The schedule for the 55th annual Chattanooga Area Prep Football Jamboree has been announced with a dozen match ups spread over two nights once again planned.
As they have for the last several years, all three Bradley County pigskin teams will be involved in the annual showcase that features a 20-minute period of play for each contest.
The special pre-season warmup will once again be held at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga on Aug. 15 and 16, a week prior to the TSSAA 2014 opening games.
A total of 24 teams from the Southeast Tennessee area will gather for a half dozen battles each evening.
Both Bradley Central and Cleveland High will take the gridiron during the Friday night season, with the Bears battling Howard at 8 p.m., while the Blue Raiders will tangle with perennial powerhouse Baylor at 9.
Last year, Coach Damon Floyd’s Black-and-Gold squad claimed a 7-0 victory over Tyner Academy before going on earn its fourth straight TSSAA playoff berth. The Bears were matched against nationally-ranked Maryville in the opening round of the postseason and gave the eventual state champions something to think about.
After being tied 14-all with the Rebels at the half, Bradley scored once more in the final frame to account for the most points scored against the undefeated squad last season as the team claimed its 15th state title. The Bears put up 447 yards of offense on a Rebel defense that allowed only one other team to reach the 20-point mark.
Coach Ron Crawford’s second Cleveland crew blasted 2012 state semifinalist Boyd Buchanan 14-0 in last year’s jamboree and then preceeded to put together the most impressive season since the Raiders run of three straight state championships back in the mid-1990s.
After going 7-3 during the regular season, including a 5-1 District 5-AAA record to be part of a three-way tie for the top spot in the league, the Blue Raiders returned to the playoffs after a two-year absence.
Despite having to go on the road, Cleveland won three straight TSSAA playoff games before falling to Knox West in the Class 5A semifinals, its deepest run in the postseason since the 1993, ‘94, ‘95 state championship runs.
In the other opening night action, Tyner will kick things off at 7 p.m. against Silverdale Baptist Academy before Boyd-Buchanan and Sale Creek tangle at 7:30. After the Bears-Hustlin’ Tigers action at 8, McCallie and Signal Mountain will go head-to-head at 8:30. After the Raider rumble — Baylor Red Raiders against Cleveland Blue Raiders — at 9, McMinn County and Red Bank will cap the evening’s action at 9:30.
Walker Valley will be a part of the Saturday night jamboree action once again this year, facing TSSAA state 4A quarterfinalist Hixson at 8 p.m.
Coach Glenn Ryan’s Stallions blanked Howard 14-0 in last year’s showcase and then won three of their first four games.
Although they just missed the postseason last year, the Mustangs are 9-12 over the past two seasons, with one playoff appearance, compared to 3-27 the three years previous to Ryan’s taking over the reins.
The rest of the second-night jamboree action will see Grace Baptist and East Ridge battle at 7 p.m., followed by Notre Dame and Brainerd. After the Mustangs and Wildcats tangle, East Hamilton and Chattanooga Central will take center stage, while the final hour of play will see Rhea County face Ooltewah and Soddy-Daisy take on Franklin County.
The TSSAA regular season will get underway the following Thursday (Aug. 21) when Cleveland and McCallie will return to Finley Stadium for the Best of Preps Kickoff Classic.
Last year's meeting between the Blue Tornado and Blue Raiders at Cleveland’s Benny Monroe Stadium was one of the most electrifying offensive games of the entire season. The teams combined for 35 first-quarter points and more than 1,100 total yards. The teams combined to put 90 points on the scoreboard, with McCallie eventually pulling away for the 55-35 win.
The rest of the games will be played on the following evening (Aug. 22) with the Backyard Brawl as Polk County invades Bear Stadium. Facing off in the season opener for the sixth straight season, Bradley holds a slim 3-2 edge since renewing the rivalry with their neighbors, but the Wildcats claimed an exciting 29-27 win in Benton last August.
For the fourth straight season Walker Valley will open against East Ridge, a TSSAA playoff qualifier last fall. The Mustangs have won the last two by scores of 21-3 and 20-10, but the Pioneers claimed a 39-17 victory in 2011.