x Coach Speak Round 3 - TN High School Football

October 31, 2020

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Coach Speak Round 3

Coach Speak Round 3

Coach Speak



Independence High School  Independence Eagles (5A) at Cane Ridge Ravens (5A)  Cane Ridge

Friday at 7:00 pm, MyTV30 – WUXP’s Friday Night Rivals Game of the Week

Independence (12-0, Region 5 #1) blew open a close game at the half with three straight touchdowns to start the second half en route to a 42-20 victory over Hillsboro.  The win pushed Independence’s win streak to 27 straight games.  Quarterback, Brandon Hines, was spectacular completing 17-19 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns.  Hines also added a rushing touchdown, while the Eagles defense was all over the field with four interceptions.  Independence likes to strike quick with its no huddle, Spread attack on offense and will feature a fast and aggressive 4-3 defense.

3 Keys for Independence
1. Continue to play with poise & confidence
2. Spread the ball around to multiple play-makers & force the Ravens defense to defend the entire field
3. Limit the Ravens running game, force the Ravens to become one-dimensional & pressure the quarterback into mistakes

Cane Ridge
(12-0, Region 6 #1)
used a suffocating defense and a balanced offense to defeat Beech 25-7.  Quarterback, DJ Thorpe, led the Ravens completing 12-18 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns.  Jordan Bell added 116 yards on the ground, and Jared McCray led the receiving core with 185 yards on seven receptions and three touchdowns.  The Ravens defense held the Buccaneers offense to a pedestrian 166 yards of total offense.  The Ravens will feature a Spread attack on offense with multiple play-makers and line up in a 3-4 on defense.

3 Keys for Cane Ridge
1. Stay away from penalties & limit turnovers
2. Win 3rd down, keep the chains moving, & limit the Eagles offensive possessions
3. Tackle well in space, limit the Eagles big plays & force the Eagles to drive the length of the field

“Coach Speak”
The only two unbeaten teams left in the 5A state playoffs square off Friday night at Cane Ridge High School.  Both teams are barreling through their respective schools’ record books.  Independence comes into this game as the defending 5A State Champions and winners of 27 straight, while the Ravens of Cane Ridge have produced their first ever undefeated regular season in school history and are looking to add to that win total Friday night.  Cane Ridge has to avoid turnovers, make Independence earn every point, and play flawless special teams to end the Eagles rein atop 5A.  Independence has to continue to spread the wealth to various play-makers across the field, limit mental lapses, and continue to play smothering defense to push their winning streak to 28 straight games.  This has the makings to be a special game and a great chance for Cane Ridge to show off its community pride and football program.  Both teams have good quarterbacks, solid running games, talented skill position players, and tough defenses. Watch for this game to come down to who can make a play on special teams, avoid turnovers, and limit penalties.  The experience and leadership from an underrated senior class at Independence will lead them to victory in a tight and entertaining ball game!

Prediction: Independence 28, Cane Ridge 25

Players Worth the Price of Admission
1. Landon Guidry – #7 – S/WR – Independence  –  (3 star, 2017 #26 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  Miss. St. Commit
2. Troy Henderson – #21 – RB – Independence
3. Hunter Dupree – #43 – ILB – Independence
4. Kendrell Scurry – #11 – WR – Independence  –   (4 star, 2019 #5 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  Tenn. Commit
5. Alan Watson – #15 – CB/WR – Independence
6. TJ Sheffield
– #2 – WR/RB/KR/DB – Independence
7. DJ Thorpe – #5 – QB – Cane Ridge  –  (2 star, 2017 #95 prospect TN, 247Sports)
8. Dewayne Johnson – #33 – OLB/DE – Cane Ridge
9. Christian Lancaster – #12 – WR/CB – Cane Ridge
10. Noah Bayless – #44 – LB – Cane Ridge


Ensworth  Ensworth Tigers (DII-AA) at Montgomery Bell Academy Big Red (DII-AA)  MBA

Friday at 7:00 pm

Ensworth (8-3, E/M #3) used a 28-point second quarter outburst to take a commanding lead and cruised to a 49-27 road victory over Briarcrest.  Quarterback, Jaylon King, had a big night for the Tigers completing 15-19 passes for 274 yards and a touchdown and added two rushing touchdowns on five carries.  Running back, Nicky Clifton, proved to be the workhorse gaining 143 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown. Wide receiver, Rodney Owens, provided the big play threat with 176 yards on eight receptions and a touchdown.  The Tigers will be multiple on offense with a steady dose of zone read and play a 3-4 on defense.

3 Keys for Ensworth
1. Control the game with a bruising rushing attack & limit MBA’s offensive possessions
2. Rally to the ball on defense, control gaps, & force Ty Chandler to run East & West
3. Win field position battle on special teams & force MBA to drive the length of the field for points

Montgomery Bell Academy
(9-2, E/M #1)
  built a commanding 21-0 first half lead and never looked back en route to a 35-14 victory over Christian Brothers.  Running back, Ty Chandler, built on an already impressive season with another stand out performance, rushing for 220 yards on 20 carries and four rushing touchdowns.  Safety, Gordon Pollock, led the Big Red defense with 13 tackles and a tackle-for-a- loss.  MBA will feature a heavy dose of Ty Chandler out of their Multiple I offense and line up in a 4-2-5 on defense.

