Donovan Stewart’s Division II-A Spring Top 6

Donovan Stewart’s Division II-A Spring Top 6

Friendship Christian capped off an undefeated season in 2017 at 13-0 and won the school’s third state title since 2012 after winning back to back Class 2A state titles in 2011 and 2012.

The Commanders return 11 starters back off the state title team and because of that check in as the number one team in the Division II-A spring Top 6.

Five of the top six spring teams are from the mid state with Fayette Academy checking in at number six as the only exception.

For the seventh straight year, I will offer my Spring Top 10 teams in each classification as Division II-A will be looked at this week.

My Top 10s are based on conversations with coaches in Division II-A across the state as well as returning personnel that the teams have back in 2018.



6. Fayette Academy Vikings
Last Year’s Record- 7-5, lost to DCA in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Vic Shivers (28-38 in six years at Fayette Academy)
Offensive Coordinator- Vic Shivers
Defensive Coordinator- Hal Montague
Region- West
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 21 (11 Off/10 Def)
Offense- Pro
Defense- 4-3
Key Returnees- Reid Holland (RB/S, Sr.), Will Washington (LB/FB, Sr.), Peyton Bowling (OL/DL, Sr.) Colin Fletcher (OL/DL, Sr.), Dawson Wilburn (OL/DL, Sr.), Will Rhea (RB/DB, Sr.), Rube Scott Rhea (QB/S, Jr.), Zach Anderson (OL/DL, Jr.), Luke Austein (OL/DL, Jr.), Trey Powers (LB/TE, Sr.), Noah Sweeney (OL/DE, Jr.), Richard Tapp (LB/TE, Sr.)
Key Losses- Spencer Hayden (QB/S), Hunter Pulliam (FB/LB), Cameron Massey (LB/WR),
Spring Optimism- The Vikings return an absurd 21 of 22 starters to their seven win team of 2017 with running back Reid Holland and quarterback Rube Scott Rhea returning as Fayette Acadmy returns all 11 starters on offense
Spring Concerns- Fayette Academy returns 10 of 11 starters on defense and they will have to get used to the new 4-3 defense as they are switching from the 3-4



5. Mt. Juliet Christian Academy Saints
Last Year’s Record- 8-4, lost to Davidson Academy in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Dan Davis (19-24 in four years at MJCA)
Offensive Coordinator- Dan Davis
Defensive Coordinator- Tommy Wilson
Region- East
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 12 (6 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Multiple
Defense- 4-2-5
Key Returnees- Darius Hylick (RB/SS, Sr.), Andrew Kittrell (LB, Sr.), Logan Collier (WR/DB, Sr.), Gavin Forsha (LB/TE, Jr.), Christian Link (QB/DB, Soph.), Kolton Rhoades (OL/DL, Jr.), James Rhoades (OL/DL, Sr.), Perrion Davis (OL/DL, Sr.), Jack Crouch (DB/WR, Jr. ), Alex Keasler (OL/DL, Soph.)
Key Losses- Alex Pitman (QB/DB), Hunter Stonebraker (TE), David Hylick (DT), Brayden Cox (LB/OLB), Preston Sloan (WR/DB), Camden Burgess (TE), Dawson Perry (LB/OLB), Jacob Hall (SS), Michael Stahl (FS/WR), Jacob Sherrod (LB),
Spring Optimism- The Saints return six starters on offense and none are more important then running back Darius Hylick (2,112 rushing, 31 TDs in 2017) and wide receiver Logan Collier (47 catches for 1,008 yards, 10 TDs)
Spring Concerns- MJCA will have to work on depth issues on both sides of the ball after losing five starters to both offense and defense



4. Middle Tennessee Christian Cougars
Last Year’s Record- 7-5, lost to Friendship Christian in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Fred Shambaugh (29-15 in four years at MTCS)
Offensive Coordinator- Fred Shambaugh
Defensive Coordinator- TBA
Region- East
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 10 (5 Off/5 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- Multiple
Key Returnees- Mason Williams (OL/DL, Sr.), Stone Basham (OL/DL, Sr.), Daniel Templeton (OL, Sr.), Kemari McGowan (RB, Jr.), Jackson Green (QB, Jr), Drew Berry (S/WR, Sr.), Eli Ownby (LB/RB, Sr.), Matthew George (DB/WR, Jr.), Trey Harris (LB, Soph.)
Key Losses- Matthew Swift (OL/DL), Logan Brady (WR/DB), Andrew McConnell (RB/DB), Will Cole (OL), Grant Pickard (DB), Josh Letzler (DB), Wilson Lovinski (DL)
Spring Optimism- The Cougars have some talented playmakers returning in junior running back Kemari McGowan (2,094 yards, 25 TDs) and senior athlete Drew Berry (1,063 total yards, 18 TDs) and pair that with a big and talented offensive line and MTCS has reason for optimism this year
Spring Concerns- MTCS will have to find a defensive coordinator and depth on both sides of the ball



