|Obion Central vs. Fairley
PLACE, TIME: Memphis, Crump Stadium; 7 p.m.
2011 RECORDS: Obion Central 8-2; Fairley 7-3.
COACHES (RECORDS): Obion Central: Shawn Jackson (26-26 in 5th season); Fairley: Rahnmann Slocum (82-60 in 13th season).
LAST MEETING: 2009. Fairley won 34-28 in Round 1 of the playoffs.
SERIES RECORD: Fairley won only previous meeting.
KEY PLAYERS: Obion Central — QB Trey Phipps, LB Josh Quinton, RB/DB LaDevin Fair, WR/LB Tanner Cary, WR/DB Mason McGrew, LB Nathan Spaulding. Fairley — RB Marcus Holliday, OL/DL Demarius Peppers, LB Dedrick Guy, OL John Gillespie.
OUTLOOK: The sixth-ranked Rebels can erase most of the disappointment of two losses in their final three regular season games by winning for just the second time in 11 all-time playoff contests. And if OC needs a little extra motivation, it is readily available as in the teams’ only other meeting, Fairley ended Central’s season two years ago at the same juncture when Holliday scored the last of his three touchdowns with less than two minutes remaining to end the Rebs’ 2009 campaign. A defense that has proven susceptible to the run in its two losses must be shored up for Obion Central as Holliday is a three-time 1,000-yard rusher who has drawn the attention of college scouts from Cincinnati, Arkansas State, Memphis and Kentucky, according to his coach. His father, Marcus Sr., played at both The University of Memphis and in the NFL. The Rebels also must avoid the recent penalty bug that has haunted them, especially after having been penalized 10 times for more than 100 yards in their aforementioned previous loss to the Bulldogs. Though Fairley is noted for its track prowess that should be enhanced by the new turf at Crump Stadium, OC’s big-play offense should not be overwhelmed with the passing talents of Phipps (2,708 yards, 35 TDs), the running and receiving of Fair (1,338 yards, 122 points), and the pass-catching trio of Marcus Parr, Mason McGrew and Tanner Cary, who have a combined 114 receptions for more than 2,200 yards and 30 touchdowns. They should be tested by a defense that ranks in the Top 5 in the Shelby-Metro area.
MAHS at Union City
PLACE, TIME: War Memorial Stadium; 7 p.m.
2011 RECORDS: MAHS 4-6; Union City 4-6.
COACHES (RECORDS): MAHS: Eric Martin (7-19 in 3rd season); Union City: Darren Bowling (138-78 in 18th season).
SERIES RECORD — First-ever meeting.
KEY PLAYERS: MAHS — WR/QB/KR Marquez Lanton, WR/RB James Isaac, LB/S Nico Scott. Union City — RB/LB Keylon Hyde, QB Travis Rutland OL/DL Joseph Shanks, Slot/SS Khiry Lewis, Tymaine Strickland.
OUTLOOK: The Lions qualified for the playoffs in just their third season as a program, a nice reward for the school’s first senior class. The team reportedly has speed to burn, a concern for UC, which has had tackling issues all season. Lanton is a top-flight playmaker, ranked among the Bluff City’s best statistically for a spread offense that is adept at throwing the ball — another Tornado weakness. Union City will likely give the Lions a heavy dose of Hyde, exploiting what figures to be a less-physical MAHS defense. No doubt the Twisters’ ability — or inability — will be directly tied to the locals’ success. UC is a minus-16 in turnover ratio, having fumbled a whopping 46 times with 24 of those lost in 10 regular season games. Not coincidentally, the Tornadoes have lost at least three fumbles in half of their games and are minus-12 in their six losses.
South Fulton at Gleason
PLACE, TIME: Parks-Edwards Field; 7 p.m.
2011 RECORDS: South Fulton 4-6; Gleason 5-5.
COACHES (RECORDS): South Fulton: Kelly Spivey (22-21 in 4th season); Gleason: Noah Lampkins (39-66 in 10th season).
LAST MEETING: 2011 — Week 5, South Fulton won 35-6.
SERIES RECORD — SF leads, 36-22.
KEY PLAYERS: South Fulton — FB/DL Cody Tatum, QB JaQuay Garmon, HB/SS J.P. Fowler, LB Willie Kneuppel, WR/DB Harrison Hawks. Gleason — QB Conner Verdell, OL/DL Cole Verdell, RBs Zach Mileski, Ian Legens, WB David Spellings, WR Thomas Fowler.
OUTLOOK: SF is hoping that history will not repeat itself. Gleason is betting that it will. Two seasons ago, the Red Devils avenged a decided regular season loss with an equally-convincing postseason payback. The Bulldogs were on the wrong end of the whipping stick during this year’s Week 5 matchup and what likely was SF most-complete performance of the season. Since then, though, South Fulton has beaten only winless Greenfield in four games, continuing a troubling late-season trend over the last four years that has seen the Redmen fade badly down the stretch in each of those seasons. All three of those losses this October, though, came vs. playoff teams. Gleason is hosting a playoff game for the first time in program history and has gone 3-2 since its disappointing showing against the Devils the first time around. The Bulldogs’ two losses during that time came vs. No. 1 ranked and unbeaten Huntingdon, and Class 2A Top 10 county rival Dresden. Published in The Messenger 11.4.11