By Chad Withrow:
It’s already been quite the season in 2020. From cancellations to weather delays and everything in between, each week has brought a new level of uncertainty. Unfortunately there’s one thing that’s certain about tonight: There’s not many games being played in the mid-state. Because of an abundance of fall breaks and rain in the forecast many of this week’s games were played last night and many others are on their bye week. Everyone should find a game to attend tonight or enjoy MBA @ Brentwood Academy on MyTV30 or tune into 104.5 The Zone for a great rivalry game between White House and White House-Heritage but outside of that, it’s a lighter week than normal. So I decided to do something a little different this week. Instead of focusing in on the 5 biggest games of the week, I’m going to give you my 5 favorite surprises of a wild 2020 season through Week 7.
1) Warren Co. (7-0, 4-0 in Region 3-6A)
The Pioneers are 7-0 for the first time in a long time and have all of McMinnville buzzing about their historic season. Not bad for a team picked 5th in the Region in the preseason. Coached by Warren Co. alum Matt Turner and led by do-it-all and (possible) future SEC player C.J. Taylor, the Pioneers now have their sights set on playing well into November. We caught up with the two a week ago. WATCH:
2) DCA (6-0, 4-0 in D-II-A)
Just after midnight on March 3rd, a tornado ripped through Donelson and headed east. The damage was immense in the area and everywhere in the storms path from parts of west Tennessee all the way to Cookeville. Donelson Christian Academy was hit hard just like it’s neighbors. It has been a group effort to rebuild by everyone in the DCA and greater Donelson community. The football team has done some rebuilding as well. This young and inexperienced Wildcat team led by veteran coach Paul Wade is now undefeated and looking like a factor in D-II-A. Doing all of this right after their school was badly damaged by the March tornado makes this an even better story.
3) Tullahoma (7-0, 2-0 in Region 4-4A)
Tullahoma has long been a proud city with a rich football tradition and incredible support. The program just hasn’t done a lot of winning in recent years. John Olive is the longest tenured coach in all of 4A as he coaches in his 28th year at Tullahoma. When you are at one place that long, there are bound to be difficult times along the way and that was the case in 2015 and 2016. Those two seasons saw zero wins for the Wildcats. The 21 game losing streak was the longest active in the mid-state at the time and John Olive said he would never take another win for granted. Led by a stellar junior class, he will have plenty of chances to savor victories this year and next. Tullahoma already owns dominating wins over rivals Shelbyville, Coffee Co., and Marshall Co by a combined score of 122-33.
4) Goodpasture (6-1, 2-1 in D-II-AA)
Speaking of losing streaks, Goodpasture found themselves in the unenviable position of going from Nov. 8th, 2013 to Aug. 29th, 2016 without winning a single game. The 22 game skid was proof that a serious overhaul of the program was needed. Fast forward to 2020 and the arrival of head coach Tyler Turner. The west Tennessean was 58-12 over 5 years at Liberty Tech in Jackson and Olive Branch (MS). His winning ways transferred immediately to the Madison program. Goodpasture was picked last in their Region but currently sit at 6-1 in their bye week with powerhouse CPA waiting next week.
5) Creek Wood (7-0, 4-0 in Region 5-4A)
Creek Wood and coach Houston Thiel have seen their fair share of success over the years but this Dickson Co. program has remained remarkably under the radar. Led by seniors like Brandon Porter (who just joined the team late last year) and Bailey Deason, the Red Hawks are set up nicely for a deep postseason run. They are also set up for a winner take all regular season finale at Springfield.
Have a great and safe Football Friday night.
Happy Football, Everyone.