Before Darren Bowling was hired at Union City, the Golden Tornadoes had three runner up appearances and were viewed as a solid football program.
Since 2009 when Bowling was hired, the Golden Tornadoes have went from solid program to a dynasty type program with four state titles in two different classifications as they have averaged 11.3 wins during Bowling’s nine year tenure.
Union City won three Class 1A state titles in 2009 and back to back in 2013 and 2014 and went up in classification to 2A but that didn’t phase them as they defeated Tyner for their fourth state title in 2017.
Despite only returning seven starters from last year’s state title team, the Golden Tornadoes will start number one in the tnhighschoolfootball.com Class 2A spring Top 10.
Several more teams will have a say in who will win 2A in 2018 as Meigs County will check in at number two as they return a ridiculous 20 starters including all 11 on offense.
Waverly also returns 13 starters from last season including 2A Mr. Football Winner in quarterback Gavin Stansfield while Tyner and Columbia Academy also return double digit starters and will be very competitive in 2018.
For the seventh straight year, I will offer my Spring Top 10 teams in each classification as Class 2A will be looked at this week.
My Top 10s are based on conversations with coaches in 2A across the state as well as returning personnel that the teams have back in 2018.
10. Marion County Warriors
Last Year’s Record- 7-6, lost to Tyner in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Joey Mathis (20-8 in two years at Marion County)
Offensive Coordinator- Joey Mathis
Defensive Coordinator- Brandon Harmon
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 11 (5 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Wing T
Defense- 30 Stack
Key Returnees- Isaiah Sampson (QB, Sr.), Brett Nelson (RB/LB, Jr.), Ermiyas Bowden (TE/DL, Sr.), Seth Lyle (OL/DL, Sr.), Emanuel Burkes (OL/LB, Sr.), C.J Wampler (DL, Sr.), Manny Burkes (OL, Sr.),Garrett Jaudon (DL, Sr.)
Key Losses-Jacob Saylors (RB/DB), Kane Hale (WR/FS), Nick Capps (DB), Seth McClain (RB/LB), Grayson Lawson (OL) Chase Hardin (DB), Trevor Slatton (OL)
Spring Practice- May 7-18
Spring Optimism-The Warriors feel good about the return of four of their five offensive linemen and all three starters back on the defensive line. The return of Isaiah Sampson at quarterback for the third straight season has expectations high for Marion as well.
Spring Concerns- The Warriors will use the spring to find depth on both sides at every position which will be key for the upcoming season.
9. Lewis County Panthers
Last Year’s Record- 10-2, lost to Waverly in second round
Head Coach- Bobby Sharp (245-107 in 30 years at Lewis County)
Offensive Coordinator- Bobby Sharp
Defensive Coordinator- Nick Patterson
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 17 (8 Off/9 Def)
Offense- Wing T
Key Returnees- Denton Webb (DB, Sr.), Tucker Runions (TE/DE, Sr.), Logan Fransen ( OL/DL, Sr.), Mikey Ortiz (RB/DB, Sr.), Preston Spencer (FB/LB, Sr.), Preston Perdue (OL/DL, Jr.), Christian Nash (RB, Jr.), Tristian Rhodes (OL/DL, Sr.), Ethan Hinson (OL/DL, Sr.), Austin Dicus (OL/DL, Sr.)
Key Losses- Brandon Sharp (WR/DB), Jose Klein (OL/DL), Braiden Brown (RB/DB)
Spring Practice- May 1-15
Spring Optimism- The Panthers welcome back the bulk of both sides of their lines which are massive as well led by region 5-2A defensive MVP Tucker Runions as well as leading tackler Preston Spencer.
Spring Concerns- The wing T offense employed by the Panthers doesn’t have a lot of passing involved but Lewis County will use the spring to get better and more efficient in the passing game.
