The final night of the prep football regular season comes down to a couple of frightful Halloween games that are in essence, first round playoff contests.
The Forrest Rockets need to win, plain and simple to get in and it will be no easy task, traveling to Middle Tennessee Christian School as guests for the Cougars' first ever homecoming game.
A win for the Rockets will lesson last year's disappointment of not making the post-season with a 7-3 record.
A loss means that the Cougars will make their first ever playoff appearance in just their fifth season.
Both squads come into the contest with identical 6-3 records and both teams are on mini winning streaks after dropping a trio of games in the middle of the schedule.
Forrest is preparing for a battle and is well aware that the Cougars have a balanced offensive attack, led by quarterback Scott Bartilson, who has thrown for 1,249 yards and 14 touchdowns. Eight of those touchdowns tosses have gone to Eric Compton, who has pulled in 33 catches for 494 yards. The Rockets must also be wary of junior running back Dillon Wade, who has rushed for 1,014 yards and four scores in the ground game.
The Rocket defense must contain Wade and put some pressure on the quarterback to try to force some turnovers. Starters Lamar Quezaire, Parker Holton, and Casey Franklin all return to the starting lineup this week after sitting out versus Community, bolstering Forrest defensive coordinator Brian Coleman's always-tough squad.
On offense, the Rockets need to keep pounding the football and have done a great job in the run game all season. Levell Quezaire and Colin Henson have combined for 1,000 yards on the ground and the recent emergence of freshman speedster Zack Ray and junior bruising fullback Tyler Klaren have kept teams off balance.
When they try to cheat up, Henson will sling the ball to his go to man Taylor Abrigo for the big play downfield.
Forrest has played just one bad game all season versus McEwen and was within just a handful of points or a couple of big fourth quarter plays from beating both Region 5A champ Cascade and Jo Byrns.
The resilient Forrest squad has faced adversity all year, bouncing back time after time behind some great coaching by Kyle Stacey, who will have his troops ready to take the next step with a 30-17 win and a berth in the first round of the TSSAA Tournament.
Tigers fighting for home field
The Tigers were tied 14-14 at the half with the number one ranked team in the entire state last week before a second half collapse ended their quest for a region title.
Now, MCHS, still ranked 8th in the latest Associated Press Top Ten Poll, face number nine Giles County in Pulaski this week with the winner staying home next Friday night for round one of the post-season.
The Tigers must get over the hurt from the Lipscomb defeat or the Bobcats could send them west next week.
MCH head coach Don Thomas would love nothing more than to avenge the regular season-ending 29-8 loss last year in Lewisburg and send the Bobcats packing for next week.
The Bobcats sport one of the best all-around players in the region in quarterback Bo Wallace, who has rushed for 500 yards and 7 TD's, while throwing for 393 and three scores. Giles County tailback Tobias Houston is also a force to be reckoned with out of the backfield, rushing for 599 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The one thing the Bobcats do not have is a go to receiver so look for the Tiger defense to stack the line of scrimmage and snuff out the Bobcat ground attack.
The Tigers' high-powered offense could not muster any second half points last week and should be in a nasty mood this week. Quarterback Jake Morris had a sub-par game versus Lipscomb, throwing three interceptions and should bounce back with a big performance at Sam Davis Park.
A balanced game plan of handing off to senior running back Justin Braden, who has authored another great season, and going aerial to receivers Broderick Tears and Kareem Peterson should make this a high scoring contest that the Tigers win 41-30.
Cornersville comes close, will end season with home victory
The Cornersville Bulldogs (2-7, 0-7) played their most inspired game of the season last week, barely losing to Moore County, 28-26.
This week, the Bulldogs finish out the season at home versus Huntland (2-7, 0-7) as both teams look for their lone region win of the year.
Cornersville freshman quarterback Joe Stocstill threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns last week and running back Taylor Rogers ran wild, scoring on three long runs at Moore County.
The Dawgs have not beaten Huntland since 2000, but Cornersville seems ready to break that string with a big offensive game and will haunt the Hornets on Halloween, winning 33-14.