Coach Speak Round 4

Coach Speak Round 4


  Independence Eagles (5A) at Brentwood Bruins (5A)  

Friday at 7:00 pm

Independence (13-0, Region 5 #1) held on for a wild 49-46 victory over Cane Ridge after leading 49-19 early in the fourth quarter.  Quarterback, Brandon Hines, threw for 367 yards with six total touchdowns, and wide receiver, Kendrell Scurry, caught four passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Eagles offense.  Independence likes to strike quick with its no huddle, Spread attack on offense and will feature a fast and aggressive 4-3 defense.

3 Keys for Independence
1. Establish the running game & screen game early & help take pressure off of Mr. Hines
2. Feed multiple play-makers the ball & force the Bruins to defend the entire field
3. Jump on the Bruins early & go for the jugular; do not give the Bruins any confidence

Brentwood (9-4, Region 7 #2) used a late CJ Grissim interception and a 35-yard field goal from Tucker Day as time expired to upset Centennial 24-21 last Friday night.  Quarterback, Kaden Dreier, who started for the injured Carson Shacklett, led the Bruins offense completing 16-26 passes for 147 yards and two rushing touchdowns.  The Bruins will rely on a deep and talented receiving corps to score points out of their spread offensive attack and a defense that will showcase a 3-4 scheme.

3 Keys for Brentwood
1. Limit the Eagles explosive plays on offense & force the Eagles to drive the football for points
2. Keep possession of the ball on offense & limit the Eagles offensive possessions
3. Win all phases of the kicking game & hidden yardage on special teams

“Coach Speak”
Williamson County is guaranteed a spot in the 5A state championship for the second year in a row when these two programs square off Friday night.  Independence rides into this contest the winner of 28 straight games, while Brentwood is coming off the upset of the Region seven champions Centennial Cougars.  Brentwood needs to stay balanced on offense, keep the Eagles receivers in front of them, and win every phase of the kicking game to pull the massive upset.  Independence needs to start fast on both sides of the ball, escape turnover free, and avoid mental lapses to push their winning streak to 29 games.  This should be a great in-county match-up with the Bruins coming into the game with nothing to lose and Independence chasing a second straight 5A crown.  Watch for this game to be closer than the experts think into the fourth quarter where the experienced Eagles will take over with championship level play.  Independence will play for their second straight 5A crown and a chance to be 30-0 over two seasons!

Prediction: Independence 33, Brentwood 24

Players Worth the Price of Admission
1. Landon Guidry – #7 – S/WR – Independence  –  (3 star, 2017 #26 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  Miss. St. Commit
2. Troy Henderson – #21 – RB – Independence
3. Hunter Dupree – #43 – ILB – Independence
4. Kendrell Scurry – #11 – WR – Independence  –   (4 star, 2019 #5 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  Tenn. Commit
5. Alan Watson – #15 – CB/WR – Independence
6. TJ Sheffield
 – #2 – WR/RB/KR/DB – Independence
7. Parker Bullion – #2 WR/DB – Brentwood
8. Christian LaBreche – #87 TE/LB – Brentwood  –  (2 star, 2017 #68 prospect TN, 247Sports)
9. Tucker Day – #42 P/K – Brentwood  –   (2 star, 2017 #92 prospect TN, 247Sports)
10. Cole Mabry – #72 OL – Brentwood  –  (3 star, 2018 #17 prospect TN, 247Sports)

Maryville Rebels (6A) at Oakland Patriots (6A)  

Friday at 7:00 pm, MyTV30 – WUXP’s Friday Night Rivals Game of the Week

Maryville (13-0, Region 1 #1) scored on its first seven possessions and racked up 492 yards of total offense en route to a 48-28 victory over Blackman.  Quarterback, Dylan Hopkins, passed for 191 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Rebels offense.  Running back, Jordan Ervin, added 71 yards rushing and three touchdowns and tight end, Blake Watson, caught four passes for 113 yards.  Maryville relies heavily on RPOs (run/pass option) out of multiple formations on offense and will line up in a 4-3 on defense.

3 Keys for Maryville
1. Stay on schedule offensively, move the chains, & score touchdowns in the red zone
2. Block & cover on special teams against the best special teams unit in Tennessee
3. Play with eye discipline and read keys against Oakland’s multiple Wing-T offense

Oakland (13-0, Region 2 #1)
 jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead and never looked back, defeating Hardin Valley 49-7.  Quarterback, Brendan Matthews, made quick work of his evening connecting on 7-10 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, and Zarius Gamble added four receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown.  Jacoby Stevens put the special teams unit on the scoreboard with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and linebacker, Jackson Cauthen, returned an interception 28 yards to the house in the third quarter. Oakland will show multiple formations out of their base Wing-T offense and feature a 3-4 on defense.

