Tag Archives: Zion Christian

Coaching carousel: Mt. Pleasant fills girls hoops spot, four openings still across Maury County

By Maurice Patton and Chris Yow

Mt. Pleasant administration confirmed Tuesday that Kansas native Hayden Pentecost will take over the Lady Tigers basketball program for the upcoming campaign, following the April dismissal of Amy Odom after two seasons.

Pentecost spent the previous two years as an assistant under veteran Summit girls basketball coach John Wild — a factor that weighed heavily into his hiring.

“We’re excited to have him,” Mt. Pleasant principal Ryan Jackson said. “He’s from the John Wild camp; he speaks highly of him.

“He’s fired up, excited. This is the perfect opportunity for him, and he’s diving in head-first. He’s excited about the film he’s seen, the team he has, and we’re excited to have him with us.”

The 24-year-old Pentecost — his birthday is July 27 — moved to Tennessee with his then-fiancee in 2018 after graduating from Wichita State. The Lady Spartans marked his first coaching assignment.

As did Jackson, Pentecost recognized the career jumpstart that working with Wild provides.

“Working with someone that’s done it for 30-plus years, you learn a lot,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for me was that he knew from Day One that I had aspirations to be a head coach. He showed me the ropes of everything outside the Xs and Os — what happens outside the court. That’s something I’m very grateful for.

“He’s been very helpful from the get-go. I’m sure he’ll still be available if I need help.”

With the boys and girls basketball programs both moving to Class AA for the upcoming classification period, Pentecost and his young charges will be heavily tested. Mt. Pleasant will be in District 10-AA along with Giles County, Lewis County, Loretto and Summertown — the latter two of which played for the Class A state title in March.

Loretto, making its third consecutive state tourney appearance, won the crown over a Lady Eagle team that was in the tournament for the third time in five years.

Mt. Pleasant won six games over the past two seasons under Odom.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “You’ve got to go out and give it your best shot. We’ll focus on us, work our butts off and compete, and hopefully good things will come from that — playing with confidence, trusting in your ability, staying within yourself, believing in what we’ve got in our locker room and just competing. That’s the goal.

“I haven’t met the girls yet. I’m looking forward to that. There’s a good young group that I understand is eager to get to work and get pushed and they want to have success. That’s something I’m excited about.”

“That’s why I think it was imperative to find somebody fearless (and) willing to take on that challenge,” Jackson said. “This is a solid group; they’re committed, fired up, ready to compete.

“We know it’s going to be tough; that’s nothing new. But the mindset is the same. We’re going to push forward, make no excuses and be as competitive as we can.”

Current Vacancies

Columbia Central girls basketball
After Joshua Bugg was relieved of his duties at the helm of the program, the school was forced to put its search on hold for a replacement following an administration shake-up. The Lady Lions have been without a coach since March 5. New principal Kevin Eady said the school reopened the posting and are selecting candidates for interviews beginning June 21 — a week before the TSSAA-mandated dead period (June 28-July 11).

Culleoka girls basketball
Derrick Adkison stepped down from his position after nine seasons at Culleoka on March 14. The Warriors’ former coach cited his desire to watch his son, who plays basketball for Santa Fe, as the biggest reason for the move. Culleoka athletics director Doug Sharp said interviews for the vacancy have been completed and an offer has been extended, with hopes of finalization before the dead period.

Columbia Central softball
Just before the 2021 season, coach Shelby Burchell Tietgens resigned abruptly in January, citing ‘philosophical differences’; assistant Hannah Thomason Cole was appointed to the position on an interim basis. Eady said the school reopened the posting and are selecting candidates for interviews beginning June 21.

Mt. Pleasant boys basketball
Chris Carney, who spent two seasons at the helm of Mt. Pleasant’s boys basketball team, was relieved of his duties on April 1. Carney has since accepted the girls basketball coaching job at his alma mater Camden. Mt. Pleasant has yet to narrow down its list of candidates to extend an offer, but principal Ryan Jackson said the interview process is ongoing.

