Each week Team UCR predicts high school football games across the Upper Cumberland, presented by TLTSports Performance.
Note: These picks are all opinion-based and intended to foster conversation about high school sports.
Rusty Ellis: Sports Director
Jacob Vinson: Livestream Director
Michael Lindsay: Senior Sports Reporter
Justin Matheney: Co-Owner/Lead Color Commentator
Noah McKay: Co-Owner/Lead Play-By-Play Commentator
Week 7, 2023:
GOTW: Upperman at Smith County
Pick: Upperman 17-14
Comments: A game between two physical teams that love to run the football, if it turns into a high-scoring game I’ll be shocked. I’ll go with the Bees to get a close win in Carthage.
Pick: Upperman 21-14
Comments: Smith County is coming off their biggest win of the season with a region win over East Robertson and have all kinds of momentum coming into this match up. However, this will be the best all around team the Owls have faced. The Bees have played a tough schedule and have played in tough environments which will have them ready for another tough road test.
Pick: Upperman 15-14
Comments: Two heavyweights meet in the Game of the Week Friday as Smith County hosts Upperman in The Hole. You’ll be hard-pressed to find two more physical football teams around here. This one should be an instant classic.
Pick: Upperman 28-27
Comments: This is a fantastic measuring stick game for both schools as we entered the second half of the football season. I expect a physical game up front on both sides of the lines of scrimmage. Both teams want to knock your block off and tackle well and both teams have explosive playmakers. Upperman gets a slight nod here from me.
Pick: Upperman 21-13
Comments: Two great football teams are set to do battle in Carthage. These two teams are very similar. Physical defenses, young and athletic quarterbacks, good team speed. Ultimately I lean towards the Bees because of Clayton Harris up front, and a more proven track record of finding explosive offensive plays. The Black Hole will be rocking, and I’m excited for this one.
Cookeville at Gallatin
Pick: Gallatin 31-14
Comments: This isn’t the Gallatin people are used to, they like to throw it around the yard and they’ll put this Cavs secondary to the test. Unfortunately, I don’t think Cookeville will have enough to withstand the Green Wave offense.
Pick: Gallatin 34-17
Comments: It’s a game that Cookeville needs to win to keep their playoff chances alive, however, the Green Wave’s offense is not one to look past led by quarterback Jackson Stroup. Stroup has already broken the single season passing touchdown record at Gallatin just six games into the season. The big plays will be the demise of the Cavs defense yet again.
Pick: Gallatin 34-21
Comments: Gallatin has multiple weapons this season as the Green Wave will look to air it out on Cookeville. The Cavs should put up a good fight, but I think Gallatin pulls away late.
Pick: Gallatin 35-21
Comments: The Cavaliers are a little outgunned here on the outside playmaker wise. Cookeville has struggled tackling explosive players all season and the Green Wave have plenty of those dudes on the other side of the ball.
Pick: Gallatin 38-21
Comments: This Green Wave offense is EXPLOSIVE. Cookeville will need to dominate time of possession, protect the football, and limit big plays. I think they can do the first two, I have doubts about the third. If they are able to pull off the upset, they’ll find themselves in a great position in the playoff race.
Cumberland County at White County
Pick: White County 41-0
Comments: Cumberland County struggled mightily to contain the Upperman running attack last week and it doesn’t get any easier against Sparta and Tripp Pinion this week. After the brutal stretch Sparta has endured, this will be a welcome sight for Warriors fans.
Pick: White County 35-0
Comments: There are not too many times that we will pick a blowout when both teams from the same region have the same exact record. That time has come as Tripp Pinion will finally bring the Warriors their first region victory and get back into the win column.
Pick: White County 27-7
Comments: Two traditional rivals meet as region foes Friday evening as Cumberland County hits the road to Sparta. White County has been on the doorstep of their first region victory for a month now, and they should break through on Friday.
Pick: Sparta 34-7
Comments: There’s going to be quite a bit of frustration let out on the White County side Friday night. Teams all year have had nightmares about tackling Tripp and I don’t see this one being any different.
Pick: White County 35-7
Comments: Tripp Pinion is about to go nuts. Big Sparta W incoming.
Macon County at DeKalb County
Pick: Macon County 27-17
Comments: Macon’s offense is starting to hit that second gear and with both Borders fully back in the fold, they pose a lot of interesting challenges for this DeKalb team. Look for this one to be close all the way, as Macon breaks a big play loose late to seal it.
