From Staff Reports for The News Examiner
With a more clear picture of the Sumner County football landscape beginning to take place, here’s a look at twelve of the most intriguing match-ups over the remaining eight weeks of the regular season.
Beech at Hendersonville, Sept. 11
While the Commandos have won five of the last six meetings between the two teams, three of those have been decided by one point, including last season’s 28-27 victory.
Gallatin at Henry County, Sept. 11
Friday’s road trip will be a measuring stick to see how good this unbeaten Green Wave squad is as it faces the perennial Class 5A power.
Hendersonville at Hillsboro, Sept. 18
Can the Commandos rebound after facing rival Beech and be ready to take on a Hillsboro team – which was the Class 5A state runner-up a year ago – that has multiple college prospects who have already faced perennial powers Pearl-Cohn, Oakland and Riverdale in its first three games?
Springfield at White House, Sept. 18
The Yellow Jackets rolled to a 39-8 victory over the Blue Devils last season, but a more experienced White House squad will try to keep it considerably more competitive this season.
Station Camp at Gallatin, Sept. 25
The Bison should get their first region win against Hunters Lane one week earlier, while the Green Wave should be 2-0 in Region 6-5A entering this contest. A win could give Station Camp a boost in its playoff hopes, while a Gallatin win would keep its region-title hopes alive.
Nashville Christian at Pope John Paul II, Sept. 25
While the game isn’t a region tilt, the Knights will get a look at an elite talent in University of Tennessee commit Daniel Bituli – a 6-foot-4, 235-pound linebacker – and senior cornerback Mareio McGraw, who also has multiple scholarship offers from Division-I college programs. Bituli and McGraw also serve as running backs for the Eagles, who have reached the Class 1A semifinals for three consecutive seasons.
Gallatin at Beech, Oct. 2
It could be the battle of the backs as Green Wave junior Jordan Mason hasn’t been slowed through three games, while the Buccaneers boast a two-headed threat in the backfield with seniors Rodrick Napper and Auston Vanzant, along with an elusive athlete in Ian Hafner at wide receiver. It could help to determine which team finishes near the top of the Region 6-5A standings.
Portland at Springfield, Oct. 2
With many expecting Pearl-Cohn, Springfield and White House to be atop the Region 5-4A standings entering the season, the Yellow Jackets may be second-guessing having the Panthers as their homecoming opponent following Portland’s win at White House last Friday. This week 7 game could play a big factor in the Panthers securing a playoff berth in that six-team region, though Maplewood and Macon County will still loom for the Panthers.
Gallatin at Hendersonville, Oct. 9
The clock should move quickly when these ground-oriented rivals clash. The Green Wave do their damage with the ball in junior Jordan Mason’s hands, while many Commando palms find the pigskin. Could the winner win Region 6-5A?
Pearl-Cohn at White House, Oct. 16
The Firebird offense erupted for 79 points to end the Blue Devils’ season with a 43-point loss in the Class 4A quarterfinal round last season. Senior quarterback Jimmy Ferrell and senior wide receiver Rontavious Groves lead Pearl-Cohn’s high-powered offense.
Westmoreland at Watertown, Oct. 30
Watertown has one of the most experienced teams in Region 4-2A and could stand in the way of a playoff berth for the Eagles or a higher playoff seed.
Gallatin at Cane Ridge, Oct. 30
Cane Ridge opened some eyes in the way it opened the season with a pair of shutouts of Antioch and Mt. Juliet. The regular-season finale between these two teams may come down to whether the Ravens can slow down Jordan Mason.