Football Game Night officially returns for a 9th season on the DTC3 airwaves on August 18, as the DTC Sports crew will be in Watertown as the Purple Tigers host long-time rival, Gordonsville. Join the broadcast team of Tom Duggin, the Coach, Chris Vance, and J.R. Smith as they provide live play-by-play coverage of some of the best area high school football games all season long. All games air LIVE on DTC channel 3 (channel 303 in HD), as well as via web stream at www.dtc3.tv.
Here is at look at schedule of games on tap for the 2017 season, as well as a brief synopsis of each matchup:
Week 1 - 8/18/17 - Gordonsville at Watertown
Big Blue rolls into the land of Purple Tigers, as these two rivals meet for the 41st time, dating back to 1976. Seth Price threw for 352 yards and 5 TDs in Watertown's 41-15 rout in Gordonsville in 2016, but Price - along with several of his top targets - have graduated, leaving behind a young Purple Tiger roster. Gordonsville, meanwhile will be looking to snap a two-game skid in the series, and bring back several starters on each side of the ball. Gordonsville leads the series since 1976, 31-9, and had won 21 of 23 meetings prior to the last two seasons.
Week 2 - 8/25/17 - Smith Co. at Gordonsville
No description is really needed for this decades long, inter-county rivalry. The Owls and Tigers will meet for the 84th time since 1930, with Smith County owning a 63-18-1 lead in the series. Smith County's Carson Hackett threw for 114 yards and a pair of scores, and added an additional 85 rushing yards and another TD in the Owls' 21-14 win in 2016, which came down to the last play of the game. The victory was Smith County's third straight in the series, and their 17th win in the last 18 meetings. In fact, Smith County has lost only five times to their long-time rival in the past 30 years. It should be another competitive match-up between the two traditional powers, as both return a solid core from their 2016 teams.
Week 3 - 9/1/17 - Stone Memorial at DeKalb Co.
DeKalb County has met up with Stone Memorial on the gridiron in each of the last four seasons, but the 2017 meeting will have greater meaning; the two teams are now Region rivals in Region 3-4A. The Panthers have become somewhat of a nemesis for the Tigers, having used a potent running attack to win each of the last three meetings in the series, including last year's 34-7 blowout. Stone finished 10-0 in each of the last two regular seasons, but lost several key members of those veteran teams to graduation. DeKalb County is also no stranger to graduation losses from the 2016 team; QB Steven Jennings, WR/DB/K Matthew Poss and the majority of a veteran offensive line must be replaced in 2017.
Week 4 - 9/8/17 - DeKalb Co. at Watertown
Once one of the area's best football rivalries, the Tigers and Purple Tigers have surprisingly not met on the gridiron since 2008, the longest drought in series history. This year will mark the first time for DeKalb County to play in the new Robinson Stadium, and for that, they are likely glad. The Tigers were 1-17 in old Robinson Stadium up until the teams' meeting in 2008, when a 31-14 DeKalb County win snapped a 12-game, 34-year drought in the Purple Tigers' former home. Both teams have several voids to fill on both sides of the ball before the 2017 campaign kicks off, but should have a good idea of the directions of their respective seasons by the time Week 4 rolls around.
Week 5 - 9/15/17 - Upperman at Cannon Co.
The Lions have not been a part of the TSSAA football post-season since 2009, when they won the regular season district championship with a 6-4 record, then lost a hard-fought first round playoff game with Harpeth. Since that season, Cannon County has only 5 wins on the gridiron. Coach T.J. Daniel's charges hope to reverse those fortunes in the alum's fifth season at the helm of the program. Upperman could be a team on the rise in Region 4-3A, despite a 4-7 record last year. Several young players saw quality time on the field last season, but some key members of the trenches and on the defensive side of the ball will have to be replaced. Upperman has won six straight against Cannon County, and hold a 12-4 edge in the series, dating back to 2001.
Week 6 - 9/22/17 - Cannon Co. at DeKalb Co.
These two teams don't reside in the same county, as Smith County and Gordonsville do, but that doesn't make this rivalry any less intense. No longer Region foes, the Lions and Tigers will keep this series going for a 17th consecutive season (and 18th in 2018). DeKalb County has owned the upper hand in this series, which began its current incarnation in 1963. The Tigers have won nine straight and 27 of the 33 meetings all-time (with one tie). Tiger QB Tyler Cantrell saw the Lions in one of his starts last season, after replacing the injured Steven Jennings mid-season, tossing a pair of scores on 159 yards passing in DeKalb's 42-0 win.
Week 7 - 9/29/17 - Sequatchie Co. at Smith Co.
A busy month of September wraps up with a game that could have playoff - and possibly even Region Championship - implications attached to it. Sequatchie County has been impressive in each of Coach Adam Caine's two years on the job, posting a 7-4 mark in 2015, followed by a 13-1 record and Class 3A State Semifinal run last season. However, over a dozen key Indians graduated from last year's squad, and Coach Caine will look for leaders to step up. The Owls must replace seven seniors, and have offensive weapons, QB Carson Hackett and WRs Shermar King and Jaylon Shepperson to build around. The Indians have won the last two meetings in the series, including 19-14 last season in Dunlap, but the teams are 4-4 against one another overall, dating back to 1985 (six of the eight meetings have been in the post-season).
Week 8 - 10/6/17 - Smith Co. at DeKalb Co.
Like DeKalb and Cannon counties, the Tigers and Owls also no longer share a Region, with DeKalb moving up to Class 4A this season. However, these two teams will also continue their gridiron rivalry, one that has seen the Tigers win three straight and four of the last five. DeKalb's streak came after the Owls had controlled this series for many years, winning eight straight from 1996-2011, and 14 of 15 from 1987-2011. The Tigers had to fend off a furious Owl rally in last season's meeting, as Tyler Cantrell relieved an injured Steven Jennings at QB. Before his injury, Jennings had run for 173 yards and a score, and passed for 77 more yards and another TD in DeKalb's 34-32 win. Smith County is 23-11 all-time vs. DeKalb County.
Week 9 - 10/13/17 - Jo Byrns at Gordonsville
The history of this series is limited to just two meetings - 2015, a 35-6 Jo Byrns win at Gordonsville, and 2016, a 34-13 Gordonsville win in Cedar Hill. Both teams were major surprises in 2016. Gordonsville, who was not predicted to make the playoffs, did so with a 7-3 overall record, 7-1 in Region, good enough for a second place finish. Jo Byrns, meanwhile, was projected to make the post-season, only to slip to 5-5 overall, 4-4 in Region, and just missing the second season with a fifth place finish. Expectations will be a little higher for both teams this season, with the Tigers having overachieved last year and with more experience under the belts of a young Red Devils team from a year ago.
Week 10 - 10/20/17 - Watertown at Smith Co.
If this meeting of nearby area schools seems a bit unusual, it's justifiably so; the Owls and Purple Tigers have not met in football in the new millennium. Each team, however, has had their fair share of success over the years, and they've met in several preseason scrimmages during that time, making this match-up in the regular season long overdue. On paper, Smith County should have the more veteran team coming into the 2017 season, but with the continued growth of Watertown High School - in addition to the 18-5 overall record in the last two seasons combined - don't underestimate the product Coach Gavin Webster will have on the field this upcoming season. It's the first meeting in, at the very least, several years between these two schools, but it could very well be the start of another exciting local rivalry.
Week 11 - 10/27/17 - York Institute at Cannon Co.
Another new head coach brings his system to Jamestown, TN, after the departure of Derik Samber, after just two seasons. Samber seemed to have the Dragons on the doorstep of a return to prominence, after a 5-6 season that included an appearance in the Careafter Bowl in Knoxville, just a year removed from a 2-8 campaign. The start-over will not be a complete one however, as former Dragon coach Derwin Wright returns for a third stint as the head man. Wright was 72-68 in his prior stints at York, which included a Class 2A Quarterfinal round appearance in 2007. The change in coaching philosophy leaves a lot of questions to be answered on what to expect from the Dragons this year. The same could be said for a Cannon team that will be replacing a host of key seniors from their 2016 team. York has won seven straight in the series, and hold a 20-1 advantage in the all-time series.
Potential post-season games to air will be announced at the end of the regular season.
Be sure to catch Football Game Night, beginning August 18, on DTC3 and DTC3 HD (ch. 303), or online at www.dtc3.tv. Call (615) 529-2955 today to get DTC TV in your home in time for high school football season!