The 2018 high school football season is set to kick off on Friday, August 17, all across the state of Tennessee. 2018 will also be a landmark season for DTC Sports, as it will be the 10th season of high school football coverage on the local channel. Again this year, games will air on DTC channel 3 (on the DTC TV service), online at www.dtc3.tv, and Live on the DTC Communications Facebook page.
This year’s Football Game Night schedule will feature a total of 13 games – 11 live games and two others that will air on a tape-delayed basis. Tom Duggin, the Coach, Chris Vance, and J.R. Smith will all be back to bring all the action to you, each and every Friday night!
The schedule of games to be aired on DTC3, and a brief synopsis of each game are as follows:
August 17: Watertown at Gordonsville – These two long-time rivals have met every year since at least 1976, with Gordonsville holding a 31-10 lead in the all-time series. This year’s contest should be a great one; both teams are coming off second round playoff appearances from last year, and both suffered minimal roster losses in the offseason. What was expected to be a young, rebuilding Watertown team shocked Gordonsville, 20-0, last year in Watertown to kick off a surprising 9-3 season. Gordonsville rebounded from the loss and put together a 7-5 campaign, winning Region 4-1A along the way.
August 17: Red Boiling Springs at Cannon County (Tape Delay) – It’s a new era in Woodbury, as Matt Daniel takes the reins of the Lion program as the new head coach. Daniel is a CCHS alum and former assistant coach, who returned home to lead his alma mater. There’s work to be done in Woodbury, but Daniel has brought passion, enthusiasm, fire and a fresh approach to town, which has the community buzzing. Cannon County will look to kick off his tenure with a ‘W’ against the visiting Bulldogs, who Cannon County is 10-4 all-time against. They won’t take RBS lightly however; the Bulldogs have won three of the last four in the series.
August 24: Gordonsville at Smith County – Nothing really needs to be said about this all-time great Tennessee high school football rivalry. These two teams have met 83 times since 1930, only missing the 1941, 1945, 1958 and 1959 seasons. Smith County is 63-18-2 all-time against their inter-county rival, and have won 18 of the last 19 in the series, including four straight. The Tigers will be brimming with confidence this year, after losing only nine seniors from a year ago, and with a team loaded with talent. They won’t be over-confident against their nemesis however, despite the fact the Owls lost 12 seniors, including top playmakers, Carson Hackett, Shermar King and Jaylon Shepperson. The Owls will be young, but they’ll be ready when Big Blue comes to town.
August 31: Upperman at Smith County – Win or lose against Gordonsville, the Owls will have to quickly put that game in the rearview mirror, as a huge Region clash with the Upperman Bees looms in the following week. Things will look somewhat different in Baxter this season, as Adam Caine brings his tough, run first mentality from Sequatchie County replacing the air-it-out Ben Herron as Bees’ head coach. Coach Mike Dickerson will be familiar with what Coach Caine will bring to Carthage, having seen his teams in Dunlap. This will be one of the key games to determine the champion in Region 4-3A. Smith County has won three of the last four against the Bees, and is 23-4 all-time against Upperman/Baxter.
September 7: Watertown at DeKalb County – Week Four will give us our first look at the DeKalb County Tigers, under the helm of one of the area’s longest-tenured head coaches, Steve Trapp. As Coach Trapp enters his 14th season, he will be looking to lead his charges to an unprecedented eighth consecutive playoff berth. To do that however, he will have to overcome the loss of 15 seniors from last year’s roster. A couple of key transfers will help in the cause, along with some seasoned, young talent who have already had plenty of game action. The Tigers will have their work cut out for them against a veteran Watertown team, who took last year’s meeting, 59-21, in Watertown. The Purple Tigers are 28-10-1 against DCHS, dating back to 1963.
September 14: RePublic at Gordonsville – RePublic felt the pain of being a first-year football program in 2017, going 0-9 and being outscored 357-72 (40 of those points came against Pickett County). The Trailblazers also fired head coach Weldon Garlington in March, after he was charged with solicitation of a minor, and replaced him with seasoned veteran Ron Lambert, who has collegiate coaching experience to go along with his impressive high school resume. RePublic will be starting 2018 still looking for program win #1, and finding victory against the Region 4-1A favorite will likely be more than a daunting task.
