August 07, 2020

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Coach Speak Week 9

Coach Speak Week 9

Coach Speak



Oakland High SchoolOakland Patriots (6A) at Riverdale Warriors (6A)  Riverdale Helmet

Friday at 7:00 pm, Region 2-6A, Battle of the Boro

Oakland (7-0, 4-0) went on the road and beat previously unbeaten Haywood County 52-6.  Quarterback Brendan Matthews led the Patriots offense completing 10-13 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns.  Lazarius Patterson rushed for 122 yards on 12 carries, and Michael Roper added two touchdowns to cap an impressive performance from the senior running back duo.  Oakland will show multiple formations out of their base Wing-T offense and feature a 3-4 on defense.

3 Keys for Oakland
1. Find a way to slow down Riverdale’s play-makers on offense
2. Do not hurt themselves with turnovers & penalties
3. Get off the field on 3rd down on defense; convert 3rd downs on offense

(4-3, 3-1)
enters the Battle of the Boro well rested from the bye week after squeaking out a 16-13 victory over Region rival Siegel two weeks ago.  Do-it-All athlete Marqwell Odom rushed for 53 yards on five carries and hauled in five passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns.  Quarterback Christian Souffront added 230 yards of total offense with two touchdown passes. Riverdale will feature a good mix of run and pass out of their Pro Style Gun offensive scheme and line up in a 4-2-5 on defense.

3 Keys for Riverdale
1. Stay ahead of the chains on offense & avoid 3rd & long situations
2. Play fundamentally sound on Special teams & limit the Patriots big play ability
3. Force Oakland to drive the length of the field to earn points; limit 20+ yard plays from Patriots offense

“Coach Speak”
One of the biggest rivalries in the state of Tennessee will take place Friday night at Tomahawk Stadium and feature loads of play-makers.  Putting a little extra spice and excitement into the game will be the dedication of the field to long-time and beloved Riverdale principal Tom Nolan.  Riverdale has had ups and downs this season, but make no mistake, when this team puts it all together consistently, they could be one of the toughest outs in the State come playoff time.  To pull the upset, Riverdale has to do a great job with eye discipline on defense, win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and not allow the “special” special teams from Oakland to rear its ugly head.  Oakland has to continue to generate points on special teams, win 3rd down on both sides of the ball, and slow down multiple play-makers on the Riverdale offense.  Though I believe Riverdale has the goods to beat anybody on any given night, Friday will not be the night they take down the mighty Patriots.  Oakland wins the “Battle of the Boro” with one of the most ferocious and hard hitting defenses in the state of Tennessee and a special teams unit that will rip your heart out!

Prediction: Oakland 31, Riverdale 13

Players Worth the Price of Admission
1. Jacoby Stevens – #7 –S/WR – Oakland     (5 star, 2017 #3 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  LSU Commit
2. Kaleb Oliver – #6 – S/WR – Oakland    (3 star, 2017 #18 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  Miss. St. Commit
3. Elijah Dobbins – #75 – OT/DT – Oakland    (2 star, 2017 #69 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  MTSU Commit
4. Chris Onwumere – #99 – DT/FB – Oakland
5. Gentry Bonds – #16 – DB/WR – Riverdale    (3 star, 2017 #22 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  GT Commit
6. Marqwell Odom – #1 – DB/WR/QB –  Riverdale
7. Jarek Campbell – #10 – WR/DB – Riverdale    (3 star, 2018 #20 prospect TN, 247Sports)
8. Michael Scruggs – #25 – WR/RB – Riverdale


Smyrna  Smyrna Bulldogs (6A) at Cookeville Cavaliers (6A)  cookeville

Friday at 7:00 pm, Region 2-6A, MyTV30 – WUXP’s Friday Night Rivals Game of the Week

Smyrna (5-2, 3-1) lost a close battle to region nemesis Blackman 27-21 two weeks ago.  The Bulldogs were led by Quarterback, John Turner, who completed 23-31 passes for 319 yards and three total touchdowns.  Turner’s favorite targets were Percy Whittaker (6 receptions, 136 yards, 1 TD) and Blake Watkins (7 receptions, 97 yards).  The Bulldogs will look to establish the running game out of multiple Spread formations with timely play action passes and line up in a 4-2-5 on defense.

3 Keys for Smyrna
1. Protect & keep John Turner upright in the pocket
2. Win on 1st & 2nd down; force the Cookeville offense into 3rd & long situations
3. Fly around on defense & cause turnovers; give the offense good field position

Cookeville (5-2, 2-2)
handled the Coffee County Red Raiders 42-21 two weeks ago to head into their bye week with a ton of momentum.  Quarterback, Cade Smith, led the Cavaliers with 227 yards of total offense and two touchdowns, and Blake Ashburn added three rushing touchdowns on seven carries.  Cookeville will feature a power running attack from multiple Spread formations and line up in a 3-4 on defense.

