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No rest for most as season hits halftime
Sep 21, 2012 12:00 am
By ANDY REED
The District 9-AAA race will take a week off before beginning a four-game run to the finish next Friday.
But Lebanon faces a formidable foe at Cookeville while Wilson Central travels to Centennial in a meeting of two teams seeking what could be an important non-district win by the time playoff brackets are set. Mt. Juliet is off.
Watertown will try to stay unbeaten against Region 4-A rival Monterey while Friendship Christian is an overwhelming favorite over Pickett County.
Mt. Juliet Christian will host King's Academy for Coming Home. McClain Christian will rest its 4-1 record as the Bulldogs travel to Currey Ingram, which is starting an eight-man program, for a junior-varsity game which will serve as the Mustangs' homecoming.
Lebanon at Cookeville
Jerry Joslin has returned to his Sumner County roots at Pope John Paul II after 14 seasons of coaching the Cavaliers to numerous playoff appearances. Scott Cook has taken over and has Cookeville at 2-3 at midseason.
"It's still looks identical to the Jerry Joslin Cookeville team," Lebanon coach Troy Crane said. "They're still very physical in their nature of play and they run a gazillion formations at you. They got five or six things in the run game they're going to do each week and they find ways to formation you against any front you give them to be able to execute it.
"They got good size up front. They got speed at the running back position. They got some split ends who, off the running game, can play-action and get behind you with the deep ball."
The Cavaliers run a version of the 3-4 defense.
"They love to get those outside 'backers up on the line of scrimmage and come hard off the edge," Crane said. "They got a nose guard who is a man-child and you got to account for him for anything you do between the tackles. He requires a double team."
Lebanon is still seeking its first win of the season as the Blue Devils begin the second half of their schedule. Sophomores Julien Crutchfield and Taye Davis get closer to being completely healthy each week. But LHS has freshman Christian Haffner as the only quarterback in the program. Crane has used running backs, including senior Ethan Copas, in the wildcat to take the direct snap and Copas even threw several passes last week.
"Out of 22 spots we play three freshmen and six sophomores," Crane said. "We're basically playing JV against a varsity schedule."
Wilson Central at Centennial
This is not a district game, but could have some intriguing implications for the playoffs should overall wins come into play. The Wildcats are 5-0 while the Cougars are 3-1 following a 31-3 loss to Independence.
"They are athletic," Wildcats coach Brad Dedman said of the Cougars, who run the spread. "They can run. They are a very fast team. They like to throw the ball a lot. They are 60-40 throwing. They have athletes at ever position.
"We've got a few athletes. We're both deep in the skill positions. It's going to come down to the linemen up front, blocking and tackling, who can win in the trenches."
Dedman said wingback Tim Fitzgerald will be out this week with a broken hand while freshman wingback Gabe Angel is questionable with a sprained ankle.
Monterey at Watertown
For years, these teams met in Week 10, often with a playoff berth at stake. The winner played on; the loser stayed home.
Things haven't really changed for these teams, even though it's only Week 5. Monterey is 3-2 for the season and 2-1 in Region 4-A following a 42-8 loss to Gordonsville. Watertown is 4-0, 2-0.
"We look at each and every week from here on out as playoff qualifications," said Watertown coach Gavin Webster, whose Purple Tigers still have Friendship Christian, Gordonsvile and Trousdale County in order down the road. "We've got Monterey this week. It's got playoff all over it.
"I've been here for [some 15 years] and that Week 10 game was always Monterey and it was pretty much who won that game went and who didn't stayed home."
Monterey is in the second season of running the single-wing offense. The Wildcats returned just about everybody from their 2011 roster.
"Looks like they have a pretty good football team on film," Webster said. "They got a pretty experienced group."
Monterey runs a 4-3 defense.
"[They] fly around and put a little pressure on you."
Webster reported no new injuries.
Pickett County at Friendship Christian
The winless Bobcats are making their fourth straight trip to Pirtle Field as FCS bought out their home game.
"I haven't really seen them on film so I don't know a whole lot about them other than the past," Commander coach John McNeal said of the Bobcats. "We're just taking this week to try to get better in our special teams and get better offensively and defensively. We're basically focusing on ourselves."
With Friendship at 3-1, the temptation is there to look ahead to next week's visit from Trousdale County.
"I'd be lying if I said [we didn't]. We do," McNeal said. "We hope Friday night we go out and do what we're suppose to do, take care of business there. During this week, work on ourself and work on Trousdale."
McNeal said everyone who's been playing will be available this week.
King's Academy at Mt. Juliet Christian
The Lions will bring a 1-2 record from East Tennessee to Suey Field.
"They're a physical team," Mt. Juliet Christian coach Jake Roberts said. "They like to get in the I, power I and just run it at you. They got some size on us.
"They'll throw if they get down, but they're mostly a run-first team."
The Saints enter the second half of their schedule still seeking their first win. But they finished last week's 39-21 loss at Tri-Cities Christian on a positive note.
"Outside of Clarksville Academy, who just whipped us, we've beaten ourselves every week," Roberts said. If we can take care of ourselves, I think we can be okay."
Roberts said wide receiver Preston Raymer will again sit out the game with concussion-like symptoms. Freshman wideout/defensive back Nathan Green is questionable after badly bruising a rib last week.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org