Although his 2016 season ended winless, it was one of the most satisfying seasons in recent memory for White House head football coach Jeff Porter.
If 2016 was satisfying, then the 2017 season has got to be right there as well as the Blue Devils have went from 0-10 to having an undefeated regular season in 2017, which has never happened before statewide.
The Blue Devils have had three undefeated regular seasons in Porter’s 31 seasons at White House (1997 and 2004) were the other years as he has complied a 262-120 overall record and was inducted into the Tennessee Football Coaches Association (TNFCA) Hall of Fame in 2016.
To hear Porter talk nothing has really changed from last season as the Blue Devils have had more injuries this year then last but because he throw his young team to the “wolves” it made the team better
“It wasn’t fair for a young team to take on the schedule we had last year but they have responded very positively and I’m very proud of them for that,” Porter said.
“The biggest thing this season is we don’t have a superstar player but we have a lot of hard working kids that love to play football and they will give us everything they have and as a coach, there’s nothing more rewarding.”
“We have endured a lot of injuries this year and haven’t missed a beat because players have really stepped up when they have needed to.”
The best all around player that the Blue Devils have this year in two way player Seth Bumbalough was lost for the year in week seven but players have stepped up in his absence.
When you look at the Blue Devils stats, nothing offensively jumps out at you as junior quarterback Andrew Nixon has passed for 1,171 yards and a modest 13 touchdowns but the Blue Devils have had 11 different running backs who have carried the ball at least 10 times this season.
Junior Preston Sharber leads the ground attack with 486 yards and has scored eight touchdowns while another junior Will Frazer is second on the team with 335 yards and had scored three touchdowns as White House averages 33.6 a game
While the Blue Devils offense hasn’t been flashy, the defense has been hard nosed and stubborn as they are only giving up 7.4 points a contest.
Senior defensive end Tyler McMurtry has been unblockable this season as he leads the Blue Devils with 90 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and seven sacks while linebackers Colby Taylor (83 tackles) and Eddy Walker (75 tackles) have been stout as well as the Blue Devils have forced 23 turnovers and are plus 13 in turnover margin as the defense only allows 53.9 passing yards a game.
White House is not the only school that have improved dramatically from this season from an winless as Columbia, Tullahoma and West Creek all had big jumps in wins in 2017.
The Lions are +7 going from 0-10 in 2016 to 7-3 and will travel to No. 1 ranked Beech (10-0) in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs while Tullahoma and West Creek both missed the playoffs but are +5 by going 5-5 this year.
According to the website www.tennprepdb.com, there are 66 teams statewide that have improved five games from one year to the next after finishing a season winless, below is the entire list.
Goodpasture- +10, 0-10 (2015) to 10-3 (2016)
Columbia Academy- +9, 0-10 (1998) to 9-3 (1999)
