By Chad Withrow:
Everyone loves a good list and I’m no exception. From the best restaurants to movies and television to music. We can all spend a fair amount of time debating the merits of our favorites versus your favorites. Before each season, I will put together a ranking of various high school football related items to get you ready for the season. To begin the 2018 season, I’m going to take a look at the nicknames of every high school football team in the state. This list is completely subjective and I acknowledge that my choices will upset some… and I welcome debate.
There are well over 300 TSSAA recognized high school football programs in the state of Tennessee. Because of that, I’ve divided these rankings into 3 parts. Part 1 focued on animal nicknames, Part II will focus on human nicknames, and Part III will drop on Wednesday examining every nickname that doesn’t involve a human or an animal. I will decide between the winners of each category on Thursday and that nickname will be the definitive best high school football nickname for TN High School Football. The criteria is all encompassing. I considered originality and geography of the school and how much their mascot made sense to the community. In short, I took my time with this and carefully considered many factors and I came to the conclusion that there aren’t many bad human team nicknames in the state of Tennessee. What did I miss? What did I get right? Hit me back on twitter, @withrowzone or @tnhsfb , or you can email me at email@example.com . I look forward to hearing back from you all. Without anymore unnecessary build-up, here is the TNHSFB ranking of high school football human nicknames from last to first.
- This is not political. It’s just a bad nickname. There are some folksy, old-timey nicknames that age well. This isn’t one of those.
(Sequoyah, Craigmont, Cherokee)
- My radio co-host Paul Kuharsky may disagree but this one just does’t do it for me. Apologies to fans of Arrowhead Stadium.
(Collinwood, Dyersburg, Millington, Soddy-Daisy, Morristown West, Northpoint Christian)
- There are better ancient warriors.
(South Greene, McKenzie, Stewart Co., Sullivan South, Obion Co., Knoxville West, Franklin Co., Maryville, Franklin, Tipton Rosemark)
- Having a rebel spirit can be a good thing and I’m a big fan of Andre Agassi and his persona. This just isn’t a strong enough description of someone to warrant a spot higher on this list.
(Union Co., White House-Heritage, Page, Henry Co., Jefferson Co., Oakland)
- This one is just ok.
(Hancock Co., Oneida, East Robertson, Sequatchie Co., Harpeth, Montgomery Central, Jackson Northside, Dobyns-Bennett)
- Going back to my description of “Wildcats” from yesterday, this one is too broad for my liking. Further down the list, we will see examples of schools that incorporated individual tribes which is far cooler.
- Chuck Norris as Walker: Texas Ranger probably bumped this one up a few spots.
(Perry Co., Hillcrest, Community, Tennessee, Northwest, Fayette-Ware)
- Vikings were pretty terrifying. It’s tough to go wrong with a nickname that frightens.
(Booker T. Washington, Happy Valley, Bledsoe Co., Marion Co., White Co., Hunters Lane, Riverdale, Memphis Central, CAK)
- Golden State’s recent NBA dynasty probably helps the current “Warriors” brand.
(Crockett Co., Cookeville)
- Points for being associated with British royalty. Point deduction for no longer being associated with NBA royalty (LeBron James).
- I’m a sucker for swashbucklers.
(Sheffield, Nolensville, Kenwood, Pope John Paul II)
- It’s regal and it represents someone that’s great in battle. Best of both worlds.
#21) BLACK KNIGHTS
- Everything from #22 plus a color attached to the front of it.
#20) FIGHTING IRISH
(Houston Co., Catholic, Notre Dame, Father Ryan)
- It’s a good nickname but difficult to put it above any of the top 19.
- Mike Leach approved.
(Moore Co., Richland, Sullivan North, Spring Hill, McGavock, Baylor)
- Al Davis, Ken Stabler, John Madden, and Bo Jackson approved.
#17) BLUE RAIDERS
- Anytime you can add a pop of color to an already cool nickname, it adds to the mystique.
#16) RED RAIDERS
- See #17 only red.
(Gibson Co., East Ridge, David Crockett, Warren Co.)
- The Pioneer spirit of men like David Crockett blazed a trail in our great state. I’m glad to see that spirit lives on with 4 programs in this state… most notable David Crockett High School.
(Hillwood, Science Hill)
- Hilltoppers are cool but do you know what’s even cooler???
- Answer: Someone who can climb a mountain
(Stratford, Summit, White Station, Webb School of Knoxville)
- If you question Spartans being this high on the list, watch the movie “300” and get back to me.
(Mt. Juliet Christian Academy)
- You would think more private Christian schools would go with this nickname, but alas, the Saints of MJCA is the only one.
#10) TRAIL BLAZERS
(RePublic, Daniel Boone)
- Similar to #15 on our list, it took pioneers to blaze a trail across the state. Daniel Boone was one of those Trail Blazers.
Now we are getting to a couple of schools that got specific with their Native American nicknames. While the Choctaw Nation mostly inhabited modern day Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a great nickname.
(Greenback, South Doyle, McMinn Co.)
- Schools honoring the Cherokee Tribe in places where the Cherokee lived. It’s a winning combination for a Top 10 nickname.
(Liberty Tech, FACS)
- Going on a journey is neat. Going on a mission is cool. Going on a Crusade takes on a much bigger meaning.
(Cloudland, Gatlinburg-Pittman, Scott Co.)
- If you can avoid thinking about a cheesy 80’s action movie long enough to consider the greatness of this nickname, then you will understand why it is so high on our list.
- Commanders command things. That’s good enough for me and it’s good enough for Friendship Christian.
- I’ve long touted Austin Peay for having one of the greatest nicknames in college sports. Congrats to William Blount for having one of the greatest nicknames in high school sports.
The only person that outranks an Admiral in the Navy is the President. Since there’s not a school known as the Presidents, I’m ranking the Admirals right up there.
- I highly recommend checking out the huge mural of a Commando in the Hendersonville gym. Think Contra if you are an old school Nintendo fan. It’s hard to not be a fan of this nickname.
- A pharaoh is an ancient Egyptian ruler and it’s the nickname of Raleigh-Egypt High School located in a city named after an ancient Egyptian capital. It’s the perfect nickname.
Tomorrow we will reveal Part III of our rankings as we unveil the “Miscellaneous Rankings”