By Matthew Sawyer
MURFREESBORO — Independence grabbed a big win on the road Friday night, defeating Blackman 28-7.
Both teams are accustomed to tough non-region scheduling, and the clash fit the bill.
“At Independence we try to set a culture of ‘to be the best you have to beat the best’,” Eagles’ senior quarterback Jaxson Campbell said. “Blackman is similar to us in that way, and we knew they are one of the better teams and we had a great week of preparation and got after it today.”
“Starting out with a tough schedule definitely teaches you a lot,” Blackman senior signalcaller Drew Beam said after the Blaze fell to 1-3 with losses to Alcoa and Ravenwood prior to Friday. “We’ve figured out who we are, and what we need to work on. Playing these (non-region) games, yes you would like to win them, but they also teach you what you need to work on which is good going into conference play.”
Campbell continued with a Mr. Football-worthy season, tallying four more touchdowns to bring his season total to 12 in three games. In the win against Blackman, he threw for 180 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 85 yards and three TDs.
“We have changed the offense this year,” Campbell said. “Coach (Scott) Blade is a great coach and has changed it to some of my strengths, and we are able to go in the air to our big receivers and tight ends, and we are able to ground and pound a bit.”
Blade praised Campbell on the transition from receiver to quarterback.
“He’s getting more comfortable each week; he’s growing,” Blade said. “He’s definitely a dynamic player.”
After the game Campbell went looking for his offensive line, who dominated an experienced Blackman defensive line, to give his respect.
“My O-line did amazing,” Campbell said. “They (Blackman) have a really good defensive front, but our line just got after it. We set a standard and we know it is going to be a good game when I don’t get hit.”
Although his one score through the air was to Calvin Wilson, his most frequent target was Ty Lockwood, who had six grabs for 84 yards.
As for the Blaze, penalties and untimely turnovers plagued the team throughout the game. Blackman committed three turnovers, two of which were inside the Eagles’ 30. They also had huge pass interference and personal foul penalties.
“The defense is getting better. They’re flying around, playing at a high speed. They’re confident doing what we tell them to do,” Blade said. “They created some turnovers, and — like I said, they’re flying around. For an under-sized defense, that’s the only way to survive.”
Beam knows turnovers cost his team an opportunity to keep the game closer.
“The game could have been a lot closer if not for costly mistakes,” Beam said. “There were few untimely ones that just killed us. It’s another aspect of the game we need to clean up. Those personal foul penalties — the refs are always going to catch the guy who retaliates, so you just have to keep it to yourself.”
Blackman did, however, show ability to move the ball sans the untimely errors, especially Beam, who had a few big long-yardage scrambles to prolong drives, including setting up his 10-yard TD pass to Justin Brown.
Both teams jump back into region action next week. Independence travels to Franklin while Blackman plays host to Warren County.
SM-Tn Sports’ Matthew Holloway contributed to this report.
Independence 28, Blackman 7
At Bart Smith Field, Murfreesboro
I – 0 14 14 0 28
B – 0 0 0 7 7
I — Jaxson Campbell 2 run (9:48) Sam Henke kick
I — Campbell 17 run (3:31) Henke kick
I — Calvin Wilson 12 pass from Campbell (5:47) Henke kick
I — Campbell 29 run (3:01) Henke kick
B — Jeremy Wagner 10 pass from Drew Beam (4:28) Bryson Jones kick
First Downs 24 15
Rushes-Yards 33-174 24-130
Passing Yards 189 154
Com-Att-Int 15-30-1 16-24-1
Penalties-Yards 6-40 9-80
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Independence — Jaxson Campbell 12-85, Tre Hartwell 9-55, Brice West 6-25, Ethan Pickering 2-5, Andrew Holloway 1-3, Hunter Howard 2-1, Raul Cruz 1-0
Blackman — Jaylyn Pleasant 13-58, Drew Beam 3-29, Andrew Hudson-Jackson 4-20, Aaron Green 3-12, Peyton Thomas 1-11
Independence — Jaxson Campbell 12-23-1-0 180, Hunter Howard 1-2-0-1 9, Drew Blalock 0-1-0-0 0, Casey Lynch 2-4-0-0 0
Blackman — Drew Beam 15-23-1-1 151, Ben Marshall 1-1-0-0 3
Independence — Ty Lockwood 6-84, Calvin Wilson 3-57, Brigham Morrical 1-23, Tyler Kondra 2-16, Josh Owens 1-9, Dawson Moore 2-0
Blackman — Todd Lark II 4-48, Jeremy Wagner 5-39, Alex Garrott 2-27, Ben Marshall 1-15, Mark Cooper 2-13, Jaylyn Pleasant 2-12
By Maurice Patton
LYNNVILLE – The team David Parks took to Richland for Thursday’s District 10-A girls soccer matchup wasn’t the one that played the Lady Raiders to a draw three weeks ago, and the result wasn’t the one that he or his Culleoka squad wanted.
