Wednesday, October 22, 2014 · 9:49 a.m.

East Hamilton-Tyner likely to decide District 6-AA winner

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East Hamilton could all but seal up District 6-AA with a win over visiting Tyner on Friday. (Photo: Michael Murphy)

East Hamilton hasn’t been tested by a District 6-AA team thus far, and there’s only one opponent left of its regular-season schedule that appears to have a shot at the Hurricanes. Tyner.

The Ram train went off the tracks two weeks ago against Hixson, but got back on with last Thursday’s 39-21 win over Central. 

The Rams ran the ball well against Central, but they'll need an inspired performance to do the same against East Hamilton. Pictured is junior Hassaan Miller. (Photo: Billy Weeks)

The two schools square off Friday at East Hamilton in what is almost certain to serve as the district championship. 

The Rams (5-2, 3-1) don’t have the flashiest offense, but it has been effective. East Hamilton (6-1, 4-0), which hasn’t allowed a point in eight quarters, stifled Hixson’s offense a week ago, and aside from their Week 2 loss to Ooltewah, the Hurricanes haven’t surrendered more than 14 points in a game. 

Running backs Joseph Sturkey, Kalan Hardley, and Courtney Heard chew up most the yards on the ground, but as Tyner showed last week against Central, its passing attack can also be a threat. Quarterback Willie Stewart fired three touchdown passes to wide receiver Sadik Spence on Thursday. 

The East Hamilton offense is much easier to pinpoint, but that hasn’t made it any easier to stop.

Senior running back Logan Jackson added 155 yards and four touchdowns to his season totals in last week’s rout over Hixson, but the Rams’ defensive line will be the biggest the Hurricanes have faced all season. 

East Hamilton hasn’t needed to throw it much this season, but they’ve done so anyway in an attempt to stay balance. Quarterback Hunter Moore doesn’t have huge numbers, but the junior has taken care of the football and has been extremely efficient.

That passing game could prove key Friday if the Tyner defensive front can accomplish what none of the Hurricanes’ first seven opponents could — slow down Jackson. 

Boyd-Buchanan (7-0) at South Pittsburg (6-1)

The Pirates and the Buccaneers have split their last ten meetings, but it’s South Pittsburg that has held the upper hand in recent years. The Pirates, No. 1 in Class 1A, have won four of the last five over Boyd-Buchanan, the top-ranked team in 2A. The Buccaneers are coming off a 53-0 victory over Unaka, and junior quarterback Jim Cardwell has been red hot in recent weeks. 

Baylor (4-3) at Columbia Central (6-1)

The Red Raiders dropped three of their last four games heading into a much-needed bye week. For Baylor to stop the bleeding, though, it will have to knock off a very tough Columbia Central team on the road. The Lions’ only loss was to unbeaten Dickson County over a month ago, but they’ve since strung together five straight victories while averaging nearly 40 points.

Lookout Valley (5-3) at Silverdale (6-1)

The Seahawks haven’t lost since their lopsided defeat to Boyd-Buchanan, and they’ll host Lookout Valley on Friday. Silverdale running back Matt McCulley has rushed for 379 yards and four touchdowns in his last two games. The Yellowjackets picked up a forfeit victory over Taft Youth Center last week, but their last win before that was nearly a month ago. 

Bradley Central (4-3, 2-1) at Walker Valley (4-3, 1-2)

The Bears just haven’t been able to get on track this season. Their brutal non-district schedule, which included Baylor, East Hamilton and Blackman, certainly hasn’t helped matters. Walker Valley’s year has been a roller coaster ride thus far. The Mustangs won three straight to start the season but followed that with three losses. They took down struggling Soddy-Daisy last week, but Bradley Central will provide a much tougher test. 

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