For both Tate Thigpen and Tyrus Ward, getting their first program wins were huge as they prepare their teams for the second half of the season.
Both first year coaches were hired to turn around programs that had struggled in years past as Thigpen who was first hired as Glencliff’s offensive coordinator then was named the head coach after Scott Smith resigned during the summer before he ever coached a game.
Ward after leading the Whites Creek to back to back three win seasons in 2015 and 2016 was called back to Chattanooga to turn around the Brainerd program were Ward starred in high school.
Glencliff 16, Republic 14– The Colts got a 49 yard touchdown run from quarterback Brandon Cato in the first quarter and Cato connected with wide receiver Rishad Petrus on a nine yard touchdown for their other touchdown.
The Colt special teams won the game for them as Arturo Martinez kicked the game winning 33 yard field goal to as the Colts snapped their 20 game losing streak.
“Friday was huge for our program, but even bigger for these seniors. The sense of relief, excitement, celebration and the realization that they can be good was awesome to see after that final horn sounded. For us as coaches, it was huge to get our first win as a staff. Considering the way we had to do it, by playing tough defense in the fourth quarter, getting that win was a major confidence booster,” Thigpen said.
“We are working to rebuild the program so we can’t really waste time focusing on what has already happened in the past or why it happened. Each season is a different team and we have to do our best as a coaching staff to prepare that team to win based on the abilities of the players we currently have. As a program, we can only focus on changing the direction the program is headed and the attitude and confidence of the players we currently have as we move forward.”
Brainerd 20, East Nashville 12- When Ward was hired to come home to take over the Panther program, the consensus of high school coaches in Chattanooga praised the efforts of Ward as a young and up in coming coach that would make a difference at Brainerd and with the win, Brainerd snaps a 17 game losing streak which was the longest in Chattanooga to date.
Peabody 38, Dresden 18- What a perfect time for Peabody quarterback Cooper Baugus to return from injury as he had a big hand in the Golden Tide’s 20 point win over rival Dresden.
The win over the defending Class 1A state champions broke Dresden’s state leading 20 wins in a row as Baugus had 169 yards of total offense (97 yards passing, two touchdowns and added 72 rushing yards) in the big win.
The Golden Tide also got a big game on the ground as Jarel Dickson added 146 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
The Peabody win also broke Dresden’s 17 game regular season winning streak as well.
The Best and Worst of the first half of the season will be profiled as I took a look at all 55 regions statewide and awarded a Best team, Surprise team and an Underachieving Team for every region as 165 teams are profiled.
So let the disagreements begin.
Best Team- Cloudland (4-1)- The Highlanders started the year 4-0 before losing to undefeated Happy Valley as they are currently ranked No. 9 in 1A.
Surprise Team- Hancock County (2-4)- The Indians are two points away from being 3-3 through six games as they will make the playoffs again in 2017.
Underachieving Team- Jellico (1-4)- The Blue Devils started 3-0 last season but have struggled out of the gate this season.
Best Team- Coalfield (6-0)- The Yellow Jackets are outscoring opponents by an average of 42 points a game and are No. 4 in 1A
Surprise Team-Sunbright (3-2)- The Tigers have won more games this year then last (2-8) and are currently 2-0 under interim coach Joe Kent.
Underachieving Team- Harriman (1-5)- The Blue Devils have averaged seven wins over the last three seasons but having only one win in six games is hard to take.
Best Team- South Pittsburg (5-0)- Although Whitwell fans will be upset with this pick, the Pirates are the state’s top ranked 1A team and winners of 11 straight Region games and two straight Region titles. Until someone beats them they are still the class of the region
Surprise Team- Lookout Valley (2-3) – The Yellow Jackets under first year coach Lance Rorex could be the feel good story of 1A as they have only won four games total since the 2013 season and have already won two games this season.
Underachieving Team- Copper Basin (1-5)- The Cougars will make the playoffs being the three or four seed in a five team region but after winning 15 games over the last three seasons having a subpar year is tough in Copper Hill.
Best Team- Jo Byrns (4-1)- The Red Devils are only seven points away from being undefeated and are the best team in a solid region
Surprise Team-Clay County (4-2)- The Bulldogs under first year coach Matt Bates have already surpassed last year’s win total of two and are looking to make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
Underachieving Team- Gordonsville (2-3)- The Tigers were ranked No. 6 in the spring and a 2-3 record through the mid way point is underachieving.