Filled this year

Mt. Pleasant football — Kit Hartsfield
Hartsfield, who went 22-13 with three Class 6A state playoff appearances over the past three seasons at Blackman, succeeds Bronson Bradley at the Tigers’ helm. The younger brother of longtime Midstate girls basketball coach Wendi Hartsfield Scott (Lawrence County, Riverdale, Blackman), Kit began his coaching career immediately out of college, taking the helm at Oakland Middle School and spending three years as defensive backs coach under Thomas McDaniel at Oakland High School.

Summertown football — Dakota Crews
Crews, 30, joined former Summertown coach Leslie Mote’s staff after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant at Oakland. The only Mr. Football in the history of the Lewis County program, Crews worked under Bobby Sharp for six seasons at his alma mater after completing his collegiate playing career at Maryville College.

Zion Christian football — Jeff Jordan 
Following the March resignation of Brad Lowery, Zion Christian hired Jordan, a first-year coach, to take over the program. The 36-year-old Jordan is an area native, graduating in 2003 from Page before attending Purdue University. Embarking on his coaching career with two years at the middle school level at Franklin Road Academy, he spent a year at his high school alma mater before moving on to Ravenwood for three seasons. Last year, he served as defensive backs coach at Ensworth.

Lawrence County boys basketball — Joseph Wilson
Lawrence County hired Wilson, who spent the last 16 seasons as girls basketball coach at Winfield (Ala.), to succeed Shaen Clark. Wilson holds an overall record of 556-227 in Alabama with two final four appearances, three elite eight appearances and 13 regional championships — the equivalent to sectionals in Tennessee. He has 23 playoff appearances.

Independence boys basketball — Mark Wilkins
Jeff Parker initially served in an interim role atop the Eagles’ program after Doug Keil’s abrupt departure in February, before Independence hired Mark Wilkins, who played for his father, Mitch, at Henry County before graduating from Lipscomb University in 2012. Wilkins spent three seasons as an assistant at Beech — under current Williamson County Schools athletics director Darren Joines — prior to taking the position at South Gibson. In six seasons at the Medina, Tenn., school, he posted a 112-68 record, leading the Hornets to District 13-AA championships each of the last two years.

Independence girls basketball — Tony Hill
Former Centennial coach Tony Hill was hired in April to take over the program, which has been marred by inconsistency in the head coaching seat in recent years. Hill was most recently a member of the girls basketball coaching staff at Riverdale, and led Centennial to a four-year record of 55-48 from 2013-17, with the Lady Cougars posting their first winning record (18-8) in 2015-16 followed by a 19-win performance a year later. Two months later, Hill resigned to take over the girls program at Portland. He’s since spent a season at Huntland and the last two at Riverdale. Hill succeeds Mary Beth White, the Independence athletics director, who stepped in following Bryan Glasner’s suspension and subsequent resignation.

Summertown girls basketball — Jeremy Jean
Jeremy Jean was hired to succeed Catie Embrey at Summertown in May following Embrey’s resignation. After serving as an assistant at Lincoln County and at Franklin County — serving under current Summit coach John Wild in the latter stop — as well as at Motlow State, Jean went 254-125 with the Lady Rockets with four regular-season district championships, two district tourney titles, three region tournament crowns and one state quarterfinal appearance. Jean’s wife, Beth, played at Summertown and made successive state tourney visits in 2004, ’05 and ’06.

TSSAA Board of Control reinstates scrimmages, jamborees for upcoming gridiron preseason

By Maurice Patton

News that the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Board of Control voted during its two-day meeting that concluded Wednesday to allow “normal” preseason activities for the 2021-22 school year was of no surprise to local football coaches.

“We took some proactive steps and went ahead and scheduled our scrimmages, 7-on-7 dates, anticipating this decision,” Columbia Academy coach Charlie Lansdell said. “We didn’t want to be stuck. We knew as soon as they made that ruling, everybody would be calling and filling up their schedules pretty quick. We actually started that back in the spring, making plans for this coming summer.

“We didn’t want to be caught with the opportunity to do it and not have the opportunity to do it.”

Among the guidelines established last summer because of the pandemic were that athletic programs were unable to participate in any activities involving another team prior to regular-season competition. Wednesday’s vote clears the way for a return to passing tournaments, scrimmages and jamborees prior to the Aug. 20 start of the 2021 gridiron campaign.