8. Adamsville Cardinals
Last Year’s Record- 7-5, lost to Peabody in second round
Head Coach- Brandon Gray (102-42 in 12 years at Adamsville)
Offensive Coordinator- Brandon Gray
Defensive Coordinator- Rennard Woodmore
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 16 (8 Off/8 Def)
Offense- Multiple I
Key Returnees- Collin Misenhimer (QB, Sr.), Rob Hill (RB, Jr.), Blake Buntyn (RB/LB, Jr.), Brodie Austin (WR/DB, Jr.), Tucker Gray (TE/QB, Jr.), Dexter Whirley (TE/DE, Sr.), Dylan Alfonso-Webb (OL/DB, Sr.), Hunter Vires (OL/DL, Jr.), Donavon Stackens (WR/DB, Sr.), Cody Infield (RB/DB, Jr.), Nick Francis (LB, Sr.), Alan Burdette (OL/DL, Sr.), Eddie Marecki (WR/DB, Jr.), Tucker Johnson (LB, Soph.), Matthew Howie (LB, Sr.), Chaz Sanders (WR/DB, Soph.), Jonathon Linam (K, Sr.)
Key Losses- Braden Austin (OL/DL), Hunter Wicker (OL/DL), Tylan Walker (RB), Rhomerius Knight (RB), Curtis Lake (WR/FS), Woody Hancock (WR),
Spring Practice- April 16-30
Spring Optimism- The Cardinals had several sophomores in the lineup last season on both sides of the ball and now a year older and wiser and coach Brandon Gray is excited about their prospects this season especially at the skill positions
Spring Concerns- Adamsville will have to find replacements for three offensive linemen that were leaders in 2017.
7. Peabody Golden Tide
Last Year’s Record- 10-3, lost to Union City in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Shane Jacobs (29-10 in three years at Peabody)
Offensive Coordinator- Jay Taylor
Defensive Coordinator- Tab Vowell
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 12 (6 Off/6 Def)
Key Returnees- Jasper Albea (RB/LB, Sr.), Jarel Dickson (RB/LB, Jr.), Qua Parks (WR,DB, Sr.), Bryce Franks (LB/TE, Jr.), Cooper Baugus (QB, Jr.), Courtlen Wade (QB/DB, Sr.), Noah Halbrook (WR/DB, Jr.), Jaime Hernandez (LB, Sr.), Jacquez Wilkins (LB/RB, Jr.), Osiris Wilson (Guard, Sr.), Kell Harvey (Center, Sr.), JC Eubanks (OL/DL, Sr.)
Key Losses- Matthew Martin (OL), Brantley Whitwell (OL/DL), Lavoskie Pirtle (OL/DE), Khance Hill (WR/DE), Marvin Cliff, Jr. (DE/WR), Hunter Hudson (LB/TE),
Spring Practice- April 30 – May 17
Spring Optimism- The Golden Tide have a plethora of talented athletes especially in the skill positions led by wenior running back Jasper Albea.
Spring Concerns- The Golden Tide will have to replace all four starters on the defensive line and will use the spring to find those replacements.
6. Trousdale County Yellow Jackets
Last Year’s Record- 8-4, lost to Marion County in second round
Head Coach- Brad Waggoner (67-52 overall, 8-4 in one year at Trousdale County)
Offensive Coordinator- Brad Waggoner
Defensive Coordinator- Scott Booth
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 18 (9 Off/9 Def)
Offense- Wing T
Defense- Multiple 4-4
Key Returnees- Jake Gregory (TE/DE, Sr.), Keyvont Baines (QB/DB, Sr.) Xavian Seay (OL/DL, Sr.), Cooper Belcher (OL/DL, Sr.), Noah Hrobsky (OL/DL, Sr.), Dyson Satterfield (RB/OLB, Sr.) Cameron Rankins (RB/LB, Soph), Tarvaris Claiborne (TE/LB, Jr.) Kobe Ford (RB/OLB, Jr) Mason Basford (OL/DL, Soph.) Houston Stafford (RB/SS, Sr.)
Key Losses- Isiah Harper (RB/FS), Dustin Osaile (OL/LB),Braison Rainey (WR/DE), Trace McGuire (WR/DB)
Spring Practice- May 3-16
Spring Optimism- The Yellow Jackets are stacked on both sides of the line returning four starters on the offensive line and all four starters on the defensive line led by all state two way linemen Jake Gregory.