Best Team- Fayetteville (5-1)- This title could easily go to Cornersville (5-1) who Fayetteville plays on Friday but for now I’m going with the Tigers and star tailback Brandon Moore who are currently ranked No. 7 in 1A
Surprise Team- Moore County (4-2)- The hard nosed Raiders under second year coach Jason Dobbs have already passed their win total of three in 2016 and have already beaten Fayetteville this season
Underachieving Team- Huntland (1-4)- The Hornets are in real danger of missing the playoffs for the third straight season.
Best Team- Huntingdon (6-0)- The 2017 Mustangs could be coach Eric Swenson’s best team since he arrived a decade ago. Huntingdon is ranked No. 2 and already has wins over Waverly, McEwen and Milan this year.
Surprise Team- Bruceton (4-2)- The Tigers already have four wins on the year and should finished with more then the six wins in 2016
Underachieving Team- Wayne County (3-2)- The Wildcats are a victim of their own success as they have averaged 11 wins a year the last three seasons.
Best Team- Dresden (5-1)- The defending 1A state champions are again the class of the region with a 5-1 record after a loss to rival Peabody on Friday.
Surprise Team-West Carroll (2-4)- The War Eagles are 2-0 in the region this year as they only won one game last year and are currently in good position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Underachieving Team- Humboldt (0-5)- The year started rough as a coaching change took place and the Vikings are still winless after winning seven games in 2016.
Best Team- Westwood (5-1)- The Longhorns haven’t won five games since going 8-3 in 2012 as quarterback Mercedes Byrd has been the sparkplug on Offense for Westwood.
Surprise Team-Freedom Prep (2-3)- The first year program has definitely exceeded expectations as they are 2-0 in the region and will finish no worse than third in the region.
Underachieving Team- Middle College (1-5)- After winning six games and making the playoffs last season, the Bulldogs went through coaching change and haven’t righted the ship so far.
Best Team- Happy Valley (5-0)- The Warriors under third year coach Jason Jarrett have continued to impress as they are undefeated this year and ranked No. 6 in 2A.
Surprise Team- Cosby (2-3)- The Eagles have improved on their 1-9 record in 2016 and are trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Underachieving Team-Hampton (1-4)- The Bulldogs are nine wins below their 10 win total in 2016 as they have struggled on defense allowing 32 points a contest.
Best Team- Meigs County (6-0)- The Tigers are the top ranked team in 2A as sophomore quarterback Aaron Swafford has been a magician on offense but the defense with transfer linebacker Jawan Martin leading the way have been stellar so far.
Surprise Team- Cumberland Gap (3-2)- The Panthers have won three games in the last three seasons combined and are shooting for their first playoff appearance since 2012 when they went 7-4.
Underachieving Team- Rockwood (3-3)- The Tigers are coming off a five win season but under John Webb they are used to many more wins
Best Team- Tyner (4-2)- The Rams started the season 0-2 being outscored 82-16 but have righted the ship winning four straight games as they have averaged 37.5 points during the winning streak
Surprise Team-Polk County (3-3)- The Wildcats have tied their win total from last season and could be the region runner up with a win over Marion County.
Underachieving Team- Marion County (2-4)- Unless they catch fire, the Warriors will not make their fourth consecutive 2A state title game. The Warrior defense, a strength the last three seasons is a liability in 2017 as they are allowing 33.3 points per contest.
Best Team- Trousdale County (4-2)- The Yellow Jackets under first year coach Brad Waggoner are the only undefeated team in the region and are currently ranked No. 7 in 2A.
Surprise Team- East Robertson (3-3)- The Indians have three wins this year and are looking for their first playoff berth since winning nine games in 2009.
Underachieving Team- Cascade (0-6)- The last time Cascade started the year this slowly was back in 1993 when they finished the season 1-9 as the offense has struggled averaging only six points per game.
Best Team- Lewis County (6-0)- Bobby Sharp has another solid team on his hands in Hohenwald as the Panthers are ranked No. 5 in 2A.
Surprise Team- Eagleville (5-1)- The Eagles have surpassed their three win total of 2016 as the quarterback-wide receiver duo of Ethan Cobb to Graham Hatcher has Eagleville ranked No. 10 and flying high.
