Region play resumes for all teams in Wilson County. For Friendship Christian and Mt. Juliet Christian, the schedule from here on is all East Region Class II-A. For the public school teams in Division I, it’ll be on again, off again for the remainder of the season.
Wilson Central at Mt. Juliet
The big question is will Wilson Central score the first points of the season against the Golden Bears, who won their first four games by a combined 165-0.
“Their defense is really good,” Wildcat coach Brad Dedman said of the Golden Bears. “I like the plan we have going in this week. Hopefully, our plan comes about and we score a lot.
“It comes to who manages the game the best, who minimizes the mistakes the best.”
On Mt. Juliet’s side, the 0 in the scoring column is less important than the 0 in the win-loss ledger.
“We don’t address it much, but absolutely at some point it will come to an end,” Bear boss Trey Perry said of the shutout streak. “But I’m confident in the guys that they will concentrate on the next series.”
Mt. Juliet’s 37-0 win over Gallatin was more lopsided than most in Bear Nation expected.
“But we obviously were pleased with the result,” said Perry, in his fifth season at the helm. “We played as well as we’ve played since I’ve been the head coach at Mt. Juliet for a complete 48 minutes.
“Having said that, there’s always room for improvement. What I like about this football team, especially our senior class, when they come in to watch film on Sunday, they want to improve.”
Those lessons in the film room have paid off from Dedman’s vantage point.
“They do a very good job leveraging the football,” Dedman said. “Everybody knows what their assignment is. They’re always in the right spot… They’re a disciplined football team. They know what they have to do. They do a good job of reading keys and rallying to the ball.”
And don’t forget the offense, which is averaging over 40 points per game.
“Their offensive line is really good up front. They line and drive with those guys,” Dedman said. “They have a lot of people they can go to in the backfield… Their quarterback (Cody Glass) does a good job managing the game.”
Following an 0-3 start, the Wildcats are coming off a win over John Overton last week as their turnovers have gone down and offensive balance has gone up.
“Their record isn’t indicative of their ability,” Perry said of the Wildcats. “What jumps out on film is if they don’t turn the ball over, we may be looking at a 4-0-vs.-4-0 football game.”
“We tried to get balanced, get it back to 50-50 run-pass and make us hard to defend,” Dedman said.
Aaron Hubbell, a pitching ace for Anthony Ford’s baseball team in the spring, has been pumping fastballs from the backfield for Traye Aric’s offense this fall.
“He’s got a really strong arm and be distributes the ball well, and he’s got people who can catch the ball and make plays in space,” Perry said of Hubbell. “He can make every throw, be it a quick gainer or deep.
“They used a little more of a two-back set against Overton and it was successful. They have a decent talent in the slot with Dalton King.”
Inside linebacker Dawson Ray is the latest in a defensive force the Bears have faced already this season.
“He really jumps out on film,” Perry said of Ray. “An inside linebacker who will lay a hat on you.”
On the injury front, all Wildcats who played against Overton should be available this week. Mt. Juliet will have junior slotback/cornerback Colby Martin back from a knee injury which sidelined him against Gallatin.
Hendersonville at Lebanon
Despite the gray skies and rain produced by the remnants of Hurricane Irma, the week broke bright and sunny over Lebanon High School.
That’s what happens when the Blue Devils are coming off their first win of the season.
“It’s been a situation all year when they’ve executed and do things properly it works and when they don’t execute, it doesn’t work,” said Lebanon coach Chuck Gentry, coming off his first career victory. “Anytime you win one, you want to win two…and gain some momentum. It’s definitely easier to take (coaching) and learn when you win than from a loss.”
Though the Blue Devils are 1-3 for the season, they are 0-1 in Region 4-6A. Hendersonville will visit Clifton Tribble Field/Danny Watkins Stadium 2-2, 1-0.
“They all count and matter, but these (region games) are magnified because it has playoff implications,” Gentry said.
Under longtime coach Bruce Hatfield, Hendersonville has built a tradition around the wing-T offense, the 50 defense and a strong kicking game. Gentry listed as many as four running backs and two fullbacks who share the running wealth.
“They’re going to take what they’ve given,” said Gentry, who cut is teeth on the wing-T at Cumberland under legendary coach Herschel Moore in the late 1990s. “(Moore) would throw the ball three times in a game and say that was too many.
“They do seem to look to throw it a little more than some. They’re running some spread elements (in addition to the traditional wing-T plays).”
Watertown at Cascade
Both teams are 0-1 in Region 4-2A as they try to inject themselves into the playoff chase.
“We need to win this week if we want to finish second,” said Watertown coach Gavin Webster, whose Purple Tigers have a region loss to Trousdale County as part of their overall 2-2 worksheet. “We got to win the rest of them out.”
Cascade, which has been a historically tough cookie for the Tigers to digest, whether as a season-opening opponent in years past or in the playoffs, is currently 0-3.
“I believe they’re pretty young,” Webster said of the Champions. “They run a lot of pro-I. They’re going to try to run it mostly. Even front on defense.
“They’re probably about our size. They’re not any bigger than us.”
On the injury front, quarterback Bryce Webster is now listed as day-to-day with a broken collarbone which has sidelined him the last couple of weeks. Heath Price, normally a receiver, received more snaps at QB last week but will continue to share time with Elijah Williams if Webster can’t go, Coach (and father) Webster said.
Friendship Christian at Donelson Christian
Both teams are 1-0 in the East II-A Region entering a stretch of six straight league games to wrap up the regular season. DCA had not allowed a point in a 3-0 start before being outscored 35-32 by Franklin Road Academy last week. Longtime Wildcat coach Dennis Goodwin runs the I-formation on offense and a 4-3 defense.
“They got a lot of seniors who’ve played several years… Have about nine seniors starting on both sides,” said Friendship coach John McNeal, whose Commanders have locked horns with Goodwin’s Wildcats for decades. “They’re doing what they’re always do. They’re very balanced throwing and running. They have good speed.”
Friendship is 4-0 behind, in part, to a fast start by running back Jajuan (Speedy) Foutch, who exited last week’s win at Goodpasture with an elbow injury. McNeal said he is questionable for this week.
King’s Academy at Mt. Juliet Christian
Like Friendship and DCA, King’s and MJCA are the other half of the 1-0 region teams as the league race will begin to take shape this week. While the Saints try to expand a 4-0 start, the Lions are 3-1 following a 23-12 loss to Greenback last week.
“Offensively, they run the spread,” Mt. Juliet Christian coach Dan Davis said of the Lions. “They’re running a 4-3 this year on defense. They look like a good ballclub.
“They throw it a little more than they run it. I’d say they’re about 60-40 pass… They’re a decent-sized team. They have a couple of big guys. They have a good quarterback (6-foot-5 junior Brandon Burgess). They’re probably above-average speed.”
Davis said all the Saints who were available last week will be this Friday as well.
Week 5 games
WILSON CENTRAL at MT. JULIET
Hendersonville at LEBANON
WATERTOWN at Cascade
FRIENDSHIP CHRISTIAN at Donelson Christian
King’s Academy at MT. JULIET CHRISTIAN
All kickoffs at 7 p.m.