By Zach Womble for Main Street Media
2017 Record: 3-3
Last week was not a great start to my week-by-week previews. JP II clearly showed they were the superior team in Week 1, trouncing host school Whites Creek in a contest that was never close, 42-0. I picked the Cobras, 28-24.
The Bears clawed the Bison on a late game-winning touchdown drive and Portland was shut out in their opening game in Kentucky. I chose the Bison and Panthers.
A new week begins, a fresh slate has been laid out and these are my week 2 predictions.
Beech vs. Henry County (at Austin Peay)
The Buccaneers hit the road Friday night in a trip to Montgomery County where they will do battle against the Patriots of Henry County. The non-region matchup pits Region 7-5A’s best against a hopeful Bucs squad trying to cement a legacy.
The Patriots are an overwhelming favorite in Region 7-5A, and rightfully so. A roster that includes 20 proven seniors, a seasoned offensive line and a pair of running backs that nearly clipped 2,000 combined yards.
Last year’s starting quarterback, Savon Stewart, has made the switch to wide receiver this year, as quarterback Will Parish will lead the offense. Stewart rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last year at the QB role with 13 touchdowns. He is a big-play waiting to happen and also does damage on special teams.
Anthony Crabtree’s team comes in with confidence after fending off host Wilson Central 21-13 in Week 1. The offense picked up right where it left off against Mt. Juliet, as the o-line paved the way for Kaemon Dunlap to rush for 182 yards and a touchdown. Having a talented back like Dunlap will surely help the Buccaneers’ chances, but if the orange and blue can’t make Henry County respect the pass, it could be a long night for the offense. Quarterback Nelson Smith recorded just seven attempts against the Wildcats, but maybe that was the game plan going in.
I think this Patriots defense may be a bit more stout and force the offense to dive deeper into the playbook. An early test for an experienced team, but I think the Bucs get it done.
Henry County 17
Hendersonville vs. Centennial
The Commandos come back home after a disappointing trip to Murfreesboro last Friday night. A new week and a new team invade the brains of Hendersonville fans as the Cougars of Centennial High School come to town.
Hendersonville showed great resiliency in their loss at Blackman and you hope the confidence garnered by certain playmakers carries over to this week. Quarterback Brett Coker passed for over 250 yards while two receiving targets, Austin Halas and Gabe Dalton, went over the 100-yard mark – Halas 126 and Dalton 123. Only Dalton reached the end zone. The Commandos welcome back standout running back Anthony Hughes this week. Playmakers were aplenty in Week 1, it just didn’t seem to matter. Adding Hughes can only help this team as they move forward.
Defensively, Hendersonville must contain Travion Fleming. The big hitter also plays defense, but there is none better on the Cougars offense when it comes to reading his blocks and making plays in the open field. If the Commandos have any hope of pulling out victory Friday night, they must contain Fleming.
Centennial is coming off a successful first season under Matt Kriesky and its momentum continued in Week 1, eliminating a talented Ravenwood team on the road. Distractions are nothing new for this Cougar program, and I expect them to exude confidence as they walk onto Paul Decker Field.
I know Hendersonville does not want to start out 0-2, but I believe that is exactly what happens at home Friday night.
JP II vs. Lipscomb Academy
I was wrong in the Knights opener, they demolished Whites Creek 42-0. But this week, the Knights welcome in what should be a more difficult matchup in the Mustangs of Lipscomb Academy.
Fifth-year head coach Scott Tillman entered 2017 with not much experience in the trenches and that is one reason I’m picking the Knights this week.
The Mustangs return quarterback Logan Sakarapanee. The junior also plays linebacker, so stopping him while on offense, and making sure he is blocked on defense, will be one of the many keys for the Knights’ coaching staff.
Sakarapanee wasn’t much of a threat at quarterback last year. The sophomore rushed for just 180 yards while passing for only 450. He is a great leader in between the lines and those measurables can never be gauged. Caleb Silva is their other stud linebacker who also carries the rock for the offense. Known for his tenacious attitude, Silva is prone to getting in the backfield and making plays.
Will Smitherman, Kennedy Winrow and Sutton Richardson will try and control the line of scrimmage for the Knights and they are big boys. Winrow played on the defensive line last year, but has since moved to linebacker, leaving a void to fill in the front four.
I think the Knights offensive line takes over again this week which will allow the playmakers to do what they do in the open field. I expect another big game from Nolan Underhill, but don’t forget about Theo Onaghinor and junior Dallas Darden.
Pope John Paul 21
Lipscomb Academy 7
White House vs. Glencliff (Glavine Day’s pick)
Alright Blue Devils, I heard you. I picked an East Robertson victory last week and you guys responded with a 35-0 shutout and a running clock. I clearly underestimated the talent of Andrew Nixon, Seth Bumbalough, Carter Hunt and Cameron Casanova.
Glencliff struggled last season, similar to the way White House did. While Glencliff is going to bring some talent to White House, I don’t think it’s going to be enough talent to overshadow what White House did to East Robertson last week.
White House 38