Nashville Overton- +9, 0-8 (1960) to 9-1 (1961)
Wooddale- +9, 0-9 (2008) to 9-3 (2009)
Crockett County- +8, 0-10 (1985) to 8-3 (1986)
FACS- +8, 0-10 (1977) to 8-2 (1978)
Maplewood- +8, 0-10 (2004) to 8-4 (2005)
Melrose-+8, 0-10 (2012) to 8-4 (2013)
Mt. Pleasant- +8, 0-10 (2002) to 8-3 (2003)
South Doyle- +8, 0-10 (2015) to 8-6 (2016)
BGA- +7, 0-10 (1980) to 7-4 (1981)
Cheatham County- +7, 0-10 (1990) to 7-4 (1991)
Chester County- +7, 0-10 (1982) to 7-4 (1983)
Dresden- +7, 0-10 (2008) to 7-4 (2009)
Franklin County- +7, 0-10 (1965) to 7-3 (1966)
Greeneville- +7, 0-10 (1940) to 7-2 (1941)
Jellico- +7, 0-10 (1999) to 7-4 (2000)
Knoxville West- +7, 0-8-2 (1971) to 7-3-1 (1972)
Lookout Valley- +7, 0-10 (2004) to 7-4 (2005)
Milan- +7, 0-9-1 (1965) to 7-4 (1966)
Monterey- +7, 0-7 (1960) to 7-1 (1961)
Morristown East- +7, 0-10 (1972) to 7-3 (1973)
Oak Ridge- +7, 0-4 (1943) to 7-1 (1944)
Smith County- +7, 0-10 (1982) to 7-4 (1983)
Sullivan East- +7, 0-10 (2010) to 7-4 (2011)
Wayne County- +7, 0-10 (1984) to 7-4 (1985)
Bartlett- +6, 0-8-2 (1952) to 6-3 (1953)
Bruceton- +6, 0-10 (2009) to 6-6 (2010)
Father Ryan-+6, 0-10 (1951) to 6-2-2 (1952)
Hamilton-+6, 0-10 (2011) to 6-5 (2012)
Lewis County- +6, 0-9-1 (1959) to 6-3-1 (1960)
Loudon- +6, 0-10 (1993) to 6-6 (1994)
MTCS- +6, 0-10 (2012) to 6-5 (2013)
Obion County- +6, 0-10 (2008) to 6-5 (2009)
Spring Hill- +6, 0-10 (2005) to 6-6 (2006)
Tellico Plains- +6, 0-10 (1998) to 6-4 (1999)
Alcoa- +5, 0-10 (1974) to 5-5 (1975)
Camden- +5, 0-10 (1998) to 5-6 (1999)
Chattanooga Central- +5, 0-10 (2001) to 5-6 (2002)
Daniel Boone- +5, 0-10 (1995) to 5-5 (1996)
Fairley- +5, 0-10 (1994) to 5-5 (1995)
Glencliff- +5, 0-10 (2002) to 5-5 (2003)
Greenbrier- +5, 0-10 (1984) to 5-5 (1985)
Halls- +5, 0-10 (1994) to 5-5 (1995)
Happy Valley- +5, 0-10 (1995) to 5-6 (1996)
Harpeth- +5, 0-10 (1985) to 5-6 (1986)
Hillwood- +5, 0-10 (2014) to 5-6 (2015)
Houston County-+5, 0-10 (2010) to 5-6 (2011)
Johnson County- +5, 0-10 (1989) to 5-5 (1990)
Knoxville Catholic-+5, 0-10 (1979) to 5-5 (1980)
Macon County- +5, 0-10 (2009) to 5-6 (2010)
McGavock- +5, 0-10 (1993) to 5-6 (1094)
Millington- +5, 0-10 (1990) to 5-5 (1991)
Portland- +5, 0-10 (2011) to 5-6 (2012)
Powell- +5, 0-10 (1986) to 5-5 (1987)
South Greene- +5, 0-9 (1966) to 5-6 (1967)
Sycamore-+5, 0-10 (1999) to 5-6 (2000)
Unaka- +5, 0-10 (1993) to 5-6 (1994)
Unicoi County- +5, 0-10 (2014) to 5-6 (2015)
Walker Valley- +5, 0-10 (2011) to 5-6 (2012)
Warren County- +5, 0-10 (2004) to 5-6 (2005)
Waverly- +5, 0-10 (2008) to 5-6 (2009)
White County- +5, 0-10 (2002) to 5-6 (2003)
Sheffield Snaps State’s Longest Losing Streak
First year Sheffield Head football coach Jerel Blanchard has seen his young team get better over the season as the Knights wanted to shed the state’s longest losing streak at 33 games.
The team motto all season has been “Break the Streak” and thanks to a big game from sophomore quarterback Jabari Minor who passed for 300 yards and all three Sheffield touchdowns as the Knights beat MLK Prep 20-6 to break the streak.
“It was very important for us to break the losing streak. We have been preaching all season “break the streak”. My coaches and I continued to approach games and practices with that mentality and it finally happened and I’m so proud of the players,” Blanchard said.
