But, the 6-3 Raiders still have a big challenge Thursday, prior to postseason play.
Coach E.K. Slaughter said his team had a good practice Monday in preparation for Thursday’s 7:30 p.m. regular season finale at Soddy-Daisy.
“We’re hard at work,” said Slaughter of his team’s preparations for its 10th game. “We need to win Friday to assure ourselves a game at home in the first round of the playoffs. Our players want to play at home.”
Thursday’s game will also be a homecoming of sorts for the Raiders’ coach, who has many friends and family in the Soddy-Daisy community.
Slaughter, his coaching staff and players have no advanced information as to what lies ahead in the playoffs. TSSAA will release playoff brackets Saturday morning, and playoff teams will begin to plan for their postseason competition.
In addition to Cleveland, Bradley Central and Polk County are also looking ahead to playoff appearances.
Cleveland’s coaching staff is hoping the Raiders won’t have a letdown after the excitement of the win at Ooltewah. The hard-fought victory, combined with Rhea County’s win over Soddy-Daisy, clinched this year’s district championship.
Bradley Central has only one loss in league play, but Cleveland holds a tie-breaking edge with a win over the Bears. Bradley ends its regular season Friday in a crosstown rivalry at Walker Valley.
Slaughter says his Raiders have the normal bumps and bruises of a long football season, but are relatively healthy for their 10th game ... and the playoffs.
Junior quarterback Chad Voytik will guide the Raiders’ offense once again Thursday, and will share the brunt of the rushing attack game with senior tailback Jamarcus Mobley.
Mobley was limited somewhat by Ooltewah’s determined defense last Friday, but the Raiders may have some new wrinkles for the Trojans.
Cleveland’s passing game, and especially its key receivers, Jeremy Simpson and B.J. Davis, may play a huge role in the outcome of Thursday’s contest. Both receivers had five big catches against the Owls.
The Raiders’ defense, led by Henry McClendon, Nat Bradford, Barrett Thompson, Jesse Jones, Justin Williams and others will attempt to shut down the Soddy-Daisy offense ... which has enjoyed a consistent year for the home team.