Columbia Central, Indy address schedule concerns

By Maurice Patton

Jason Hoath is hopeful that Columbia Central will be able to play its Week 4 game against host Overton.

But the Lions coach has a backup plan if Metro Nashville Public Schools athletics are not allowed to begin competition in time for a Sept. 11 matchup because of COVID-19 concerns.

“We’ve penciled Giles County in, in case we can’t play Overton,” Hoath said this week, as Central continued to prepare for its Region 5-5A opener Friday against visiting second-ranked Summit. “We’ve told them, if Metro plays, we’re playing Overton.

“We’ve penciled in Giles County, but we haven’t made it official. We owe Overton an away game. We don’t want to bail on that.”

Jason Hoath and Columbia Central have a plan in place if their Sept. 11 game at Overton is unable to be played because of COVID restrictions in Metro Nashville. The Lions will travel instead to Giles County, the coach said. (Photo by Ric Beu)

Central, which defeated Overton 48-25 last September at Lindsey Nelson Stadium, is also scheduled to host Stratford in Week 10.

“We haven’t really pursued (a replacement for) Stratford yet,” Hoath said. “We hope they have it straightened out by then. We’re trying not to think about that.

“It’s hard. For our kids’ sake, we want to play 10 games. Wins are nice, but the kids want to play ball.”

Giles County is currently the only Region 5-3A team in action. The Bobcats are the league’s only non-Metro program, with East Nashville, Pearl-Cohn, Stratford and Whites Creek all sidelined until further notice. Initially set to be idle this week before a game with East Nashville, Giles County will instead observe its open date Friday – leaving the possibility of an East Nashville contest if a decision is made allowing Metro teams to play.

Independence adds game: With weather forcing a cancellation of Independence’s Week 2 contest against visiting Christ Presbyterian Academy, Eagles coach Scott Blade confirmed his team will fill its originally slated Week 8 open date with Ensworth.

“Not getting to play that game left us with an opening in our schedule,” Blade said. “This is just an effort to get the kids 10 games. We decided this would be a good opportunity to play one of the top teams in the state.”

The game will be played on Thursday, Oct. 8, at Independence before Williamson County Schools begin fall break.

Independence has added an Oct. 8 game against visiting Ensworth, bringing its current schedule back to 10 games after last weekend’s cancellation of the Christ Presbyterian Academy contest because of inclement weather. (Photo by Sarah Yow)

“The kids want to play whenever they can,” Blade said. “Sometimes the circumstances are that it doesn’t work out. But the whole thing is about giving hope, something to strive for. Everything is just hard with so much uncertainty.”

Independence also has a Week 10 game scheduled at Pearl-Cohn that is currently in jeopardy.

“If that one doesn’t work out, we’ve got something to work in there,” Blade said.

In addition to Independence and Columbia Central, Spring Hill and Summit each have games against Metro Nashville opponents on their schedule. Summit is scheduled to host Overton on Sept. 18, with Maplewood scheduled to visit Spring Hill in a Region 4-4A game on Oct. 2.

Lions’ roster addition: Justin Buchmann, a 5-10, 175-pound senior receiver from Clarkston, Mich., is expected to dress for Columbia Central’s game Friday against Summit.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association had announced plans to postpone its football season until the spring, but this week acknowledged that those plans are being revisited with hopes of an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that would allow play this fall.

“He moved down with his dad,” Hoath said of Buchmann. “He’s got some friends down here. He got registered for school last week and we were just waiting on his eligibility. He’s a good athlete.”

In six games last fall, Buchmann compiled 462 rushing and receiving yards with seven offensive touchdowns and another on a kick return. He has drawn recruiting interest from a number of FCS and smaller FBS programs.

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail:; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.

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