Metro Nashville team to win a state title since 2008 when Hillsboro defeated Maryville to win the 4A crown.
Then, there’s Oakland…: The defending 6A champions punched their ticket to Chattanooga as well Friday, bucking some recent history in the process with a 24-14 victory at Maryville. The Rebels hadn’t lost at home in the playoffs since 1999, and Oakland had never won at Maryville until Friday. It also broke the trend of the home team winning in this semifinal each of the last six years, as the two teams met for the eighth consecutive season with a state berth at stake.
…who gets Summit: The Patriots will face Summit, who reached the BlueCross Bowl for the third consecutive season – the first as a Class 6A program – and will bring a 25-game winning streak into Saturday’s championship game (6 p.m. Central) against Oakland’s 29-game unbeaten run. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams, both attempting to claim state titles for the second consecutive year.
Heartbreaking ending: Trousdale County was less than 60 seconds from joining the championship week party, but the Yellow Jackets succumbed to a late Hampton rally in a 22-20 loss. Trousdale County led 20-8 after three quarters, seeking to return to the championship game for the first time since 2018, but Hampton took the lead with 49 seconds to play and an interception sealed it for the Bulldogs moments later.
Early BlueCross Bowl thoughts: Oakland vs. Summit is the game quite a few folks wanted to see to end the season on a high note … Rudderville might not have gotten to sleep much on Friday night, but the Patriots will have to refocus quickly, as Powell has steamrolled its way into the final … East Nashville has the tallest task of area teams in the championship games with Alcoa seeking its seventh consecutive state title in its ninth consecutive championship game … The DCA/Nashville Christian final in Division II-Class A should be a great game like the first one … Can CPA flip the script on Lipscomb Academy, and can MBA do the same to McCallie?