3 Keys for Cookeville
1. Slow down the Bulldogs running game & force them to become one dimensional
2. Win the turnover battle
3. Sustain drives, convert 3rd downs, & score touchdowns in the red zone

“Coach Speak”
A lot is at stake in Region 2-6A over the next couple weeks and in particular this game Friday night.  Both teams are jockeying for 3rd place in the region and fighting for a 1st round playoff home game.  The loser of this game could end up as low as 6th in the Region, earning an early playoff matching with the likes of Maryville or a rematch with a current upper level region foe.  Cookeville needs to start fast, control the tempo of the game, and harass quarterback John Turner into mistakes.  Smyrna needs to establish their running game with Blake Watkins, control both lines of scrimmage, and avoid penalties and turnovers.  I like Smyrna to right the ship and pick up a huge road victory behind a solid running game and an experienced senior quarterback!

Prediction: Smyrna 27, Cookeville 17

Players Worth the Price of Admission
1. John Turner – #18 – QB – Smyrna  –  (2017 #50 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  MTSU Commit
2. Percy Whittaker – #2 – WR/S – Smyrna
3. Deylon Williams – #17 – ILB – Smyrna  –  (2017 #45 prospect TN, 247Sports)
4. Nick Okeke – #11 – OLB – Smyrna
5. Blake Watkins – #21 – CB/RB/PR – Smyrna
6. Cade Smith – #6 – QB/DB – Cookeville
7. Jarquzes Hicks – #4 – WR/DB – Cookeville
8. Blake Ashburn – #8 – RB/DB – Cookeville
9. Davin Dyal – #7 – TE/LB – Cookeville


Nashville ChristianNashvilleChristian Eagles (1A) at Gordonsville Tigers (1A)  gordonsville

Friday at 7:00 pm, Region 5-1A

Nashville Christian (5-2, 5-0) is coming off a bye week after defeating Clay Co. 55-0 two weeks ago.  Quarterback, Bryce Pemberton, led the Eagles completing 8-9 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns.  Lelan Wilhoite contributed 161 yards receiving on three catches and two touchdowns, while Bobby Clark added 100 yards receiving on four catches with two touchdowns.  The Eagles will line up out of multiple I/Spread formations and feature a 3-4 on defense.

3 Keys for Nashville Christian
1. Establish dominance up front & the running game
2. Get play-makers the ball in space
3. Win on 1st & 2nd down, force the Tigers to convert 3rd & long & become one-dimensional

Gordonsville (5-2, 5-0)
notched their 5th region victory in a row after defeating Monterey 38-12 last Friday night.  Braxton Givens led the Tigers with 87 yards rushing on 25 carries and two touchdowns.  Quarterback, Adam Goolsby, completed 6-9 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns, while Jay Vaden added 165 yards receiving on four receptions and two touchdowns.  The Tigers will feature a power running game with timely play-action passes from multiple Spread formations and line up in a 3-4 on defense.

3 Keys for Gordonsville
1. Eliminate 20+ yard plays from the Eagles offense; make NCS earn their points
2. Tackle well in space on defense
3. Convert 3rd downs, keep the chains moving, & limit NCS possessions

“Coach Speak” Forecast:
It will be a huge night in Region 5-1A as Gordonsville has an opportunity to essentially wrap-up the Region championship with a win.  Nashville Christian on the other hand will try to keep pace with a tough three-game stretch to notch another Region crown.  Gordonsville has to shorten the game with great clock management, convert 3rd downs, tackle well in space, and avoid giving up a big play on special teams.  Nashville Christian needs to avoid turnovers and penalties, dominate up front on both sides of the ball, and let their play-makers make plays in space.  After a tough 0-2 start Gordonsville has reeled off five straight Region victories.  However, the Tigers are running into the defending 1A State Champions who have explosive offensive play-makers and a fast and talented defense.  The Eagles get it done Friday night and take a commanding lead toward another #1 seed in the playoffs.

Prediction: Nashville Christian 35, Gordonsville 17

Players Worth the Price of Admission

1. Slater Howard – #28 – FS/WR – Nashville Christian  –  (3 star 2017 #37 prospect TN, 247Sports)
2. Lelan Wilhoite – #11 – RB – Nashville Christian  –  (3 star 2018 #19 prospect TN, 247Sports)
3. Brant Lawless
– #34 – NG/TE – Nashville Christian  –  (4 star 2018 #7 prospect TN, 247Sports)
4. Andrew Sullivan – #27 – OLB/WR  – Nashville Christian
5. Braxton Givens – #28 – LB/RB – Gordonsville
6. Jay Vaden – #21 – WR/CB/KR – Gordonsville
7. Dakoda Washer – #2 – FS/WR – Gordonsville


“Coach Speak” Season Record: 14-10 (58%)


Contact Kevin at and follow him on Twitter @K_Smith33

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