But the second-year Lady Warriors coach wasn’t – and won’t be – deterred in his “long game” goal.
“We played two eighth-graders. We’re loaded with freshmen. I’m really optimistic about the next two or three years,” Parks said following a 3-0 defeat. “I think they’re the standard we have to get to.
“They’re the Detroit Pistons to our Chicago Bulls.”
Drawing on the 1980s and early ‘90s NBA Eastern Conference rivalry, Parks feels like he can construct something similarly special at Culleoka – although his Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen may be elsewhere.
Sophomore twins Maddie and Mary Beth Norton left the team after two games to play travel soccer. Travel and high school schedules conflict, and TSSAA rules do not allow athletes to participate in both during the same season.
“We miss their contributions. They did what they needed to do,” Parks said regarding the sisters.
Maddie scored 17 goals as a freshman, helping Culleoka into the Region 5-A tournament semifinals a year ago.
“I think they’re a capable team, with or without the twins,” Richland coach George Witt said after improving to 4-1-1 (2-0-1) with the victory. “My hat’s off to the job David and his staff have done. They’re a very capable team. They held us scoreless in the second half.”
In the first half, though, the hosts got all the offense they’d need as Grayson Bailey put them on the scoreboard 13 minutes into the contest. The junior added another goal barely a minute later, and freshman Gabbi Alsup further extended the lead with eight minutes remaining in the period.
“We had a good push early,” Witt said. “Our passing was better. We had some critical outside passes and we worked the ball in, and we got great shooting.”
Richland, which advanced to the Class A state sectionals in 2019, has had some youthful contributors as well. Virginia Witt – the coach’s daughter – is one of five freshmen seeing significant playing time along with Alsup, Sara Woodard, Carlee Faulkner and Libby Mitchell.
“We call ourselves ’24 Strong’,” Witt said. “Everybody (on the 24-player roster) took the field and everybody contributed big minutes.”
That effort – and success – is what Parks and the Lady Warriors (2-4-1, 1-2-1) are chasing.
“I wasn’t sure what the culture was when I got here,” he said. “We were conditioning in June, as much as we could with the pandemic. That’s something they’d never done here.
“I’m trying to play the long game.”
Both teams travel to East Hickman for their next games – Richland on Saturday, Culleoka on Tuesday.
Zion still rolling: Ava Corbin’s third hat trick of the season – and second in as many games – was matched by Lilli Mai Fann, and Zion Christian defeated visiting Webb (Bell Buckle) 9-0 Thursday.
The Lady Eagles, who led 7-0 at halftime, got another two goals from Rivers Abshere and one from Sophia Elias.
Corbin has 17 goals – half the team’s total — through Zion’s 3-3 start.
At the net: Mt. Pleasant avenged an earlier homecourt loss to Hampshire, defeating the host Lady Hawks in straight sets Thursday. The Lady Tigers won 26-24, 25-22, 25-21.
Columbia Academy traveled Thursday to Franklin Road Academy and lost in four sets – winning the opener 25-23 before falling 25-14, 25-19, 25-21.
Visiting Brentwood defeated Independence in four sets (25-14, 18-25, 25-12, 25-23) in District 12-AAA play.
Week 3? Not bad for Mostradamus. Not perfect (two consecutive weeks would have been a bit much to ask), but no glaring surprises, either.
Week 4 features a handful of traditional/geographic rivalries, which can always be entertaining to watch — but dicey to pick. One of those is a late – and one is an even later — pandemic-related addition to the schedule.
Between those and a couple of key regional contests, it should make for an intriguing Friday night. Let’s see what the turbaned prognosticator sees coming.
(All games 7 p.m. kickoff unless otherwise noted.)
Columbia Central (2-1) at Giles Co. (1-1): Looking to bounce back from a difficult Region 5-5A homefield loss to Summit, the Lions are traveling south rather than north – where they were supposed to face Overton, before Metro Nashville Public Schools delayed the start of their athletic season because of COVID concerns. Giles County, meanwhile, was slated to face Region 5-3A foe East Nashville this weekend but shifted that game (which was subsequently canceled) ahead a week to fit Central into its schedule. The Bobcats, led by junior RB Chaye McElroy (1,300 rushing yards, 16 TDs in 2019), lost their only on-field decision in Week 1 to Lincoln County, with their Week 2 contest at Hendersonville suspended because of inclement weather before a victory was awarded over East Nashville. Coming off a loss in which they struggled defensively, the Lions will try to re-establish themselves on the strength of that unit, led by LBs Shane Cobb and Watson Harvey, DE Antwan Moore and DB Nick Butler. This will mark the first meeting between Central and Giles County since the Bobcats claimed a 70-28 victory at ‘The Brickyard’ in 2016. Central leads the series, which dates to 1937, 23-4-1. The visitors should add to that total. Columbia Central 24, Giles Co. 20.
