By Joel Clinger for The Robertson County Connection and Main Street Preps
The Blue Devils advanced to the 4A playoffs for the first time since 2017 last season with a Week 10 victory over Greenbrier.
Senior Ranen Blackburn has been a centerpiece of the offense for the past two seasons and will be the quarterback, but calling him simply a quarterback would be a disservice.
Blackburn has great quickness, vision and speed to go along with his passing. He had 232 carries for 1477 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He was 29-for-71 passing for 548 yards and six touchdowns.
He has grown from his running back days to being a true dual-threat quarterback which has allowed space for fellow senior Montrel Black, who burst onto the scene last year as a formidable back himself.
“Anytime you can bring a kid with experience back, whether they’ve played one year, two years, prior to this year it gives you a little more leadership on the field,” head coach Ryan Hamilton said. “It makes people want to play hard for each other, and that’s the one thing we’re asking our kids to do.”
The Blue Devils lost nine seniors to graduation, including Bethel commit Quad Lucas. They will need guys to step up to fill his void on both the offensive and defensive lines.
“Quad was a good leader for our O-line and D-line last year,” Hamilton said. “We’ve had some kids step up that respect him and want to continue on that tradition. It’s next man up. We’ll put that group of guys in there and keep moving.”
Most of the team is returning, however. Pierce Scholato, Bryson Harper and Parker Hollinsworth all made names for themselves last season with key plays.
“Every team is different,” Hamilton said. “Every class has different leadership styles. Just like any other team, it’s about how we’re going to find our niche, how we’re going to build our pieces together. It is good to have a bigger group come back that’s played together for a while.”
White House and White House Heritage are dropping down to 3A this season where they will face Cheatham County, Fairview, Stewart County, Sycamore and Waverly.
Hamilton said his focus is on his team and making them better. He thinks the drop down to 3A is not all that meaningful because teams can be good no matter the classification.
“There’s great teams in every classification,” Hamilton said. “There’s good football all across the state of Tennessee. There’s good football in our county. We just really want to focus on ourselves and make sure we get better each time and put ourselves in a chance to be successful.”