Donovan Stewart’s Week 8 Victory Formation

Donovan Stewart’s Week 8 Victory Formation

The Nitty Gritty.

There are only three weeks remaining in the 2017 high school football regular season which means one thing: Region titles will be on the line starting Friday as 14 Region titles will be settled across the state.

I will take a closer look at all 14 Region titles up for grabs later in the column but first let’s look at a couple region title games that will be contested between rivals.

Greeneville and Elizabethton are two communities separated by 39 miles in East Tennessee and since 1924 have played in a spirited rivalry on the football field.

Since that first meeting back in 1924, the two teams have played 70 times on the gridiron with Greeneville holding a slight edge in the series with a 37-31-2 record.

Since 1965, the series is tied at 24-24-1 with Greeneville winning 10 of the last 12 games since 2000.

The two Class 4A powerhouse programs haven’t played since 2013 when the Greene Devils beat the Cyclones 49-20 in the first round of the 4A playoffs but Friday night’s contest and 71st overall will be monumental.

The two schools are in the same region (1-4A) this year and both are highly ranked Greeneville is No. 1, while Elizabethton is No. 4 and both come in undefeated at 3-0 in the region so there will be a lot to play for.

Both teams also have impressive region winning streaks coming into the game as Greeneville have won 68 straight region contests (second to Maryville’s 115) while Elizabethton is currently on a 17 game region winning streak.

So a region title, bragging rights and a statement to the rest of 4A will be on the line in Elizabethton.

Since taking over the Greene Devil program in 2009, head coach Caine Ballard hasn’t tasted defeat in region play with eight consecutive region titles as Greeneville’s last loss in the region came back on September 7, 2007 when Daniel Boone bested the Greene Devils 14-0.
“Region games are always big and very important and meaningful but when you are a big rival like Elizabethton who is very talented, it takes on a whole new meaning,” Ballard said.

Also in 2007, Shawn Witten took over his alma mater Elizabethton from his grandfather Dave Rider and started to carve out his own region legacy with the Cyclones.

The first two seasons for Witten in region play was rough as Elizabethton finished the 2007 and 2008 years with a combined 7-7 region record.

Since 2009, the Cyclones are flying high under Witten’s leadership and have a 47-2 region record and have won six region titles.

The last region defeat for Elizabethton came on October 30, 2014 as Sullivan South defeated the Cyclones 28-21.

Leading the way for the Cyclones on offense are juniors Carter Everett and Corey Russell.

Everett has passed for 1,550 yards and 21 touchdowns with just two interceptions while Russell heads up the Cyclone running game as he has 748 yards on the ground and has scored 11 touchdowns on the season.

“Greeneville is a longtime rival that was lost through reclassification but I’m so glad they are back on the schedule,” Witten said.

“It is a good game for us, just wish it was a non-conference game so it wouldn’t hurt us in the playoff standings and Coach Ballard is an elite level coach. His team this year is spectacular in all phases and they are as good as we have played in my 11 years at Elizabethton and Greeneville has been as good as anyone in the state since 2009.”

Junior quarterback Cade Ballard leads the balanced Greene Devil offensive attack as he has passed for 1,459 yards and 21 touchdowns while also rushing for 401 yards and seven more touchdowns on the ground.

Greeneville and Elizabethton aren’t the only Rivalry region game this week as well as in West Tennessee, Lexington (4-3, 2-1) will visit Hardin County (5-3, 2-1) with the winner taking over first place in Region 6-4A.

Although both teams aren’t putting the long Region Winning Streaks on the line like in the Greeneville-Elizabethton clash, the Rivalry is very intense and close.

Since 1983, the series is tied at 17-17 with both teams rolling off big winning streaks.

Lexington won the first 12 games in the series from 1983-1994, before Hardin County won the next eight contests (1995-2002) before Lexington won the next three games from 2003 to 2005.

Hardin County have won the last three meetings and nine of the previous 11 games to tie up the series.

“The rivalry against Hardin County is huge for our program,” Lexington coach Bryant Hollingsworth said. “We haven’t won at Hardin County since 2004. So it means a lot to our players and staff. We are wanting to get that weight off of our back and keep getting better.