Davidson Acad. (2-0, 1-0) at Columbia Acad. (0-2, 0-0): Winners of the last two Division II-A state titles, the visiting Bears opened West Region play last week with a 35-0 win over Nashville Christian – their second shutout in as many outings – and bring a No. 1 Associated Press poll ranking into town. Though untested at quarterback, Davidson’s calling card is its defense, led by LB A.J. Quinn, DE Kendyle Ball and a secondary featuring Griffen Swinea and Kelvi Rice. The Bulldogs, conversely, have had turnover issues through their opening two losses (though they reduced that number from six against Clay County to one against Shelbyville). Protecting the ball, and getting it to their playmakers such as senior RB Franklin Walker will play a key role in the hosts’ success. Davidson Acad. 27, Columbia Acad. 17.
Franklin (1-2) at Summit (3-0): Undefeated and ranked second in the Associated Press Class 5A statewide rankings for the third straight week, Summit is set to host the Williamson County flagship program. The Admirals opened the season with a convincing victory over Siegel, followed by consecutive losses to Class 6A ranked foes Riverdale and Ravenwood. Franklin boasts its offensive version of ‘the triplets’ in QB Connor Beavon (603 passing yards, seven TDs), RB Bryce Sparks (159 rushing yards) and WR Carson Repass (283 receiving yards, four TDs), with junior OT Fisher Anderson (6-7, 265) expected to be one of the state’s top 2022 recruits. Junior QB Destin Wade (914 offensive yards, 12 total TDs) spearheads a Spartan offense that is averaging 38.3 points per game, while Summit’s defense has allowed just two touchdowns in its last nine quarters of competition. Summit 31, Franklin 23.
Independence (1-1) at Blackman (1-2): After a couple of high-profile losses — to perennial Class 3A state title contender Alcoa and Class 6A third-ranked Ravenwood – Blackman opened Region 3-6A play by throttling Coffee County 44-6. Behind QB Drew Beam, a three-year starter, the Blaze scored four first-half touchdowns and rolled. RBs Charles Gaunt, Jaylyn Pleasant and Andrew Hudson-Jackson shared the ballcarrying duties, each scoring a TD and combining for 200-plus yards. The Eagles, meanwhile, continue to get stellar play from QB Jaxson Campbell, who has run and thrown for 599 yards and eight TDs. With a 110-yard, three-TD effort on four catches, Calvin Wilson has emerged as Campbell’s favorite target, though 10 different players have at least one reception and seven have multiple catches for Independence. Spreading the offensive wealth could be the key as the Eagles look for their second straight road win, following last week’s Region 6-6A victory at Centennial. Independence 34, Blackman 21.
Mt. Pleasant (0-2, 0-1) at Fayetteville (2-1, 1-0): The host Tigers, ranked fifth in the current AP Class 1A Top 10 poll, rallied for a 20-14 win over Huntland last week in their Region 5-1A opener. Keying the comeback was a 76-yard Isaiah Thompson kickoff return to open the second half, sandwiching a pair of Graham Pace rushing TDs. The visiting Tigers, meanwhile, have struggled with youthful miscues through narrow losses to Summertown and Richland, the latter in league play last week. With a healthy TB Zavior Davidson and freshman Keevon Cooper to go with WB Ladontay Patton and QB Te’Varius Strayhorn in the running game, Mt. Pleasant has enough potential firepower to give the hosts some problems, and the visitors’ defense – led by LB Ethan Beasley — has allowed just 13.5 points in two games. However, Mt. Pleasant is expected to be without a couple of starters because of pandemic concerns. A Tigers’ victory in this one is guaranteed. Fayetteville 23, Mt. Pleasant 20.
Summertown (3-0) at Donelson Chr. (2-0), 7:30 p.m.: In an 11th-hour addition to the schedule, the Eagles travel to the north side of Nashville for a clash between two teams that woke up Thursday morning without opponents. Donelson Christian, ranked fourth in Division II-A, had been set for a region contest against Middle Tennessee Christian before coaches at the Murfreesboro school tested positive for COVID-19, while Summertown had a similar situation crop up with its original opponent, Richland. The Wildcats, 8-4 last season, opened with league victories over Silverdale Academy (27-13) and Webb-Bell Buckle (50-6) before their region contest against Friendship Christian was rescheduled by mutual agreement to Sept. 18. Summertown, ranked seventh this week in Class 2A, was in dire need of a game after its contest last week at Collinwood was also canceled by COVID. The Eagles, who previously edged Mt. Pleasant 13-12 and knocked off Wayne County 26-6, are led by the RB tandem of Javen Edmiston (186 rushing yards, three TDs) and Aniken Johnson (112 rushing yards). Donelson Chr. 17, Summertown 13.
