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 (23-8)
Chase Hoke: Color commentator at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (23-8)
Rusty Ellis: Sports Director at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (26-5)
Kailee Means: Sports Reporter at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (24-7)
Justin Matheney: Color commentator at the Upper Cumberland Reporter (23-8)
Game 1: Cookeville (1-6, 0-2) vs Coffee County (3-4, 1-2)
Cookeville: Bye Week
Coffee County: Bye Week
Pick: Cookeville 17 – Coffee County 20
Comments: I think the bye week came at the perfect time for the Cavaliers, and because of that, I think you’ll see a much-improved team on both sides of the ball. That being said, Coffee County is a tough environment to play in and this was a really competitive game last year at Cookeville. I think Coffee County pulls this one out at the very end.
Pick: Cookeville 21 – Coffee County 28
Comments: I think that Coffee County will pull away with this game, but I do not think it will be easy. If Cookeville made some corrections during the bye week they could prove us wrong and win the game.
Pick: Cookeville 7 – Coffee County 35
Comments: First off, I would like to take a moment and use this platform to send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of former Cookeville High School offensive lineman Josh Lawson who passed away this past weekend. Lawson, 30, was a 2009 graduate of Cookeville High School and a teammate of mine. After a tough four game stretch that saw Coffee County drop four games in a row the Red Raiders have rattled off two straight wins and seem to have things figured out on both sides of the ball. Both Cookeville and Coffee County enjoyed bye weeks last week so neither team will have an advantage in the rest or freshness department. My Cavaliers have struggled all season offensively and unfortunately I haven’t seen anything to indicate that will turn around at this point in the season.
Pick: Cookeville 17 – Coffee County 24
Comments: Both teams enter this game coming off their bye with their backs against the wall. With this game having so much at stake for both sides, I am going with the better football team. Unfortunately, Coffee County is the better team. Give me the Red Raiders!
Pick: Cookeville 17 – Coffee County 21
Comments: The Cavs still have a path to make the postseason, and a path to win this game, but I need to see it before I pick them. This should be a hard-fought region matchup, but I ultimately think Coffee County does just enough to defend their home field.
Upperman (6-1, 3-0) vs Dekalb County (5-2, 2-1)
Upperman: Bye Week
Dekalb County: 28-0 win at Warren County
Pick: Upperman 35 – DeKalb County 17
Comments: Any other year, this Tiger team would be talked about as the lead dog in the region race. Thanks to the Bees, there’s a reason they’re not. Upperman played their best game of the season against Macon County, a team that narrowly beat DeKalb County. I just don’t see a way for the DeKalb County defense to slow down Upperman’s rushing attack of Ty Dutchess, Jaxson Rollins and Terrance Dedmon. Isaac Knowles will get his on offense, but I’ll take this Bees’ defense any day of the week.
Pick: Upperman 20 – Dekalb County 22
Comments: This has been the most difficult choice for me, but I’m going to lean towards the Tigers. We all know about the firepower Upperman has, but Dekalb brings in Isaac Knowles, Colby Barnes, and a great young QB in Briz Trapp. Ultimately, I think Dekalb’s home field advantage puts them over the top.
Pick: Upperman 32 – DeKalb County 14
Comments: Defense, defense, defense. Upperman has the better defense in this one and that is the difference in this matchup. I believe that Coach Trapp will have his team very well coached, as he always does, but the Bess are going to be too much to handle. Look for it to be a close game early with Upperman pulling away late.
Pick: Upperman 34 – Dekalb County 21
Comments: DeKalb is my alma mater, so it pains me to pick against them. The fact of the matter is in this region, there are the Bees and every other team is in their rear view. The Tigers struggled mightily against Macon’s rushing attack, and the Bees’ is even better. Give me the Bees!
Pick: Upperman 38 – Dekalb County 10
Comments: The closer we get to kickoff, the more I think Upperman controls this one. The Dekalb offense is very good, but this UHS defense is the best they’ve faced this year. I don’t see a way they are able to sustain enough drives to keep up with a UHS offense that found a rhythm against Macon County. Look for Upperman to lock down a region title for the fourth straight year, albeit in a new 4A region this year.
Game 3: Monterey (5-2, 2-0) vs Oneida (5-2, 2-1)
Monterey: Bye Week
Oneida: Bye Week
Pick: Monterey 28 – Oneida 21
Comments: WHEW. Now this is going to be a great game. The de facto region title game pits Monterey against a good Oneida team. I’ll take Monterey because I trust their defense and how well they’ve played thus far this season. They dominated Rockwood, a team that turned around and beat Oneida 24-13. Give me the Wildcats on the back of a great performance by Mason Bowman and the defense.
Pick: Monterey 35 – Oneida 21
Comments: This is for the region championship right here. and I feel like Monterey is about to make a statement. With both teams having a bye week last week, they both should be fully prepared for each other. This will be a very good game and a very good matchup, but I think the Wildcats pull it out.
Pick: Monterey 20 – Oneida 6
Comments: I just believe that Monterey is the better team here. Both teams played York to a similar score. However, Monterey throttled a Rockwood team that Oneida lost to. First year in the step up on classification for the Wildcats ends in a region championship.
Pick: Monterey 14 – Oneida 7
Comments: This game has defense written all over it. The Wildcats have to feed Mason Bowman early and often in this one. I think Monterey becomes region champions this week. Give me the Wildcats!
Pick: Monterey 28 – Oneida 7
Comments: I think the game will be closer than the final score will make it look. This should be a defensive battle throughout, but ultimately I expect Mason Bowman to break off a couple of long runs late against a tired Oneida defense as the Wildcats lock up a region title in their first season in the 2A classification.