Regions Up For Grabs
Here’s a closer look at all 14 games where Region titles will be decided this week.

Class 1A
Jellico Blue Devils (2-5, 2-0) at Cloudland Highlanders (6-1, 2-0)
What’s At Stake- The winner is the region 1-1A champion
Rankings- Neither team is ranked
Last Meeting-Cloudland won 43-0 in 2008
Current Region Winning Streaks- Cloudland-10, Jellico- 2
Key Players- Jellico-Kenny Elliott (RB/LB, Sr.), Jaden Gibson (QB/DB, Sr.), Joe McCulley (RB/LB, Sr.), Jerney Ivey (WR/DB, Jr.), Gavin Ayers (FB/LB, Sr.), Noah Smith (WR/SS, Jr.), Joseph Elliott (OL/DL, Jr.)
Cloudland- Austin Hall (OL/DL, Sr.), Malachi Benefield (QB/FS, Jr.), Josh Blair (FB/LB, Jr.), Jacob Singleton (WR, Jr.), Jordan Coffey (RB, Jr.), Dillon Johnson (LB, Jr.), Hunter Blair (LB, Soph.), Garrison Julian (LB, Soph.)


Whitwell Tigers (7-0, 2-0) at South Pittsburg Pirates (7-0, 2-0)
What’s At Stake- The winner is the region 3-1A champion
Rankings- Whitwell- No. 3 in 1A; South Pittsburg- No. 1 in 1A
Last Meeting- South Pittsburg won 50-24 in 2016
Current Region Winning Streaks- South Pittsburg- 12, Whitwell- 4. South Pittsburg has won last 26 games in the series, last Whitwell win was in 1991 by a score of 21-8, South Pittsburg leads overall series 70-12-2
Key Players- Whitwell-Dawson Holloway (QB, Sr.), Trace Condra (RB/LB, Sr.), Hudson Petty (RB/DB, Jr.), Ethan Slatton (LB, Jr.), Will Carter (OL/DL, Jr.), Thomas Argo (OL/DL, Sr.), Kyle Antal (OL/DT, Sr.), Garrett Shrum (TE/DE, Sr.), Thunder Roberts (LB/FB, Jr.), Dillan Burns (DB, Sr.), Austin Nunley (K/DE, Sr.),
South Pittsburg- Sawyer Kelley (RB/LB, Sr.), Mason Fuqua (OL/LB, Sr.), Cade Kennemore (WR/FS, Sr.), Garrett Raulston (RB/LB, Jr.), Jaylyn Hubbard (RB, Soph.), Ronto Tipton (RB, Soph.)


Jo Byrns (6-1, 2-1) at Gordonsville Tigers (4-3, 4-0)
What’s At Stake- If Jo Byrns wins, they are Region 4-1A champions, if Gordonsville wins they will play Clay County on October 27 for Region title
Rankings- Jo Byrns- No. 10; Gordonsville- Unranked
Last Meeting- Gordonsville won 34-13 in 2016
Current Region Winning Streaks- Gordonsville- 6, Jo Byrns- 2
Key Players- Jo Byrns-Wyatt Green (QB/DB, Sr.), Tyran Douglas (WR/DB, Sr.), Eric Herring (RB/DB, Jr.), Braxton Ashabraner (OL/DL, Jr.), Blake Shadrick (RB/LB, Sr.), Jacob Barnhart (FB/LB, Jr.), Jacob Caira (WR/DB, Sr.), Waylon Owens (RB/LB, Sr.), Adam Hollis ( C/DL, Sr.), Landis Hallman (OL/DL, Jr.), Tyler Barnhart (OL/DL, Sr.)
Gordonsville- Tristan Pope (OL, Sr.), Hunter Vaught (OL, Sr.), Adam Goolsby (QB, Jr.), Braxton Givens (RB, Jr.), Billy Bennett (OL, Jr.), Jayson West (OL, Sr.), Dalton Stallings (FB/TE, Sr.), Bill Washer (WR/FS, Jr.)