“I’m just glad we have an opportunity to do a better job of preparing for the season,” Columbia Central coach Jason Hoath said. “Last year, going in and not seeing another team until Game 1 – that’s difficult.

“Seeing them in live competition against other schools really helps you determine a lot before Game 1.”

And there’s much to determine for most area football programs. Both Columbia Central and Spring Hill will debut new starting quarterbacks, while Kit Hartsfield at Mt. Pleasant is one of three new coaches locally.

“This gives us a chance to compete before the season actually starts, with 7-on-7 and scrimmages,” Hartsfield said. “We were concerned with that, basically starting from scratch and not being able to put the kids through a competitive environment.”

Spring Hill will host a 7-on-7 event on June 24, with a number of area teams participating. Columbia Central will hold a gathering two days prior, with various squads also set to compete at Shelbyville and at Giles County prior to the two-week dead period that begins June 28.

“Last year was the best reason why it’s a good thing,” Raiders coach Ben Martin said regarding the return of preseason work. “Our first scrimmage, seeing a team with a different jersey, was Game 1 when it counts. You’re trying to get two scrimmages and four or five 7-on-7s in one game, that’s going to count on our record.

“It seems like everything gets turned up a notch when you’ve got a different opponent going against you – not the same guys you see every day. You can practice, but you can’t simulate that going against another team, the speed, the timing with the receivers.”

The Board of Control also voted to remove restrictive probation for the Franklin County and Shelbyville football programs, making them eligible for postseason play. Both were sanctioned last fall following an unsportsmanlike incident during their Week 10 contest and were ineligible for the 2021 state playoffs as a result.

Minutes from the meeting also acknowledged Zion Christian Academy’s departure from the TSSAA. Zion Christian intends to participate in the Tennessee State Independent Athletic Association for at least the next two years.

In other board action:

● A request from members of Region 6-AAAA to hold their basketball tournament at a central site was approved, as the Region 6-AAA tourney has previously been conducted. The new region will consist of Brentwood, Centennial, Franklin, Hillsboro and Overton from District 11-AAAA and Columbia Central, Independence, Nolensville, Ravenwood and Summit of District 12-AAAA.

● A proposed two-year extension to contracts with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce for the Division I girls and boys basketball tournaments and Spring Fling was approved. Those events will remain at Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center and at locations in and around Murfreesboro, respectively, through the 2022-23 school year.

A number of adjustments to the bowling competition and postseason formats were approved, including the addition of sectional tournaments as qualifiers for individual state tourneys.

TSSAA recognizes prep multi-sport athletes

SM-Tn Sports

More than 3,400 Tennessee high school athletes participated in three or more TSSAA-sanctioned sports during the 2020-21 school year, with nearly 100 of those hailing from the Southern Middle Tennessee Sports coverage area.

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association recently recognized those athletes, providing schools with printable certificates for presentation to each of them.

“So many things have been put into a different perspective over the past year and a half due to the pandemic,” TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said. “School administrators and coaches continue to recognize that every opportunity a student-athlete has to compete in education-based athletics is invaluable.

“We continue to encourage coaches and administrators to allow student-athletes every opportunity to participate in the sports they desire to, whether that’s just one, or two, or three, or more.”

While the total number of TSSAA athletes from the just-completed school year was more than 75,000 – down from the reported 83,000-plus from the 2019-20 school year – those participating in three or more sports totaled 3,437 this year, an increase of 401 from last year’s 3,036.

“Our athletic programs do not exist to serve college sports programs,” Childress said, “but it is worth reminding coaches and parents that college recruiters are looking for students that display a great attitude, work ethic and leadership qualities.

“Those are traits that you develop through participating in a variety of activities.”

Of the 14 athletic programs in the SM-Tn Sports coverage area, 13 had at least one three-sport athlete. Columbia Academy, with 14, led the way.

Eight athletes, including Zion Christian’s Madison Hayes, Becca Hazard and Dillan Runions, participated in four sports; so did Mt. Pleasant’s Baleigh Gray, Santa Fe’s Elise Adkison and Josh Martin, Summertown’s Hailey Jones and Summit’s Veronika Whitten.