Underachieving Team- Forrest (1-5)- The Rockets were ranked No. 8 in the spring but youth has hurt them in 2017 after winning 21 games the last two seasons.
Best Team- Waverly (3-1)- The Tigers are ranked No. 10 in 2A as their Offense led by trigger man Gavin Stanfield has scored 46 or more points in all three wins this year.
Surprise Team- Houston County (3-2)- The Fighting Irish had a coaching change as Orman Meadow took over and has Houston County in the thick of the Playoff race after the Irish went winless in 2016.
Underachieving Team- Scotts Hill (1-5)- Another program that went through a coaching change and have struggled especially on defense as opponents averaged 37.5 points per game.
Best Team-Union City (4-1)- The Golden Tornadoes have made the seamless transition to 2A as they get to prove their worth on Friday as they travel to No. 8 Trinity Christian
Surprise Team- Trinity Christian (4-1)- The Eagles have turned around their fortunes as running back Viktor Horton (983 rushing yards, 12 TDs) has been the go to guy so far.
Underachieving Team- Adamsville (3-3)- The Cardinals were ranked No. 5 in the spring and are in danger of breaking their six straight years of at least 10 wins in a season.
Best Team- Douglass (3-3)- The Red Devils buffed up their schedule playing bigger schools in beating Southwind (5A) and losing to 6A schools Cordova (5-1) and Germantown (6-0). That schedule will pay off when they start region play.
Surprise Team- Fairley (4-2)- The Bulldogs have a new attitude under first year coach Gene Robinson as they are averaging get 39 points in their four wins.
Underachieving Team-Mitchell (2-4)- The Tigers have been the victims of bad luck and a tough early season schedule that includes 6A powers Whitehaven and Memphis Central.
Best Team- Johnson County (5-0)- The Longhorns are up to No. 3 in the 3A poll this week and with Nathan Arnold at the controls they are trying to win six or more games for the first time since 2008.
Surprise Team- West Greene (4-2)- The Buffaloes have won three games in back to back seasons and coach Joe Case has his team in position for their first playoff berth in three seasons.
Underachieving Team- North Greene (1-4)- The Huskies are fighting low numbers are trying to get back into the playoff picture
Best Team- Alcoa (4-2)- The top ranked Tornadoes uncharacteristically have two losses but they are on a 25 game region winning streak and until someone beats them they are still the king of the region.
Surprise Team- Kingston (5-1)- The Yellow Jackets are ahead of schedule as they won only four games last year and could finish second in the region this year.
Underachieving Team- Scott (1-5)-The Highlanders won eight games last season but the offense has struggled this season with losing two games by shut out.
Best Team- Red Bank (4-1)- The Lions are currently ranked eighth in 3A as Calvin Jackson has been the sparkplug at wide receiver after playing quarterback last year.
Surprise Team- Loudon (5-1)- The Redskins under Jeff Harig for his second tenure have won five straight games after losing in week one.
Underachieving Team- McMinn Central (0-6)- The Chargers made the playoffs last season and are hoping to avoid another 0-10 season which they last had in 2010.
Best Team- Sequatchie County (3-2)- This could easily Smith County but the Indians’ two losses are to undefeated No. 1 teams in the state in South Pittsburg and Meigs County. We will have the answer this Friday as Sequatchie travels to Carthage to take on Smith County.
Surprise Team- Smith County (4-1)- The seventh ranked Owls are ahead of schedule after only winning five games in 2016, a huge region contest takes place this week as they host defending region champion Sequatchie County.
Underachieving Team- Upperman (3-3)- The Bees haven’t been terrible as they have three wins this year after only four wins last year. Unless they lose to either Grundy County or Cannon County, they will qualify for the playoffs again.
Best Team- Pearl Cohn (4-2)- The Firebirds are one of the most talented teams in 3A after playing in 4A last season. Pearl Cohn will use losses to undefeated MBA and Cookeville to their advantage come Playoff time.
Surprise Team- East Nashville (3-3)- The Eagles have improved this season and are in a great position to contend for the region title after winning only four games last year.
Underachieving Team- Stratford (2-4)- The Spartans were preseason ranked ninth in the spring and haven’t lived up to the hype so far in 2017.
Best Team- Fairview (4-2)- The Yellow Jackets have back to back shutouts and the 49-0 blanking of then undefeated Greenbrier on Friday tells me they are the region’s best team.