The Knights got big games from several players in the win as wide receiver Jesse Fleming had 200 all purpose yards for the game and scored once along with touchdowns from Jujuan Key Treyvoughn Wilkins as well.
“For the seniors it was all about laying a foundation for next season. A few of our seniors have been here since the 9th grade and have not won a game so it was important for us to win for them also,” Blanchard said.
Defensively, the Knights got interceptions from James Pearson, Abdul Balde and Kayshawn Banks while Latavious Turner and Christian Harris each added eight tackles for the winners
“Going into the offseason with the taste of a win is good because a lot of the kids are hungry. They have expressed that they feel the change and understand what it takes to win and they want to continue the process to do so.”
●William Blount 56, Stone Memorial 27– Sheffield wasn’t the only team to break a double digit losing streak as the Governors got five touchdowns passes from Freshman quarterback Trey Clemmer in the big win over Stone Memorial.
The win snapped a 17 game losing streak for William Blount, whose last win came in 2016 as they defeated Dobyns-Bennett 37-29.
With the Sheffield win, the longest current losing streak in the state belongs to Sullivan Central who will enter the 2018 season with a 29 game losing streak.
A Playoff First
221 teams statewide will compete in a playoff game this week but for four teams, playing in the playoff game will be historic.
Freedom Prep, Nolensville, Franklin Grace and Mt. Juliet Christian have made school history by making the playoffs for the first time.
Both Freedom Prep (1A) and Nolensville (4A) are making the playoffs in their first varsity season while Franklin Grace (1A) are making the 1A playoffs in only their third varsity year after starting the program playing an eight man football schedule.
Mt. Juliet Christian is the oldest program of the four and made big strides under Head Coach Dan Davis as the Saints have had back to back winning seasons (the only two in school history).
Here’s a closer look at the four programs
●Freedom Prep (5-5)- The first year War Eagle program finished third in Region 8-1A as sophomore running back Gary Banks has rushed for 1,435 yards and has scored 11 touchdowns for Freedom Prep as they travel to Lake County to take on the Falcons (8-2) in the first round of the 1A playoffs
●Nolensville (3-7) – The Knights played a junior varsity schedule last season winning all nine games under coach Will Hester.
Nolensville got a taste of the Friday night lights as they hosted South Gibson in their only varsity contest in 2016.
The Knights have been led on by junior quarterback Brandon Wharton who has 1,601 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns while Colton Dooley has rushed for 902 yards on the year.
Nolensville will travel to Livingston Academy (8-2) in the first round of the 4A playoffs.
“We are very excited about earning our way into the playoffs for our first varsity season. That was our number 1 goal for this year and now having accomplished we are just trying to go 1-0 this week and earn another 48 minutes. These kids have battled some adversity this year and I am proud of them for how they have handled it,” Hester said.
●Franklin Grace (5-4) – The Lion football program started as a eight man program in 2012 and transitioned to 11 man football in 2015. Under former Tennessee Titans quarterback Rusty Smith the Lions have improved every year and will travel to play Wayne County (7-3) in the 1A playoffs as senior quarterback Austin Amor has accumulated 2,184 total yards and been responsible for 30 touchdowns for the Lions.
“This season has been an up and down season with a lot of highs and lows, but our kids have really battled. I think there was a lot of hype around this team coming into this season, and when we didn’t live up to that hype the first part of the year, it would have been easy for our boys to cash it in, but they didn’t and I am super proud of them for that,” Smith said.
“Ending the season on a three game win streak and to go 4-1 in the last 5 weeks was awesome for our school! Being able to string some wins together is awesome for our community and for our school,” Smith said
●Mt. Juliet Christian (7-3)- The Saints have their second straight winning record and will host Jackson Christian in the first round the Division II-A playoffs. Although they finished 6-4 in 2016, they missed the playoffs but not this season.
Junior running back Darius Hylick has rushed for 1,963 yards and scored 28 touchdowns while senior quarterback Alex Pitman has passed for 1,734 yards and 18 touchdowns for the Saints.
