By Staff Reports for The News Examiner
Hendersonville High faces its biggest hurdle to date on Friday evening in Nashville.
After the Commandos pulled away from Beech in the second half of Friday’s 30-16 victory against Beech, their attention quickly turned to this week’s opponent, Hillsboro.
Hendersonville, ranked second in the Associated Press Class 5A Statewide Prep Football Poll, has won nine consecutive district/region games.
The Commandos (4-0 overall, 2-0 in Region 6-5A) and Burros (2-2, 1-0) have not played each other since a playoff matchup in 1998, Bruce Hatfield’s first season as the Commando head coach.
“It’s a TV game … it’s their homecoming game, and it’s a region game,” Hatfield said. “We expect their very best.”
Hillsboro – who was ranked fourth in Class 5A last week – dropped out of the top 10 after a 24-21 loss at Riverdale on a field goal with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Jeremy Hill rushed for 144 yards, and Daylon Murphy threw for 146 yards for the Burros in the loss.
Hendersonville forced five turnovers against Beech, but the Commandos were also guilty of 10 penalties, something Hatfield feels that his team needs to address.
“There’s a difference in penalties,” Hatfield said. “When you jump offside on fourth down or you have a procedure penalty, those things are inexcusable. Some of the judgment calls, maybe they don’t bother us as much, but obviously you have to clean up the penalty situation.”
Senior Terrell Carter was a weapon out of the backfield in both the running and passing games, compiling 206 total yards against Beech.
The winner will maintain first place in the region race.
Glencliff (2-2 overall, 0-1 in Region 6-5A) at Gallatin (3-1, 1-0)
Kickoff at 7 p.m at Calvin Short Field
Last week: The visiting Green Wave suffered a 42-0 loss at Henry County. The Colts captured an 8-7 victory over visiting Hillwood.
Last meeting between the two programs: Gallatin rolled to a 35-0 victory over visiting Glencliff in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The two teams were going in opposite directions until last week. Then, both did an about-face.
The Green Wave were rolling along at 3-0 until being limited to 111 total yards in last Friday’s shutout at Henry County.
The Colts rebounded from back-to-back losses, including a 48-0 setback at Beech, with a one-point victory last week.
It’s the second regional contest for both teams. Gallatin opened region play with a 54-6 win at Hunters Lane two weeks ago.
The Green Wave have won the last six meetings between the two programs, by a combined margin of 215-35.
The Colts last victory over Gallatin came by forfeit during the 2003 season.
This is the first of six consecutive region games to conclude the season for both squads.
Hunters Lane (0-4 overall, 0-1 in Region 6-5A) at Station Camp (0-4, 0-1)
Kickoff at 7 p.m.
Last week: Hunters Lane suffered a 14-12 loss to visiting Sycamore. Station Camp suffered a 26-20, overtime loss to visiting Rossview.
Last meeting between the two teams: Never played.
One team’s losing streak will come to an end on Friday evening when Hunters Lane visits Station Camp. It will be homecoming night for the Bison, who have dropped their first four games by a total of 10 points.
Last week, it was another overtime setback as Rossview scored on the final play of regulation and converted the two-point conversion to force the extra session.
It spoiled a good defensive effort by the Bison, who outgained Rossview 275-108 in total yardage and held the Hawks to negative-16 rushing yards. Station Camp also dominated time of possession, holding the ball for almost 30 minutes.
Senior Payton Anderton had three quarterback sacks last week and four tackles for a loss to lead the Bison defense.
Hunters Lane has lost seven consecutive games dating back to last season, and the Warriors have been outscored 127-18 in their four losses this season.
The Warriors failed on both two-point conversion attempts in their loss to Sycamore.
Hunters Lane has won only six games in the five seasons since its last playoff appearance in 2009.
Springfield (2-2 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-4A) at White House (2-2, 0-1)
Kickoff at 7:30 p.m at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium
Last week: The Blue Devils suffered a 17-6 loss at Greenbrier. The Yellow Jackets suffered a 21-17 loss to visiting Clarksville.
Last meeting between the two programs: Springfield rolled to a 39-8 victory at White House last season.
The Blue Devils rolled to victories in their first two games.
However, they have fallen on difficult times the last two weeks.
Injuries have mounted for White House, with senior quarterback Steven Rankin missing the last three games due to a leg injury.
Classmates Luke Hopkins (the back-up quarterback and also a starter in the secondary) and Trey Hyde (a starting tailback and linebacker) suffered injuries during last week’s loss, and all three are not expected to play this Friday.
Junior Hunter Brown is likely to start at quarterback.
Senior offensive lineman Brennan Harshaw, junior offensive lineman Austin Hoffman, senior offensive lineman Lukas Hodges and junior defensive end Danny Stoutt could miss Friday’s game, and senior defensive back Ricky Townsend is expected to be sidelined for a few more weeks.
Junior tailback Ronald Honeycutt was also banged up last week and could miss the Springfield game.
The Yellow Jackets now have junior running back Alan Gardner back in action, after he missed the team’s first two games of the season due to an injury. Gardner rushed for a team-high 168 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in the team’s region opener, a 34-27 victory over Maplewood two weeks ago.
