By Zach Womble for Main Street Preps and The Gallatin News
Last Week: 7-1
2021 Record: 58-20
The TSSAA Playoffs kicked off last week with all eight Sumner County teams making the postseason.
After one week, we are left with only five teams as Portland, Station Camp, and Westmoreland say goodbye to their seniors and begin winter workouts.
As for matchups this week, all of Region 5-6A won their games over Region 6, so we are all but guaranteed an all Sumner County Quarterfinal in Class 6A next week.
Part II — Beech-Clarksville, Hendersonville-Gallatin. Also on tap — Pope Prep travels to familiar foe Brentwood Academy, and White House will welcome in Smith County.
So, who do I think moves on to Round 3? Let’s dive in.
Beech (8-3, 4-1) vs. Clarksville (7-4, 2-3)
These two teams met back on September 17 at Shackle Island Stadium, where the Bucs rolled to a 40-7 victory en route to their first region win of the season.
Fast forward two months, and here we are again — Clarksville traveling to Shackle Island.
So, what has changed in that span?
Beech has started to get more comfortable in what they do and is playing their best football of the season because of it.
Quarterback Jackson Ford looks to have settled in at the signal-caller spot, and playmakers on the outside like Andrew Paige, Errin Jolley, and Jackson Long make for a difficult matchup in the secondary.
Athlete JP Courtney adds a different wrinkle to the offense, and the big boys up front are finally finding their footing.
Beech is no stranger to deep playoff runs, and while I believe Clarksville is a much different football team than the one that came to Hendersonville two months ago, I still like Beech to move on.
BEECH 35, CLARKSVILLE 24
Hendersonville (8-3, 5-0) vs. Gallatin (5-5, 3-2)
The oldest rivalry in Sumner County is renewed in the second round of the playoffs as the Gallatin Green Wave makes the quick trip to Hendersonville to take on the Commandos.
In the two team’s first matchup this season, Hendersonville’s win was never really in doubt as they dominated the Wave to the tune of a 41-7 victory.
However, Gallatin has found a new identity on offense and a spirited rejuvenation on defense since then.
Gallatin will enter Friday night’s contest with supreme confidence after winning two in a row to close out the season, including last week’s playoff win over Smyrna — their fist since 2013.
All that said, Hendersonville is rolling, and I think they are the best team in the county. The Commandos are coming off a massive win over McGavock in round one, and the scary part is they got their best playmaker back in Ellis Ellis after a short stint on the sidelines due to injury.
While I don’t think we see another 41-7 blowout, I believe we still see a Commando victory.
HENDERSONVILLE 35, GALLATIN 17
Pope Prep (7-4, 2-3) at Brentwood Academy (6-3, 3-1)
These two teams have not met on the gridiron since their playoff classic in 2020, where the Eagles came out victorious 34-31.
Brentwood Academy spent this season in DII-AAA West competing against Memphis teams and three Middle Tennessee foes in CPA, MBA, and Ensworth — they finished 1-2 in that stretch.
However, the Eagles are a talented football team winning four of their final five over Whitehaven, Christian Brothers, Ensworth, and MUS.
Brentwood Academy gave up only 17 points per game during the four game stretch, but will Pope’s offense be the best the Eagles have seen in a month?
Quarterback Kenny Minchey is a bonafide gunslinger, and his weapons on the outside can make you pay if you’re not sound on defense.
I think we see another fourth quarter game where whoever has the ball last wins.
I’ve gone back-and-forth on this game and seeing as how I told everyone Pope would be in the semifinal round of the DII-AAA playoffs; I must stick with my preseason prediction.
POPE JOHN PAUL II 35, BRENTWOOD ACADEMY 31
White House (10-1) vs. Smith County (6-5, 3-1)
Winners of 10 straight, White House, welcomes Smith County Friday night after the Owls disposed of Fairview in Round 1.
These two teams last met in 2012, according to coacht.com, with the Owls winning by three touchdowns, 21-0.
That result will hold zero weight on Friday, but it was just something I wanted to mention.
The Blue Devils are a talented football team, and I think they have the makings to go all the way to the semifinal round, but first, they must take care of business this week.
Smith County is averaging 29 points per game in their six wins this season, but that number is a bit inflated with a 56 point outburst against Maplewood back on September 3.
Since that contest, Smith County has scored more than 30 only once, and I think you see the same Friday evening.
White House is on a mission, and I think they get back to the Quarterfinal Round for the first time since 2014.
WHITE HOUSE 35, SMITH COUNTY 14