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The Showdown Begins

Friday night kicks off that big statewide showdown and slugfest known as the TSSAA football playoffs.

All the qualifying teams in the state will begin a five-week winnowing process that will ultimately leave only one team standing on top of the hill in each classification.

Over the years, I have learned that dang near anything can happen in the postseason, and the closer things get to that coveted gold ball, the harder it is to predict outcomes or guess how the best of the best will measure up against each other.

But this I can predict with confidence: there’s going to be an ample supply of thrills, twists, turns, triumphs, and tragedies along the way, and every single game is going to produce both a winner and a loser.

So, with all that in mind, I just want to send out a heartfelt “good luck” to all the qualifying teams in my readership zones in Weakley, Carroll, and Benton Counties in their first-round contests Friday night.

Good luck to the Dresden Lions against Eagleville – and to the Westview Chargers against KIPP-Memphis – and to the Huntingdon Mustangs against Mitchell – and to the McKenzie Rebels against Wayne County – and to the West Carroll War Eagles against MASE – and to the Camden Central Lions against Fairly.

To the Dresden Lions, I have had the privilege of covering all your regular season games this season, and you have certainly delivered some impressive performances. And you have also had a couple of setbacks to learn from.

My advice is to just get in there and play hard, play smart, and play as a team, and, hopefully, you will go far (and maybe all the way).

To the Chargers, you did go all the way last year, and doing that two years in a row would certainly be something to tell your grandkids about.

To the Rebels, I had the privilege of trekking with you to Chattanooga last year, though that one didn’t turn out like you wanted. I would say I hope you grab the gold this year, but I’m going to have to root for Dresden in Class A for the time being. But, who knows, you and the Lions may very well meet up again before it’s over.

And I will be keeping up with and rooting for you guys from Huntingdon, West Carroll, and Camden, as well.

And to all the high school football fans out there, turn out in force, support your hometown boys, and don’t be afraid to make some noise.

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