Senior Isiah Bigbee has led the Springfield rushing attack to this point.
The two teams have alternated wins over their last three meetings, which was preceded by five consecutive victories for the Blue Devils.
Portland (2-2 overall, 1-0 in Region 5-4A) at Pearl-Cohn (1-3, 1-0)
Kickoff at 7 p.m.
Last week: The Panthers suffered a 36-24 loss to visiting White House Heritage. The visiting Firebirds suffered a 36-24 loss at Christ Presbyterian Academy.
Last meeting between the two programs: Never played.
The Firebirds have won just one game, but it was the most important of those contests, opening region play with a 55-0 victory over visiting Macon County two weeks ago.
The Panthers also enter Friday’s contest with a 1-0 mark in Region 5-4A play, thanks to a 28-17 victory at White House on the same night.
Two of Pearl-Cohn’s three losses have come to unbeaten squads (Christ Presbyterian Academy and Montgomery Bell Academy).
Led by senior quarterback Jimmy Ferrell, junior running back Ke’juan Vaughn and senior wide receiver Rontavious Groves, the Firebird offense is averaging 33.5 points per game.
Ferrell has completed 48 of 85 passes for 784 yards and four touchdowns, and he also has four rushing touchdowns.
Vaughn has 513 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 80 carries, and Groves has 13 receptions for 241 yards and one touchdown.
Portland has also been efficient offensively, averaging 29.3 points per game over its last three contests. Junior tailback Emmanuel Johnson ripped off touchdown runs of 89 and 47 yards last Friday.
Westmoreland (1-3 overall, 1-1 in Region 4-2A) at East Robertson (0-3, 0-1)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Barry Baker Field
Last week: The Eagles captured a 35-0 victory over visiting Community. The Indians suffered a 14-6 loss at Eagleville.
Last meeting between the two programs: Westmoreland rolled to a 54-20 victory over visiting East Robertson in 2010.
The Eagles broke a three-game losing streak to open the season with a dominating victory last Friday.
The Indians have dropped their first three games.
East Robertson has produced just 12 points over its first three games, but the Indians had their closest contest a week ago.
East Robertson is under the direction of first-year head coach Chad Broadrick, a former White House High standout who served as the Blue Devil defensive coordinator last season.
Westmoreland forced three turnovers and piled up 300 yards last Friday.
The Eagles are in the midst of a stretch in which they play seven region games over their final eight regular-season contests.
Beech (2-2 overall, 1-1 in Region 6-5A) at Cane Ridge (3-1, 0-1)
Kickoff at 7 p.m.
Last week: Beech suffered a 30-16 loss at Hendersonville. Cane Ridge won 33-14 at McGavock.
Last meeting between the two teams: Never played.
Beech will make its first trip to Cane Ridge to try and bounce back following its loss at Hendersonville last week.
The Commandos keyed on senior tailback Rodrick Napper, limiting him to 33 yards on 18 carries. Classmate Auston Vanzant led the Buccaneers with 72 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Although Beech turned the ball over five times, head coach Anthony Crabtree said there were some points in the game that gave him a positive outlook for the remainder of the season.
“I felt like, watching our football team, I saw where we showed a lot of promise,” Crabtree said of last Friday’s loss. “We did a lot of good things where we have the ability to win some more games and be better than we played up to this point.”
Senior wide receiver Ian Hafner caught five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in the loss, and he has 13 receptions for 306 yards and three touchdowns – leading Sumner County in each category – this season.
Cane Ridge is looking for its first Region 6-5A victory after suffering a 42-25 loss at Hendersonville two weeks ago.
The Ravens’ defense, which had posted back-to-back shutouts to begin the season, held McGavock to less than 50 yards of total offense in the second half last week.
Quarterback D.J. Thorpe threw for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and Emari Barton had a kickoff return for a touchdown in the Ravens’ victory.
Ensworth (1-3 overall, 0-1 in Division II-Class AA East/Middle Region) at Pope John Paul II (1-3, 0-2)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at the Jim Carell Athletic Complex
Last week: Ensworth suffered a 14-10 loss to visiting Trezevant. Pope John Paul II suffered a 30-22 loss to visiting Father Ryan.
Last meeting between the two teams: Ensworth defeated the visiting Knights, 50-21, last season.
The Knights face another region opponent this week, one in an unfamiliar position.
Ensworth has not lost three of its first four games in any season since 2005, but that’s exactly where the Tigers find themselves after losses to Trinity (Ky.), Baylor and Trezevant to begin the season.
Nicky Clifton had the Tigers’ lone touchdown and Darius Morehead ran for a team-high 126 yards on 20 carries last Friday. The Tigers were limited to 206 yards of total offense against Trezevant.
“We certainly know the kind of football team they have, and their record is no indication of how good their football team is,” Knights head coach Justin Geisinger said. “They have played some very good football teams, and they themselves are extremely talented in most areas.”
The Knights turned the ball over twice and were penalized eight times in their loss to Father Ryan. Junior quarterback Ben Brooks scored two rushing touchdowns and threw for another – to senior wide receiver C.J. Laws – while completing 14 of 21 passes for 182 yards.