One of the most storied rivalries of Rhea County football has a little bit of an extra flavor to it in the 2018 edition.
In Rhea County’s first season as a program, and in 36 of the 43 seasons played since, they faced the Soddy-Daisy Trojans. While it was a 36-6 win for Soddy in that first season, and it took until 1976 for the Eagles to get a tight 7-6 win, the series shifted in favor of the Eagles.
The Eagles and Trojans have met 37 times in 44 seasons, with the Eagles currently leading 23-14. The last win for Soddy-Daisy came in 2012 when they beat the Eagles 20-14 at Rhea County.
The last meeting, however, saw the Eagles and Trojans battle to a one-score game in Evensville.
The Trojans are led on offense by senior quarterback Gavin Chambers (#8). Chambers is a solid quarterback who makes great reads and good choices with the football in his hands.
He commands a tough to beat spread concept offense that spreads the ball around to a host of great receivers, led by sophomore Kesean Eubanks (#3, WR) and senior Garrett Richardson (#6, WR).
Leading the way on the offensive line are seniors Peyton Bell (#73, 6’4, 225) and junior Matt Wilcox (6’1, 245).
Defensively, the Trojans have seniors Ben Jenkins (#47, middle linebacker) and TJ Patton (#24 outside linebacker) anchoring the middle of the defense and Noah Howard (#12, CB) helping in pass coverage.
This week in general is huge in the Region 4-5A standings for the playoffs with Rhea County (2-1) and Soddy Daisy (1-1) facing off and Walker Valley (0-2) playing Knoxville Catholic (1-1).
Should Rhea County win, they would lock up at least a top two finish in the Region.
Should Soddy-Daisy win, all they would need is to defeat Walker Valley to win Region 4-5A.
Knoxville Catholic, with this week’s game against Walker Valley and a game against Lenoir City in two weeks, is dependent on Rhea County winning this game.
If the Eagles win, Catholic only needs to take care of business against Walker Valley and Lenoir City to be the champs.
If Soddy-Daisy wins, the race for the region championship is all but wrapped up.
With all the talk about the championship being between Soddy-Daisy and Catholic, I know the question immediately arises: Is there a way for Rhea County to win the Region? And my answer is yes.
The way the Eagles win is for them to defeat Soddy-Daisy and for Catholic to trip up against Walker Valley or Lenoir City.
So, as it stands currently, three teams still have a chance to win the region: Knoxville Catholic, Soddy-Daisy, and Rhea County. However, all three of their hopes essentially rest in this game.
I am staying away from predicting this one as the case can be made for either team to win in my opinion.
I will be rooting for my Eagles, though, and I encourage all of Eagle Nation to show up and do the same!
Kickoff is slated for 7:30 at Soddy-Daisy. See you there! Go Eagles!