For high school football, the stakes get higher with each passing week.
Some teams are looking to get back to Cookeville. Others are looking for their first appearance for any member of their team.
Public schools are now in the semifinal round, just two wins away from playing for a TSSAA State Championship; meanwhile private schools are just one win away.
Whitehaven and Houston will meet for the second straight year in the quarterfinal rounds. Other area teams still alive are Fairley, Wooddale and MUS.
Teams from Shelby County are guaranteed to be playing in the next round from each division. Defending state champion Lausanne is looking to hoist another trophy, but up and comer ECS is looking to derail their plans. This will be the last weekend for any team from the county to play in the county this season. If any team wins this week, the next game will be played on the road.
Whitehaven vs. Houston (Class 6A)
The Whitehaven Tigers (10-1) will travel to Collierville for the second straight year to face the Houston (12-0) Mustangs. This is the second year that Houston will host the game. The Tigers won last season, 31-27, and Houston wants to get some sweet revenge.
It will be a matchup of an elite offense against an elite defense. The Tigers bring one of the best defenses in the history of Whitehaven High School into the game. The team has only allowed 35 points total all season and has shutout seven opponents.
Meanwhile, Houston’s Lincoln Pare is the hard-running back who has been shredding defenses over his career. Pare has more than 2,000 all-purpose yards. Last week, Pare rushed for 287 and four touchdowns in the 55-20 win last week over White Station.
Perhaps the best trio of linebackers to ever play together in Memphis will play their last game in Shelby County this week.
Bryson Eason, Martavious French and Tamarion McDonald will wrap up their prep careers at Whitehaven this year, but all three are committed to play together at the University of Tennessee next season.
Fairley at Peabody (Class 2A)
At 10-2, the Fairley Bulldogs will have an uphill battle when they travel to face Peabody (12-0). Terry Wilkins has been leading the charge for the Bulldogs this season. He has expanded his rushing with some clutch receptions this season. Wilkins was a finalist for Mr. Football last season and hopes to take home the hardware this season.
Wooddale at Covington (Class 3A)
Wooddale QB John Jones has been leading the Cardinals with more than 1,800 passing yards while also throwing more than 20 touchdowns this season. Wooddale trailed at halftime last week against Milan, but came back to win 19-16 to advance to quarterfinals.
Division II Class AA
The youth movement at Lausanne (7-4) has been steadily improving this season. They may be peaking at the right time. They’re hoping their experiences will help them when they battle ECS (11-1) for a spot in the championship game.
Lausanne won the ‘ship last year, but graduated a lot of players. They struggled early in the season but have bounced back to put themselves just one game away from the championship round. Meanwhile, ECS lost to the Lausanne 35-14 last season and hopes to return the favor this year.
Division II Class AAA
At 10-1, the MUS Owls hope history doesn’t repeat itself.
Last year, Montgomery Bell Academy from Nashville came to Memphis and handed the Owls their only loss of the season (17-14). Last week, the Owls had a 27-7 lead at halftime over Knoxville Catholic, but had to hold on to win, 35-28. Clarkson Shoaf had two touchdown receptions in the win.
TSSAA Mr. Football
Even though some of their schools have already been eliminated from the playoffs, there are still several area finalists for Mr. Football:
- Terry Wilkins (Fairley) – Class 2A
- Bryson Eason (Whitehaven) — Class 6A
- Lincoln Pare (Houston) — Class 6A
Division II Finalists
- Austin Hill (ESC) — Class AA
- Dietrick Pennington (ESC) — Class AA
- Jabari Small (Briarcrest) — Class AAA
- Omari Thomas (Briarcrest) — Class AAA