Connection: Clinger picks Devils over Trousdale

By Joel Clinger for The Robertson County Connection

2020 Record: 5-1

Well, we have one week in the books, and it was a great one for the Robertson County-area schools. Greenbrier, Jo Byrns, Springfield, White House and WH Heritage all won in their openers last Friday night.

I also went 5-1 with my picks. Russell said this would be hard, and maybe it is for him.

I’ll try to stay on top of the picks again this week, as there are four teams in action. Greenbrier and Springfield are on bye, and two teams play each other. All games will be played tomorrow, due to the threat of inclement weather on Friday.

Without further ado, here are my picks for Week 2 of the high school football season:

WH Heritage (1-0) at East Robertson (0-1)

White House Heritage will take the short drive up Cross Plains Road to face East Robertson Thursday night. Both teams have question marks coming into the matchup.

WH Heritage held on to defeat Middle Tennessee Christian School last week. The Patriots were outgained by 100 yards but forced four timely turnovers. Quarterback Will Wilson had to leave the game with injury, but junior running back Malakhai Illaramendi stepped up to carry the ball 26 times for 122 yards and three touchdowns.

East Robertson was held scoreless in their season-opening 10-0 loss to Forrest. Star junior wide receiver Taylor Groves was held in check, though he did have an 80-yard reception that was called back because of an illegal man downfield penalty. A high snap in the red zone also cost the Indians a scoring opportunity. Sophomores Shaun Groves, Taylor’s younger brother, and Carson Craig saw snaps from behind center against the Rockets.

Both teams need to clean up their offenses to win tomorrow. The Patriots blew out the Indians last season, but that result seems highly unlikely this year. It will not only depend on who can move the ball, but who can convert those yards into points.

I believe the Indians will figure their offense out at some point this season, but the Heritage defense was able to settle in after a rough first quarter last week. I see the Patriots winning again this year, but in a game that will go down to the wire.

Pick: WH Heritage 17, East Robertson 14

Trousdale Co. (0-1) at White House (1-0)

I admit I got caught up in the Station Camp hype and picked against White House last week. The Blue Devils put on a show, but how they did it was not shocking.

Ranen Blackburn and Montrel Black ran for over 350 yards. Blackburn had 250 yards from the quarterback position. The offensive line kept moving the Bison to create holes and let their stars run free.

Trousdale County suffered a heartbreaking 10-7 loss against Friendship Christian, conceding a touchdown with less than two minutes left.

One thing is clear. Both teams will be physical. In order for both of these teams to be successful, they have to dominate the line of scrimmage. The Yellowjackets present a tougher challenge than the Blue Devils saw last week.

I know both schools are looking forward to this one, and it should be a hard-fought battle. I’m going with the Blue Devils in their home opener.

Pick: White House 20, Trousdale County 14

Huntland (1-0) at Jo Byrns (1-0)

Jo Byrns just needs one more win this season to match their win total from last year after beating Harpeth 21-6 to start the season.

Senior running back Jake Chennault has proven to be a playmaker for the Red Devils. Junior quarterback Ryan Dowlen is in his second season behind center, giving Jo Byrns experience in a season that many teams lack it.

The win over Harpeth was a great moment for the team, but Jo Byrns will have to improve even more to defeat Huntland, who beat Eagleville 36-27 in Week 1.

The Hornets dominated the Red Devils last season, 35-8. Jo Byrns head coach Tom Adkins knows the task ahead on Thursday.

“If we make the mistakes that we made tonight, we won’t fare very well next week,” Adkins said. “We’re going to have to correct the mistakes, play a complete game and still work on conditioning, but we’ve got one (win) under our belt. We have to correct some mistakes and get ready for a very well-coached football team.”

Huntland is the favorite in this one. Jo Byrns will have to give it all they have to stay undefeated on the season.

Pick: Huntland 28, Jo Byrns 12

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