“We are very proud of our young men in believing in the process and working hard to accomplish some of the goals we have set since the beginning, with one of those goals is making the TSSAA Playoffs. Our players, staff, school, and community are extremely excited for our team and the many great things that are happening here at MJCA,” MJCA Head coach Dan Davis said
“It is awesome to see the growth of our football program, our school, and our young men. We are appreciative of all those who came before us to help get us to where we are today. We are looking forward to growing even more and going above and beyond expectations.”
A First: An Undefeated Regular Season
Although Anderson County, Davidson Academy and Raleigh-Egypt have made the playoffs many times, they enter the 2017 TSSAA Playoffs with a school first: An Undefeated Regular Season.
Anderson County and Raleigh-Egypt are both ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll as the Mavericks are second to only Beech in 5A and the Pharaohs are second to defending champion Alcoa in 3A.
Although Davidson Academy isn’t ranked in the Division II but the Bears are one of the favorites (along with undefeated Friendship Christian and Nashville Christian) to win the Division II-A title.
All three teams have been powered by explosive offenses as Anderson County led the state in scoring with 544 points on the year as they average 54.4 a game, Davidson Academy is averaging 48.1 points a game and Raleigh-Egypt averages 46.1 points a contest.
The Mavericks offense has been triggered by junior quarterback Stanton Martin who has passed for 2,770 yards and a state leading 41 touchdowns.
“Its been an amazing year. Our kids have put a lot of work into this season for the purpose of winning a region title and to go undefeated. Our kids wanted to make Anderson County history and they have done it,” Anderson County coach Davey Gillum said.
“For now we have put that accomplishment on the shelf and we will celebrate it at a later time. Right now we are focused on the game In front of us and fighting for a state championship.”
While Anderson County gets it done through the air both Davidson and Raleigh-Egypt have leaned on solid ground games as junior Da’Joun Hewitt has rushed for 1,905 yards and scored 36 touchdowns for the Bears while Kalan Grandberry has 1,735 yards on the ground and a Shelby Metro record 37 total touchdowns on the season.
As flashy and explosive as their offenses are, their play on defense is what could win them a state title come December as teams only average 9.8 points against Raleigh Egypt, 11.1 against Anderson County and only 12.1 against Davidson Academy.
“When I came to Raleigh-Egypt four years ago, I immediately recognized that there was some talent here. But what stood out to me was the toughness of our players. That freshman group from 2014 (this senior group) seemed to possess just a little extra talent and toughness, so I felt all along that they could be a special group,” Pharaohs coach Major Wright said.
“We have filled in around them with some talented juniors and sophomores, so we have a pretty complete team and as far as making school history goes, it is a special thing for these players to be able to say they accomplished more than any other Pharaoh team to come before them.”
Here are the other 14 teams that are undefeated and the last year, they had an undefeated regular season.
