Pictured: Spring Hill running back Dontae Smith
By SAM McGAW
Led by explosive playmakers on offense, Spring Hill expects to build on last season’s late success.
The Raiders finished 2016 with a 7-6 record and Class 4A quarterfinal appearance. It was their deepest playoff run since 1992. This year, they feature a dynamic duo on offense that can find the end zone at any given moment.
“We’re returning most of our skill position players,” second-year head coach Jay Emmons said. “After finishing last season on a hot streak, team expectations are high. We have the opportunity to be a good 4A team.”
The Raiders will lean on the combination of running back Dontae Smith (Sr.) and wide receiver Justin Oden (Sr.).
Smith, a Georgia Tech commit, was an all-state selection last season after he rushed for 2,338 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also added two scores on kickoff returns.
Oden has scholarship offers from Louisville, Ole Miss, Memphis, Kentucky, LSU and others. He had 27 receptions for 477 yards and six touchdowns in 2016.
Darrin Johnson is also a returning starter at wide receiver. The senior caught 26 passes for 490 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
TJ Ennis replaces Blake Lovell as the team’s starting quarterback. He had a handful of starts a year ago, finishing with 537 passing yards, 115 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns (2 run) and eight interceptions.
Tyler Moore (Sr.) will see time at fullback, while Austin Williams (Jr.) and Javari Braden (Sr.) will play tight end.
Braden had 20 receptions for 266 yards and two touchdowns last season.
Jacquise Oglesby (Jr.), Jalen Curry (Jr.), Will Davis (Jr.) and Blake Tarrence (Jr.) lead the way up front.
Defensively, the Raiders will base out of the 3-4.
Oglesby, Curry, Davis, Tarrence and Williams are in line for reps in in the trenches, while Braden and Moore spearhead the linebacking corps.
Oden and Tyler Blalock will look to make an impact at safety, while Jerry McGlown will see time at cornerback.
Sam McGaw is the sports editor for Brentwood Home Page, Franklin Home Page, Nolensville Home Page and Spring Hill Home Page. Follow him on Twitter @SamMcGaw_.