The full list of area three-sport (or more) athletes, based on eligibility reports submitted by each school for each sport, follows:

Columbia Acad.: Anna Claire Butt — Cross Country, Soccer, Tennis; Drew Butt — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Hallie Butterfield – Basketball, Tennis, Volleyball; Kennedy Chatman — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Tori Duval — Bowling, Softball, Volleyball; Andrew Fleming — Bowling, Soccer, Track and Field; Jaelyn Hickerson — Basketball, Cross Country, Track and Field; Collins Malone — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Gavin Morgan — Basketball, Cross Country, Track and Field; Hayden Morgan — Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer; Ian Pulse — Bowling, Football, Soccer; Ian Pulse — Bowling, Football, Soccer; Parker Shirley — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Averi Slaughter — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Nathan Thomas — Football, Tennis, Track and Field

Columbia Central: Justin Buchmann — Basketball, Football, Track and Field

Culleoka: Maci McKennon — Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball

Hampshire: Craig Delk — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Errette Delk — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Kadence Stoner — Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball

Independence: Chaise Bethmann — Basketball, Soccer, Tennis

Lawrence Co.: Sam Bradley — Baseball, Football, Wrestling; Carley Fields — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; T.J. Gobble — Baseball, Basketball, Tennis; Andrew Honn — Cross Country, Soccer, Track and Field; M’kala Kerr — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Luke Mattox — Baseball, Basketball, Golf; Emily Moore — Bowling, Golf, Tennis; Luke Nichols — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Madison Tidwell — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Loretto: Emily Cozart — Basketball, Soccer, Softball; Carter Daniel — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Shelby Fisher — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Savannah Qualman — Cross Country, Soccer, Tennis; Clint Seymore — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Carlee Urban — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Mt. Pleasant: Chris Andrews — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Gracie Boyd — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Demarkus Brown — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Keevan Cooper — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Baleigh Gray — Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball; Ben Hirsch — Baseball, Cross Country, Track and Field; Hayden Holt — Baseball, Basketball, Golf; Landen Manning — Cross Country, Tennis, Track and Field

Santa Fe: Elise Adkison — Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball; Chloe Anderson — Basketball, Cross Country, Softball; Josh Martin — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf; Lexi McEwen — Basketball, Bowling, Softball; Terralyn Pemberton — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Bowman Ruch — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Aniston Slaughter — Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball; Shane West — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Logan Wilkins — Baseball, Basketball, Golf

Spring Hill: Kevin Caraballo — Cross Country, Track and Field, Wrestling; Kat Carter — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Kemonta Fry — Football, Track and Field, Wrestling; Nicolette Harper — Bowling, Softball; Dakota Jackson — Cross Country, Soccer, Wrestling; Wesley Jones — Basketball, Cross Country, Track and Field; Tyson Peters — Cross Country, Football, Soccer; Elijah Smith — Football, Golf, Soccer

Summertown: Isaac Barker — Basketball, Cross Country, Tennis; Kaley Campbell — Basketball, Golf, Softball; Mia Dinwiddie — Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball; Harrison Gobble — Baseball, Basketball, Golf; Hailey Jones — Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball; Weston Pigg — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; McKenzie Runnels — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Skyler Trousdale — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country

Summit: Ben Bawcum — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Elijah Castro-Harris — Cross Country, Football, Soccer; Ryan Crane — Cross Country, Football, Soccer; Garet Dean — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Jadon Hickman — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Tre Hunter — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Claudette Runk — Basketball, Golf, Softball; Graham Schneider — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Sam Sloan — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Veronika Whitten — Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Track and Field

Zion Chr.: Halle Adcox — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Max Brown — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Becca Hazard — Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball; Madison Hayes — Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball; Jackson Hughes — Baseball, Basketball, Golf; Jaron Keyser — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Zachary Knowles — Basketball, Football, Soccer; Connor Matheny — Basketball, Football, Soccer; Emily Mesko — Basketball, Soccer, Softball; Wesley Riggins — Basketball, Football, Soccer; Dillan Runions — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football; Peyton White — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Zion Christian to leave TSSAA, join independent league for 2021

By Maurice Patton

Zion Christian Academy officials confirmed this week plans to leave the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association for the 2021-22 school year and join the Tennessee State Independent Athletic Association.