South Pittsburg- 2007, finished 15-0, won 1A state title
Beech-2012, finished 15-0, won 5A state title
Lausanne- 2016, finished 14-0, won Division II-A state title
Brentwood Academy- 1998, finished 11-1, lost in Division II-AA finals
Friendship Christian- 2006, finished 14-1, lost in 1A state title game
Meigs County- 1995, finished 14-1, lost in 2A state title game
Oakland- 2016, finished 14-1, lost in 6A state title game
Germantown- 2002, finished 13-1, lost in 5A Semifinals
Mt. Juliet- 2011, finished 13-1, lost in 6A Semifinals
White House- 2004, 13-1, lost in 4A Semifinals
Huntingdon- 2011, finished 11-1, lost in 1A Quarterfinals
Johnson County- 1980, finished 10-1, lost in Class AAA Quarterfinals
Christian Brothers-1989, finished 11-1, lost in Class AAA second game
Greeneville- 2016, finished 11-1, lost in 4A second round
Coaches that have their teams in the playoffs in their first season at the helm
Matthew Bates, Clay County
Randall Boldin, Whitwell
Lance Rorex, Lookout Valley
Levi Estes, Dresden
LeNorris Staples, Middle College
Jerald Cook, Freedom Prep
Dennis Therrell, Bledsoe County
Brad Waggoner, Trousdale County
Daniel Duncan, Scotts Hill
Gene Robinson, Fairley
Jeff Harig, Loudon
Josh Roberts, Signal Mountain
Derwin Wright, York Institute
Jerrell Cogmon, Stratford
Ronald Davis, Melrose
Houston Thiel, Creek wood
Nick Lingerfelt, David Crockett interim
Lamar Brown, Knoxville West
Maurice Fitzgerald, Hillsboro
Chad Watson, Northeast
Derek Hunt, Maryville
Chuck Gentry, Lebanon
Matt Daniels, Ravenwood
Todd Hood, Rossview
J.R. Sellers, Clarksville Academy
Rusty Bradley, Knoxville Grace
Chris Cascio, Northpoint Christian
Michael Stroup, USJ
Jonas Rodriguez, ECS
Teams that have the most current consecutive playoff appearances.
Year in parentheses when streak started
30-Trousdale Co. (1988)
26-Donelson Christian Academy (1992)
26-Lewis Co. (1992)
20-Brentwood Academy (1998)
18- Friendship Christian (2000)
18- MUS (2000)
17- Cookeville (2001)
17-Christian Brothers (2001)
17-South Pittsburg (2001)
17-Wayne County (2001)
15- Alcoa (2003)
15- Camden Central (2003)
14- Coalfield (2004)
14- Hampton (2004)
13- CAK (2005)
13- Henry County (2005)
12- Giles County (2006)
12 – Fairview (2006)
MOST PLAYOFF GAMES
2. Brentwood Academy-128
5. Trousdale County-104
6. South Pittsburg-102
7. Oak Ridge-96
10. Marion County- 89
11. White House- 85
12. Gallatin- 84
13. Germantown- 81
14. Lipscomb Academy/David Lipscomb-80
MOST PLAYOFF WINS
3. Brentwood Academy-99
5. Trousdale County-77
6. South Pittsburg-73
8. Oak Ridge- 65
9, Goodpasture- 62
10. Marion County- 59
11. Lipscomb Academy-57
12. Austin East- 53
12. Fulton- 53
12. White House- 53
16. Gallatin- 51
Best Playoff Winning Percentage
1. Alcoa- 101-15, 87.1%
2. Maryville- 115-22, 83.9
3. Lausanne- 5-1, 83.3
4. Ravenwood- 22-6, 78.6
5. Brentwood Academy- 99-29, 77.3
6. Ensworth- 18-6, 75
7. Trousdale County- 77-27, 74
8. CPA- 46-17, 73
9. Riverdale- 67-25, 72.8
10.Fulton- 53-20, 72.6
11.South Pittsburg- 73-29, 71.6
12.Lipscomb Academy-57-23, 71.3
13. Hillsboro- 42-17, 71.2
14. CAK- 27-11, 71.1
15. St. George’s- 22-9, 70.9
16. Goodpasture- 64-27, 70.3
17.Milan- 82-35, 70.1
James Counce Passes Away
The high school football coaching fraternity lost another Hall of fame as former Henry County and Dyersburg coach James Counce passed away on Saturday night after suffering an heart attack, he was 68.
Counce, whose son James is the current head coach at Henry County complied a 235-95 overall record and led Henry County to two Class 5A state titles in 2011 and 2013 and also won another state title as an assistant at MBA in 2007.
He had two different stints at Henry County (1984-1993 and 2010-14) and served as head coach at Camden (1994) and Dyersburg (1995-2006) before retiring at Henry County after the 2014 season and he was voted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in 2017.
Before taking the Henry County job in 1984, he served as an assistant coach at Henry County and two Kentucky schools in Ohio County and Marshall County.
Contact Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew