High school football is right around the corner, and the schedules can be a little intimidating. There are 374 TSSAA member schools, each playing a 10-game schedule. That’s a lot to comb through, so here is a time saving list of the 10 games that you need to know and do not want to miss.
(# indicates rank. Rankings referenced are from the top 50 of Maxpreps computer generated algorithmic rating system for Tennessee schools. Recruiting rankings are from the 2023 24/7 Sports recruiting rankings. )
10#34 DCA at Nashville Christian 10/28
The countdown starts off strong with a rematch of last year’s Division II A state championship game. This private school showdown consists of two Davidson County schools that are looking to get back to the biggest stage, running into each other on the last week of the season.
9#8 Baylor at #6 Ensworth 8/26
If you are a college football fan, a recruiting junkie, or just a football fan in general, you do not want to miss this one. Ensworth wide receiver and Kentucky commit, Shamar Porter, is the number one receiver and the number three overall recruit in the state of Tennessee. He will be matched up against Evan Haynie of Baylor, who is the number one corner in the state of Tennessee and a Princeton commit. The number one receiver across from the number one corner should be impressive to watch. These two young men better be ready for their battle on August 26th that could set the tone early for their senior seasons.
8#3 Oakland at #30 Blackman 9/30
These two Murfreesboro schools are from opposite ends of the city. They are both in region 4 in 6A ball, which of course means post-season implications. This game could very well be for the top spot in that region. The stars will be out as Oakland has won the last two state championships and is looking to make it three straight, and Blackman has four of the top 40 recruits in Tennessee. Both teams are clearly in the way of the other’s expectations for the season, we’ll see who flinches.
7#43 Brentwood at #10 Ravenwood 9/16
“The Battle of The Woods” – When a game has a name you almost always want to be there. This top 50 matchup is no exception. Both teams are from Brentwood and are only separated by 6.7 miles, so this game means bragging rights. Nothing adds a little extra edge like proximity. When you throw in the fact that both teams are 6A region 7, and this game impacts playoff seeding you have a tense rivalry night on your hands.
6#10 Ravenwood at #9 Pope John Paul II 10/21
If you recognize the names Kenny Minchey and Chris Parson, you know why this game is on the list. Minchey of PJP II and Parson from Ravenwood are the number one and two quarterbacks respectively in the state of Tennessee. If the number 10 vs the number 9 team ranking matchup wasn’t enough, the top two quarterback shootout in mid-October pushes this game right over the top into prime excitement.
5#18 Hendersonville at #23 Beech 9/2
This Sumner County shootout will be the place to be on September 2nd, as the Hendersonville Commandos take on the Beech Buccaneers in this top 25 matchup. These two schools are separated by only 6.5 miles, and the race for this region will be closer than that for these two in-county rivals.
4Mount Juliet at Green Hill 10/28
As a Mount Juliet native, this one hits close to home for me, and I couldn’t be more excited for this game. Like Hendersonville and Beech these two schools are close (4.5 miles to be exact). Everybody knows everybody, and everybody wants to win. Then, add Green Hill’s almost instant success after being added to the Mount Juliet community in 2020 to the playoff implications when these two region 5 rivals meet up, and you’ve got a recipe for a fantastic rivalry for years to come between the Bears of Mount Juliet and the Hawks of Green Hill. This rivalry is yet to be named. With both mascots being top of the food chain in their respective domains it could be called “The Apex Aggression” or the more basic route of “The Battle Between the Lakes.” I guess that’s up to whoever names these things.
3#3 Oakland at #36 Riverdale 10/14
“The Battle for The ‘Boro” comes in at number three with another great rivalry name. This is everything you want out of a rivalry game. Pure, old-fashioned, understood “distaste” for one another, to put it lightly, with a heaping helping of bad history. This should be a good one this fall. One player to watch for is Riverdale edge rusher and Tennessee Vols commit, Caleb Herring. Herring is the number one recruit in the state of Tennessee.
2#1 Lipscomb at #14 CPA 10/21
Talk about high profile, this is it. This is a rematch from the last two state championships, as these two programs have combined for six appearances in the state championship in the last four years with an additional meeting in the semifinals. Former super bowl winning NFL quarterback, Coach Dilfer, came to Lipscomb in January of 2019 and immediately made an impact. He now has the Mustangs ranked in the top 55 nationally. Meanwhile, Coach Martin has been the model of consistency having been at CPA for 11 years and recently taking on the role of athletic director as well. Martin’s Lions have been involved in the past four state title games. When these two powerhouse programs get together, you want to be there.
1#3 Oakland at #10 Ravenwood 9/9
There have been two state championship rematches on this list, but this game could very well be a 6A state championship preview. This game will be played between the powerhouse of Oakland who, since 2016, has gone 83-4 and won three titles and a popular pick to stand in their way in Ravenwood, who has a very talented roster. With stars everywhere, this has game of the year potential.