“It aligns us with schools that are a little bit more similarly sized to us,” Zion Christian head of school Rick Jarvis said. “It’s something that (athletics director) Derek Boyd and I started talking about earlier this year. One of the things we started talking about was, how do we give our student-athletes an opportunity for some success? It’s very difficult with the current setup, the schools in Nashville we play. It’s demoralizing to our kids at times.

“Our kids have to have an opportunity for success. That’s kind of what started this process. In the two years I’ve been here, it’s been a challenge. Our kids work just as hard as anybody else. Our coaches know what they’re doing. They’ve got the techniques, the strategies, all those things down. It’s strictly an enrollment issue.”

Last fall, Boyd drafted a recommendation to the TSSAA that Division II athletics be split into three classifications, similarly to football, on the basis of enrollment figures. Once that recommendation was rejected, Zion Christian began to consider other options.

With a reported enrollment of 123 in grades 9-12 for the most recent TSSAA classification period, Zion Christian is the second-smallest Division II-A school that sponsors football and one of the 20 smallest schools in the organization.

“We’ve had some good years in volleyball, some good years in softball, cross country. Football and basketball, those are the ones we’ve struggled in,” said Russ Adcox, a longtime softball assistant who led the Lady Eagles to within a win of the DII-A state tournament this spring.

“I think the school is evaluating what’s best for the athletic program overall. We support the school’s decision. I think all they’re trying to get into a fair, competitive situation where we’re competing more with schools our size. We had a really good season, but most of the schools in our district are twice our size.”

For the previous two years, Zion Christian played a non-region schedule in football – winning four games in both 2019 and 2020. The Eagles will continue to play TSSAA opponents on the gridiron, as the TSIAA only sponsors eight-man football.

“I can’t speak for the whole athletic department, but as far as football, I think it gives us an opportunity to build some confidence, with me coming in and almost starting the program from almost scratch,” said Jeff Jordan, hired earlier this month to succeed Brad Lowery at the helm of the program after four years.

“I know Coach Lowery did a lot of great things. There’s a good foundation there. It’s really just building out this program to where it should be. This allows us to build some confidence, build numbers up on the football team and get back to where we should be, to where we can get back and compete with some teams.”

Jarvis anticipates an accompanying boost in athletic morale and in enrollment with the upcoming move.

“I think, frankly, virtually all our sports are going to benefit from it,” he said. “After football, of course, basketball’s probably second in terms of crowd size, community involvement and so forth, but I think we’re really going to see it across the board.

“We’ve got some momentum for the school in terms of – we’re going to grow from this current year to this next year in terms of enrollment. That’s (kindergarten through 12th grade), but our high school enrollment is going to grow as well. It really came down to what’s best for the kids. We think the Lord is going to continue to do some positive things here, and our intention is to get back into the TSSAA at some point, when we’re just a little bit better positioned to give our kids an opportunity for success.”

Bernard Childress, executive director of the TSSAA, confirmed that Zion Christian’s request to withdraw from the organization has been received and that he and Boyd have discussed the move.

“I’ll let (the Board of Control) know that the school has requested to withdraw from the association,” he said. “The Board doesn’t have to approve it. I just try to keep them updated. It will be on the June (meeting) agenda.

“I talked to Derek and told him … ‘if and when you decide to come back, you’ll come back as an affiliate member, if the board accepts you, for one year’. You have all the rights of any member, but for a year, you can’t be in any postseason tournament in any sport.”

In addition to eight-man football, the TSIAA – known before September 2020 as the Middle Tennessee Athletic Conference – also sanctions championships in volleyball, cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys soccer, baseball, softball and golf.

According to John Horner, president of the TSIAA board, roughly 25 schools compete in at least one of the association’s sanctioned sports.

“The TSIAA is a small entity with schools, numbers-wise,” he said. “You’re looking at maybe 150 kids in a high school or less. The TSSAA is not formed to fit these small schools.”