Zion Chr. (1-2) vs. Sale Creek (0-3), 6 p.m. CT: Getting there may be half the fun for the Eagles, who will play the Panthers – from Hamilton County — at Fort Bluff in Dayton, which is in Rhea County. Upon arrival, Zion Christian will take the momentum of its 36-0 win over the Memphis Nighthawks last week into the matchup against a Sale Creek team that fell 47-0 to Copper Basin in Region 3-1A play. Each of the three Panthers’ losses have been by 18 points or more, though two have been on the road. Zion will try to build on junior QB Luke Perko’s most recent outing, as he ran and threw for 249 yards and three TDs. Zion Chr. 31, Sale Creek 26.
Last week: 4-1 (.800)
Season: 13-4 (.765)
Columbia Central (2-1) at Giles County (2-0)
Friday, Sept. 11
Series Record: Columbia Central leads 23-4-1
Tickets: Available at the Gate
How to Listen/Watch:
WKRM 103.7-FM (Columbia Central Broadcast)
WKSR-FM (Giles Co. Broadcast)
Davidson Acad. (2-0) at Columbia Acad. (0-2)
Friday, Sept. 11
Series Record: Tied 3-3
Tickets: Available at the Gate
How to Watch/Listen:
NFHS Network (Columbia Academy Broadcast)
Mount Pleasant (0-2) at Fayetteville (2-1)
Friday, Sept. 11
Series Record: Fayetteville leads 3-2
Tickets: Available at the gate (1,500 available)
How to Watch/Listen:
WEKR 1240-AM (Fayetteville Broadcast)
Summertown (2-0) at Donelson Chr. (2-0)
Friday, Sept. 11
Series Record: First meeting
Tickets: Available at the Gate
How to Watch/Listen: N/A
Zion Chr. (1-2) vs. Sale Creek(0-3) [at Fort Bluff]
Friday, Sept. 11
Series Record: Zion leads 3-0
How to Watch/Listen: N/A
Lincoln County (2-1) at Spring Hill (0-3)
games, attempts, yards, average, TDs)
Destin Wade, Summit 3 48-384 8.0 6
Austin Seals, Richland 3 48-367 7.7 1
*Sam Edwards, Richland 3 ??-264 N/A 2
Christian Biggers, Columbia Central 3 61-214 3.5 1
Jaxson Campbell, Independence 2 20-197 9.9 2
*Luke Perko, Zion Chr. 3 22-192 8.7 1
Javen Edmiston, Summertown 2 30-186 6.2 3
Brandon King, Summit 3 13-127 9.8 0
Aniken Johnson, Summertown 2 28-112 4.0 0
Tre Hartwell, Independence 2 20-109 5.5 1
(games, completions, attempts, yards, TDs, interceptions)
Destin Wade, Summit 3 29-43-530 6/0
Jaxson Campbell, Independence 2 28-44-402 6/1
Brady McCanless, Columbia Central 3 26-53-324 3/3
Luka Boylan, Spring Hill 3 30-67-292 1/2
*Luke Perko, Zion Chr. 3 11-30-175 3/2
Bryant Beranek, Columbia Acad. 2 12-32-100 2/6
*Bryce Miller, Richland 3 2-4-90 1/0
Te’Varius Strayhorn, Mt. Pleasant 2 7-15-90 1/1
Colton Shaffer, Summertown 2 3-12-72 1/2
*Sam Edwards, Richland 3 10-19-54 0/3
(games, receptions, yards, average, TDs)
Brady Pierce, Summit 3 6-169 28.2 3
Calvin Wilson, Independence 2 5-143 28.6 3
Steven Kinnard, Columbia Central 3 6-122 20.3 1
Brandon King, Summit 3 6-109 18.2 3
Joel Herring, Spring Hill 3 6-93 15.5 0
Maddox Reed, Summit 3 3-86 28.7 0
Remone Kelley, Spring Hill 3 6-80 13.3 1
Collins Malone, Columbia Acad. 2 6-79 13.2 2
Caleb Jolley, Summit 3 7-79 11.3 0
*Max Brown, Zion Chr. 3 4-73 18.3 1
*incomplete game stats