Tag Archives: Independence

Upcoming local prep scrimmages, jamborees

Tuesday

Collinwood at Mt. Pleasant
Summertown at Perry Co.
Columbia Acad. at Spring Hill
Richland at Giles Co.

Thursday

Hardin Co. at Lawrence Co.

Friday

South Gibson at Columbia Acad.
Loretto at Scotts Hill
Stewarts Creek at Summit
Hillsboro at Independence
Richland at Moore Co.
Spring Hill, Summertown at East Hickman

Tuesday, Aug. 10

Mt. Pleasant at Waverly
Tullahoma at Columbia Central

Friday, Aug. 13
Maury County Jamboree
at Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Goodpasture vs. Columbia Acad., 6 p.m.
Dickson Co. vs. Spring Hill, 7 p.m.
Creek Wood vs. Columbia Central, 8 p.m.

Giles County Jamboree
at Sam Davis Park

Fayetteville vs. Richland, 7 p.m.
Lawrence Co. vs. Giles Co., 8 p.m.

Summertown at Rogers (Ala.)
Zion Chr. at Loretto

Coaches whose programs’ scrimmages or jamboree appearances are not listed are encouraged to e-mail sports@sm-tnsports.com with that information.

Fortenberry to fortify Spring Hill girls hoops

By Maurice Patton

Hurricane Katrina took place nearly 16 years ago, but the catastrophic event that wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast in August 2005 has recently helped settle the Spring Hill coaching staff.

Wayne Fortenberry, who won three Mississippi high school basketball state championships over a career that spanned more than 30 years, has been named to replace Matt Horton atop the Lady Raider program.

“He’s got quite a pedigree,” Spring Hill athletics director John Farmer said. “His résumé is really impressive when you look at it. He taught and coached, but he was also a school administrator down in Mississippi for many, many years. He coached both boys and girls, but the majority of his career has been coaching girls.”

Fortenberry’s daughter and son-in-law – Dee Dee and Mark Montgomery – lost their Gulfport home as a result of Katrina, prompting them to move their family to Middle Tennessee.

“My daughter’s an only child, so when they moved up, we began to plan to, as soon as we retired, move up,” said Fortenberry, who officially retired as an administrator in the Biloxi, Miss., school system in 2014 after stepping away from coaching four years previously.

It was after he and his wife, Karen, arrived in south Williamson County, however, that Fortenberry picked up his third Mississippi title. With Pearl High School girls basketball coach Lacey Kennedy, a member of the United States Army Reserve, deployed to Qatar in November 2018 for 10 months, he helped Jason Kennedy lead the Jackson-area program to the 2019 Class 6A championship.

“Lacey, I’ve known from when she was playing high school and college basketball. Her husband and I are real good friends,” Fortenberry said. “She called me and said ‘the season’s getting ready to start in a few days and I’m being deployed for 10 months, can you come help me out?’ I told her, anything I can do, I’ll do.”

For the length of the season, Fortenberry commuted – staying during the week, returning home after Friday night games – helped with the Kennedys two sons and provided support on the bench as the Lady Pirates went 31-1.

“It was a great experience, but it was rough,” he said. “They asked me to stay (the following year), but I had to get back and see my grandkids play.”

The episode was emblematic of a career that also includes 1984 boys and girls state crowns at Hattiesburg Prep, in addition to stops at West Lauderdale near Meridian, Purvis and St. Martin in Ocean Springs.

“Like my wife said, I’m going to die somewhere in a gymnasium,” the 66-year-old said. “I don’t care who’s playing, I’m there watching.”

Among the teams he’s watched over the past few years were the Lady Raiders, who went 17-11 and clinched a Region 6-AAA tournament berth in Horton’s fourth and final season. Under Horton, who resigned in late June to take the boys basketball coaching position at Mt. Pleasant, Spring Hill posted its first winning finish in 18 years.

“I’d gotten to following Spring Hill and several other teams in the area,” Fortenberry said. “I met some of the kids. … I enjoyed watching Spring Hill play. When it opened up, I said, let’s give it a shot and see what happens.”

Fortenberry, whose grandson is Independence sophomore guard Jett Montgomery, will serve on a non-faculty basis at Spring Hill.

“It’s not ideal,” Farmer said. “Ideally, you’d like to have a coach in the building. It’s difficult sometimes to find the (teaching) certifications you need for the positions you need to fill, that can also coach. Sometimes you have to go the non-faculty coach route.”

Next in line: Cummings assumes Eagles’ starting quarterback position

By Maurice Patton

THOMPSONS STATION — It would seem that, over nearly a decade, there would come a time that Scott Blade would be without a quarterback capable of performing at the level necessary to engineer the high-powered offense that Independence has relied upon throughout his tenure.

It doesn’t seem that this is that time.

Joe Cummings, a senior who sat out last season after transferring from Battle Ground Academy, appears set to continue the Eagles’ signal-calling lineage that began with Blade’s 2013 arrival after four seasons at Oak Ridge.

