With one exception, Maury County runners came up just short – literally, in one case – of qualifying for state cross country competition with their performances at Friday’s Region 6-Small Class meet at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill.
Mt. Pleasant’s Ben Hirsch, a state qualifier a year ago, finished 11th Friday with a time of 19 minutes, 20 seconds over the 5K course. The top 10 individuals and top three teams advance. Hirsch crossed the line a second behind East Hickman’s Eduardo Moreno for the final spot.
Fairview’s Ryan Keeton (16:38), Matthew Andrea (17:17) and Dylan Hammond (18:27) swept the top three places individually, pacing the Yellow Jackets to the team championship.
Santa Fe, led by Ryan Seltz’s 19th-place individual finish (20:08) tied Forrest for second, with both teams set to run Friday at the state small-class meet at Hendersonville’s Sanders Ferry Park. Josh Martin (20:10) placed 20th for Santa Fe.
Jackson Gary ran a 19:33 to place 13th for Mt. Pleasant, followed by Summertown’s Skyler Trousdale (19:36). Errette Delk ran a 20:00 for Hampshire, good for 17th individually.
Alyssa Andrea of Fairview won the girls individual title with a 19:59. Summertown’s Alivia Riggs (22:55) and Claire Woods (23:25) placed sixth and 10th, respectively. Santa Fe’s Lillian Trout (24:10) was the county’s top finisher, coming in at No. 17.
Moore County, Forrest and Huntland were the top three team finishers.
The state championships are set for Thursday and Friday, with Division I competition on Thursday and DII on Friday at Sanders Ferry. The full schedule is as follows:
Thursday: 10 a.m. — Division I Large Class Girls; 10:40 a.m. — Division I Large Class Boys; 2 p.m. — Division I Small Class Girls; 2:40 p.m. — Division I Small Class Boys
Friday: 10 a.m. — Division II Class AA Girls; 10:40 a.m. — Division II Class AA Boys; 2 p.m. — Division II Class A Girls; 2:40 p.m. — Division II Class A Boys
Letters from the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association were received Thursday by Shelbyville and Franklin County, spelling out their punishments for the confrontation between their two football teams that cut their Week 10 contest short.
Those letters, obtained by SM-Tn Sports, notified each school that it will be assessed fines totaling $3,250, which includes $1,000 for each year of “restrictive probation,” $500 annually for “probation” and $250 for players leaving bench area.
Both teams being placed on ‘restrictive probation’ for the next two years makes them both ineligible for the state playoffs in both 2020 and 2021.
As a result, each of the remaining four teams in Region 5-5A — Summit, Page, Columbia Central and Lincoln County — are assured of postseason berths in 2020. Summit is the No. 1 seed, with Lincoln County established as the No. 4 seed. Pending Friday’s outcomes, both Page and Columbia Central are in play for the No. 2 seed and a home game to open the playoffs.
Area runners have began to make their way to next week’s TSSAA state cross country championships, with their performances in regional competition this week.
Most recently, Columbia Academy’s girls claimed a berth in the Division II-A state meet after placing third in Thursday’s DII-A Middle Region meet at Hendersonville’s Sanders Ferry Park. Junior Annabelle Cothran running a 21-minute, 15-second time over the 5K course to finish third, leading three Lady Bulldog top-10 placers. CA eighth-grader Presley Miller (21:16) placed fourth, with sophomore Jaelyn Hickerson (22:24) finishing ninth.
In the team competition, CA finished behind region titlist Christ Presbyterian Academy and runner-up University School of Nashville.
On the boys side, Columbia Academy junior Connor Henson turned in a winning time of 16:57, 30 seconds ahead of runner-up Trace Alexander of Battle Ground Academy. Zion Christian senior William Craig (17:58) placed seventh.
The top 10 individual region finishers and the top three teams advance to state competition.
Earlier this week, Independence’s girls placed second at the Region 6-Large Class meet, behind Brentwood and ahead of Franklin. Jayne Halterman placed second for the Lady Eagles, running an 18:09.33 to finish behind Page’s Leigh Walters (17:59.55), with Julia Halterman running a 18:23.62 for fourth place and Emma Wilson finishing in 19:34.03 for 10th.
In the boys competition, Spring Hill’s Michael Gerhart (16:37.50) and Independence’s Nate Martinez (16:38.00) placed eighth and ninth, respectively.
Columbia Central ran in the Region 4-Large Class meet at the Siegel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro. Boys teams from Siegel, Murfreesboro Central and Oakland advanced to state, with girls teams from Siegel, Murfreesboro Central and Stewarts Creek moving on. Individually, Central’s Trace Schoeberl placed 26th with a time of 18:46.23.
On Friday, the Region 6-Small Class meet will take place at Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill, with runners from Culleoka, Hampshire, Mt. Pleasant, Santa Fe and Summertown taking the course beginning at 9 a.m.