TSIAA guidelines may also help Zion Christian address its numbers, athletically speaking, in a quicker manner.

“You may have a kid that’s third- or fourth-string playing at a (TSSAA Class) 6A school, who may be able to get playing time at a smaller school,” Horner said. “That’s kind of one of the unique things that we have in our association. Unless you play in the association, we give a two-week ‘sit-out’ before you’re eligible to be able to participate as long as it’s board approved. A public school student, we’d ask them to sit out two weeks, for any student that’s not affiliated with our conference.

“You want to give kids an opportunity, but you don’t want schools to build ‘super teams’. We’re not trying to compete with the ‘big boys’. We’re trying to give kids an opportunity to play, as long as it’s within the confines of the rules that we offer.”

Other TSIAA participants include Academy of God, Clarksville Christian, Franklin Christian, Franklin Classical, Franklin Road Christian, Highland Rim Academy, F.H. Jenkins Prep, Lancaster Christian, Riverside Christian and South Haven.

Jarvis views the decision as a chance to “reframe and refocus” while continuing to grow the school in general and the athletic department in particular.

“In the time I’ve been here, I’ve added some members of the administrative team that I rely on for a variety of things,” he said. “One of the fruits that’s coming from that is our enrollment. We’ve got a director of advancement (T.J. Derrick) and a marketing director (Brandyn Surratt), two individuals that are doing tremendous work in terms of spreading the name of Zion Christian.

“One of the things I heard when I first move here was, Zion Christian is the best-kept secret in Maury County. That sounds cute, but that’s not what I want to be. We’re getting our name out, we’re investing in some things to just make people are of who we are as a school. So this is not focused strictly on the high school. We’re making efforts to address a number of things for the whole K-12 program.”

And even as he hesitates to call the most recent decision “a step back”, Jarvis admits a return to the TSSAA is the likely objective.

“I don’t think it’s a step back at all,” he said. “I understand how that perception can be out there. I’m all for doing whatever I think’s in the best interest of our student-athletes. That’s what this is.

“(The TSSAA) is the primary state association. Obviously we’re aware of that. What we have going on here, I think the next five-to-seven years people are going to see some really impressive things happen here. We’ve got space to grow, we’ve got a strategic plan in the works. With the growth of Maury County and what’s happening down here, this is an exciting time for Zion Christian.

“I do see a scenario (where we’d return), if the Lord so moves. It could be in two years, could be in four. We’ve not set a tangible target, but we’ve been generally in that two- to four-year timeframe in terms of seeing how the Lord works.”

Even in the spring, it’s football time in Tennessee

SM-Tn Sports

Local high school football teams continue to work toward the 2021 season, with most wrapping up spring drills over the next couple of weeks – if not already.

Southern Middle Tennessee Sports reached out to coaches with each of the 11 programs in our coverage area to check on their progress as classes wind down and summer workouts approach, as well as update their new regions for the upcoming campaign, last year’s record and this year’s schedule.

COLUMBIA ACAD. (2-6 in 2020), Division II-A Middle

Coach: Charlie Lansdell (9th season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“Knowing we have the spring and summer to prepare for the upcoming season. We’ve had some great leadership in the offseason.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“Being able to bounce back from a tough season; working on our mental toughness; getting back to where CA football has been and should be.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“Work on fundamentals, see who is ready to compete, look for our quarterback.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“The quarterback (candidates) — Nick Brown, Connor Rosson and Reid McGrath.”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“Wraps up May 14; no spring game.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       @Davidson Acad.
8/27       Waverly
9/3         @Jackson Chr.
9/10       @Franklin Road Acad.
9/17       Donelson Chr.*
9/24       Boyd Buchanan
10/1       @Mt. Juliet Chr.*
10/15     Nashville Chr.*
10/22     @Clarksville Acad.*
10/29     Grace Chr.*
*region game

COLUMBIA CENTRAL (6-6 in 2020), Region 6-5A

Coach: Jason Hoath (6th season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“I like our overall team speed on defense. We will be undersized up front, but we will be quick off the ball. We are also returning four starters on the offensive line, our tight end and running backs.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“The biggest concern we have right now is who will be taking on the quarterback responsibilities. We will have three players competing for that spot and they have little to no varsity experience.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“We’re excited to see which players will step up to the challenge and compete for spots. We will have a chance to evaluate some new faces this spring and see what our potential will look like.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“Antwan Moore is a returning starter as a defensive end/linebacker. He was named to the (Tennessee Football Coaches Association) all-state team as a junior and (Region 5-5A defensive lineman of the year) in 2020. However, he has been sidelined this spring as a precaution from a previous injury. He will be ready to go this summer.”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
Columbia Central concluded spring drills with a Purple & White Game on May 7.

