By Staff Reports for The News Examiner
Friday evening will certainly help shape the final four weeks of the prep football regular season.
With a five-way tie atop the Region 6-5A standings, at least two teams will come out of Friday’s action in a share of first place as four of the top five teams face each other.
Station Camp travels to Hendersonville in one such contest, after having upended Gallatin 27-19 last week behind junior Marcus DeVault’s 196 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
The Bison (2-4 overall, 2-1 in Region 6-5A) may be without two key players on Friday, however. Junior quarterback Tyler Thompson left last week’s game in the second quarter with a knee injury and did not return. If he is unable to play, sophomore Cole Spears – who finished last Friday’s contest in relief – would be Station Camp’s starter.
Senior Chris Dunavin was injured on a first-quarter carry and was transported by ambulance to Sumner Regional Medical Center. He was released from the hospital late Friday evening after additional tests were performed. His status is unknown.
Hendersonville finds itself in an unusual position this week. Not only will the Commandos be operating a Wing-T offense, they will also have to defend one, as well.
The Commandos – ranked seventh in this week’s Associated Press Class 5A prep football poll – rushed for 289 yards in their 28-13 victory over visiting East Nashville last week, holding a shutout until the fourth quarter.
East Nashville quarterback Devarius Cortner threw for 296 yards, the most against the Commandos this season.
Junior Terrell Carter (132 rushing yards) and senior Mike Harris (58 rushing yards, 67 receiving yards) accounted for 257 total yards in the Commando victory.
Hendersonville won last year’s meeting 44-0 at Station Camp in the final week of the regular season.
Gallatin (4-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 6-5A) at Beech (4-2, 2-1)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Shackle Island Stadium
Last week: The Green Wave suffered a 27-19 loss to visiting Station Camp. Beech captured a 37-20 victory at Springfield.
Last meeting between the two programs: Beech claimed a 35-7 victory over visiting Gallatin last season.
The Buccaneers’ special teams unit did the most damage last week, blocking three punts that eventually led to 16 points in the first half.
Senior tailbacks Rodrick Napper and Auston Vanzant each scored on short touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to pull away after Springfield had trimmed the Buccaneers’ lead to four points (24-20) in the third quarter.
Penalties were a problem for Beech, as 15 infractions set the Buccaneers back against the Yellow Jackets.
Springfield standout tailback Isaiah Bigbee rushed for 148 yards against Beech’s defense, which may bode well for Gallatin junior Jordan Mason.
Mason rushed for 137 yards in the Green Wave’s loss to the Bison, but most of it came in the first half. Gallatin was unable to convert on eight third-down conversion attempts and was held to 145 yards of total offense in the Green Wave’s first Region 6-5A loss.
Gallatin allowed Station Camp to rush for 352 yards as a team, with 196 of those belonging to Marcus DeVault.
The series has been one-sided in a couple of different ways. Gallatin owns a 23-7 edge all-time, but Beech has won five of the last six meetings and each of the last three contests have gone the Buccaneers’ way.
White House (3-3 overall, 0-2 in Region 5-4A) at Macon County (4-2, 1-1)
Kickoff at 7 p.m at Pat Parker Field
Last week: The Blue Devils captured a 19-6 victory at Sycamore. The Tigers rolled to a 42-7 victory at DeKalb County.
Last meeting between the two programs: White House claimed a 35-7 victory at Macon County in the 2012 season.
The Blue Devils welcomed back senior quarterback Steven Rankin last Friday. After missing the previous four games with a leg injury, Rankin completed 7 of 12 passes for 118 yards, helping White House snap a three-game losing skid.
However, the Blue Devils have been plagued by injuries at other positions as well, most notably at running back. Senior tailback/linebacker Trey Hyde – the Sumner County Defensive Player of the Year in 2014 – suffered a season-ending, knee injury in the team’s loss to Greenbrier three weeks ago, and three more White House running backs –senior Josh Flynn and juniors Ronald Honeycutt and Preston Long – were injured last Friday.
Sophomore Landon Deming was called on to finish the game at tailback.
The Tigers enter Friday’s contest having won three consecutive contests, by a combined margin of 112-21. However, those three opponents have a combined record of 7-11.
Macon County sophomore quarterback Seth Carlisle combined for 376 yards of total offense last Friday, rushing for 254 yards and five touchdowns on just 11 carries while also completing 6 of 8 passes for 122 yards.
Senior tailback Matt Austin also rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries a week ago.
The Tigers will take a significant step toward securing a playoff berth with a win, and that would make the Blue Devils’ quest to reach the postseason difficult with only two region games remaining.
White House holds a 28-14 lead in the all-time series between the two programs and has won 26 of the last 27 meetings against Macon County (with the Tiger win coming in 2006, by a 24-17 margin). During that span, the Blue Devils have outscored Macon County by a 925-200 margin and have won by shutout nine times.
