Two of the Midstate’s best teams put everything on the line when 11-1 Oakland and unbeaten Mt. Juliet meet in Mt. Juliet on Friday in the quarterfinals of the TSSAA 6A football playoffs. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. Central.
For the Patriots, this is familiar territory. This is coach Kevin Creasy’s fourth year, and Oakland has never lost more than two games in a season under his leadership. OHS advanced to the state semifinals last season where it lost by a field goal to Maryville.
Oakland’s star play-makers are also familiar names, and the Patriots have a ton of them on defense. That unit allows just 8.5 points a game.
Defensive back/receiver Woodi Washington, who’s committed to Oklahoma as a cornerback, is the guy nobody wants to throw on. South Carolina defensive line commitment Joseph Anderson has 38 tackles, with 10.5 for loss, the latter figure tying him for third on the team with linebacker/defensive end Aaron Moore. Junior Mikhael Holman leads Oakland with 16.5 tackles for loss, followed by defensive lineman Tekoy Randolph (11).
Senior quarterback Brian Linnel has thrown for 1,426 yards and 18 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Senior running back Xavier Myers leads the team with 1,622 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. Washington has scored five offensive touchdowns and also helps in the return game.
The Bears’ 35-14 win over Blackman last week was particularly impressive. Ta’micus Napier usually leads the potent Mt. Juliet offense, but last week, it was quarterback Alvin Mixon who scored three rushing touchdowns to grab headlines.
The Golden Bears’ defense has been even better, giving up just six points a night. Defensive lineman Reggie Grimes, an Alabama commitment considered by some as the state’s top college prospect in the Class of 2020, leads the way.
This will be the first meeting between the teams this year. Both breezed through their first two playoff opponents to get here. Oakland beat Rossview and Hendersonville by a combined 77-10, while Mt. Juliet demolished Cookeville and Blackman by a 77-21 margin.
This is the fifth straight year in which Mt. Juliet has improved its record. Last season, the Golden Bears went undefeated before they were upset by Riverdale in the first round of the playoffs.
The winner takes on the winner of Farragut and Maryville.