So this is how it’s gonna be.
The first weekend of the 2020 high school football season, fittingly it seems, spanned three days – giving Mostradamus a win for each day, by the way – and Week 2 seems as if it’s going to be every bit as challenging.
The expected remnants of twin hurricanes have forced school administrators to shift the majority of games to Thursday.
Working on short weeks – exceptionally short in one particular case – let’s see what the participants, and the turbaned prognosticator, can do to shake off some shaky starts.
Christ Presbyterian Acad. (1-0) at Independence (0-1): In keeping with the days of the coronavirus, CPA had to pick up a Week 1 opponent after their home opener against Evangelical Christian out of Memphis fell victim to pandemic concerns. The defending Division II-AA state champs instead traveled to Riverdale and took advantage of five Warrior turnovers in a 20-7 win. Junior Cade Law established himself as a dual-threat QB as a sophomore last season, and has a bevy of options in the running game including seniors Will Hays, Tyler Reid and Cade Reynolds. The Eagles were pleased with the debut of senior QB Jaxson Campbell (130 rushing yards, 207 passing yards, four total TDs) in their Week 1 loss to visiting Summit. Look for the hosts to bounce back Thursday with their second straight win in the series. Independence 24, Christ Presbyterian Acad. 17.
Collinwood (1-0) at Richland (0-1): Expected to be a factor in the Region 6-1A race, Collinwood got off to a flying start with a 40-6 win at league rival Middleton despite a roster that features just five seniors. One of those, though, is three-year starting QB Dayton Scott, who threw for 1,200-plus yards a year ago and teams with classmate Alex Haddock to give the Trojans a pair of threats in the run game. Collinwood also boasts experience up front, if not the size that Richland saw in a Week 1 loss at Rogers (Ala.). The Raiders, playing their second Thursday contest in as many weeks, will look to build on the momentum they built in the second half of their Aug. 20 opener, when they scored all their points during a 35-19 decision. Senior RB Austin Seals gave the Raiders a big-play boost with a 62-yard TD run and a 70-yard scoring reception. Richland will need more of that explosiveness to even their early record and reprise last year’s 26-18 victory. Richland 27, Collinwood 20.
Dickson Co. (0-1) at Columbia Central (1-0): The Cougars made their debut under new coach Greg Burns, a longtime assistant at Independence, against county rival Creek Wood and came up on the short end of a 28-21 decision. Ethan Howell, the fourth player to take snaps at quarterback, nearly engineered a successful comeback with the help of RB/LB Clinton Shrader and the versatile Kaden Thomas. Central, a 21-0 winner at Dickson in 2019, expects to build on the momentum of its 27-3 Backyard Bowl victory at Spring Hill as both the offensive and defensive units appeared to be in fine form. DE Antwan Moore’s 6-yard score on an errant pitch helped jumpstart the Lions, while RB Christian Biggers (26 carries, 104 yards) stabilized an offense that benefitted from QB Brady McCanless’ timely throws. A similar mixture should be on display Thursday night. Columbia Central 28, Dickson Co. 13
Spring Hill (0-1) at Summit (1-0): Two teams already headed in opposite directions meet in a county-line clash Thursday. The host Spartans only led their season opener for 22 seconds, but it was the final 22 seconds of a 40-34 Border Battle victory at south Williamson County rival Independence. And while RB/LB Keaten Wade missed the contest with a broken foot suffered during practice earlier in the week, one Wade was enough for Summit as QB Destin Wade ran and threw for 506 yards and all six TDs. Conversely, Spring Hill never got untracked offensively in its Backyard Bowl loss. While the Raider defense turned in a respectable performance – limiting Central to 228 total yards, with two of three offensive TDs coming on drives of 37 yards or fewer – the offense finished with 73 yards and eight first downs, gaining no more than 25 yards on any of 13 possessions. Moreover, RBs Landen Secrest and Dante Prowell finished with 29 rushing yards on 20 carries. Summit 35, Spring Hill 10.
Zion Chr. (0-1) at Fayetteville (0-1): In another sudden Thursday contest, the Eagles approach their second straight road game – and third straight road trip, having played Friday and Saturday at Grace Christian in an eventual 47-6 loss. Zion showed some promise behind junior QB Luke Perko, but a short roster will be problematic. Senior RB/LB Dillan Runions missed the latter portion of the opener with a rib injury, but will hopefully be available against the Tigers. Fayetteville, meanwhile, came into the season with a score to settle after eligibility issues prevented a postseason appearance; Friday’s 27-16 loss at Marion County won’t help the hosts’ mood. A talented trio of seniors – LB Jay Buchanan, WR/DB Zayshon Pullen and two-way lineman Jalen Williams – will spearhead the Tigers’ effort. Fayetteville 31, Zion Chr. 13.
Wayne Co. (0-1) at Summertown (1-0): After surviving a rainy opening night and a spirited Mt. Pleasant squad, Summertown can expect similar conditions Thursday against visiting Wayne County. In a 7-0 loss to Loretto, the Wildcats lost more yards in penalties (90) than they gained in rushing (85). Similarly to the Eagle attack last week, Wayne County wasn’t particularly effective in the passing game either – completing just one of six attempts, for two yards. Look for Summertown to open things up a bit more after QB Colton Shaffer went 0-for-3 in the 13-12 win a week ago, although Javen Edmiston and Aniken Johnson will continue to be focal points on the ground. Summertown 19, Wayne Co. 12
Shelbyville (0-1) at Columbia Acad. (0-1): In the only Friday game locally, the Bulldogs will try to right themselves at home after a seven-turnover affair in their 27-14 loss at Clay County. Despite 102 offensive yards, CA trailed by only six at just under the 10-minute mark but interceptions stopped their ensuing three possessions and short-circuited any comeback hopes. Ball security will be a key against a Golden Eagles squad that opened under Josh Puckett – who led Lake County to last year’s Class A state title – with a 38-13 loss at Tullahoma. Shelbyville, the Region 5-5A runner-up in 2019, features junior QB Kade Cunningham, who riddled the ‘Dawgs for 498 yards and six TDs in last year’s 48-22 decision. Shelbyville 23, Columbia Acad. 16
Last week: 3-3 (.500)