By SAM McGAW
Centennial (3-5) at Summit (7-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The Summit Spartans captured its program’s first region title just before its bye with a 47-37 win against Shelbyville Central on Oct. 6.
This week, the Spartans battle the struggling Centennial Cougars, who are coming off a 50-10 loss against Hillsboro.
Summit’s high-powered offense is spearheaded by running back Tai Carter.
The senior has recorded 1,294 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns (2 pass) this season. He rushed for 248 yards and four touchdowns against Shelbyville.
Summit head coach Brian Coleman said he believes Carter deserves to be in the running for Class 5A Mr. Football.
“I think he’s one of the top kids in Class 5A,” Coleman stated. “To win an award like that would be great for him, our team, our school and our offensive line. I think it would say a lot about our team if he were to be nominated.”
The Spartans average 39.6 points per game. Centennial has allowed 50 points or more in three separate contests.
“They play hard and they’re going to run the football,” Coleman said. “We’re going to have to block to the whistle. I know they’re going to do some shifting on the defensive line, so we have to be aware of where they’re going to be lined up.”
Running back Jariel Wilson and wide receiver Tavion Fleming are Centennial’s top offensive playmakers.
Wilson has rushed for 688 yards and nine touchdowns this season, while Fleming has 499 receiving yards, 138 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
While Centennial typically likes to lean on its rushing attack, Coleman thinks the Cougars will opt to pass on his defense that gave up a TSSAA single-game record of 606 passing yards against Shelbyville.
“I imagine they’re going to try to throw the ball on us,” he said. “Their quarterback (Tre Carlton) is more than capable of doing that. He’s been up and down. But when he’s on, he’s on. He has a very good arm and he’s very mobile.”
Franklin (1-7) at Spring Hill (4-4), 7 p.m. Friday
The Franklin Rebels need to win their final two games to avoid their worst record since they went 2-8 in 1996.
Franklin has lost four straight contests, including their recent 41-7 defeat against Oakland on Oct. 6.
This week, they face the Spring Hill Raiders, who have lost three straight games after falling 34-27 against Marshall County last week.
For the Rebels, their primary focus on defense this week is stopping Spring Hill running back Dontae Smith.
Smith, a Georgia Tech commit, has rushed for 1,415 yards and 19 touchdowns on 126 carries this season. He’s rushed for 136 yards or more in all but one game this year. He left early with an injury in his lone game without 136-plus rushing yards.
The Rebels’ top contributor on offense is running back Matt Gaca. The junior has rushed for 611 yards and five touchdowns on 119 carries. He also has three catches for 64 yards.
Franklin averages 23.5 points per game, while Spring Hill gives up an average of 23.9.
Memphis East (4-4) at Independence (4-4), 7 p.m. Friday
Independence broke its two-game losing streak last week with a 49-24 win against Dickson County. This week, the Eagles look to build some momentum when they square off with Memphis East.
Running back Troy Henderson spearheads Indy’s offense.
The senior rushed for 106 yards and five touchdowns against Dickson County. He has 787 rushing yards, 120 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this year.
Wide receiver TJ Sheffield leads the passing attack with 42 catches for 678 yards and six touchdowns.
Memphis East allows an average of 23.75 points per game.
It’s won its last two games by a combined total of 60-0.
Indy has allowed 21 points or more in every game this season.
Page (6-2) at Shelbyville Central (4-4), 7 p.m. Friday
There’s potential for a shootout in Friday’s battle between the Page Patriots and Shelbyville Central Golden Eagles.
Both teams enter the matchup averaging over 32.9 points per game.
The Patriots will look to lean on running back Bubba Johnson. The sophomore has rushed for 1,018 yards and 11 touchdowns on 157 carries.
His counterpart in the backfield is quarterback Jacob Van Landingham, who’s recorded 529 passing yards, 341 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns (9 run) and six interceptions.
The duo has an opportunity to feast on a Shelbyville defense that’s allowing 31.4 points per game.
Defensively, the Patriots’ ability to stop the pass will be tested against Shelbyville quarterback Grayson Tramel.
The junior has passed for 2,902 yards, 29 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He owns the TSSAA single-game passing record after he threw for 606 yards in his team’s 47-37 loss against Summit on Oct. 6.
His top weapon is wide receiver Avery Brown, who has 66 receptions for 1,285 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Jeremiah Wyatt (26 rec., 630 yds, 5 TDs) and Luke Davidson (40 rec., 555 yds, 9 TDs) are Shelbyville’s other top receivers.
Safety Michael Burdick leads Page’s secondary with four interceptions, including two he returned for touchdowns.
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_.