3. Nashville Christian Eagles
Last Year’s Record- 8-4, lost to Friendship Christian in Semifinals
Head Coach- Jeff Brothers (108-69 overall, 80-24 in eight years at Nashville Christian)
Offensive Coordinator- Jeff Brothers
Defensive Coordinator- Andrew Shaw
Region- West
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 12 (5 Off/7 Def)
Offense- Multiple I
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Xavier Myers (RB/DB, Sr.), Jesse Parrish (LB, Sr.), Adam Young (RB/LB Sr,), Aaron Gray (OL/DL Sr.), Zach Young (WR/DB Sr.), Tanner Goodman (OL/DL Sr), Hayden Jarrell (OL/DL Sr.), Elijah Reid (RB/LB Sr.), Garrett Collins (OL/OLB Sr.), Devon Clarke (WR/DB Sr.), Zach Clark (WR/DB Sr.), Brayden Bonds (QB, Jr.), Matt McClary (QB, Soph.)
Key Losses- Jack Elliot (OL/DL), Warren Hanson (OL/DL), Maverick Marlin (OL/DL), Jesse Watson (WR/DB), Bobby Bowling (WR/DB),Daniel Watson (FB/LB), Brant Lawless (DL), Chad Kinnard (QB), Will Irwin (TE/DL)
Spring Optimism- The Eagles return running back Xavier Myers, a Division II-A Mr. Football Finalist who rushed for 2,634 yards and scored 34 touchdowns to lead the offense while linebacker Jesse Parrish (81 tackles) returns to lead the defense
Spring Concerns- Nashville Christian will have to find a quarterback and are deciding between junior Brayden Bonds (40 passing yards in 2017) and sophomore Matt McClary (32 passing yards)



2. Davidson Academy Bears
Last Year’s Record- 11-1, lost to DCA in Semifinals
Head Coach- Jonathan Quinn (30-16 in four years at Davidson)
Offensive Coordinator- Jonathan Quinn
Defensive Coordinator- Matt Ashley
Region- West
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 14 (6 Off/8 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Stone Norton (QB, Sr.), Ani Izuchukwu (TE/DE, Sr., Mississippi State commitment), Da’Joun Hewitt (RB/DB, Sr.), Mikyan Duncan (LB, Sr.), Chris Pillow (OL/DL, Jr.), Bryce Rawls (TE/FB, Jr.), A.J. Quinn (TE/DE, Soph.),Wilson Swann (WR/DB, Sr.), Jared Vetetoe (WR/DB, Soph.), Trevor Horton (WR/DB, Sr.), Jaiden Rice (WR/DB, Jr.), Tray White (WR/DB, Jr.)
Key Losses- Rolly Amadasun (OL/DL,), Ben Switzer (WR/DB), Nathan Bess (K/P,), DeShaun Jackson (WR/DB), Jacob Wasill (OL/DE), Eli Palmer (OT/DE), Austin Ford (LB), Courtland Jordan (WR/LB), Ian Kane (OL/DL)
Spring Optimism- The Bears return six starters on offense and should again be explosive after averaging 44.2 points per game in 2017 and the return of Division II-A Mr. Football Finalist Da’Joun Hewitt (2,352 rushing yards, 41 TDs) and quarterback Stone Norton (1,832 passing yards, 18 TDs)
Spring Concerns- Davidson only returns one starter in junior Chris Pillow to the offensive line, so reloading along the line is a must



1. Friendship Christian Commanders
Last Year’s Record- 13-0, beat DCA for state title
Head Coach- John McNeal (233-109 in 26 years at Friendship)
Offensive Coordinator- John McNeal
Defensive Coordinator- Duane Lowe
Region- East
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 11 (6 Off/5 Def)
Offense- Multiple
Defense- 40
Key Returnees- Luke Smith (OL/DE, Sr., Appalachian State commitment ), Ernie Gallatin (FB/LB, Sr.), Justin Seagraves (RB/LB, Jr.), Ryan Jackson (OL/DL, Jr.), Braden Reese (QB, Sr.), Mitchell Bare (OL, Soph.), Cade Holcombe (LB, Jr.), Dorian Champion (DB, Jr.)
Key Losses- Jacob Bostian (WR/DB), Taylor Carman (FB/LB), Jackson Cherry (TE/LB), JaJuan Foutch (RB/DB), Ben Jamison (RB/DB), Chad Holcombe (WR/DB), Cade Powers (OL/DT), Mathew Skeen (OL/DT),
Spring Optimism- The Commanders have several skill players returning with quarterback Braden Reese as well as junior running back Justin Seagraves (1,189 yards and 14 TDs) and Appalachian State commitment Luke Smith leading the way on both sides of the line
Spring Concerns- Friendship will have to find depth on both sides of the football after graduating a ton of talent from last years state title team


Three More Teams To Keep Your Eye On In Alphabetical Order- Clarksville Academy, DCA and Grace Baptist

Contact Donovan at and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew

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