3 Keys for Oakland
1. Win 3rd down on defense, tackle well in space, & force the Rebels to kick field goals
2. Continue to score on special teams & defense
3. Move the chains, possess the ball, & limit the Rebels offensive possessions

“Coach Speak”
The showdown in 6A that we have all been waiting for has finally arrived with the match-up of two nationally recognized programs within the state of Tennessee.  The Rebels have been a staggering 216-8 since 2001, having won 10 state championships (four runners-up) during that span while also knocking out a Rutherford County team in each of the previous five seasons. Oakland is averaging 50 points per game on offense and only allowing 5 points per game on defense, with an uncanny ability to block kicks and score touchdowns on special teams.  The Patriots have put the mercy rule into effect in 12 out of 13 games this year.  Oakland is also looking to avenge last year’s 27-13 defeat at the hands of Maryville.  Maryville will have to play sound special teams, avoid turnovers, and tackle well in space to beat the Patriots.  Oakland has to play with confidence, spread the ball around to multiple play-makers, and eliminate mistakes and costly penalties to pull the upset over the Rebels.  Watch for the Patriots to win the physical battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball, make life miserable on the Rebels offense, and put together multiple special teams plays to finally get the monkey off of Rutherford County’s back and advance to the State Championship!

Prediction: Oakland 29, Maryville 28

Players Worth the Price of Admission
1. TD Blackmon – #27 LB/RB – Maryville  –  (3 Star, 2017 #32 prospect TN, 247Sports)
2. Dylan Hopkins – #1 – QB – Maryville
3. Blake Watson – #81 – TE – Maryville
4. Isaiah Cobb – #2 – RB/OLB – Maryville
5. Jacoby Stevens – #7 –S/WR – Oakland     (5 star, 2017 #3 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  LSU Commit
6. Kaleb Oliver – #6 – S/WR – Oakland    (3 star, 2017 #18 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  Miss. St. Commit
7. Elijah Dobbins – #75 – OT/DT – Oakland    (2 star, 2017 #74 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  MTSU Commit
8. Chris Onwumere – #99 – DT/FB – Oakland

Knoxville Central Bobcats (4A) at Marshall County Tigers (4A)  

Friday at 7:00 pm

Knoxville Central (11-2, Region 2 #2) defeated region rival Knoxville Fulton 20-6 with a suffocating defense and downhill running game.  The Bobcats defense held Fulton to 150 total yards of offense, and the Bobcat offense possessed the ball for 32 minutes.  Running back, Jadarius Sackie, led the Bobcats offense with 189 yards on 39 carries and two touchdowns.  Knoxville Central will line up in a 4-2-5 on defense and attack the opposing defense with a downhill power running game mostly out of two backs.

3 Keys for Knoxville Central
1. Limit the Tigers running game & force the Tigers to become one-dimensional on offense
2. Get off the field on 3rd down defensively, control time of possession, & limit snaps for the Tigers explosive offense
3. Tackle well in the open field

Marshall County (12-1, Region 4 #1)
 was dominate on both sides of the ball in a 53-13 quarterfinal victory over Spring Hill.  Running back, Kamron Liggett, was the star of the night rushing for 106 yards and five touchdowns.  Bryce Wallace completed 15-20 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, and Tre Crutcher added seven receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown.   Marshall County will run a Spread, no huddle offense and feature a 3-4 alignment on defense.

3 Keys for Marshall County
1. Slow down the Bobcats downhill running game & force the Bobcats to beat them through the air
2. Stay balanced on offense & spread the wealth to multiple play-makers; force Bobcats to defend entire field
3. Eliminate penalties & win the turnover battle

“Coach Speak”
If you asked Marshall County at the beginning of the playoffs who they would see in the state semifinals, most would have said a rematch with Knoxville Catholic would be looming.  Knoxville Fulton spoiled that rematch with a surprising upset of top ranked Catholic, and Knoxville Central physically manhandled Fulton a week later to create a match-up showcasing two different styles of football.  Knoxville Central will bring a stout defense and two-back power running game to Marshall County to face off against the high flying offense of the Tigers and a fast, physical defense in their own right.  Central must tackle well in space, control time of possession, and avoid turnovers that turn into easy points to pull out another surprise victory.  Marshall County needs to distribute the ball to multiple play-makers, get off the field on third down defensively, and force Central to play from behind to advance to the state championship.  Watch for the Tigers passing game and a couple of late stops by an underrated defensive unit to be the difference in the ballgame.  Tigers win a close slugfest to advance to the state championship Friday night!

Prediction: Marshall County 27, Knoxville Central 21

Players Worth the Price of Admission
1. Isaac Buell – #47 DL/OL – Knoxville Central  –  (3 star, 2017 #36 prospect TN, 247Sports)
2. Trey Mitchell – #15 QB – Knoxville Central
3. Louis McNair – #2 WR/CB – Knoxville Central
4. Bryce Wallace – #12 – QB – Marshall Co.
5. Cain McWilliams – #2 – LB/RB – Marshall Co.  –  (3 star 2017 #29 prospect TN, 247Sports)  –  MTSU Commit
6. Tre Crutcher – #10 – WR/DB – Marshall Co.
7. Jay Howard – #4 – WR – Marshall Co.

“Coach Speak” Season Record: 28-14 (67%); Playoff Record: 7-2 (78%)

Contact Kevin at and follow him on Twitter @K_Smith33

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