Main Street Preps: Blackburn Carries Blue Devils into 2020

Graphic by Kris Freeman for White House High School

Story by Zach Womble for The Gallatin News and Main Street Preps

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, football season may look a little different in 2020. 

Ranen Blackburn carries the ball against Creek Wood in 2019

Smaller crowds and canceled games will be the normal, but White House head coach hopes for his small senior class those obstacles will not stand in their way of having a complete season. 

The Blue Devils return just seven seniors off last year’s team that finished 2019 5-5. After starting the season 3-0, including an opening game victory over Class 6A Station Camp, the Blue Devils lost their next five contest, eliminating them from the Class 4A playoffs. 

“Every team is different, and I know this team has their own identity,” head coach Ryan Hamilton said. “Being with coach (Jeff) Porter for so long and watching him, I learned you have to find what makes each team tick and build off that mentality. We are excited about this year.” https://bb383527f4feef7708c23be8a42ad20b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Evan Shankle pursues a tackle against Hunters Lane

Despite a small senior class, the Blue Devils roster features 28 juniors poised for breakout seasons if the coronavirus doesn’t cancel the season. 

“This group and this team loves playing together, and that is what we preach,” Hamilton added. “They pick each other up constantly, and we will lean on them a lot this season (to) have a good year.” 

The 2020 schedule is loaded with premier talent across the state. 

The Blue Devils will open the season on the road at Class 6A Station Camp before hosting Class 2A powerhouse Trousdale County. 

Their schedule also features Class 4A runners-up Springfield and Class 2A Watertown, who reached the quarterfinals last season before losing to Trousdale County. 

“I just want the senior class to be able to play this season,” Hamilton added. “This is the greatest game in the world, and if we get to play it, let us do our best to represent White House in a good way.” 

Offense 

Montrel Black carries the ball against Montgomery Central

Offensively the Blue Devils will revolve around junior running back Ranen Blackburn. 

Blackburn, a 2019 First Team All-Sumner County football selection, rushed for over 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns as a sophomore.

“Ranen is the guy; there is no doubt about that,” Hamilton said. “That said, we have to help him out. We have to have guys step up on the offensive line, we need someone to step up at quarterback, and we need guys who can come in and give us good reps when Ranen needs a breath.” 

On the offensive line, Rick Bufford, Caleb Dorris (T), Cole Pitt (G) and William Lucas IV will all start up front for White House. https://bb383527f4feef7708c23be8a42ad20b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“Quad played more defense than offense last year, so that is something he has to pick up, but the other guys got valuable reps last year, so we are hoping that carries over,” Hamilton said. 

White House will be tasked with replacing their senior quarterback from last season, Caleb Anderson.

The Blue Devils have two underclassmen in Bryce Hill and Dylan Frary competing for the quarterback position while guys like Bryson Harper, Reece McAfee, and Lane Jenkins all battle for the coveted wide receiver positions. 

Tight end will feature Pierce Scholoto, and fullback will feature Evan Shankle. 

“We feel good about those two positions as both guys played solid minutes for us last season,” Hamilton added.

Spelling Blackburn in the backfield will be Montrel Black. 

Defense 

Quad Lucas makes a tackle against Hunters Lane

Defensively the Blue Devils defensive line will look much like their offensive line: continually adding new pieces to see what works. Without any scrimmages or build-up to the first game, you can imagine it has been challenging to find cohesiveness. 

“Being a young team like we are is all about finding our niche,” Hamilton said. “We will be built around our running backs, but without any games this summer, you can imagine how that first game will be, not just for us but for everyone. We hope to improve each day, and if we do those things, this will be a successful year.” 

William Lucas IV (DT), Drew Ferrell (DE), Spencer Noah (DE), Caleb Dorris (DE) will be in the main rotation for White House while Hamilton expects other guys to step up immediately. https://bb383527f4feef7708c23be8a42ad20b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

“There just hasn’t been a lot of reps this summer, so it has been hard to nail down a specific rotation, but those guys we will lean on and hope that others step up along the way.” 

The linebacker core will feature Evan Shankle, Rhys Blackburn, and Luke Kelton while defensive backs Bryce Harper, Nathan Seipp, Paul Hurt, Lane Jenkins, Reece McAfee, and Matthew Miller all compete for a spot in the secondary. 

“I want this team to be known for playing this game the right way, because if you do good things happen,” Hamilton said.

Bryson Harper kicks off on Homecoming

Special Teams

Bryson Harper will handle kickoff duties for the Blue Devils in 2020. 

Head Coach: Ryan Hamilton, 2nd season 

Assistant Coaches: 

Bryce Bumbalough

AJ Day

TC Aric

Gunnar Scholato 

Key Returnees: Ranen Blackburn (RB), William Lucas IV (OL/DT), Drew Ferrell (OG/DE), Spencer Noah (T/DE), Bryson Harper (ATH), Montrel Black (RB/DE), Parker Hollinsworth (C), Evan Shankle (LB/FB), Caleb Dorris (TE/T/DE). 

Stadium: Dewey H. Whitson Stadium; Leonard Widick Memorial Field 

2019 Results (5-5):

Aug. 23 Station Camp W 13-7

Aug. 30 Glencliff W 42-14

Sep. 13 at Hunters Lane W 32-20

Sep. 20 Springfield* L 24-34

Sep. 27 at Watertown L 8-28

Oct. 4 at Portland* L 29-41

Oct. 11 at WH Heritage* L 12-19

Oct. 18 Creek Wood* L 28-35

Oct. 25 Montgomery Central* W 27-17

Nov. 1 at Greenbrier* W 29-0 

*indicates Region 5-4A play

2020 Schedule: 

Aug. 21 at Station Camp

Aug. 28 Trousdale County

Sep. 11 Hunters Lane

Sep. 18 at Springfield* 

Sep. 25 Watertown 

Oct. 2 Portland

Oct. 9 WH Heritage* 

Oct. 16 at Creek Wood*

Oct. 23 at Montgomery Central*

Oct. 30 Greenbrier*

*indicates Region 5-4A play

** Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 schedule is subject to change. 

Design: Kris Freeman | White House BDP

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