By Maurice Patton
BRENTWOOD — Call it Border Battle Lite.
Independence, breaking in yet another starting quarterback for the upcoming season, edged 2020 Class 5A state titlist Summit in the finals of Saturday’s Ravenwood Passing Tournament – an outcome that hardly fazed either coach.
“It was a great matchup, a great practice – that’s what it was,” Eagles coach Scott Blade said after senior Joe Cummings led the team through four single-elimination 7-on-7 contests as the top seed out of its pool, culminated by a semifinal win against Page prior to the finale.
“Our kids have been playing the whole summer, the whole spring and the offseason, with a lot of juice. They’re a fun team to coach. We know it’s just practice, we also know it’s in June, but it’s always nice to put in a successful day at work.”
Cody Pagach, a sophomore transfer from Ensworth, and senior Hunter Howard also took snaps for Independence over the course of the day, which included four pool play matchups prior to bracket play.
“Cody got a ton of reps early on in the day, and when we started bracket play, we just tried to stick with one unit, but Cody did a great job as well,” Blade said.
“Hunter’s right up there, but he also plays outside ‘backer and safety for us. … I wanted the bulk of his work to be on defense. We’re trying to get that personnel figured out.”
Cummings has earned the nod as the successor to Jaxson Campbell, who succeeded Ethan Cash, who …
“Ethan was there for a year and a half, but it really goes all the way back to (three-year starter and 2015 state titlist Andrew) Bunch,” Blade said regarding the last time Indy had a returning starter at quarterback.
“Joe is the guy. He’s a senior, he’s the No. 1 guy this year. We’ll try to get Cody enough reps this year that he gets comfortable so we don’t skip a beat next year.”
Destin Wade, meanwhile, is Summit’s Bunch – approaching his fourth season as a starter and already committed, along with twin brother Keaten, to Kentucky.
“Destin got some good work,” Spartans coach Brian Coleman said as his squad also rolled through pool play to a top seed in the bracket and knocked off Centennial in the semifinals. “We competed. That’s our main thing from (Saturday) – compete, have fun. It was a good day, fun day, long day, hot day.
“Coach Blade knows what he’s doing out here. They’ve got some good combinations, kids that can catch it and throw it. We’re getting better defensively, in the secondary. In this new region, they’re going to sling it around.”
Barring another meeting at Riverdale’s 7-on-7 event on July 15, the stakes will be higher for the next faceoff between Summit and Independence. The Spartans will host this year’s Border Battle on Oct. 8 as they step into Region 7-6A competition this fall.
“We’re alright,” Coleman said. “We competed. I can’t get stressed about that.”
Coming up this week:
Tuesday at Shelbyville (TBA) – Cannon Co., Cascade, Columbia Acad., Community, Cornersville, DeKalb Co. (JV), East Robertson, Fairview, Forrest, Gordonsville, Hickman Co., Lake Co., Marion Co., Mt. Pleasant, Richland, Sale Creek, Stratford, Trousdale Co., Waverly, White Co. (JV), Whites Creek
Tuesday at Columbia Central (6 p.m.) – Columbia Acad., Lawrence Co., Spring Hill
Wednesday at Shelbyville (TBA) – Centennial, Coffee Co., Columbia Central, Community, Creek Wood, DeKalb Co., Dickson Co., Greenbrier, LaVergne, Macon Co., Marshall Co., Page, Riverdale, Rockvale, Rossview, Shelbyville, Stone Memorial, Summit, Tullahoma, Warren Co., White Co.
Thursday at Giles Co. (TBA) – Columbia Acad., Richland (list incomplete)
If you have a team participating in a 7-on-7 event this week, please submit your schedule information to [email protected].