By Jake Evans:
As we get deeper and deeper into the TSSAA playoffs, the margin for error gets slimmer for teams. Last week, the margin for error was slim for Whitehaven and Germantown, as they both managed to sneak out of round two with a close win. Whitehaven beat Houston 31-27 at home and Germantown beat Memphis Central 24-19 at home. This week, coach Rodney Saulsberry will take his Tigers into Germantown to face the undefeated Red Devils. Last week was the slimmest margin of victory for both teams all year, which makes this game all the more interesting. Similarly, these teams faced off in the final week of the regular season at Germantown, where the Red Devils edged the Tigers 37-19. These teams are two of the best in Tennessee, making this game a must see.
In 12 games this year, this Whitehaven team was fairly dominant. They outscored their opponents by an average of 19 PPG, while shutting out 3 of them. This season though, they’re just 2-2 on the road, hinting that this Friday could mean trouble for the Tigers. Whitehaven’s strength comes from the ability to score at ease, and then turn around and limit opponents’ greatly. The Tigers have scored 35+ points in 9 of their 12 games this season, while allowing 14 points or fewer in 7 of their matchups. QB Vincent Guy has been the leader of this team all year, balancing a solid running and passing attack. Guy isn’t doing it alone though. He has 4-star South Carolina commit, WR Keveon Mullins, 3-star Ohio State commit, TE Cormontae Hamilton, and 3-star Vandy commit WR Devin Boddie at his disposal, which is just unfair at the high school level. Those three give Guy a plethora of dangerous weapons, all over the field, to add to a solid running game. Junior RB Cameron Sneed leads the ground attack for Whitehaven, with 130 rushing YPG, which gives the Tigers just one more explosive weapon on their side. The Tigers’ defense has been stout, led by Tamarion McDonald, Tyler Hunter, and Martavius French. The trio of linebackers combines for nearly 20 tackles per game, making them the backbone of the Tigers defense. They’ve been the main stopping force this year for Whitehaven’s defense, one of the best in the area.
For Germantown, their offense succeeds through balance. QB Ethan Payne has thrown for a little over 150 YPG, while RB B.J. Gardner has added 19 rushing TDs in 11 games. Payne’s top target, Cameron Baker has the 2nd most receiving yards in the Memphis area this season. The Red Devils’ offense is top 5 in the Memphis area, while their defense is statistically the best in the area. Despite their domination this season, they’ve played a difficult schedule. Germantown went 10-0 in the regular season for the 2nd straight year, beating 4 region champions and 9 teams that made the playoffs. They’ve been the best team in the Memphis area all year long, with the best defense, statistically. They’re giving up just 11.4 PPG, and outscoring their opponents by almost 30 PPG. You just simply don’t see that in high school.
This game is one of the most intriguing games in the state this week. Germantown has won 14 straight at home and they’ve dominated in every sense of the word this year. On the other side, Whitehaven has the experience and weapons necessary to win a game like this. Every player on this roster has played in a 3rd round game during his career, while Germantown is in this position for the first time. This game has all the means necessary to be a Tennessee classic, and I’m sure it will be.
Winner of this game plays the winner of Ravenwood vs Brentwood on November 23rd. Kickoff is at 7 PM at Germantown High School.