2021 Bluecross Bowl Preview + Predictions


Colton Provey
Tennessee Scouting Director

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It's that time of year as gridiron faithful head to a new site for the TSSAA Bluecross Bowl Championships, which open at 11pm on Thursday in Chattanooga, TN. It's been somewhat back to normal for many programs with some covid/game cancellations sprinkled in this fall, and as we reach the conclusion of the season, much is to be celebrated as we can reward programs with the title of Tennessee state champion.

As a baseball scout, I have not watched a single high school football game this season, but I wanted to have some fun and highlight the weekend's matchup with some predictions and breakdowns. In our first edition last year, I posted a 5-4 record, and this year I'm feeling more confident in hopes of going 9-0. I've followed along this season with much of baseball twitter, and have some fond memories of the Bluecross Bowl as a high school student. I'll be tuning in on TV and indulging in the final weekend of high school football for 2021. Below, we take a look at the state title matchups and highlight some familiar faces.

 

Preview + Predictions

D2-AA Championship: CPA (11-2) vs Lipscomb Academy (11-1)
Two squads that will know each other very well, as it will be the 6th matchup in the past three seasons, including CPA edging out LA for the gold ball last December. The Mustangs have been on a mission since last year's setback, averaging 51 points/game, and only loss is to 6A finalist Oakland. CPA is looking to defend its title and avenge a 38-0 loss to the Mustangs in October. CPA QB/C Cade Law (Vandy Baseball Commit) has shown a knack for winning state championships and has plenty of weapons at his disposal (speedy WR/OF London Humphreys & TE/1B Bo Burklow), not to mention physical LB Langston Patterson (Vandy FB commit). Lippy has been incredibly efficient on offense behind QB Luther Richesson and RB Alexander Broome, and the defense is led by LB Hunter High (Tennessee Baseball Commit). CPA has ended Lipscomb's season the past two seasons, but I think it is the year of the Mustangs and Trent Dilfer will be hoisting his first golden ball.

Prediction: Lipscomb Academy-38 CPA-24

 

D2-A Championship: DCA (11-1) vs Nashville Christian (11-2)
Both clubs made semi-finals appearances last season falling short of the title game, and they've both broken through in 2021 behind some explosive offenses. Nashville Christian had made four straight semi-finals, and the fifth time was the charm, defeating MTCS to punch their ticket. DCA went 0-10 in 2018 before making quarterfinals in '19, semis last season, and look to complete a rebuild with a golden ball this weekend. These clubs matched up in late October as DCA won a low scoring slugfest 7-3, however, this time around I expect more points on the scoreboard. This one could come down to the wire, but I'm thinking Nashville Christian will avenge the loss and complete an incredible run by this senior group.

Prediction: Nashville Christian-28 DCA-24

 

D2-AAA Championship: McCallie (11-0) vs MBA (9-3)
A rematch from the 2019 title game, as McCallie looks to complete a three-peat and MBA hopes to bring home their first state title since 2014. These squads matched up in early September with McCallie edging out a 34-31 victory on the road. MBA plays a hard nosed style of football looking to wear teams down while McCallie can score points in bunches. I made the mistake of going against the Blue Tornadoes last year as they dismantled MUS, and in a neutral site with a plethora of championship experience, it's too hard to pass up. Give me McCallie and a three-peat.

Prediction: McCallie-35 MBA-24

 

3A Championship: Alcoa (13-1) vs East Nashville (10-4)
Alcoa completed a 7-peat from 2004-2010 and now have been in the title game every season since 2013, including a 7-1 record and 6 consecutive state championships. They gave up points last week for the first time in TWO MONTHS. East Nashville has been a consistent playoff contender, making the playoffs for nine straight years, but their first state finals appearance in school history. They've had a great year with all four losses coming to bigger schools, but they will be big underdogs rolling into Chattanooga. I believe the Tornadoes will roll and complete their second 7-peat in the past 17 years.