Sullivan North Raiders (5-2, 3-0) at Happy Valley Warriors (5-2, 2-0)
What’s At Stake- The winner is the region 1-2A champion
Rankings- Neither team is ranked
Last Meeting- Happy Valley won 41-24 in 2016
Current Region Winning Streaks- Sullivan North- 5, Happy Valley- 4, Sullivan North leads overall series 7-3
Key Players-Sullivan North-Peyton Robinson (QB, Sr.), Justin Cross (DE, Sr.), J.J. Fleenor (RB/DB, Sr.), Josh Anderson (OL/LB, Sr.), Jack Corley (OL/DL, Sr.), Bailey Byrns (DB/WR, Sr.), Zach Scott (WR, Sr.)
Happy Valley- Landon Morefield (OL/DL, Sr.), Brayden Sams (WR/QB/DB, Sr.), Dakota Cochran (FB/LB, Jr.), Micheal Harrah (K, Jr.), Will Tittle (RB/LB, Soph.), Luke Naylor (OL/DL, Jr.), Eli Fleenor (OL/DL, Sr.), Kai Norman (WR/FS, Sr.), Jacob Surcey (WR/DB, Sr.)


Meigs County Tigers (7-0, 2-0) at Oneida Indians (5-2, 2-1)
What’s At Stake- Winner is the region 2-2A champion
Rankings- Meigs County- No. 1 in 2A, Oneida is unranked
Last Meeting- Meigs won 34-10 in 2016
Current Region Winning Streaks- Meigs County- 8, Oneida- 2
Key Players- Meigs County-Luke Hair (OL/LB, Jr.), Marshall Brantley (OL, Jr.), David Keylor (OL, Jr.), Aaron Swafford (QB/FS, Soph.), Martin Smith (RB/DB, Jr.), Dalton Baker (DL, Sr.), Caleb Hyde (WR/DB, Jr.), Jon Jon Beeler (WR/DB, Soph.), Eli Loden (RB/DB, Jr.), Trace Corne (OL/DL, Jr.)
Oneida- Evan Roberts (RB/LB, Sr.), Logan Stephens (OL/DL, Sr.), Ethan Sexton (TE/DE, Sr.), Toby Hacker (FB/LB, Sr.), Drew Crabtree (TE/DE, Sr.), Seth Cross (WR/DB, Sr.), Will Barnhart (TE/DE, Sr.), Tucker Manis (WR/DB, Sr.)


Union City Tornadoes (6-1, 3-0) at Adamsville Cardinals (4-3, 2-1)
What’s At Stake- Winner is 7-2A Region champion
Rankings- Union City- No. 2 in 2A, Adamsville is unranked
Last Meeting- First meeting between the two schools
Current Region Winning Streaks- Union City- 4, Adamsville- 2
Key Players- Union City-Andrew Easley (DB, Sr.), Austin Jernigan (OL/DL, Sr.), Wilton Wade (OL/DL, Sr.), Braxton Waddell (QB/LB, Sr.), Trey Jones (FB/LB, Jr.), Colton Quick (OL/DL, Sr.), Jake Wheeles (OL/DL, Jr.), Brock Grisham (OL/DL, Jr.), Deonte Miller (WR/DB, Jr.), Tyler Bowling (QB/LB, Sr.), Kaleb Perkins (OL/DL, Sr.), Conner Terrell (FB/LB, Jr.), Conner Hurt (QB/DB, Jr.), Preston Little (WR/DB, Jr.), Nolan Faulker (WR/DB, Jr.)
Adamsville- Braden Austin (OL/DL, Sr.), , Hunter Wicker (OL/DL, Sr.), Tylan Walker (RB, Sr.), Rhomerius Knight (RB, Sr.), Curtis Lake (WR/FS, Sr.), Woody Hancock (WR, Sr.), Dexter Whirley (DE/TE, Jr.), Colin Misenhimer (QB/DB, Jr.), Rob Hill (LB, Soph.)


York Institute Dragons (5-2, 2-1) at Sequatchie County Indians (5-2, 2-0)
What’s At Stake- Winner is region 4-3A champion
Rankings- Neither team is ranked
Last Meeting- Sequatchie County won 35-20 in 2016
Current Region Winning Streaks- York- 1, Sequatchie County- 8
Key Players- York-Lathan Drake (DB/WR, Jr.), Jarrett Reed (OL, Sr.), Dawson Threet (DE, Sr.), Austin Johnson (LB, Sr.), Ethan Probst (RB/LB, Sr.), Heath Rexroat (WR/DB, Sr.), Cole Cooper (RB/LB, Jr.), Landrick Leffew (WR/LB, Jr.)
Sequatchie County- Ethan Barker (QB, Sr.), Garrett Castle (OL/DL, Sr.), Caleb Reed (LB, Sr.), Cameron Weaver (DB, Sr.), Brent Gray (OL/DL, Sr.), Spencer Ables (WR, Jr.)