September 21: DeKalb County at Cannon County – Coach Matt Daniel will get his first shot at border rival DeKalb County as Lions’ head coach. He won’t have to worry about his team being fired up; Cannon County seems to always bring their ‘A’ game will they go up against their arch rival from Smithville. DeKalb County has dominated this long-time series however, winning 10 straight and 28 of the 34 all-time meetings (with 1 tie). Cannon County hasn’t been able to rely on homefield advantage much in this series either, having not won against the Tigers on their native soil since 1966 (they’ve won in Smithville four times in that span). It’s guaranteed, both teams will be fired up and ready to go come kickoff of this much heated rivalry.
September 28: Grundy County at Cannon County – Two Region 4-3A programs that have had more than their share of struggles on the gridiron. Grundy County is 5-25 over the course of the last three seasons; Cannon County has won only two games during that same span. It can be argued however, that the Grundy program is in much more turmoil as 2018 opens. After firing head coach Casey Tate and forfeiting a game due to a scandal late last season, the Yellow Jackets then hired the nomadic Scott Smith, who then was fired by the administration in July before ever coaching a game. With less than a month before kickoff (as of this writing), Grundy County sits with no head coach and a tenuous football future. Cannon County, meanwhile, appears to be looking up under new head coach, Matt Daniel. With all the struggles of both programs, Grundy has won all three of the previous meetings against the Lions.
October 5: DeKalb County at Smith County – Smith County once completely dominated this long-time border rivalry, having lost to the Tigers only twice from 1983-2011. The Tigers have now won four of the last six in the series, but it was the Owls who raced away with a 53-21 victory, last season in Smithville. Both teams enter 2018 with plenty of questions, but should very well know what their teams are capable of by the time of this Week 8 showdown. Smith County is 24-11 all-time on the football field against DeKalb County, dating back to 1973. Prior to consolidation at DeKalb County High School in 1963, Smith County dealt Smithville High one of its worst all-time defeats in 1948 – 72-0.
October 12: Jackson County at Watertown – All eyes will be on the playoff race as the high school football season reaches Week 9. One of the key battles in Region 4-2A will take place in Watertown, with the Purple Tigers hosting Jackson County. The Purple left Gainesboro with a 31-14 victory last season, but both teams ended up in the second season, as Watertown placed second in the region, while Jackson County finished fourth. Finding a win in eastern Wilson County won’t be easy for the rising Blue Devils against Heath Price and company, who enter 2018 with their sights fully set on hoisting the Region 4-2A hardware at the end of the season. Watertown has won the last four in the series, and Jackson County has yet to taste victory at the new Robinson Stadium.
October 19: Smith County at Watertown – Before last year’s meeting, Smith County and Watertown had not met on the gridiron since 1984. It hasn’t been a consistent series between the two schools, who aren’t that far away in proximity; the Purple Tigers and Owls, in fact, met only 20 times from 1938-1984, with the Owls holding a 14-7 lead in the overall series. Folks in Carthage were absolutely stunned last season, when Watertown left Owl Stadium with a gritty, hard-fought 14-12 victory. It easily could have been the biggest victory of the season for the Purple – a Class 2A school – against the eventual Region 4-3A champion. The game served as a wake-up call for Smith County, who not only went on to capture the Region crown, but won two games to advance to the Class 3A Quarterfinals.
October 26: Clay County at Gordonsville – The surprise of Region 4-1A last season was the Clay County Bulldogs, who turned low preseason expectations into a 6-4 regular season and a playoff appearance. Clay, in fact, was in the Region Championship race right up until Week 11, when Gordonsville dealt them a 27-14 setback. It was a solid start for first-year head coach, Matthew Bates, who was able to get more players out for football than had been in several years. As an encore, Coach Bates and his charges will be focused on the Region 4-1A Championship, and it could very well come down to this key Week 11 battle with the Tigers. Of course, Gordonsville has their eyes on the same prize, so this could turn out to be a fantastic finish to the regular season.
October 26: Cumberland County at DeKalb County – Just like in Gordonsville, a playoff berth – or a Region Championship – might be on the line in this regular season finale in Smithville. Not much will be expected of Cumberland County, who finished 0-10 a year ago, has won just one game in the last two years, and 9 total in the past seven years combined. But even with several key personnel losses, Region 3-4A coaches selected DeKalb County to claim the Region crown, which would be the first one in school history. Of course, by Week 11, injuries and other catastrophes can take a toll on any team, so who knows who may be in the driver’s season by then? However, if DeKalb County has any shot of a Region Championship when this Week 11 clash rolls around, expect them to come out fired up and with their full game faces on.