Years ago legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant coined the phrase “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.”
Not all coaches believe this sentiment as defensive coaches love the quote and believe in it while offensive coaches believe that putting a lot of points on the scoreboard will lead to championships.
Offensive Coordinators want to score tons of points and put up flashy numbers while Defensive coordinators want to win games with tons of pressure, turnovers and good physical play.
All coaches want to win games and defensive coaches want their defenses to dominate and if they get a shutout that’s a bonus.
Although not every school have defensive rewards, the schools that do use the incentives to make playing defense fun and something that the players take pride in.
“The kids love it and they are really excited about playing defense and doing a good job,” Kirby coach Chester Flowers said.
Most schools give their players rewards for good defensive play (tackles for loss, sacks, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, interceptions and safeties) as some schools have their players wear a turnover chain (Covington, Henry County, Howard and Gallatin) which was started by the Miami (FL) defense back in 2017.
Copper Basin’s defensive players ring “the turnover bell” after they force a turnover, while several schools have taken a page from professional wrestling and issue a championship belt to players on the sidelines after they force a turnover as Hardin County and Kirby are a couple of teams that do that.
Kirby Championship Belt
Hardin County Championship Belt
Covington and Page also give out a championship belt but they do it for best overall defensive play and issue it each week.
Knox. West have a “turnover stick” that they get to hold on the sidelines after they force a turnover.
Alcoa, Christian Brothers and Freedom Prep also give t-shirts and other apparel for good defensive play while Southwind also gives a T-shirt that reads “38125 Tough Guy” for shutouts but it comes with a twist.
In order for defensive players at Southwind to get the T-shirts, the defensive unit have to post three or more shutouts and so far this season, the Jaguars have two shutouts so they need one more to get the T-shirts.
Southwind Shutout T-Shirt
Meanwhile, Dobyns Bennett, Gallatin and Trousdale County give their players helmet stickers for defensive goals met weekly.
Alcoa’s defensive coaches also reward the defensive player of the week with a black jersey they wear for practice that week.
The player that creates the last turnover of the game gets to sit in the “turnover chair” after the game and is the “king of chaos” (no one is allowed to sit in it during the game).
Alcoa Turnover Chair
The player is then able to sit in the “turnover chair” during lunch in the cafeteria during the week.
Alcoa’s defensive players have bought in to the rewards system as the Tornadoes have posted five shutouts this season and only two teams in Blackman and Maryville have scored so far as they currently have a 12 quarter shutout streak going.
The Tornadoes recorded eight shutouts including two in the playoffs on their way to a Class 3A state title in 2018.
Riverdale’s coaches give out dog tags for their “Dawgs of the week” award which are rewarded for offense, defense and special teams and players that intercept passes get a big bag of skittles.
BGA and Christian Brothers defensive players get cookies each week for outstanding defensive play while Lebanon gives Gatorade and food for turnovers and defensive touchdowns
The defensive player of the week at Lake County gets possession of the “Thor” hammer for that week and Clay County names a “beast of the week” which is the defensive most valuable player for that week.
Shutouts Equal Food
The easiest way that coaches have found out to motivate their defensive players is through their stomachs as teenagers love to eat.
So far through the first seven weeks of the 2019 season, there have been 216 shutouts (30.8 average per week) which is up from 210 shutouts during the first seven weeks of the 2018 season.
So there has been a lot of food already put away statewide this season as 141 teams of 342 teams (41%) that play football in the TSSAA have produced a shutout this year while 40 schools have more than two shutouts with Freedom Prep leading the state with six shutouts in seven games as the War Eagles have only allowed seven points so far.
The War Eagles (7-0) defeated Middle College 36-7 in week five and have responded with back to back shutouts and have an eight quarter shutout streak going.
“The LossBoys is the name of our defense as we pride ourselves on tackles for loss and takeaways,” Freedom Prep defensive coordinator Darrell Lackland said.
The War Eagles reward for a shutout is a trip to Aldo’s Pizza and Freedom Prep is hardly the only school that uses pizza as a shutout reward.
