This season, a group of experts will predict the outcomes of the high school football games for Cookeville, Livingston Academy, Monterey, Upperman and White County.
The experts all have experience covering high school sports in the Upper Cumberland with a variety of outlets.
Note: These predictions are purely opinions. The Upper Cumberland Reporter wishes each of the teams in the Upper Cumberland good luck in their contests.
*Prediction record noted by ()
Noah McKay: COO and play-by-play announcer at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (10-0)
Chase Hoke: Color commentator at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (9-1)
Rusty Ellis: Sports Director at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (9-1)
Kailee Means: Sports Reporter at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (9-1)
Justin Matheney: Color commentator at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (8-2)
Michael Lindsay: Sports editor/photographer at the Crossville Chronicle
York (1-2) vs Livingston Academy (0-3)
York: 6-20 loss at Monterey
Livingston: 12-49 loss against Stone Memorial
Pick: Livingston – 10 York Institute – 6
Comments: This was the hardest game to pick this week, but I think things are trending up for Livingston Academy. The offensive line played better a week ago against Stone Memorial and against a smaller team in York, I take the Wildcats in a close, low-scoring affair. They will need to contain Myles Leffew in order to win.
Pick: Livingston Academy 21 – York Institute 20
Comments: After seeing Livingston play last week, I think they have a shot in this game. I saw some major improvements from the Wildcats last week that could help them in this game against York. I do not think it will be an easy game for either team.
Pick: York 24 – Livingston 6
Comments: After having seen both teams play live, I have to go with the dragons in this one. I left last weeks game against Monterey really impressed with the York defense. I think they will make things really hard on a young LA offense.
Pick: York 21 – Livingston 14
Comments: The Wildcats are a young team that have shown improvement throughout the season. The offense is starting to gel as they finally put points on the board last week. In order for Livingston to get their first win this week, they have to protect QB Brodey Coffee. Another key to success is to get WR Nathan Cowgill the football in space and allow him to make something happen. If the Wildcats are able to do that, they will have success on Friday night. However, the York Institute Dragons are a very physical football team and they love to run the speed option. That may cause the Wildcats defense fits and because of that I have to take York Institute in this one. Give me the Dragons!
Pick: York Institute
Comments: This is the first game Livingston has a shot at winning so far this season, and I expect a spirited effort out of the Wildcats. Ultimately, I think the Dragons’ speed advantage will be the difference as they will come on the road and get a close win.
#7 4A Upperman (3-0) vs #2 1A Fayetteville (3-0)
Upperman: 41-7 win at Cumberland County
Fayetteville: 45-0 win over Wayne County
Pick: Upperman – 24 Fayetteville – 14
Comments: This one comes down purely to size and the ability to rotate players in and out. With Upperman being a 4A school going up against a 1A, they have the advantage in that aspect. The defending 1A champs will keep this one competitive, but the Bees will be 4-0 when all is said and done.
Pick: Upperman 28 – Fayetteville 21
Comments: I am a full believer in this Upperman team going far this year, but the reigning 1A State Champions will be a good test for them.
Pick: Upperman 28 – Fayetteville 14
Comments: Upperman just has too much for the defending 1A state champs to deal with in this one. Hats off to the tigers for taking the huge step up on classification to take in Upperman. I believe in this one the depth of 4A Upperman will wear on Fayetteville.
Pick: Upperman 27 – Fayetteville 14
Comments: The Bees are a team that is poised to make a lot of noise this season. They face off with a really good Fayetteville team this week that is looking to defend their state championship. If the Bees defense can slow down the Fayetteville tailback, KJ Jackson, they will have success. I expect Jaxson Rollins to have a big night in this one. Give me the Bees!
Comments: I can see the comments now, “How can everyone pick Upperman”. Fayetteville is a great team, but I think this week is when people around the state realize how great Upperman is. Expect big games from Ty Dutchess, Terrance Dedmon and Jaxson Rollins along with a dominant effort out of the UHS defensive front. This would be a statement win on the road against a powerhouse.
Pick: Upperman 28 – Fayetteville 20
Comments: Throw school sizes out the window for this one as Upperman takes a long trip to defending Class 1A state champion Fayetteville. The game will be Upperman’s toughest to date, and the Bees have shown a remarkable ability to win these games in years past. I believe the trend continues, but it sure won’t be easy as Fayetteville is 3-0 and averaging over 40 points per game. Upperman’s defense has surrendered only 13 points so far, and it’s up to them to slow down the Tigers.
Cookeville (1-2) vs White County (2-1)
Cookeville: 14-21 loss against Lebanon
White County: 14-10 loss against Station Camp
Pick: White County – 24 Cookeville – 17
Comments: This is the year where White County defeats Cookeville and it all lines up for the Warriors. They have the experience that the Cavaliers lack, especially on offense, and Malaki Dowell was already a handful enough for Cookeville last season. I think that, combined with the Warriors’ ability to match the Cavaliers’ size, means an end to Cookeville’s winning streak over White County.
Pick: White County 21 – Cookeville 17
Comments: This game is going to be amazing (hopefully). After seeing both teams perform I am giving this one to White County. Malaki Dowell just seems to improve more week by week. I’ll take the Warriors.
Pick: Cookeville 17 – White County 14
Comments: This is a game of some good old fashioned hate. Both these teams are coming off of tough fourth quarter losses last Friday night. I said early on in the season that the cookeville defense will have to play lights out to keep them in games until the offense comes around. So far, they have done that. This week will be their biggest challenge from a single athlete this season in Maliki Dowel. Cookeville pulls out a nail bitter here.
Pick: Sparta 31 – Cookeville 24
Comments: This is going to be such a good game. Cookeville is a team that has vastly improved since the start of the season. Cavaliers QB Mace Thomsen continues to gain confidence and familiarity with the offense. Defensively, the Cavs have to find away to slow down Sparta’s biggest weapon, Malaki Dowell. The Warriors will look to get him the ball early and often in this one. If they are able to do that, they will have success on Friday night. I think this will be a close game, but give me the Warriors!
Comments: Two weeks ago, I don’t think this game would have been close, but the Cavs are showing rapid signs of improvement which will make things very interesting. Ultimately, in a close rivalry game, I’ll give the edge to the home team with the best player on the field. That’s Sparta with Malaki Dowell (although Cade Apple may have something to say about that).
Cookeville 34 – White County 26
Comments: Hated rivals clash in Sparta this week as Cookeville takes the trip down 111. Both programs have played a solid schedule to date and a win Friday will be huge momentum for the rest of the season. Cookeville has the slight edge, but White County won’t go down without a fight. Give me the Cavaliers in a thriller.
Monterey (3-0) vs Stone Memorial (2-1)
Monterey: 20-6 win over York
Stone memorial: 49-12 win at Livingston
Pick: Stone Memorial – 20 Monterey – 13
Comments: This pick was different until I saw what Stone Memorial did in their passing game against Livingston last week. This is Monterey’s biggest test thus far, and I think it’s a game that serves to make them even better, come region play. It’ll be close and competitive, but Stone’s got the depth and size advantage, so I’ll give it to them in a close one.
Pick: Stone Memorial
Comments: This game has me flip flopping but after seeing Stone perform last week I’m going to give the win to them. It seemed like no matter where the ball was thrown or ran they were scoring. I do not think it will be a blowout. I think Monterey will keep it close and it could go either way, but I am giving the win to Stone.
Pick: Stone Memorial 21 – Monterey 14
Comments: Hardest game to pick on the slate for this week in my opinion. To be honest I really wanted to go with the Wildcats here. I believe Stone Memorial will be able to wear down Monterey here with the depth. It will be interesting to see what the Wildcats offense will do if the Panthers are able to bottle Mason Bowman.
Pick: Stone Memorial 35 – Monterey 31
Comments: This is going to be such a good game. Monterey is solid and has playmakers throughout their roster, and the Wildcats’ stingy defense has just imposed their will so far this season, but I think that changes this week. Coach Hughes will have his team ready to play, but the Stone Memorial Panthers are a really good team, and love to steal possession from onside kicks. If they are able to steal a couple in this one, I think that will be the difference maker. Give me the Panthers in a close one!
Comments: This is a very tough matchup to pick. The SMHS offense has been firing on all cylinders, but this Monterey defense will be the best they’ve faced so far. This should be a great one on UCR 3, but I’ll give the edge to the Wildcats in a hard-fought game.
Pick: Stone Memorial 35 – Monterey 20
Comments: Stone Memorial’s red-hot offense is averaging 41 points per game, including a 47-point and 49-point showing in their last two games. The Panthers are lethal at all three levels behind quarterback Hunter Heavilon, who threw four touchdowns against Livingston last week. Monterey’s defense has been lights-out to date, giving up only six points per game. The clash in styles will be a treat for fans of both teams in what should be an awesome game.