Surprise Team- Cheatham County (5-1)- The Cubs ranked No. 10 this week have tied their win total from last season and will face Fairview the last week of the regular season for the region title.
Underachieving Team- Camden (1-5)-The Lions have averaged 7.6 wins under coach William Blow but have stumbled out of gate thus far this season.
Best Team- South Gibson (5-1)- The Hornets are ranked ninth in this week’s poll and are headed in the right direction under coach Scott Stidham.
Surprise Team- Westview (2-4)- The Chargers were winless last year under first year coach Trey Cantrell but have vastly improved under Cantrell in year two.
Underachieving Team- Milan (3-3)- Milan was ranked third in the spring and with South Gibson, Covington and Bolivar a combined 14-3, Milan is the fourth best team in this tough region.
Best Team- Raleigh Egypt (6-0)- The Pharaohs are a legitimate 3A title contender thanks to running back Kalyn Grandberry who already has 22 rushing touchdowns on the season.
Surprise Team- Wooddale (3-3)- The Cardinals are thriving under second year coach Jerome Griffin as they are trying to win more then five games for the first time since 2011.
Underachieving Team- Trezevant (2-4)- The two time defending 2A state champions has had trouble adjusting to 3A football as well as a coaching change as Larry Franklin took over for the second time.
Best Team- Greeneville (5-0)- The Greene Devils are the state’s top ranked 4A team that hasn’t lost a region game since 2007, which is 66 consecutive wins.
Surprise Team- Sullivan South (4-1)- The Rebels have improved significantly under second year coach Justin Hilton
Underachieving Team- Sullivan East (3-2)- The Patriots won nine games in 2016 but in a very competitive region, Sullivan East could be a tough out come playoff time.
Best Team- Anderson County (6-0)- The Mavericks offense led by quarterback Stanton Martin (1,694 yards, 23 TDs) are averaging 52.5 points a game and ranked third in 4A.
Surprise Team- Chattanooga Central (3-2)- The Purple Pounders have responded to second year coach Cortney Braswell and the offense have improved from 10.8 points a game in 2016 through five games to 38.6 points a game this year through five games.
Underachieving Team- East Hamilton (1-5)- The Hurricanes are suffering through their toughest year since going 1-9 in their inaugural year in 2008.
Best Team- Macon County (4-1)- Senior quarterback Seth Carlisle has been the offensive weapon beating teams with his arm and his legs.
Surprise Team- Livingston Academy (5-1)- The Wildcats have improved by three wins already this season and will be looking for more under coach Bruce Lamb.
Underachieving Team- Stone Memorial (3-3)- After back to back 10 win regular seasons, Stone has found the sledding tough in 2017.
Best Team- Spring Hill (4-2)- The Raiders are currently ranked eighth in the state and behind Georgia Tech commitment Dontae Smith will play Marshall County for the region title in three weeks.
Surprise Team- Tullahoma (3-3)- The Wildcats are competitive again after breaking a 21 game losing streak at the first of the season.
Underachieving Team- Marshall County (3-2)- The high expectations of another long playoff run in 2017 has hurt the Tigers as they were ranked No. 4 in the spring.
Best Team- Greenbrier (5-1)- The Bobcats have had a revival under alum John Elmore this season and are currently ranked No. 10 in 4A.
Surprise Team- White House (5-0)- The Blue Devils are 180 degrees better then they were in 2016 as they went winless under legendary coach Jeff Porter. White House is ranked ninth in this week’s 4A poll.
Underachieving Team- Springfield (3-3)- The Yellow Jackets were ranked seventh in the spring and so far hasn’t lived up to those expectations
Best Team- Jackson South side (3-3)- Tyler Reeder has started to settle as head coach after serving as the interim coach Last season. Under his leadership, the Hawks play hard and are looking for their first playoff appearance since 2012.
Surprise Team- Chester County (3-3)- The Eagles are back in the playoff Hunt after back to back seasons of not making the playoffs and look like a Playoff caliber team this year.
Underachieving Team- Liberty (1-4)- The Crusaders went through a late coaching change as Orentheus Taylor took over late this summer and the reigning 3A runner up haven’t answered the bell.
