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Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Taking a last look at prep football

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First, we were 51-17 in our picks this year, which is good but not great.

Also, before we look back and ahead, remember that on average at least one of the eight head football coaches in Rutherford County changes jobs each year. Last year, no one resigned, transferred, retired or got fired.

Get ready because that is likely to change, especially with numerous schools in the midstate looking for coaches.

In addition, many administrative positions are open, including four at Stewarts Creek High School. Believe me when I tell you that rumors abound when you discuss coaching changes and 99 percent of them never happen.

Middle Tennessee Christian School

When you’re not overly talented to begin with and have little depth you’re lucky to avoid 0-10.

The Cougars ran out of steam late in the year and lost the final two games, which they could have won. The Cougars need more players because everything else is in place.

I expect 2013 to be a still bigger challenge, but the Middle Tennessee Christian elementary team won its district, so there’s hope.

Eagleville High School

The Eagles were hit hard with injuries and were 2-4 at one point.

Then they went on a six-game winning streak that might have been seven if Chris Hale hadn’t been knocked out of the Gordonsville game.

With a little luck, the Eagles, which finished at 8-5, while playing the seventh toughest single-A schedule in the state could have easily been 9-4 or even 10-3.

The future looks good, especially if the coaching staff remains in place and they revamp the receiving corps.

Head coach Steve Carson’s name comes up when any coaching vacancy is mentioned. I don’t think he’s going anywhere: He loves Eagleville and they love him.

He has the support of his administration, the fans and community.

Smyrna High School

At 1-9 the Bulldogs, for the first time in a long time, struggled.

Smyrna was very young and had a murderous schedule. As usual, they played hard, were well coached and won the one game they always want to win – La Vergne.

If they lose only a few players to Stewarts Creek High, and it could be more than a few, and take advantage of their unbeaten freshman team, then 2013 will be much better.

La Vergne High School

Many seasons at La Vergne, this year they were 2-8, often look the same.

A win or two (or three), an upset such as Christian Academy of Knoxville last year and a totally unexplainable upset over Oakland this year, and that’s a season.

Unfortunately, life is more about talk, spin and what you will do or can do, it’s about actually doing it.

La Vergne could do this, and I’m hoping it happens soon.

This year the Wolverines played the third toughest AAA schedule in the state. Next year looks to be much the same but I remain, along with all of La Vergne, hopeful.

Oakland High School

The Patriots finished 6-5 and in the playoffs.

When you’re both young and have a lot of injuries, you’ve got real problems.

An opening road loss to playoff-bound Arlington was no surprise, a mysterious loss to La Vergne was a shocker.

Oakland lost every tailback they had in the Riverdale game, and the Warriors won it with a late field goal. The two losses to Siegel certainly were no surprise; after all Riverdale and Blackman did the same thing.

In 2013, Oakland will win seven or more and could do even better if the excellent coaching staff is unchanged.

Blackman High School

At 8-4 and with no superstars, Blackman finished second in the district and were, in my judgment, overachievers.

They also beat Brentwood, which I think was county’s biggest upset of the year. Their reward in this mysterious playoff system was a road game in Cookeville, which the Blaze won, and then an away rematch with Siegel.

This may have been Philip Shadowen’s best coaching job, which is really saying something for a man that is a two-time state champion.

True, the loss to Bradley County was puzzling, but the Blaze beat Riverdale. In all, Blackman played nine playoff teams, and I expect them to be in the district and playoff mix in 2013.

Riverdale High School

The Warriors went to unbeaten Siegel a second time with an undersized and injury-plagued defense, a top running back just out of a wheel chair and high hopes.

The result was a predictable 33-20 loss to an outstanding team, none the less it was a fine 9-4 year.

True, the loss to Hendersonville was unnecessary but, on balance, a good year. Next year Riverdale will do some reloading and rebuilding.

Siegel High School

At 13-1 all you can really say is, wow.

The Stars had great coaching, good players at every spot, with three of them in a post season all-star game, good depth and plenty of support.

A loss to Maryville, who had won 42 straight, should not diminish what the Stars accomplished. Siegel marched through the district twice and was unbeaten.

Now that’s impressive.

In 2013, the Stars will contend again.

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Blackman, Eagleville, Football, MTCS, Oakland, Riverdale, Siegel, Smyrna, Sports
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