News Examiner: Prep Football Friday

news examinerBy Craig Harris for The News Examiner

Greenbrier (1-1) at White House (1-0)
Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium

Last week: White House captured a 31-0 victory over visiting Portland. Greenbrier suffered a 27-15 loss to visiting Lipscomb Academy. Last meeting between the two teams: The Blue Devils captured a 27-12 win on the Bobcats’ home field a year ago.

WHITE HOUSE – The Blue Devils flipped the switch as the lights turned on for their 2013 season last week against visiting Portland.

White House rushed for more than 300 yards in the 31-0 victory.

“It was needed desperately,” Blue Devil head coach Jeff Porter said. “Offensively, we hadn’t been able to do anything in the preseason as far as getting the ball in the end zone.

“You always say that you get a lot better from the first game to the second. Even though we won on the scoreboard, we still have a lot to improve upon. They are really good. They will exploit whatever we didn’t do well. We don’t have a lot of time to get those mistakes corrected.”

White House faces another neighboring rival this evening in the two teams’ District 9-AA opener.

“If you look at the Tennessee history books, this is one of the longest-running rivalry games in Tennessee football,” Porter said. It’s a big deal to these kids who grow up playing junior pro against each other. We are closer to them than we are Portland. The kids know each other really well.”

The Bobcats are coming off of a 27-15 loss to visiting Lipscomb Academy, after opening the season with a 54-27 rout at Springfield.

Greenbrier employs a wing-T offense and a 4-3 front defensively.

“They’re a good football team,” Porter said. “They start nine seniors on offense. They’re very unselfish. It starts with their quarterback (senior Nick Young). He looks very athletic. He can make plays with his arm or his legs. We had trouble containing last Friday night. I’m sure they will try to get around the edge on us. Their two running backs – (seniors) James Pentecost and J.R. Brown – are good wing-T runners. They understand when to plant that foot and get upfield. Kicking-game wise, they are very impressive in their kickoff-return game.

“Defensively, they haven’t changed in a long time. They get downhill in a hurry.”

Pentecost rushed for 110 yards on 14 carries last Friday, and Young completed 13 of 18 passes for 113 yards.

The Blue Devils have won the last two meetings between the two programs – including a 27-12 victory at Greenbrier last season – and seven of the last eight contests against the Bobcats. Greenbrier’s lone victory during that span came in 2010, a 28-21 victory.

“It’s two weeks earlier than it normally is,” Porter said of the game against the Bobcats. In the past, it was a week-4 game. You knew your team better.

“This is bigger because we feel like they are really good, and we only have four quarters under our belt. This game is huge. Last Friday was big, but this is bigger because it’s a district game.”

Sycamore (1-1) at Westmoreland (2-0)

Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Eagle Stadium

Last week: Westmoreland captured a 29-12 victory over visiting Macon County. Sycamore suffered a 28-27, double-overtime loss to visiting Trousdale County. Last meeting between the two teams: The Eagles rolled to a 39-6 win over the visiting War Eagles a year ago.

The Eagles are hoping that they are in the upper half of the seven-team District 9-AA after tonight’s first league contests.

Greenbrier plays at White House, and Harpeth hosts Cheatham County in the other district games, with White House Heritage not opening conference play until playing at Westmoreland on Sept. 20.

“It looks like there’s going to be three big ballgames,” Eagle head coach Steve Harris said. “Everybody is trying to get that first district win. It’s always important to start out on a positive note.

“We feel like it’s a huge game in our district. We’ve told our kids that after Friday night that we’re either going to be in first place or in last place in our district.”

The War Eagles’ wing-T offense is directed by senior quarterback Adam Clanton, with senior fullback Dillan Bright leading the rushing attack. Clanton received the 9-AA Quarterback Award last season, and Bright was the district’s offensive most valuable player.

“That’s their two playmakers,” Harris said. “It’s what their offense is centered around. It’s what we’re concentrating our defensive plan on.”

Bright is also a factor in Sycamore’s 3-3 stack defense at middle linebacker, as is junior outside linebacker Zach Biggs.

“They’re real aggressive,” Harris said. “They seem to want to stunt a lot with their front people.”

Bright rushed for 97 yards in last week’s double-overtime setback to visiting Trousdale County.

The War Eagles opened the season with a 37-0 victory at Whites Creek.

Westmoreland captured a 7-0 win at Portland in its season debut, followed by last week’s home opener (a 29-12 victory over neighboring Macon County).

Despite last Friday’s victory, the Eagles were not pleased with the performance.

“We did not have intensity,” Harris said. “I was highly-disappointed in our effort.

“Hopefully, we will get that corrected this week.”

Westmoreland also hosted Sycamore last season, scoring the first 33 points in a 39-6 victory.

The War Eagles had won the previous three meetings between the two programs, by scores of 28-14 in 2009, 3-0 in 2010 and 7-0 in 2011.

The Eagles are playing their second game of a seven-game homestand.

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