Freedom Prep players enjoying their shutout reward at Aldo’s Pizza
Some other schools that reward their defense with shutout pizza are Waverly, Pearl Cohn, Christian Brothers, Henry County and Greeneville.
Another food that is popular with players are doughnuts as Fairley, Knox. West, Whitehaven, Marshall County, Powell, Nashville Christian are just some schools that give doughnuts for shutouts.
“We’ve always hung our hat on defense so it was used as a motivation and incentive to take their performance to another level. Not just good defense but shutouts,” Whitehaven coach Rodney Saulsberry said.
Over at Fairley, the whole team and not just the defense get doughnuts if the Bulldogs score a shutout which they have done three times this season.
“The players are very competitive with one another and they really want their doughnuts,” Fairley coach Gene Robinson said.
A shutout for Lexington gets the players a trip to a Chinese buffet while Gibbs players are given cheeseburgers from McDonalds, Red Bank players get wings while the defensive starters at Kirby are presented with Chick-fil-A gift cards.
Stewart County and McMinn County both give helmet stickers for shutouts.
McMinn County Helmet Stickers
On the flip side of the shutout are teams whose offenses get dominated and shutout as 129 teams have been shutout this season with 47 teams being shutout more than once.
25 teams across the state have pitched a shutout but have also been shutout on the year as well.
Masters of the Shutout
Here the whole list of 40 teams that have two or more shut outs on the season
6- Freedom Prep
5- Alcoa and Gallatin
4- Clay County, East Nashville and Kirby
3- DCA, Dobyns Bennett, Fairley, Gibson County, Hardin County, Meigs County, Oakland, Trousdale County, Upperman and Whitehaven
2- Anderson County, Cane Ridge, Covington, ECS, Elizabethton
Greenfield, Livingston Academy, Knoxville West, McMinn County, Melrose, Middle College, Millington, MUS, Nolensville, Oliver Springs, Peabody, Powell, South Greene, Southwind, Stewart County, Tyner, USJ, White Station and Wooddale
Long Region Winning Streaks Snapped
Although there weren’t any shutouts in these games, four of the longest region streaks were broken in week seven and here’s a closer look at each.
*Milan 14, Covington 7- After coming off a 40-39 loss to Huntingdon last week, the Milan defense responded with their best performance of the season shutting down a lethal Covington offense in the tight region 7-3A win.
Davante Herron scored both touchdowns for Milan (4-3, 2-1) and the Bulldog defense held Covington to just 136 yards of total offense as the Chargers (6-1, 2-1) had a 25 game regular winning streak and a 15 game region 7-3A winning streak snapped.
The last regular season loss for Covington was to Munford in the 2017 season opener and their last region loss was to Raleigh Egypt in 2016.
The lone Covington score came on the opening kickoff as Myles Starks returned it 81 yards for a score.
*ECS 21, Lausanne 14- The Eagles (6-1, 3-0) got 132 yards rushing from running back Matthew McMeans and built a 21-7 lead to beat Lausanne and snapped the Lynx 21 game Division II-AA West region winning streak.
McMeans had a rushing touchdown while Jaylen Greenwood Jacob Hatcher also added touchdown runs for the Eagles who are alone in first place now.
Lausanne had won three straight region titles and their last region defeat came to Northpoint Christian back in 2015.
*Fayetteville 28, Cornersville 14- Fayetteville running back Jacious Clark had a huge game rushing for 225 yards and scored twice in the big region 5-1A win.
Fayetteville (7-0, 5-0) running back Graham Pace broke a 14-14 tie with two fourth quarter touchdowns as Fayetteville broke Cornersville’s (4-3, 2-1) 15 game region winning streak.
Ironically, the last region loss for Cornersville came to the hands of Fayetteville back in 2016.
*Farragut 35, Science Hill 25- Farragut quarterback Gavin Wilkinson passed for 176 yards and two touchdowns both to Alec Keathley who finished the game with eight catches for 82 yards.
With the win Farragut (3-3, 2-0) breaks Science Hill (2-5, 2-1) five game region 1-6A winning streak as both teams are looking up in the standings to undefeated Dobyns Bennett (6-0, 3-0).