“Everything goes through the quarterback,” Blade said following Friday’s scrimmage against visiting Overton. “He takes care of the ball. There’s a read progression on every play. If he’s smart and disciplined and keeps his eyes down field, there’s typically a receiver that’s going to be open. It’s discipline and keeping your eyes down field, having the God-given strength and ability to do that and make the throws – they’re all over the field.

“We have been blessed that we’ve had guys that were able to do that.”

Starting with Andrew Bunch, a sophomore when Blade showed up at Independence who led the Eagles to the 2015 Class 5A state title, the parade at the position continued with Brandon Hines, Nathan Cisco, Ethan Cash and Jaxson Campbell – a quintet that helped Independence to a .700 winning percentage.

Cummings took note.

“It’s a big deal, for sure,” he said of playing that position for that program. “I think it’s the way Coach (Blade) operates around the guys he has – Ethan Cash, Jaxson, even Andrew when they won state. They find the right pieces with what they have. I think that’s what makes it so special here at Independence.”

Though Cummings spent the first portion of his high school career at BGA – reversing the path that Williamson County product C.J. Beathard took, from Indy to BGA to Iowa to the NFL – he previously played at Heritage Middle School in Spring Hill.

“I played with these guys in middle school,” he said. “I figured I’d come back and hopefully help this team win some games this year.”

Early indications point to that being the case. In limited action Friday, Cummings completed five of eight passes for 112 yards and three touchdowns.

“He was on point, and just about every ball was catchable,” Blade said. “The good thing is, he’s had a year to kind of absorb the offense and learn enough in a (junior varsity) role so that this year makes sense and there’s preparation time and the game slows down like it should for a senior.

“He’s got all the physical tools. Mentally now it’s about getting him enough reps. We got some 7-on-7 time. It’s a work in progress. We haven’t been tested, like (Christ Presbyterian Academy) and Lipscomb and Ravenwood and all the teams we’re going to play, but in 7-on-7 he was super accurate, he’s been super accurate in practice and he was super accurate (Friday).”

First-year Overton coach Arcentae Broome, who’s seen Blade’s Independence and Hillsboro squads from the opposite sidelines during previous stops at Maplewood and McGavock, sees why his teams have been able to build on their success behind center.

“Sometimes, what you display, people want to be a part of it,” Broome said. “We weren’t on that level, but at Maplewood, we were manufacturing quarterbacks. We were never in a situation where we didn’t have that good of a quarterback. Blade’s the same way, just on a better level.

“It feeds off itself, it breeds a sense of consistency and it brings people along.”

Cummings follows Campbell, who accounted for 2,697 offensive yards and 34 total touchdowns last fall.

“It’s a fun offense to play in when there’s protection and (the quarterbacks are) on point,” Blade said. “They know we’re going to throw. Even last year, with shortened preparation time and a different offense – our first time to use a tight end-type, a running-first quarterback – it’s still an offense that’s receiver friendly, and quarterback friendly as well.”

Photos by Ric Beu / SM-Tn Sports

Area high school grid preseason schedule

Friday

Summit at Riverdale
Overton at Independence
Columbia Central at Lawrence Co.
Hickman Co. at Columbia Acad.
Spring Hill at Lebanon
Huntland at Richland
Mt. Pleasant at Cornersville

Tuesday (Aug. 3)

Collinwood at Mt. Pleasant
Summertown at Perry Co.
Columbia Acad. at Spring Hill
Richland at Giles Co.

Thursday, Aug. 5

Hardin Co. at Lawrence Co.

Friday, Aug. 6

South Gibson at Columbia Acad.
Loretto at Scotts Hill
Stewarts Creek at Summit
Hillsboro at Independence
Richland at Moore Co.
Spring Hill, Summertown at East Hickman

Tuesday, Aug. 10

Mt. Pleasant at Waverly
Tullahoma at Columbia Central

Friday, Aug. 13
Maury County Jamboree
at Lindsey Nelson Stadium

Goodpasture vs. Columbia Acad., 6 p.m.
Dickson Co. vs. Spring Hill, 7 p.m.
Creek Wood vs. Columbia Central, 8 p.m.

Giles County Jamboree
at Sam Davis Park

Fayetteville vs. Richland, 7 p.m.
Lawrence Co. vs. Giles Co., 8 p.m.

Summertown at Rogers (Ala.)
Zion Chr. at Loretto

Coaches whose program’s scrimmages or jamboree appearances are not listed are encouraged to e-mail sports@sm-tnsports.com with that information.

GALLERY: Mt. Pleasant, Summit, Indy at Riverdale 7-on-7

Eagles, Spartans, Tigers set for Riverdale 7-on-7 Event

SM-Tn Sports

The revised schedule for Thursday’s 7-on-7 tournament at Riverdale features Independence, Mt. Pleasant and Summit among 28 teams in five different pools.

Pool play begins at 8:30 a.m. and continues through 12 noon, followed by bracket play Thursday afternoon.

Early matchups of interest include Franklin vs. Mt. Pleasant at 8:30 a.m. and Page vs Summit at 10 a.m., as well as Riverdale vs. Independence and Pearl-Cohn vs. Lipscomb Academy, both at 11 a.m.

Click here for the full schedule.