Given the first 10 weeks of the 2020 area high school football schedule, it would have been shocking if there had been no games canceled for Week 11.
There’s no shock.
The shutdowns were well spread out, though, as Summit’s Region 5-5A regular-season finale at Lincoln County was canceled last week because of COVID issues on the part of the prospective hosts. On Wednesday, Spring Hill learned that its Region 4-4A matchup with visiting Lawrence County would not take place because the Wildcats have had pandemic issues.
Most recently, similar concerns at Columbia Academy resulted in the Bulldogs announcing Thursday they will not travel to Fayette Academy for their Division II-A West Region contest.
There is still, though, a Week 11 slate that includes some contests with postseason implications.
Let’s see what Mostradamus sees for the final Friday night of the regular season.
Columbia Central (5-4, 1-3) at Shelbyville (6-2, 3-0): Both teams are expected to have their starting quarterbacks for this Region 5-5A tilt – which benefits the host Golden Eagles. Junior Kade Cunningham, who ran and threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns in Shelbyville’s Week 8 win at Cleveland, was unavailable for last week’s victory over Franklin County for COVID-related reasons. Central senior Brady McCanless (837 passing yards, six TDs) left the Lions’ Week 9 game at Page with a concussion and was held out of the Stratford game. Shelbyville is assured of the No. 2 seed for the Class 5A playoffs regardless of Friday’s outcome, while Central can lock up a berth with a win – but can also advance, win or lose, with a Page victory over Franklin County. A Page loss and a Central loss would end the Lions’ season. Shelbyville 27, Columbia Central 21.
Huntland (5-4, 2-2) at Richland (3-5, 1-3): The winner grabs the final postseason berth out of Region 5-1A, with region titlist Fayetteville, runner-up Moore County and Cornersville already decided. Huntland can advance as the No. 3 seed with a win, while the Raiders would advance as the No. 4 seed for a second straight season with a victory. The Hornets surprised host Cornersville last week, winning 24-14 for their third victory in their last four outings. Senior RB Kolbi Stewart (1,091 rushing yards, 15 TDs) homefield has been Huntland’s offensive constant, with five 100-yard efforts – including a 301-yard performance two weeks ago against Moore County. Richland’s playoff hopes, jeopardized with last week’s 35-7 loss at Moore County, now lie on its ability to generate offense behind QB Sam Edwards and senior RB Austin Seals; the two have teamed for 1,090 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, but the Raiders have scored 20-plus points just twice in eight games and has managed just 34 points in consecutive losses to Spring Hill, Cornersville and Moore County. Huntland 26, Richland 18.
Mt. Pleasant (1-7, 0-3) at Moore Co. (8-1, 3-1): The Bulldogs close out a season of struggle on the road, against a Moore County team that’s been impressive all year. Ranked fifth in this week’s Associated Press Class 1A Top 10, the Raiders’ only loss came to Region 5-1A titlist and sixth-ranked Fayetteville back in Week 5 by a 28-22 margin; Moore County’s four victories – including last week’s 35-7 win over Richland — since have been by an average of 25 points. QB Kyler Parker has rolled up 2,000-plus offensive yards with 25 touchdowns, with RB Tyler Smith providing a nice secondary punch. The Raider attack promises to be a challenge for Mt. Pleasant’s defense, led by senior LB Ethan Beasley (60 tackles, two sacks in five games) and S Jeffrey Williams. On the other side of the ball, QB Te’Varius Strayhorn comes off his most productive passing performance in last week’s 14-6 loss at Eagleville. The Tiger offense will have to execute and be balanced to have a chance here. Moore Co. 24, Mt. Pleasant 16.
Ravenwood (5-4, 3-1) at Independence (6-1, 4-0): The visiting Raptors, boasting a pair of Power 5 commits in TE Jake Briningstool (Clemson) and LB Junior Colson (Michigan), bring a less-than-glowing mark into this Region 6-6A clash. Don’t be fooled. Ravenwood’s losses are to league and crosstown rival Brentwood, perennial Division II-AA power Christ Presbyterian Academy and a pair of high-powered out-of-state in Pulaski Academy (Ark.) and IMG Academy (Fla.). Ranked 10th in the AP Class 6A poll after last week’s 51-10 win at Smyrna, Ravenwood eyes its eighth straight win in the series against Independence. The Eagles have not scored more than 14 points in any of the previous seven matchups. That’ll change this week. QB Jaxson Campbell (1,936 offensive yards, 25 total TDs) should be a Mr. Football candidate with a number of weapons at his disposal – including RB Tre Hartwell, TEs Tyler Kondra and Ty Lockwood and WR Calvin Wilson – in what may be the most diverse Independence offense since Scott Blade’s arrival as coach. With the region title at stake, expect the hosts to rise to the occasion. Independence 31, Ravenwood 24.