Best Team- Crockett County (6-0)- The Cavaliers are currently ranked second in the state and the offense have been lights out averaging 39.3 points per game.
Surprise Team- Obion County (4-2)- It has took Paul Decker a couple of seasons to turn his Alma mater around but the Rebels have won four straight including wins over Dyersburg and Jackson South side.
Underachieving Team- Dyersburg (4-2)- I know, I’m being very nit picky with a 4-2 Team as underachieving but Bart Stowe has done a great job at Dyersburg so expectations are always high.
Best Team- Memphis East (2-4)- The defending 4A runner up are still the region kingpin as their schedule has been brutal in the early going with losses to Christian Brothers, Whitehaven, Memphis Central and Cordova.
Surprise Team- Millington (1-5)- The region is not very talented and the Trojans are slightly better then Craigmont who is last in the four Team region.
Underachieving Team- Fayette Ware (2-3)- The Wildcats had their best season in a decade last year going 8-3 and so far, they haven’t lived up to their 2017 hype.
Best Team- David Crockett (4-2)- The Pioneers have already matched their win total under first year coach Gerald Sensabaugh and are looking for more in 2017.
Surprise Team- Cocke County (3-2)- You won’t find a better Coach that gets more out of less then Caleb Slover and the Fighting Cocks are in the thick of the playoff race.
Underachieving Team- Morristown East (1-5)- The Hurricanes have gotten off to a tough start but are still alive to make the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
Best Team- Sevier County (3-3)- The Smoky Bears made the 5A state title game in 2015 and then fell back to 3-7 and missed the playoffs last year. They have handed the quarterback reins over to Freshman Cam Burden and he has responded and has Sevier undefeated in the region.
Surprise Team- Carter (2-4)- The two wins for the Hornets are in Region play as they are in second place in the region.
Underachieving Team- South Doyle (1-5)- After making the 5A Semifinals in 2016, expectations were very high for the Cherokees this year as I had them No. 2 in the spring. An offense that was explosive last year is stuck in neutral in 2017 as they average only 19 points a game.
Best Team- Fulton (4-1)- The Falcons have made the transition to 5A and are currently ranked fourth behind junior quarterback Xavier Malone.
Surprise Team- Powell (5-1)- The Panthers are one of the biggest surprises statewide after only winning three games the last two years combined as sophomore Walker Trusley is a star in the making at quarterback.
Underachieving Team- Knoxville West (3-3)- The Rebel offense has been a main reason for the 3-3 Record so far this year as they have scored 13 or less points four times this season.
Best Team- Knoxville Catholic (3-3)- The Fighting Irish have played a brutal schedule as evidenced by their No. 6 ranking this week despite the 3-3 record. Come playoff time this is a team that opponents will not want to play.
Surprise Team- Lenoir City (3-3)- The Panthers have tied their win total from 2016 and are looking to make their second straight playoff appearance.
Underachieving Team- Walker Valley (0-5)- Although quarterback Kolten Gibson has put up big passing numbers, the Mustangs cannot get stops on defense.
Best Team- Summit (5-1)- The Spartans are continuing to ride the momentum of last year’s success as they made the playoffs for the first time in school history. Summit is currently ranked third in the state.
Surprise Team- Columbia (5-1)- The Lions like White House had a winless season last season but have rebounded under coach Jason Hoath and are ranked second in the state in 5A.
Underachieving Team- Shelbyville (2-3)- The Eagles are dealt on Offense under coach Justin Palmer but as good as the offense and quarterback Grayson Tramel is, the defense has been lacking giving up big plays and a lot of points.
Best Team- Beech (6-0)- Whispers are this Buccaneer team may be better then the 2012 5A title team which is saying a lot as Beech is ranked first in 5A.
Surprise Team- Gallatin (5-1)- After big graduation losses, the fact that the Green Wave are 5-1 shows how hard the Gallatin coaching staff has worked on developing talent especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Underachieving Team- Hillsboro (3-3)- Excitement abounded when longtime metro coach Maurice Fitzgerald was hired as they were No. 7 in the spring but inconsistent play has led to a 3-3 record so far.
Best Team- Henry County (4-2) – The Patriots are quietly leading the region after playing a tough non region schedule and will be the team to beat in region 7-5A
Surprise Team- West Creek (4-2)- The Coyotes have turned the corner under the leadership of coach James Figueroa. The best hire Figueroa made was making Terry Arrington the offensive coordinator as the offense has vastly improved from the last couple of years.
Underachieving Team- Kenwood (2-4)- Another school that had a late coaching change and so far, the play hasn’t translated consistently on the year.
Best Team- Munford (5-1)- The Cougars are ranked No. 6 and are playing well under coach Nick Markle as they are averaging 40.2 point per game.
Surprise Team- Kirby (4-2)- In his second tenure at Kirby, Chester Flowers has the Cougars thinking back to back Playoff appearances for the first since the 1998-99 seasons.
Underachieving Team- Ridgeway (2-4)- The Road runners are better ball recently but seeing Ridgeway at 2-4 is odd especially after I had them ranked No. 10 in the spring.
Best Team- Farragut (6-0)- The Admirals are rolling after stepping up to play in 6A as the defending 5A state champions are on an 18 game winning streak.
Surprise Team- Jefferson County (4-2)- The Patriots through six games are a game better then last year and under alum Spencer Riley are shooting for their third state Playoff appearance.
Underachieving Team- Morristown West (2-3)- The Trojans under first year coach Alvin Sanders has struggled so far this year and it may be hard to replicate back to back 10 win seasons the Trojans have enjoyed.
Best Team- Maryville (4-1)- The Rebels have won 113 straight region games, let that sink in. Enough said.
Surprise Team- Heritage (3-3)- In a region with Maryville, Cleveland, Ooltewah and Bradley Central, it’s the Mountaineers that are currently tied for first place at 2-0.
Underachieving Team- Ooltewah (3-3)- The Owls had a lot of promise and big expectations moving up to 6A from 5A and so far that success hasn’t translated.
Best Team- Oakland (5-0)- The top ranked Patriots are on a 19 game Region winning streak after dispatching then No. 2 Blackman 42-21 as they have also beat Independence, Maryville and Riverdale as well.
Surprise Team- Cookeville (6-0)- The Cavaliers got two big non region wins over Pearl Cohn and Livingston Academy and are currently tied with Oakland for the region lead. Their next three games are crucial as they face Riverdale, Blackman and Oakland.
Underachieving Team- Siegel (3-3)- The Stars have improved dramatically on Offense under first year coach Michael Copley and in a region with four teams with a combined record of 21-2, someone has to be underachieving unfortunately.
Best Team- Mt. Juliet (6-0)- The Bears are on an 13 game regular season winning streak which includes eight straight region wins as well. They still are playing shut out ball having not given up a single point this year.
Surprise Team- Lebanon (3-3)- What a turnaround has happened under first year coach Chuck Gentry who has brought toughness and accountability to the program that has been down trodden the last several years including a 1-10 year in 2016.
Underachieving Team- Wilson Central (1-5)- The Wildcat Defense was a strength last season as they won eight games but so far through six games, the defense have been a liability allowing 33.3 points a game.
Best Team- Cane Ridge (5-1)- Another team that has made the jump to 6A from 5A with success as the Ravens are ranked tenth in this week’s poll. Cane Ridge has won ten straight region games which bodes well for them in this new look region.
Surprise Team- McGavock (5-1)- The Raiders have had a quick about face going from 1-10 last season to 5-1 and undefeated at 2-0 in region play.
Underachieving Team- Nashville Overton (0-6)- Seeing a winless Overton team is very weird especially since the Bobcat program have averaged 9.5 wins over the last four seasons.
Best Team- Brentwood (5-1)- The Bruins are again solid under coach Ron Crawford and are looking for another deep playoff run after moving up to 6A from 5A.
Surprise Team- Ravenwood (4-2)- The Raptors went through yet another coaching change but Coach Matt Daniels has the Raptors improving every week as they are challenging again for the region title.
Underachieving Team- Franklin (1-5)- Franklin could be the most confusing team statewide as the Rebels have been so successful averaging 7.6 wins under coach Donnie Webb.
Best Team- Cordova (5-1)- The Wolves continue to be a consistent force in Memphis under coach Anthony Jones. Cordova has won 25 of their last 31 games and we’re 12-2 last season.
Surprise Team- Houston (4-2)- The Mustangs have already tied their 2016 win total in their first six games of the year and coach Will Hudgens has put the 1-10 Record from 2015 in the rear view mirror.
Underachieving Team- Collierville (3-3)- Unfortunately for the Dragons, someone has to be the underachieving team in a region that doesn’t have a team with a losing Record, Collierville Drew the short straw.
Best Team- Whitehaven (5-1)- Although Germantown is still undefeated, the defending 6A state champions are still the best team in the region until someone takes the crown off their head.
Surprise Team- Germantown- The Red Devils are still unranked and still undefeated after only winning three games last season.
Underachieving Team- White Station (2-4)- The Spartans are the only team in 8-6A with a losing Record so they get the underachieving team label.
Division II-A East
Best Team- Friendship Christian (6-0)- The Commanders are the only undefeated team in East and Middle Tennessee and should be the team to play for the state title on the east side of the bracket.
Surprise Team- Mt. Juliet Christian (5-1)- Although the Saints didn’t make the playoffs despite the schools first winning record at 6-4 in 2016, nothing should derail MJCA from making school history this season.
Underachieving Team- MTCS (3-3)- The Cougars have had a rough transition from 1A to Division II-A but a beefed up schedule could be the culprit for their slow start.
Division II-A West
Best Team- Davidson Academy (5-0)- The Bears are loaded on the offensive side of the ball with quarterback Stone Norton and running back Da’Joun Hewitt.
Surprise Team- Tipton Rosemark (5-0)- Rosemark is the underappriated, undefeated team in Division II as sophomore running back Mac Fallen has led the way so far.
Underachieving Team- Fayette Academy (2-3)- I had high hopes for the Vikings ranking them sixth in my top 6 in the spring. The health of head coach Vic Shivers has been a concern for the community as he has come back to coaching recently.
Division II-AA East
Best Team- Notre Dame (4-1)- The Fighting Irish have made the smooth transition from Class 3A to Division II look easy during their first five games as Notre Dame under Charles Fant have gotten better every season.
Surprise Team- Chattanooga Christian (4-2)- Coach Mark Mariakis has the Chargers playing well as like Notre Dame they are adjusting to Division II play coming from 3A.
Underachieving Team- CAK (0-6)- The Warriors under second year coach Travis Mozingo have struggled on both sides of the ball through the first six games of the year
Division II-AA Middle
Best Team- CPA (4-2)- The Lions like Notre Dame have made a seamless transition to Division II from 3A and are the middle region favorites led by two way standout Kane Patterson.
Surprise Team- FRA (2-3)- The Panthers have made the most of a tough five team region and are improving every week under Bill Whittemore.
Underachieving Team- Lipscomb Academy (0-6)- It’s difficult to look at the standings and see the Mustangs winless but that’s what coach Scott Tillman is dealing with this year.
Division II-AA West
Best Team- Lausanne (5-0)- The Lynx are fresh off a Division II-A state title and with the return of running back Eric Gray, they are a favorite to win Division II-AA.
Surprise Team- Northpoint Christian (4-1)- No one outside the Northpoint program saw this success coming for the Trojans especially under first year head coach Chris Cascio .
Underachieving Team- FACS (1-5)- Although quarterback Jack Grissom is having a Mr. Football nominee season passing for 1,995 yards already, the FACS defense has been the down fall as opponents are averaging 39.5 points a game.
Division II-AAA East/Middle
Best Team- Brentwood Academy (5-0)- The two time defending Division II-AAA state champions are currently nationally ranked and will try for three straight state titles as they are the top ranked team in Division II.
Surprise Team- JP II (3-3)- The Knights have surprised as well after losing a big season class from last year’s 6-5 team and Justin Geisinger and staff have done a masterful job of getting players to step up this year.
Underachieving Team- Baylor (3-3)- The Red Raiders had a big number of returning starters and with that high expectations in the preseason followed Baylor.
Division II-AAA West
Best Team- Christian Brothers (6-0)- The Purple Wave are undefeated and ranked No. 3 behind Brentwood Academy and MBA. A big region game against undefeated Briarcrest (6-0) looms large.
Surprise Team- St. Benedict (6-0)- The Eagles have turned the corner of coach John Cooley after they only won three games last season. It will be interesting how they do in the region with Christian Brothers, Briarcrest and MUS up in the coming weeks.
Underachieving Team- MUS (2-3)- MUS will be a player once the playoffs roll around for as a tough non region schedule is the reason for the 2-3 overall record.
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