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For the Independence Eagles and Summit Spartans, Friday night is going to be a defining moment. 

Both teams finished third in their regions and, despite winning records and largely successful seasons, must become road warriors to keep their seasons alive. 

For Independence, they'll meet a very similar opponent. Smyrna has played both Ravenwood and Centennial this year and sits at a respectable 6-4. So does Independence. 

The Eagles have a strong, senior signal caller with Ethan Cash, which absolutely helps your cause when it comes to November football. 

The best way to size up a game like this is look at likeminded opponents, and Indy has played both Ravenwood and Centennial. 

Smyrna has lost to Ravenwood and Centennial this year, both by wide margins. Indy suffered the same fate against the Raptors but put forth a strong performance against the Cougars. 

This game feels very dependent on Indy establishing a balanced attack on offense. The defense can get its stops, but they know in a road atmosphere in the playoffs, the Bulldogs have an organic advantage on both sides of the ball. Indy handling the road pressure and still scoring the points it can will be paramount. 

Summit had a strong start before struggling down the stretch, but part of that is due to an injury to quarterback Destin Wade. 

If Wade is fully healthy for their road game against a 9-1 Gallatin team pushing for state, things could get interesting. 

Summit has thrived when Wade has been able to balance the offense and lean on George Odimegwu in the passing game. Their run game handles itself and can go off on any night, but Summit is dangerous when they do both well. 

Gallatin is nearly perfect outside of a loss to state favorite Beech. 

Both teams got wins against Overton and don't have any similar opponents outside of that. 

You'd think the Green Wave would be the favorite here, but don't sleep on Summit. 

They're a dangerous outfit when Wade is going and can create turnovers on defense, which can decide playoff games. 

No matter what happens, Indy and Summit fans have a lot to be watching this week. 

Both teams can make early playoff statements if the game goes their way. 


Independence 21, Smyrna 20 

Summit 28, Gallatin 24 

Let's say Spring Hill is quite happy when the first week of playoffs is over. 

Indy plays a defensive game and gets a last-minute touchdown to ice the game, and Summit stuns on the road with a seasoned playoff outfit.