Summertown (3-5, 0-3) at Community (1-8, 0-4): Since a 3-0 start, things haven’t gone so well for the Eagles – though nine points separate them from a two-game winning streak entering their season finale. An 18-14 loss to visiting Region 5-2A rival Eagleville ended Summertown’s playoff hopes, and a 24-19 defeat at the hands of visiting Lawrence County denied the hosts bragging rights in the Battle of the Buffalo. Still, featuring nearly a dozen juniors – including QB Colton Shaffer, RB Aniken Johnson and RB/WR Javen Edmiston – the Eagles have the chance to take some momentum into the offseason with a win against a Viking squad that defeated Cannon County in Week 4 but has dropped five straight since and hasn’t scored more than 16 points in any of its eight losses. Summertown 28, Community 17.
Zion Chr. (4-5) at Cornersville (6-3): A depleted Zion Christian roster will wrap up the year against a Cornersville that is playoff-bound but coming off a loss to Huntland in league play. The Bulldogs will look to sharpen their play before an opening-round road contest, while Zion hopes to finish the year at .500 with a victory. The Eagles will be led yet again by junior QB Luke Perko (2,030 offensive yards, 25 total TDs), but will be without a couple of linemen and down a receiver as well. Cornersville 34, Zion Chr. 21.
Columbia Acad. at Fayette Acad., canceled Lawrence Co. at Spring Hill, canceled Lincoln Co. at Summit, canceled
Columbia Academy athletics director Pernell Knox confirmed on Thursday the Bulldogs would have to sit out this Friday’s game against Fayette Academy due to COVID-19 cases among team members.
“We had a couple positive tests on our team, and we’re expecting a few more,” Knox said. “We felt it was in the best interest of everyone to shut it down.”
With a playoff spot locked up, CA will also likely be forced to forfeit their first-round playoff game as well. Knox said administrators will meet on Friday to discuss options for playoffs, but said the outlook was “gloomy.”
Knox said he expected this would happen at some point in the school year, but the unfortunate timing makes it more difficult to handle. He added there were no concerns going forward, as protocols are set in place for these issues.
“I’m not concerned; we’ve done our homework, and we have the kids’ health and safety out front,” Knox said. “With things changing day-to-day, not knowing where kids are getting it from, we don’t feel like we have any major issues in the school.
“If it was a CA thing, it’d be one thing, but we have no idea where kids are getting it.”
The Bulldogs are the third local team affected by COVID in Week 11. Summit and Spring Hill each earned wins against their region opponents this week. The Raiders were also the beneficiary of a shutdown of DeKalb County’s program, meaning Spring Hill has advanced to the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs, set to be played two weeks from Friday.
Chris Yow is the multi-media director for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. Reach him by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChrisYow14.
For different reasons, it’s a bit debatable who’ll be on either sideline when Columbia Central travels Friday night to Shelbyville for a Region 5-5A game that carries postseason implications for the visiting Lions.
Central’s roster was somewhat depleted for its 20-0 win Thursday over visiting Stratford, with some of those players expected to miss the regular-season finale as well.
“We don’t know for sure,” Lions coach Jason Hoath said earlier this week. “We’re definitely not at full strength, but we’ll go to war with what we’ve got.”
Linemen Deandre Mathers and Eli Hight are both expected back in time for Friday’s contest after missing Stratford for pandemic-related reasons, while quarterback Brady McCanless is likely to complete post-concussion protocols in time to return.
“He felt fine midway through last week; he got cleared,” Hoath said of McCanless, who left the Week 9 loss at Page and did not play against Stratford. “He’s just got to do so many days (without symptoms) before he can come back.”
Senior lineman Carter Sydlowski and linebacker Demetrius McCoy are expected to miss Friday’s game as they continue to be held out under pandemic guidelines, as do safety Isaiah Cordle, defensive back/receiver Caden Czjaka and special teamer Kayden McCoy.
Junior running back Christian Biggers, who was suspended for the opening half of the Stratford game for disciplinary reasons and elected not to dress for the contest, practiced earlier this week.
“We’ll see how that goes,” Hoath said.
As the Lions (5-4, 1-3) head into Friday with playoff prospects – regardless of the outcome – Shelbyville (6-2, 3-0) has locked up the No. 2 seed out of Region 5-5A. However, the Golden Eagles still await a decision for their role in a brawl last week against Franklin County, with suspensions expected to be mandated by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.
Hoath expects a challenge from Shelbyville, whoever does suit up.
“They’ve got a lot of talent. They’re big up front, they’ve got some guys that are explosive with the football,” he said. “We’re going to have our hands full. We have to play better than we have all year. The penalties we’ve had, we’ve got to get rid of. We’ve got to win on first and second down, on both sides of the ball.
“What (winning) does for postseason, I couldn’t tell you. There’s situations where, win or lose, we could be in or out. I’ve told our coaches, we can’t be worried about it. Let’s just go play Friday night. If we’re in, great. If we’re not, we can say we played 10 games this year. Not a lot of teams can say that.”