Spring Concerns- Trousdale County will have to find an answer to see who is going to step up as the top wide receiver for the Yellow Jacket offense.
5. Columbia Academy Bulldogs
Last Year’s Record- 12-2, lost to Union City in Semifinals
Enrollment- (488, 271 multiplied by 1.8)
Head Coach- Charlie Lansdell (64-30 overall, 56-8 in five years at Columbia Academy)
Offensive Coordinator-Charlie Lansdell
Defensive Coordinator- Seth Anderson
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 14 (7 Off/7 Def)
Offense- Spread T
Key Returnees- Josh Cook (RB/LB, Sr.), Rush Lansdell (DB/WR, Sr.), Davis Cofer (TE/LB, Sr.), Tre Davidson (LB/RB, Sr.), Dawson Carter (DB/WB, Sr.), Charles Modeste (DB/WR, Sr.), Trenton Boshers (OL/DL, Sr.), Anderson Porter (OL/DL, Sr.), Harrison Warren (OL/LB, Jr.), Max Ballard (WR/DB, Soph.), Kavares Tears (QB/RB/LB, Soph.), Kyle Young (QB, Soph.)
Key Losses- Adam Whitley (OG/DL), Timmy Riley (RB/DB), Dalton Bennett (C/LB), Blake Kleinke (WR/RB/DB)
Spring Practice- April 23-May 11
Spring Optimism- The Bulldogs will have the biggest senior class in coach Charlie Lansdell’s five years at Columbia Academy. Columbia Academy also return three all state players in Josh Cook, Tre Davidson and Rush Lansdell.
Spring Concerns- Despite returning seven starters on both sides of the ball, Columbia Academy will build depth on both sides of the football and look to improve special teams play as well.
4. Tyner Rams
Last Year’s Record- 12-3, lost to Union City in Finals
Head Coach- Wayne Turner (244-147 overall, 240-131 in 26 years at Tyner)
Offensive Coordinator- Wayne Turner
Defensive Coordinator- Rob Flowers
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 11 (6 Off/5 Def)
Offense- Wing T
Key Returnees- Jeremiah Batiste (WR/DB, Jr.), Martavius Ryals (QB/ LB, Jr,), Tyon Young (FB/DE, Sr.), Jermaine Borders (OL, Sr.), Anthony Goodwin (OL, Sr.), Tyrique Henry (DE, Sr.), Kamden Edwards (LB, Jr.), Zavier Favors (LB, Sr.), Luke Qualey (K/P, Sr.)
Key Losses- K’un Webb (RB/DB), Tracey Justice (OL), Rah’le High (RB/S), DeAndre Williams (OL/DL), Jaylen Bowens (QB/S),
Spring Practice- May 1-15
Spring Optimism- Opposing defenses were burned by Martavius Ryals and Jeremiah Batiste and both juniors will be back to give defensive coordinators sleepless nights in 2018.
Spring Concerns- The Rams will have to rebuild their offensive line as they lost four starters from last season’s runner up team
3. Waverly Tigers
Last Year’s Record- 10-2, lost to Columbia Academy in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Matt McConnell (40-9 in four years at Waverly)
Offensive Coordinator- Matt McConnell
Defensive Coordinator- Zack Rogowski
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 13 (7 Off/6 Def)
Key Returnees- Taylor Dodd (OL/DL, Sr.), Gavin Stanfield (QB, Sr., 2017 2A Mr. Football Winner), J.D. Dixon (WR/DB, Sr.), Montez Bradley (RB/LB, Sr.), Gradion Hensley (OL/DL, Jr.), Colton Cochran (WR/FS, Sr.), Octavian Stewart (WR/DB, Jr.), Andrew Rumsey (OL/DL, Jr.), Trenton Ingram (RB/LB, Jr.), Tommy Mitchell (TE/LB, Sr.) Hunter Fortner (OL/DL, Sr.) Jacob Smith ( OL/LB, Sr.) Terrence Christman (WR/DB, Jr.) Bryan Teft (OL/DL, Jr.)