3 Keys for Montgomery Bell Academy
1. Find another play-maker on offense to help Ty Chandler carry the load
2. Establish the quick passing game & take a couple of shots deep to keep the Tigers defense honest
3. Tackle well in space against talented play-makers from Ensworth

“Coach Speak”
What a re-match for DII-AA in the semi-finals of the state playoffs featuring two top level programs.  The last two contests between these teams were split with the total margin of victory decided by three points.  In 2015 MBA won 23-21, and, in week 11 of 2016, Ensworth prevailed 21-20.  MBA needs to establish a quick passing game to keep the Tigers defense honest, find a variety of ways to get Ty Chandler the ball, and tackle extremely well to limit Ensworth’s big play ability.  Ensworth needs to pound away at the Big Red defense with multiple big backs, force MBA into 3rd & long situations, and win every phase of the kicking game to beat MBA for the second time in three weeks.   I picked Ensworth earlier this year, and I am going to pick them again.  This is the healthiest the Tigers have been all year, and this game will be a continuation of the coming out party for many of the young Tigers.  Watch for veteran Rodney Owens to lead a talented Tigers roster to victory and a berth in the State Championship!

Prediction: Ensworth 27, Montgomery Bell Academy 20

Players Worth the Price of Admission
1. Ty Chandler – #44 RB – MBA  –  (4 Star, 2017 #5 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  Tennessee Commit
2. Brett Starr – #3 – LB – MBA
3. Montgomery Owen – #2 – WR/DB – MBA
4. Jackson Lampley – #75 – OL – MBA
5. Rodney Owens – #2 – FS/WR – Ensworth    (3 Star, 2017 #30 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  Louisville Commit
6. Nicky Clifton – #23 – RB/LB – Ensworth
7. Jaylon King – #7 – QB/CB – Ensworth    (3 star, 2018 #12 prospect TN, 247Sports) 
8. Wesley Walker – #3 – CB/WR – Ensworth    (4 star, 2019 #7 prospect TN, 247Sports)
9. Tanner Antonutti – #10 – TE/DL – Ensworth

Brentwood High School  Brentwood Bruins (5A) at Centennial Cougars (5A) Centennial High School

Friday at 7:00 pm

Brentwood (8-4, Region 7 #2) used two big plays on special teams and a defensive touchdown to pull off the upset over Memphis Central 34-27 in overtime.  The Bruins special teams blocked two extra points with the second sending the game into overtime.  Punter, Tucker Day, placed two of his three punts inside the 20-yard line and averaged 42.3 yards per punt.  Linebacker, Garrett Grissim, led the Bruins defense with 14 tackles, and outside linebacker, Christian LaBreche, returned one of three Bruins interceptions for a 35-yard touchdown.  The Bruins will rely on a deep and talented receiving corps to score points out of their spread offensive attack and a defense that will showcase a 3-4 scheme.

3 Keys for Brentwood
1. Slow down the Cougars running game & get off the field on 3rd down
2. Establish a consistent passing attack & force the Cougars to defend the entire field
3. Win all phases of the kicking game

(11-1, Region 7 #1)
used a dominating defense and a blocked punt for a touchdown to shutout Henry County 21-0.  Running back, Zyon Lee, led the Cougars offense with 55 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown, while the Cougars defense held the Patriots to just 82 yards of total offense.  Centennial runs multiple looks out of their Pro-Style offense and lines up in a 3-4 on defense.

3 Keys for Centennial
1. Physically dominate the line of scrimmage with ground & pound offense
2. Convert 3rd downs, control the pace of the game, & limit the Bruins offensive possessions
3. Take away the Bruins running game & force them to become one-dimensional

“Coach Speak”
Two of Williamson County’s finest square off for a rematch in the state quarterfinals Friday night in Franklin.  Centennial won the first contest in week 9 of the season 27-17 in sloppy, wet conditions.  This game will feature teams that could not be more opposite from one another.  Brentwood boasts a veteran head coach with multiple State Championships on his resume, a history filled with playoff success as a program, and an offense that will need to throw the ball to be successful.  Centennial comes in as region champions behind a first-year head coach, have a smaller sampling of playoff success, and will showcase an offense that is predicated on a power running game.  I believe the Bruins will slow down the Cougars running game just enough to gain extra possessions on offense, find a rhythm in the passing game, and win all phases of the kicking game to pull the upset!

Prediction: Brentwood 24, Centennial 21

Players Worth the Price of Admission
1. Parker Bullion – #2 WR/DB – Brentwood
2. Christian LaBreche – #87 TE/LB – Brentwood
3. Tucker Day – #42 P/K – Brentwood  –   (2 star, 2017 #91 prospect TN, 247Sports)
4. Cole Mabry – #72 OL – Brentwood  –  (3 star, 2018 #17 prospect TN, 247Sports)
5. Eli Katina – #68 – G/DT – Centennial  
6. Zyon Lee – #24 – RB/LB – Centennial
7. Tavion Fleming – #22 – WR/CB – Centennial
8. Senturian Dureaux – #3 – RB/WR/QB/S – Centennial



“Coach Speak” Season Record: 26-13 (67%); Playoff Record: 5-1 (83%)



Contact Kevin at
kevin@bradfordnashville.com and follow him on Twitter @K_Smith33

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