Prediction: Alcoa-42 East Nashville-14

 

1A Championship: South Pittsburg (11-2) vs McKenzie (14-0)
South Pittsburg is back in the finals after falling short last season, and McKenzie is riding a perfect season as they head to Chattanooga. McKenzie is making their second finals appearance all time and have strung together three straight playoff appearances, running into the Peabody buzzsaw the past two seasons. Well this year they knocked off Peabody in the semifinals and South Pittsburg is looking to get over the hump for the first time since 2010. South Pittsburg has consistently been in the mix, but have gone 2-4 the championships. I took South Pittsburg last year and came up short, so we'll mix it up and take McKenzie to cap off the perfect season and school first state title.

Prediction: McKenzie-28 South Pittsburg-20

 

5A Championship: Powell (12-2) vs Page (13-1)
Powell is making their third consecutive playoff appearance with a quarterfinals finish in 2019, and first title game appearance since 2011. Powell offense is led by QB Jordyn Potts and the defense is led by Texas A&M commit Walter Nolen. Page has made 14 consecutive playoff appearances, but have failed to make it past the 2nd round in that span until this season. Page needed an improbable comeback, scoring 35 points in the 4th quarter, to punch their ticket to the title game, thanks to outstanding performance from QB Jake McNamara. Two teams with high level QBs that can put up points will look to secure their first state championship in Football, but I think it will be the Powell defense to give them a slight edge.

Prediction: Powell-31 Page-27

 

4A Championship: Elizabethton (12-1) vs Tullahoma (14-0)
This will be one of the most interesting matchups to follow this weekend, as the back to back state champ Elizabethton takes on undefeated Tullahoma. Elizabethton's senior group is 52-3 and looking to capture a third straight title. It hasn't been the easiest season, they've gone on the road twice in the postseason while avenging a loss to Greeneville. QB Bryson Rollins, who happens to be one of the top uncommitted baseball prospects, seems to have a knack for finding a way to win. Tullahoma is making its first championship appearance, but they put together an outstanding season, just dominating start to finish. They have a seasoned Sr. QB and 2021 Future Gamer Jaxon Sheffield leads the backfield. Elizabethton has the experience, Tullahoma has the resume, so it should be a tight hard fought game coming down to the last few possessions. I'm gonna take the new kids on the block in this one, Wildcats by a score.

Prediction: Tullahoma-21 Elizabethton-17

 

2A Championship: Hampton (10-2) vs Westview (13-1)
Hampton has had 18 straight playoff appearances with a best finish of semifinal in 2015, and this weekend will be making their first state championship appearances after a stellar comeback last week at Trousdale County. Hampton had two hiccups in October, but they have played some good ball down the stretch. Westview have made three straight playoff appearances, but the last two runs have ended in disappointment failing to make the quarterfinals. This season, QB Ty Simpson (Alabama FB commit), who is a very talented baseball player as well, has had the offense humming all season. Westview is gonna be tough slow down in Chattanooga.

Prediction: Westview-42 Hampton-17

 

6A Championship: Oakland (14-0) vs Summit (14-0)
Battle of reigning state champions, as Oakland captured the 6A title and Summit the 5A title last season. Both head to Chattanooga with a perfect record and plenty of firepower on both sides of the ball. Oakland has been on a historic run over the past few years, as this senior group has a 56-2 record with two golden balls. They've won 69 straight games against teams not named Maryville (last non-Maryville loss: 6A title game vs Whitehaven in 2016). Summit has gone 40-4 over the past three seasons with three finals appearances, including last year's 5A title. Similar matchup to last year's 6A matchup between Oakland and Brentwood, as they'll have to focus on containing a high level QB in Kentucky commit Destin Wade. This should be an electric finale to the Bluecross Bowl weekend, so bring the popcorn and enjoy.

Prediction: Oakland-38 Summit-28

Congrats to all the student athletes playing at the Bluecross Bowl this weekend, truly an honor to be the last teams standing, but you can only crown one champion. Enjoy it and we'll see you this Spring! Now back to baseball...

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