Covington Chargers (6-1, 3-0) at South Gibson (6-1, 3-0)
What’s At Stake- Winner is 7-3A champion
Rankings- Covington- No. 7 in 3A, South Gibson- No. 6 in 3A
Last Meeting- First meeting between the two schools
Current Region Winning Streaks- Covington- 6, South Gibson- 3
Key Players- Covington-Ethan McDivitt (OL, Sr.), Brock Lomax (QB, Jr.), Tommy Flannigan (OL, Sr.), Austin Rose (OL, Sr.), Benton Glass (OL, Sr.), Octravious Lewis (DL, Sr.), Marvin Norfork (DL, Sr. ), Quentin Booker (S, Sr.)
South Gibson- Connor Warren (OL/DL, Sr.), Will Corbin (WR/DB, Sr.), Ryan Black (OL/DL, Sr.), Krayton Woods (OL/DL, Sr.), Levi Schlesinger (LB/RB, Sr.), CJ Sharp (DB/RB, Sr.), Dustin Moore (OLB/QB, Sr.), Dre McAllister (RB/DB, Sr.), Calem Rich (RB/DB, Sr.), Rudy Jenkins (RB/DB, Sr.)


Greeneville Greene Devils (7-0, 3-0) at Elizabethton Cyclones (6-1, 3-0)
What’s At Stake-Winner is region 1-4A champion
Rankings- Greeneville- No. 1 in 4A, Elizabethton- No. 4 in 4A
Last Meeting- Greeneville won 49-20 in 2013 4A first round
Current Region Winning Streaks- Greeneville- 68, Elizabethton- 19, the overall series is tied at 24-24-1
Key Players- Greeneville-Cade Ballard (QB, Jr.), Garrin Shuffler (RB/DB, Jr.), Seth Crawford (WR, Sr.), Dorien Goddard (TE/DE, Jr.), Cameron Hite (LB/WR, Jr.), Nathaniel Moon (WR, Sr.), Nick Rideout (OL/DL, Sr.), Logan Shipley (DL/RB, Jr.), Jamian Thompson (WR/DB, Sr.), Chris Everhart (OL/DL, Soph.), Ty Youngblood (LB/RB, Soph.), Will Albright (S/WR, Soph.), Dalton McLain (LB/S/WR, Jr.), Jacques Gillespie (DL/TE, Jr.)
Elizabethton-Chandlor Mullins (OL, Sr.), Cameron Coleman (DE, Sr.), Joseph Collins (DE, Sr.), Corey Russell (RB/WR/DB, Jr.), Garrett Jennings (OL, Jr.), Nestor Grubb (LB, Sr.), Tyson Vance (LB, Sr.), Carter Everette (QB, Jr.), Evan Perkins (WR, Jr.), Ryan Wetzel (WR/DB, Sr.), Jared Grindstaff (DL, Jr.), Austin Outland (RB/DB, Jr.), Tyson Vance (DB, Jr.), Kilroy Hill (LB, Jr.), Jackson Killion (LB, Jr.), Stewart Guess (OL, Sr.), Chris Taylor (FB/LB, Jr.)


Anderson County Mavericks (7-0, 3-0) at Chattanooga Central Purple Pounders (5-2, 4-0)
What’s At Stake- Winner is region 2-4A champion
Rankings- Anderson County is No. 3 in 4A, Chattanooga Central is unranked
Last Meeting- Anderson County won 41-6 in 1984
Current Region Winning Streaks- Anderson County- 3, Chattanooga Central-4, Anderson County leads series 2-0
Key Players- Anderson County-Trey Noe (OL/DL, Jr.), Stanton Martin (QB, Jr.), Ryan Moog (TE, Jr.), Mason Phillips (RB, Sr.), Thomas Roberts (OL/DL, Sr.), Marqise Gallahar (LB, Jr.),
Chattanooga Central- Jaheim Jones (QB, Jr.), Austin Banther (OL, Sr.), Mike McGhee (RB, Jr.), Gavin Spotts (DB, Sr.), Tracy Odom (SS, Jr.), Vincent McColley (LB, Sr.), Arion Price (LB, Sr.), Hayden Lakin (OL, Sr.), Eli Garner (OL, Jr.), Andrew Bingham (WR, Sr.)