Region Losing Streaks Broke
Eight region losing streaks were also snapped in week seven as well and here’s a quick recap.
* Cannon County 28, Grundy County 22- The Lions grabbed their first region win since beating Smith County in 2014 as they beat winless Grundy County.
Cannon County broke a 26 game region losing streak as Brady Cunningham ran for 149 yards and scored three touchdowns as Cannon County (3-4, 1-2) got the big region 4-3A win.
* Seymour 7, South Doyle 3- In one of the most shocking results in week seven, Seymour got a huge 2-5A region win as quarterback Gabriel Kitts hit receiver D’Andre Sentell for a nine yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Missouri commitment Elijah Young was ejected for targeting early in the first quarter and the South Doyle (5-2, 3-1) offense suffered as the Seymour (3-4, 1-3) defense held the Cherokees to just 175 yards of total offense as they broke a 16 game region losing streak.
*Walker Valley 49, Lenoir City 14- Walker Valley (3-3, 1-1) continue to improve under first year coach Drew Atkins as quarterback Tucker Pope passed for 257 yards and four touchdowns in the region win over Lenoir City.
The region win was the first for the Mustangs since beating Soddy Daisy in 2016, breaking an 11 game region 4-5A losing streak.
*Cumberland Gap 46, Wartburg 38- Behind the arm of quarterback Caden Brunsma who passed for 322 yards and four touchdowns, the Panthers broke a seven game region 2-2A losing streak.
The Panthers (1-5, 1-2) last region win also came against Wartburg back in 2017.
*West Creek 21, Kenwood 14- The Coyote defense (4-3, 1-2) stopped Kenwood late to hang on for a key region 7-5A win.
Ti’Anthony Wagner passed for 253 yards and all three West Creek touchdowns as the Coyotes broke an eight game region losing streak.
*Hillwood 35, Glencliff 0- The Hilltoppers broke a four game region 6-5A losing streak as Debo Kinnard scored two touchdowns one receiving and the other on a kickoff return as Hillwood got the victory
*Sale Creek 13, Whitwell 0- Behind two first quarter touchdowns from quarterback Braden Penny and running back Drew Hillian, Sale Creek got their first win over Whitwell after losing the first six games in the series.
The Panthers (2-4, 1-1) have been outscored 320 to 30 in the previous six meetings with Whitwell but held the Tigers (0-6, 0-2) to just 99 yards of total offense as the win breaks a three game region 3-1A losing streak for Sale Creek.
*White Station 20, Memphis Central 0– The Spartans (5-2, 1-0) got their second shutout of the season as Dwight Holmes had a hand in all three Spartan touchdowns to break a three game region 8-6A losing streak.
Holmes scored two rushing touchdowns and had a passing touchdown to Nick Jeffries and the Spartan defense held the Warriors offense to 164 total yards.
Cumberland Gap, Memphis Business Academy, Bearden and Columbia Academy all picked up their first wins of the season as all four were big region wins as well.
*Memphis Business Academy 46, Bluff City 0- It was a historical win for the first year varsity program as quarterback Lorenzo Hammond completed 11 of 17 passes for 190 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for another touchdown as the Execs (1-5) got the first varsity win in school history.
Wide receiver Eric Mobley caught five passes for 78 yards and scored two touchdowns while Wade Rodgers (five catches, 80 yards) and Dalvion Dickerson both caught touchdown passes as well.
Tommy Seymour (eight tackles), Martrelle Boyd (five tackles), Myaunta Hughes (four tackles, one sack), Ronderious Williamson (four tackles) and Lorenzo Phillips (four tackles, one interception) led the defense in the shut out victory.
“Getting that first win was a real shot of life that we feel will breathe long-term success,” Memphis Business Academy head coach Zach Gray said.
Bluff City, another Memphis first year varsity program are still looking for their first varsity win as they drop to 0-6 on the season.
*Bearden 34, Hardin Valley 28- Bearden picked up their first win of the season behind the strong running of Makai Williams.