Pick: Macon County 28-14
Comments: A game that easily could’ve been the Game of the Week had DeKalb County come back last week in Crossville. However, still a massive region match up for both teams. Macon County’s offense has come to life with the return of Zach Borders which is a very scary sight for opponents and the defense is still just as good if not better. Macon County picks up another big region win.
Pick: Macon County 27-20
Comments: Macon and DeKalb have played plenty of close games over the years and Friday should be no exception. Malachi Trapp returning to the DeKalb offense adds another dimension, but Macon County should have just enough to hold them off.
Pick: Macon County 31-17
Comments: Macon County is hitting their stride right now as both sides of the ball are clicking. However, DeKalb County did get back Malikah Trapp and Brizz Trapp back for the Stone game and both of those players stood out.
Pick: Macon County 28 – 21
Comments: This is an intriguing matchup. DeKalb’s defense is one of the most underrated units in the Upper Cumberland, but Macon County is firing on all cylinders. Zach Borders’ emergence has changed the trajectory for MCHS, and I think they get a big region win on the road.
Livingston Academy at Stone Memorial
Pick: Stone Memorial 31-0
Comments: Nothing against Livingston here, this is more about Stone’s offensive capabilities than it is anything negative about LA.
Pick: Stone Memorial 28-7
Comments: LA is pulling out all of the stops trying to keep the ball out of some high powered offense’s hands, but it hasn’t been enough the last two weeks. That trend continues against a Stone offense that is scoring 30 points per contest so far. Stone keeps their Region Title hopes alive.
Pick: Stone Memorial 26-14
Comments: Livingston has kept two games close through 3 quarters with two UC top-5 teams and Friday could be the same story. Stone Memorial just picked up a massive victory over DeKalb and has York Institute, a bye week, Macon County and Upperman on the horizon. Trap game alert in Crossville tonight.
Pick: Stone Memorial 35-17
Comments: LA matches up well with the Panthers here. Will Stone commit to the run game and grind one out or will they test out the air attack? Either way, I see Stone Memorial with an advantage but the Wildcats are improving.
Pick: Stone 28 – 15
Comments: Watch out for this one. Livingston matches up better with Stone on-paper than some other teams in the region, and while I expect Stone to handle business, Brodey Coffee and company could keep it interesting. Ultimately, I do think the Panthers have way too much firepower.
Cascade at Monterey
Pick: Monterey 17-10
Comments: Let’s try this again, Monterey. Is this the week we’re right about the Wildcats? We shall see. I think they’ll get this one done against Cascade.
Pick: Monterey 21-14
Comments: Noah made a very good point on the coach’s show this week. If Monterey plays a team who can spread it out on offense, they will struggle. If they play a team who likes to stay between the tackles, they have a really good chance to win. As far as I can tell, this Cascade team likes to stay between the tackles for the most part. So going off that logic I like Monterey to win their first home game of the season.
Pick: Monterey 21-20
Comments: Monterey’s physical brand of football should be the winner Friday night as the Wildcats are looking to get back in the win column against Cascade.
Pick: Monterey 17-7
Comments: I cannot believe I just picked Monterey again. I’m sorry to all the Wildcats fans that I promised I wouldn’t. I honestly have no idea with this team anymore. Your guess is as good as mine.
Pick: Monterey 21 – 14
Comments: I know we keep getting it wrong, so I’m sorry we did it again, but surely we’ll be right eventually… right?
York Institute at Oneida
Pick: York Institute 31-10
Comments: The Dragons are rolling and there’s no reason to expect that to change this week. Oneida will battle early but the team speed for York will make the most difference on the scoreboard.
Pick: York Institute 28-14
Comments: Finally a good region match up for the Dragons. Oneida is a very prideful program and a very tough place to play. However, this Dragons team is rolling and that continues on the road in region play setting up for a very fun matchup next week with Stone Memorial.
Pick: York Institute 27-7
Comments: York makes the scenic drive across the Big South Fork to Oneida Friday evening for a big Region 2-2A showdown. The Dragons have been perfect to this point and that shouldn’t change Friday.
Pick: York 35-14
Comments: Oneida is one of the more popular small class venues in the state to visit. If you’re in Jamestown, I highly encourage you to make the trip; you will not regret it. On top of that, the Dragons looked primed for a deep playoff run but they need to take care of business Friday night against the Indians.
Pick: York 42-21
Comments: Oneida is one of the most picturesque places to play a high school football game in the state, but I expect it to be all Dragons in this one. Myles leffew is putting together a Mr. Football caliber season, and I see no reason for that to change this week.