By Zach Womble for The Gallatin News
2017 Record: 20-6
Beech at Springfield
The Bucs travel to Robertson County for an out-of-conference matchup with the Springfield Yellow Jackets. The black-and-gold enter Week 6 at 3-2, with losses to Gallatin and White House, while the Bucs enter 5-0.
This game will surely be physical, as both offenses like to pound the rock. I saw a tweet last week that was funny, ‘As sure as the sun rises, coach Crabtree will run the football,’ Crabtree 3:16.
Beech has run the ball 11 times more than they have thrown it this year, and I don’t expect Friday night to be any different. Leading the Buc backfield this season is Kaemon Dunlap. The speedy back has rushed for 828 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging eight yards-per-carry.
Defensively, Bill Alexander’s group has done its job. Just once this season has Beech given up more than 22 points in a game and that is just one reason this team is still undefeated.
The Jackets will be a tough test Friday night, but word around Robertson County is that the Jackets best playmaker, Dayron Johnson, has been sidelined due to an injury suffered last week against White House. If that is the case, it will make it extra difficult for the Jackets to pull out a victory. I think the orange-and-blue will be too much for Springfield to handle for the third year in a row.
Beech 35, Springfield 7
Gallatin at Wilson Central
The Green Wave enter Week 6 with a non-conference match on the road at Wilson Central. This marks the second time Gallatin will travel to Wilson County this year and are hopeful for a different outcome than the shutout loss suffered at Mt. Juliet.
A new week and a new opponent for Mark Williams’ crew has the boys of Gallatin energized and ready to go after a non-competitive game against the Hilltoppers last week.
Currently the Wildcats sit at 1-4, but many coaches, including coach Williams, believe that WC is better than the record shows.
Defense is where the Wildcats struggle the most. In all five of their games, they have given up no less than 21 points, and in their four losses they have surrendered an average of 33 points per game.
Last week, the Green Wave chose to let Ladarius Stewart carry them to victory behind solid offensive line play. Gallatin also chose to trot out a new quarterback in Ander Sloan, while putting Colin Minor in at various positions to run the football. Will coach Williams roll with Sloan, or will he choose to hand the ball to the senior and let him try to get a big win on the road? Either way, I think Gallatin is fine. I believe they are better than the Wildcats, but not by much. Like Williams said last week, this Wilson Central team is better than their record shows, so don’t come out flat or you will be coming home with an L in your pocket. I’m taking the Green Wave in this one, but barely.
Gallatin 24, Wilson Central 21
Montgomery Bell Academy at JPII
Life in Division II sounds fun. The Knights schedule does not get any easier this week, as Division II opponent, and the No. 1-ranked team in the state, Montgomery Bell Academy comes to Hendersonville.
An opportunity for another region win awaits the Knights Friday night, but it will certainly be far from easy. JPII comes into this Week 6 matchup 3-2 with a loss last week at Baylor, while the Big Red come in unbeaten at 5-0. The Knights will need to play a perfect football game while MBA plays one of its worst in order for JPII to stand a chance in this game. Sorry, someone had to say it. I just don’t think the talent is equal on both teams and that will show Friday night. If the Knights were to pull this off it would definitely be the biggest upset of the 2017 season.
MBA 42, JPII 7
Hunters Lane at Station Camp
Alright Bison fans, this is your week. Hunters Lane comes to town and the Bison have an ample opportunity to get into the winner’s column. The Warriors are not very good, giving up 36 points per game – surrendering at least 40 points in three of their four losses. Offensively, Hunters Lane hasn’t been better, averaging just a touchdown a game. I know things haven’t exactly gone Station Camp’s way this season, but this week is a real opportunity not to go winless on the 2017 season. No one wants that – including me.
Rumblings of a new quarterback have been heard at Station Camp, as quarterback Max Barnett left last week’s contest with an undisclosed injury. If that is the case, running back Nick Nelson will take over the snaps – something he is very capable of. However, the Bison’s best chance still stands with Barnett under center and Nelson in the back field.
Receivers Devin Thompson and Larkin O’Shea have shown they have what it takes to make plays in the passing game so far this season. However, as good as the quarterback play is Friday night, they don’t stand much of a chance if they don’t have time to throw the football. The offensive line has been suspect in a few games this season, and Station Camp needs that unit to step up and play big if they want to get a victory in Week 6.
Defensively, the Bison have been abysmal this year. The unit has given up at least 38-points-per-game since Week 2, with two teams scoring in the upper 40s. That will not work Friday night. The team needs more from that side of the football and I think they get it this week. I haven’t put my faith into the Bison since Week 1 at Antioch, but all that changes this week.
Station Camp 35, Hunters Lane 21
Portland at White House Heritage
The Patriots are coming off a 39-21 loss against Greenbrier, and are still looking for their first win of the 2017 season.
The prideful purple-and-white are coming off a shutout loss at West Creek in Week 5 and are hopeful to bounce back and stay alive for the 2017 playoffs. Sitting at 1-1 in league play, this game is a must-win for Portland.
The Patriot offense looks like it will be tough to stop on Friday night. The last two games, Heritage seems to have found some momentum posting 20-plus points, something Portland has done only once in a 34-0 win over Montgomery Central earlier this month.
However, this week is a great opportunity for the Panthers to prove the doubters wrong (me) and show what they are really made of. A victory on the road, in a hostile environment, will be huge for the maturation of this team moving forward.
Ultimately, I’m not certain the Portland offense can keep up with the Patriot offense, and until I’m proven wrong, that is the formula I’m sticking with. Regardless, this should be a battle Friday night and I’m guessing the game will come down to who makes the fewest mistakes and who can capitalize when given the opportunity. So far, the Panthers have not done a very good job of that.
Portland desperately needs this game to make the playoffs because it’s looking like next week’s contest versus White House could get ugly for the boys in purple, so every win is important.
I just don’t see the Portland offense scoring enough points to keep up with the Patriots but then again, I’ve been wrong before.
WH Heritage 21, Portland 7
White House at Sycamore (Glavine Day’s pick)
White House has done a complete 360 this year. Not only have the Blue Devils done a 180, but they did another 180 and are a completely different team from top to bottom. Seth Bumbalough and Andrew Nixon have led the Blue Devils time and time again to huge wins. After defeating Springfield last week, the sky is the limit for this White House team. It’s early, but the Blue Devils have a lot of potential to not only win the region and make the playoffs, but their schedule is even set up for a possible undefeated season.
White House is very clearly establishing its dominance in the region and I don’t think they’ll get tired of winning any time soon. Something else I’ve learned this season is that you can’t compare football scores. But I think it’s safe to compare Sycamore’s 7-3 win over
Hunters Lane three weeks ago to White House’s 42-7 game against Hunters Lane the following week and say that White House is coming away with this one easy.
White House 41