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FCS falls from No. 1
Nov 01, 2006 12:00 am
Friendship Christian's bid to go wire to wire as Class 1A's top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll fell short by one mere point.
Jo Byrns snatched the top spot in the final poll released Monday with 109 points. The Red Devils had three first-place votes to Friendship's six. Both teams, as well as No. 3 Temple and No. 4 Coalfield, enter this week's playoffs at 10-0.
Voters may have been swayed by Jo Byrns' 35-7 win at previously-unbeaten Cascade, which slipped from fifth to ninth, last Friday.
Friendship had held the top spot in the poll, the first such ranking in school history, since the beginning of the season.
But unlike college football, high school polls mean nothing in the playoffs, where teams are seeded based on their standing in the regions. The Commanders are the top seed from Region 4-1A and will play at Pirtle Field for as long as they remain alive for up to four rounds until the Dec. 1 BlueCross Bowl in Murfreesboro. It starts this week with Grace Baptist (6-4) of Chattanooga coming to Coles Ferry Pike this Friday with the winner meeting the Gordonsville-South Pittsburg survivor Nov. 10.
Incidentally, Friendship could host Temple in a battle of unbeatens in the quarterfinals Nov. 17, followed by another possible battle of 13-0 teams with Coalfield in the semifinals Nov. 24. A 1-vs.-2 battle with Jo Byrns wouldn't happen until the BlueCross Bowl.
Lebanon and Mt. Juliet are nowhere to be found in the AP rankings. But both are also preparing for postseason play. The Blue Devils will travel to face former LHS player and coach Louis Thompson's Lincoln County team in Fayetteville on Friday. The Blue Devils (6-4) and Falcons (7-3) are familiar foes in postseason play with Lincoln County holding a 2-1 lead since 1982. LHS won the last playoff meeting in 1992 in overtime at The Pit, site of this week's game.
The winner will face the Warren County-Riverdale survivor with Riverdale hosting, if victorious.
In his first year at Mt. Juliet, veteran coach Roger Perry has the Golden Bears in the playoffs, and at home no less, for the first time since 2000. MJ has reeled off four straight wins to finish second in Region 6-4A with a 6-4 record. The Bears will host Tullahoma (7-3) at Elzie Patton Stadium. The Wildcats will make their first visit to Wilson County since they knocked Lebanon out of the 1987 playoffs at LHS.
The winner will face the Rossview-Hillsboro survivor with Hillsboro hosting, if victorious.
All playoff games kick off at 7 p.m. local time.
Watertown missed the playoffs after suffering a 20-17 overtime loss to Monterey last Friday. At 6-4, the Purple Tigers are eligible for a bowl game. But Coach Gavin Webster said Monday no one had contacted him about possibly playing an 11th game.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.