Williams, a junior rushed for 198 yards and scored twice as the Bulldogs and Hardin Valley have split the last four meetings.
The Bulldogs (1-5) played a brutal schedule to start the season as their first five opponents in the have a combined record of 30-1 heading into week eight.
*Columbia Academy 42, Jackson Christian 28- The Bulldogs (1-5, 1-3) had their biggest scoring output of the season as quarterback Bryant Beranek passed for two scores and scored another touchdown on the ground while Max Ballard added 86 yards on the ground and two touchdowns as well.
Coming into the game with an 0-5 record, Columbia Academy had only scored 36 points but found their way with 380 yards of total offense (260 rushing, 130 passing) on their way to their first Division II-A West region win.
Undefeated No More
Four teams in Summit, East Nashville, Baylor and USJ were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten in week seven.
*Page 24, Summit 14- The Patriots (5-1, 2-0) picked up a huge region 5-5A win and handed Summit (6-1, 1-1) their first defeat of the season behind 141 yards rushing and a touchdown from senior running back Bubba Johnson.
Page is alone in first place in the region as quarterback Cade Walker passed for 147 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots beat Summit for the second consecutive season.
*Pearl Cohn 14, East Nashville 0- Pearl Cohn got defensive to take over sole possession of first place in region 5-3A as they defeated previously undefeated East Nashville.
The Firebirds (7-0, 3-0) got rushing touchdowns from Kyndrich Breedlove and Iven Dayton in the third quarter to break the game open as Pearl Cohn beat East Nashville (6-1, 2-1) for the fourth straight time.
*McCallie 35, Baylor 28- In a battle of Chattanooga unbeatens, the top ranked Blue Tornado topped the Red Raiders for the fourth consecutive time.
Kennesaw State commitment Deangelo Hardy passed for 291 yards and three touchdowns while running back B.J. Harris led the McCallie (7-0, 3-0 DII-AAA East/Middle) ground game as he rushed for 119 yards and three total touchdowns.
McCallie wide receiver Eric Rivers was Hardy’s main target as he caught 10 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns while Tennessee commitment Elijah Howard led Baylor (5-1, 2-1 DII-AAA East/Middle) with 154 yards rushing and scored three total touchdowns in the defeat.
*Nashville Christian 28, USJ 27- In a battle of Division II-A West unbeatens, Nashville Christian went on the road and get a huge win against USJ.
The Eagles (6-0, 4-0 DII-A West) got 256 passing yards and three touchdowns from quarterback Matt McClary in the win over USJ (5-1, 4-1)
Nashville Christian will now travel to Fayette Academy (5-1) on Friday with first place in region DII-A West on the line as both teams are 4-0 in the region.
Flowers Commits to Samford
Samford continues to have recruiting success in Tennessee as they have picked up their third 2020 commitment as Cleveland wide receiver Robert “Deuce” Flowers has committed to the Bulldogs.
He is the fifth commitment overall for Samford’s 2020 class and joins Baylor linebacker Noah Martin and Loretto offensive lineman Zach Brown as instate commitments.
Flowers (6-4, 180) has been a huge weapon for Cleveland this season on both offense and special teams as he has accounted for 1.070 all purpose yards for the Blue Raiders.
He is averaging 24.8 yards a catch as he has 21 catches for 520 yards and seven touchdowns while also being dangerous as a punt and kick returner as he has 550 return yards and has returned both a punt and kick off for a touchdown.
“Deuce is a very explosive player that has worked really hard this off season to become a total receiver. But what I’m proud of the most as how far he has come as a teammate! We are really excited that he will have the opportunity to continue playing at the next level but more importantly the chance to do that while getting a great education,” Cleveland head coach Marty Wheeler said.