Key Losses- Malik Dunlap (WR/DB), Michael Jackson (RB/LB), Jacob Breeden (OL/DL), Trey Tidwell (WR/K), Andrew Nicholos (OL/LB), Josephy Rumsey (OL/DL)
Spring Practice- April 30th – May 15th
Spring Optimism- The Tigers will have several playmakers returning led by seniors Gavin Stanfield and Montez Bradley. Stanfield is the reigning 2A Mr. Football Winner as he passed for 3,321 yards and 43 touchdowns while Bradley led the ground game with 1,049 yards rushing and scored 20 touchdowns
Spring Concerns- A huge focus in spring practice with be on special teams as they will have to identify both a punter and a kicker as coach Matt McConnell wants to see improvement on special teams
2. Meigs County Tigers
Last Year’s Record- 12-1, lost to Rockwood in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Jason Fitzgerald (114-70 overall, 32-14 in four years)
Offensive Coordinator- Walt Cameron
Defensive Coordinator- Jason Fitzgerald
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 20 (11 Off/9 Def)
Offense- Twins Open Two Back
Key Returnees- (Give me at least 8 to 12 returning players)- Luke Hair (OL/LB, Sr.), Marshall Brantley (OL, Sr.), David Keylor (OL, Sr.), Aaron Swafford (QB/FS, Jr., 2A Mr. Football Finalist), Martin Smith (RB/DB, Sr.), Caleb Hyde (WR/DB, Sr.), Jon Jon Beeler (WR/DB, Jr.), Eli Loden (RB/DB, Sr.), Trace Corne (OL/DL, Sr.), Bryson Smith (P, Sr.), Gage Gardner (OL, Jr.), Malachi Hayden (OL, Soph.), London Hicks (OL, Sr.), Austin Lamb (LB, Sr.), Austin Judd (WR, Sr.), Will Meadows (RB, Soph.), Elijah Smith (DB, Jr.), Canyon Grant (DL, Jr.), Jair Beeler (LB, Jr.), David Mason (DB, Sr.), Gabriel Maldonado (WR/DB, Jr.), Jackson Fritts (RB, Soph.), Jason Vincent (DE, Sr.)
Key Losses-Dalton Baker (DL), Jawan Martin (RB/LB)
Spring Practice- May 8-22
Spring Optimism- The Tigers will bring back 20 of 22 starters overall including all 11 on offense and none more important then junior quarterback Aaron Swafford. Swafford had 2,558 yards of total offense and 41 touchdowns as Meigs County had an undefeated regular season in 2017
Spring Concerns- Meigs County will use spring practice to identify special teams needs as well as developing depth at all positions
1.Union City Golden Tornadoes
Last Year’s Record- 13-2, defeated Tyner in Finals
Head Coach- Darren Bowling (209-89 overall, 102-27 in nine years at Union City)
Offensive Coordinator- Darren Bowling
Defensive Coordinator- Wade Maddox
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 7 (3 Off/4 Def)
Offense- Flex Bone
Key Returnees- Jake Wheeles (OL/DL, Sr.), Deonte Miller (RB/DB, Sr.), Conner Hurt (RB/DB, Sr.), Preston Little (WR/DB, Sr.), Kaleb Craig (WR/LB, Sr.), Neil Brown (OL/DE, Soph.), Jay Ramsey (LB, Sr.), Kaylon McClendon (S, Sr.), Wes Tilghman (DB, Soph.)
Key Losses- Andrew Easley (DB), Austin Jernigan (OL/DL), Wilton Wade (OL/DL), Braxton Waddell (QB/LB), Colton Quick (OL/DL), Tyler Bowling (QB/LB), Kaleb Perkins (OL/DL), Trey Jones (FB/LB)
Spring Practice- May 1-15
Spring Optimism- Union City will only return four starters on defense but three return in the secondary as well as the top two reserves so coach Darren Bowling has experience returning at the last line of defense
Spring Concerns- The Golden Tornadoes will have to completely rebuild both sides of their offensive and defensive line as senior Jake Wheeles is the only returning starter on both lines.
Six More Teams To Keep Your Eye On In Alphabetical Order: Eagleville, Fairley, Riverside, Rockwood, Trinity Christian and Watertown