Lexington Tigers (4-3, 2-1) at Hardin County Tigers (5-3, 2-1)
What’s At Stake- Winner is region 6-4A champion
Rankings- Neither team is ranked
Last Meeting- Hardin County won 21-20 in 2016
Current Region Winning Streaks- Lexington- 2, Hardin County- 1, series is tied 17-17
Key Players- Lexington-Tucker White (DB/FS, Sr.), DeAndre Scott (RB, Sr.), Raleigh Odle (QB/WR, Sr.), Myles Peoples (LB, Sr.), Joseph Ujcich (LB, Sr.), Dawson Wood (OL, Sr.), Brejeun Teague (OL/DL, Sr.), Elijah Ujcich (RB/LB, Jr.), John Sullivan (DE, Sr.), Travelle Talley (RB/LB, Jr.)
Hardin County- Landon McFall (WR/DB, Sr.), Haden Carman (QB, Sr.), Zee Davis (WR, Sr.), Michael Harrison (RB, Sr.), Wes Anderson (OL, Sr.), Gage Davison (OL/LB, Sr.), Joey Burd (DE, Sr.)


Haywood County Tomcats (5-2, 2-0) at Crockett County Cavaliers (7-0, 2-0)
What’s At Stake- Winner is region 7-4A champion
Rankings- Haywood County- No. 6 in 4A, Crockett County- No. 2 in 4A
Last Meeting- Haywood won 41-10 in 2016
Current Region Winning Streaks- Haywood- 13, Crockett County-2, Crockett leads overall series 8-4
Key Players- Haywood-Tillman McRae (QB, Sr.), Deyondrius Hines (FS, Jr.), Xavier Walker (RB/WR, Sr.), DeCourtney Reed (RB, Jr.), Tristan Taylor (LB, Sr.), Brent Moore (TE, Sr.), Derrion Bell (DT, Jr.), Trevor Cunningham (DB, Sr.)
Crockett County- Jordan Branch (RB/LB, Sr.), Dennis Buchanan (WR/DB, Sr.), Manny Jordan (WR/FS, Sr.) Jacob Fitzhugh (QB, Sr.), Vince Terrell (OL, Sr.), Xavier Billings (LB, Sr.), Kerrington Parker (RB/DB, Sr.), Fred Boles (DT, Sr.)


Division II-A
The Kings Academy Lions (6-1, 4-0) at Friendship Christian Commanders (7-0, 4-0)
What’s At Stake- Winner is Division II-A East champion
Rankings- Neither team is ranked
Last Meeting- Friendship won 45-18 in 2016
Current Region Winning Streaks- The Kings Academy- 4, Friendship Christian- 4, Friendship leads series 6-0
Key Players- TKA-Cole Lusby (LB, Sr.), Brandon Burgess (QB, Sr.), Jonathan Atchley (LB, Sr.), Shawn Hamilton (DE/OL SR), Tucker Brown (WR/DB SR), Jacob Hoffman (TE/LB SR), Chris Akporoghene (OL/DL, Jr.), Bailey Rollins (OL/DL, Soph.), Jake Weekly (WR/DB, Sr.), Tommy Gagne (WR/DB, Jr.)
Friendship-Jacob Bostian (WR/DB, Sr.), Taylor Carman (FB/LB, Sr.), Jackson Cherry (TE/LB, Sr.), JaJuan Foutch (RB/DB, Sr.), Ben Jamison (RB/DB, Sr.), Chad Holcombe (WR/DB, Sr.), Cade Powers (OL/DT, Sr.), Mathew Skeen (OL/DT, Sr.), Luke Smith (OL/DE, Jr.), Ernie Gallatin (FB/LB, Jr.), Justin Seagraves (RB/LB, Soph.), Ryan Jackson (OL/DL, Soph.)


Davidson Academy Bears (7-0, 4-0) at Nashville Christian Eagles (5-2, 4-0)
What’s At Stake- Winner is Division II-A West champion
Rankings- Neither team is ranked
Last Meeting- Nashville Christian won 52-32 in 2014
Current Region Winning Streaks- Davidson Academy- 6, Nashville Christian- 35, Nashville Christian leads series 9-8
Key Players- Davidson Academy-Stone Norton (QB, Jr.), Da’Joun Hewitt (RB/LB, Jr.), Ian Kane (OL/DL, Sr.), Ani Izuchukwu (TE/DE, Jr.), Rolly Amadasun (OL/DL, Sr.), Ben Switzer (WR/DB, Sr.), Nathan Bess (K/P, Sr.), DeShaun Jackson (WR/DB, Sr.), Jacob Wasill (OL/DE, Sr.), Eli Palmer (OT/DE, Sr.), Austin Ford (LB, Sr.), Courtland Jordan (WR/LB, Sr.), Colton Quinn (LB, Sr.)
Nashville Christian- Jack Elliot (OL/DL, Sr.), Warren Hanson (OL/DL, Sr.), Maverick Marlin (OL/DL, Sr.), Jesse Watson (WR/DB, Sr.), Bobby Clark (WR/DB, Sr.), Daniel Watson (FB/LB, Sr.), Brant Lawless (DL, Sr., Tennessee commitment), Xavier Myers (RB/DB, Jr.), Jesse Parrish (LB, Jr.)

Already Crowned Region Champions
While 14 Region titles will be decided this week, the following seven teams have already clinched and can call themselves Region champions.
2-1A- Greenback (3-0) won 19 straight region games
5-1A- Cornersville (5-0) won six straight region games
6-1A- Huntingdon (4-0) won five straight region games
7-1A- Dresden (4-0) won 14 straight region games

3-2A- Tyner (3-0) won five straight region games

8-4A- Memphis East (2-0) won two straight region games

5-5A- Summit (5-0) won six straight region games


Gerald Sensabaugh Placed on Administrative Leave at David Crockett
Citing multiple examples, David Crockett has placed Pioneer Head football coach Gerald Sensabaugh on “administrative leave” pending an investigation into his behavior that has been deemed “unprofessional.”

In his absence, Pioneer offensive coordinator Brandon Qualls has been named the interim head coach for the rest of the season.

David Crockett is in the midst of their best season in school history as they are currently 5-2 and tied for first in Region 1-5A with a 3-0 record as sophomore quarterback Cade Larkins has passed for 1,792 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season so far,

The Pioneers are currently on Fall break but will host Tennessee High (5-3, 2-1) on Friday in a crucial Region game.

In a letter sent to Sensabaugh, entitled “Letter of Reprimand- Professional Responsibilities—Recommendation for placement on Administrative Leave, David Crockett principal Peggy Wright outlined a meeting between Sensabaugh, Wright, David Crockett Athletic Director Josh Kite and David Crockett assistant principal John Verbena that took place last Friday to clear up any concerns the Sensabaugh and the David Crockett administration had.

According to the letter, Sensabaugh accused Kite of “coming to work high” and then accused him of being on the prescription medication, Oxycodone. Sensabaugh then said that he offered to get Kite help and he declined and then he said that Kite offered Sensabaugh his Oxycodone prescription.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kite was also placed on “administrative leave” as Washington County officials looked into Sensabaugh’s claims.

The letter also said that Sensabaugh made an injured player practice against what the David Crockett trainer Bryon Grant had said as Grant didn’t feel the player was in any condition to practice.

Sensabaugh was also accused in the letter of cursing players and coaches and verbally abused Grant in front of players and coaches over the injured player.

Over the previous two months, Sensabaugh has caused a social media firestorm on both Facebook and Twitter raising concerns on why Washington County uses inmate labor at David Crockett high school, where funding goes for the school system and also accused a member of David Crockett high school misappropriated $1,500.00 dollars of the $9,000.00 dollars, the football program raised over the summer in a fundraiser.


Contact Donovan at and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew


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