So far the following 71 players who have already committed in the Class of 2020 they are: Knoxville Catholic offensive guard Bryn Tucker (Clemson), Mt. Juliet wide receiver Malik Bowen (Duke), Ravenwood offensive guard Graham Barton (Duke), Knoxville Catholic wide receiver Chancellor Bright (Marshall), Cocke County defensive end Stiles Moore (Western Michigan), Independence linebacker Chase Robertson (Princeton), Greeneville long snapper Will Albright (Tennessee), Meigs County quarterback Aaron Swafford (Navy), White Station offensive tackle Ray Curry Jr. (Missouri), Whitehaven linebacker Tamarious McDonald (Mississippi State), Maryville wide receiver Ashton Maples (Liberty), Maryville linebacker Mason Shelton (Coastal Carolina), Nolensville safety Tim Coutras (Liberty), Collierville defensive tackle Jared Dawson (Louisville), Ravenwood offensive lineman Luke Shouse (Ole Miss), Ensworth tight end Austin Henderson (Minnesota), Tennessee High tight end Nolan Wishon (ETSU), Nashville Overton offensive tackle Chris Washington (Miami, FL), BGA defensive back Garnett Hollis (Northwestern), Knoxville Catholic center Cooper Mays (Tennessee), Cane Ridge defensive tackle Michael Reese (Duke), Tyner wide receiver Jeremiah Baptiste (Miami, OH), BGA wide receiver Antonio Stevens (Purdue), South Doyle running back Elijah Young (Missouri), Ravenwood wide receiver Andrew Mason (Rice), Peabody athlete Jarel Dickson (Army), Ensworth safety Keshawn Lawrence (Tennessee), BGA quarterback Nick Semptimpheter (Bucknell), Trinity Christian athlete Kevin Davis (Miami, OH), Smyrna defensive tackle Dallas Walker (Texas A&M), East Nashville linebacker Tyler Fletcher (Western Michigan), McCallie athlete Deangelo Hardy (Kennesaw State), Oakland defensive back De’Arre McDonald (Ole Miss), Alcoa offensive tackle Brackston Alford (Memphis), Pearl Cohn long snapper Wesley Schelling (Vanderbilt), Maryville running back Tee Hodge (Tennessee), Greeneville linebacker Ty Youngblood (Furman), MUS defensive back Devonte Nelson (Memphis), Kirby defensive end Corbet Mims (Arkansas State), Nolensville linebacker C.J. Ware (Miami, OH), Goodpasture wide receiver Vincent Hamer (SE Missouri St), Ravenwood offensive tackle Gabriel Sleenhof (Yale), JP II linebacker Brooks Heagarty (Richmond), JP II wide receiver Rory White (Air Force), Haywood wide receiver Darion Williamson (Tennessee), Knoxville West linebacker Drew Francis (Arkansas), Knoxville West defensive end Tyrece Edwards (Arkansas), DeKalb County offensive lineman Issac Cross (Tennessee Tech), Whitehaven linebacker Martavius French (Arkansas), Ravenwood kicker Luke Akers (UCLA), Blackman linebacker Keionte Newson (Texas San Antonio), Maryville quarterback Cade Chambers (Indiana State), BGA defensive back Briston Bennett (Charlotte), Kirby linebacker Tamarious Brown (UAB), Greenback defensive end Derrell Bailey (Virginia Tech), Briarcrest athlete Jabari Small (Ole Miss), Greeneville offensive guard Chris Everhart (Marshall), Kirby quarterback Draylen Ellis (Austin Peay), Summit linebacker Jaylen Herrud (Navy), Ravenwood linebacker Jordan Smith (Richmond), East Nashville safety Lester Shaw (Eastern Illinois), Baylor linebacker Noah Martin (Samford), Dickson County defensive tackle Tre’vonn Rybka (Kentucky), Loretto offensive lineman Zach Brown (Samford), Friendship Christian defensive tackle Ryan Jackson (Eastern Kentucky), MBA offensive lineman Ned Freeland (Penn), Baylor defensive lineman Seth Johnson (Furman), St. George’s wide receiver Issac Smith (Wisconsin), Briarcrest defensive back Reggie Neely (Tulane), Knox. Catholic offensive lineman Bryce Nicely (Jacksonville State), Daniel Boone running back Charlie Cole (Army), Fairley running back Terry Wilkins (MTSU) and Cleveland wide receiver Robert Flowers (Samford).
Contact Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew