NHS SHS 1

There are only four Williamson County football teams left standing after last Friday's slate of playoff games. 

Christ Presbyterian Academy topped rival Lipscomb Academy to make the D-II AA state game, even more impressive when you remember the Lions' 0-4 start. 

The Ravenwood Raptors took down rival Brentwood to reach the semifinals game Friday night with unbeaten Houston visiting. We'll have more on that in this week's Game of the Week feature. 

This week's two-parter for semifinal games finds two programs in the thick of it for the first time after Thanksgiving. 

The Summit Spartans and Nolensville Knights both had banner seasons for their programs and both now find themselves a game away from first-ever state appearances. 

The Spartans' road to Friday has taken them on a bit of a revenge tour. The team's stellar road playoff run of beating Gallatin, Page and Shelbyville Central has marked a seismic shift in how the team was playing in October. 

Mind you, that was when quarterback Destin Wade was ailing with an ankle injury. Now that he's back and ready, the team has shown the potential they flashed early in the season before their loss to Page. 

They'll face a Dyer Co. team that's only lost twice this season, like Summit, but the yearly swapping in bracket venues gives the Spartans the edge in location since they'll be hosting. 

The key to this one is simple: which Wade do you lean on? In the last few games, the team has found Destin and his twin brother Keaten, a running back, leading the offensive charge in various weeks. 

Its defense put up a heck of a stand against the Golden Eagles last Friday after letting up two early touchdown drives. They'll need to play with the same tenacity Friday night. 

Summit might just pull this off and represent the county in the 5A state game, but it'll need its best players to shine in order for that to be reality. 

For Nolensville, two late-season losses to Franklin and Marshall County seem to have been just what the doctor ordered. 

The team was 8-0, building on a perfect season, before the missteps to close the season. Since then, though, the team has been volcanic on offense and nearly unstoppable on defense. 

Maybe a little adversity was all that Nolensville needed to find the best version of its 2019 self? 

Quarterback Ryder Galardi and wideout Tim Coutras have their pitch-and-catch down to a fine science, and the running back tandem of Ryan Pistulka and Samson Johnson give the team plenty of running ability to balance the offense and sand down the clock, a boost in playoff time. 

The team faces undefeated Elizabethton on the road this week in what's sure to be its biggest test of the season. 

But we said that about the Knights when they visited Livingston Academy in the second round, and that game was a rout for Nolensville. 

You never know what the playoffs will hold, which is why Nolensville still could make school history and head to the 4A state game next week. 

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