Portland (3-3 overall, 2-1 in Region 5-4A) at Springfield (3-3, 2-0)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Boyce Smith Field
Last week: The Panthers captured a 34-21 victory over visiting Lebanon. The Yellow Jackets suffered a 37-20 loss to visiting Beech.
Last meeting between the two programs: Portland claimed a 35-20 win at Springfield during the 2008 season.
The Yellow Jackets will be looking to remain atop the Region 5-4A standings, along with Pearl-Cohn.
The Panthers could take a significant step toward earning the program’s first playoff berth since the 2012 season with a victory.
Portland bounced back following back-to-back losses with last week’s win.
Springfield has alternated wins and losses.
Yellow Jacket senior tailback Isiah Bigbee rushed for 148 yards on 18 carries last Friday, and junior quarterback Dewayne Bucker completed 6 of 8 pass attempts for 86 yards and two touchdowns (a 39-yarder to junior wide receiver Talirico Cogshell and a 20-yarder to junior tight end Kyler Beerman).
The Panthers are playing on the road for the fourth time over the team’s last six games, but they will conclude the season with three consecutive home games (against Maplewood, Friendship Christian and Macon County).
Portland has won eight of the last nine contests against the Yellow Jackets. Springfield’s lone win during that stretch came in 2006, a 28-0 victory over the visiting Panthers.
Westmoreland (3-3 overall, 3-1 in Region 4-2A) at Eagleville (3-3, 2-1)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Talon Field
Last week: Westmoreland rolled to a 35-7 victory over visiting Jackson County. Eagleville suffered a 36-21 loss to visiting Watertown.
Last meeting between the two programs: Westmoreland captured a 20-14 victory to open the 2012 season.
Both teams are looking to remain near the top of the Region 4-2A standings.
Forrest and Watertown are tied atop the region with 3-0 records. Westmoreland has a 3-1 mark against region foes, while Eagleville is 2-1 in 4-2A play.
Westmoreland won its third consecutive game last week, after opening the season with three consecutive losses. The three opponents that Westmoreland has lost to have a combined record of 13-5, while the three opponents that Westmoreland has defeated have a combined record of 4-12.
It’s a similar situation for Eagleville as the three opponents that the Eagles have defeated have a combined mark of 2-15, while the three foes that Eagleville has fallen to have a combined record of 10-7.
Eagleville freshman quarterback Ethan Cobb completed 15 of 28 passes for 191 yards last Friday, including touchdown passes of 18 and 17 yards to senior running back A.J. Garza. Garza caught four passes for 50 yards – including two touchdowns – and sophomore teammate Graham Hatcher finished with six receptions for 81 yards.
Cobb has completed 79 of 150 passes this season for 1,019 yards, resulting in five touchdowns and four interceptions.
Garza has rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns on 63 carries, and he also has nine receptions for 95 yards.
Hatcher – a first-year player – leads Rutherford County in receiving with 35 catches for 568 yards and three touchdowns, and senior wide receiver Jacob Acuna has 22 receptions for 179 yards.
Senior defensive back Tyler Griffin leads the Eagleville defense with 28 tackles and four interceptions – two of which have been returned for a touchdown – and Garza has three interceptions.
Sophomore defensive tackle Chavalier Sutton has made a team-high 39 tackles, and sophomore linebacker Josh Wallman has 28 tackles.
Eagleville is allowing 20.2 points per game while scoring 17.2 points per game.
The two programs have played just twice, with Eagleville capturing a 28-27, overtime victory in 2011 before Westmoreland claimed a 20-14 win one year later.
Pope John Paul II (2-4 overall, 0-3 in Division II-AA East/Middle Region) at No. 2 Montgomery Bell Academy (6-0, 2-0)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Tommy Owen Stadium
Last week: Pope John Paul II defeated visiting Nashville Christian 30-13. Montgomery Bell Academy defeated visiting Father Ryan 35-0.
Last meeting between the two teams: Montgomery Bell Academy defeated the visiting Knights 42-7 last season.
The Knights have a tough task ahead of them in attempting to break an 18-game region losing streak, as they will travel to defending Division II-Class AA state champion Montgomery Bell Academy.
The Big Red – ranked second in the Associated Press Division II prep football poll – have won 12 consecutive games dating back to last season, and they had little resistance from Father Ryan last week. MBA led 28-0 at halftime as Ty Chandler (23 carries, 193 yards last week) rushed for three of his four touchdowns in the first half.
The Knights made homecoming count last week, pulling away from Nashville Christian with 20 second-half points after trailing 13-10 at halftime.
Senior wide receiver Pace Dempsey threw the only touchdown pass of the game, finding sophomore Jalon Cambridge for a touchdown in the third quarter.
PJP II has not defeated MBA since 2006, having lost each of the last eight meetings by a combined total of 341-69.