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       Marshall Co.
8/27       @Dickson Co.
9/3         Franklin Co.*
9/10       @Green Hill
9/17       Nolensville*
9/24       @Mt. Pleasant
10/1       @Page*
10/8       Giles Co.
10/15     Lincoln Co.*
10/29     @Spring Hill*
*region game

INDEPENDENCE (7-3 in 2020), Region 7-6A

Coach: Scott Blade (9th season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“Senior leadership; great attitudes.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“Offensive line depth; replacing our quarterback (U.S. Naval Academy signee, Class 6A Mr. Football semifinalist Jaxson Campbell).

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
”Installation of schemes, answer personnel questions.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“(2023) running back Tre Hartwell (666 rushing yards, seven TDs in 2020) and (2023) tight end Ty Lockwood (45 catches, 605 yards, three TDs in 2020).

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“May 14. No spring game.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       Christ Presbyerian Acad.
8/27       @Lipscomb Acad.
9/3         Centennial*
9/10       @Pope John Paul II
9/17       Franklin*
9/24       @East Nashville
10/1       Brentwood*
10/8       @Summit*
10/22     Page
10/29     @Ravenwood*
*region game

LAWRENCE CO. (4-5 in 2020), Region 5-4A

Coach: David Marston (19th season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“Returning two linebackers, two defensive tackles and both corners as well as a quarterback (Alex Carr) who has started four years.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“Addressing our offensive line, defensive end, safety, running back and tight end/split end.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
”Blocking, tackling, taking care of the football and being physical.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“Running backs, quarterback and young offensive line talent.”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“May 11, weather permitting. No spring game.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       Summertown
8/27       @Loretto
9/3         Montgomery Central*
9/10       Greenbrier*
9/17       @Pearl-Cohn*
9/24       @Glencliff*
10/1       @Marshall Co.*
10/15     Tullahoma*
10/22     Hillwood*
10/29     @Creek Wood*
*region game

LORETTO (5-6 in 2020), Region 5-2A

Coach: Barry Daniel (2nd season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“The simple fact that I have established a relationship with all of the players. I know them so much better than I did at this point last season. They know me, they know my expectations and they are doing their best to meet them.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“We are going to have several guys back with playing experience, but we are going to have to find some depth. Some of our guys have had an awesome offseason and could fill a starting role but who is the “next man up”? Some players will have to learn more than one spot on both sides of the ball to provide depth.

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“To teach the basics of our systems on offense and defense. If our guys can know our base formations and plays, we can gain reps over the summer.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“Offensive line: This group has had a great off season of weight training. Can they transfer it to the field? Secondary: Must replace two starters from this unit. Two great players return, but who will complete the unit?”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“Late in May. We are going to be short and sweet as many of our guys are still in baseball. No spring game.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       @Collinwood
8/27       Lawrence Co.
9/3         @Forrest
9/10       Wayne Co.
9/17       Mt. Pleasant
9/24       @Lewis Co.
10/1       @Summertown
10/8       @Moore Co.
10/15     Cascade
10/29     Richland
*region game

MT. PLEASANT (1-8 in 2020), Region 5-2A

Coach: Kit Hartsfield (1st season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“16 returning starters.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“(Installing) new systems on both sides of the ball and creating some depth.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“(Seeing) toughness, competitiveness, player development.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“The running back position with (Xavior) Davidson and (Keevan) Cooper shows a lot of potential. (Defensive end/tight end) Gavin Alderson has taken a giant step forward, enforcing his will. Several guys are doing good things. Jeffrey Williamson is turning heads at free safety.”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“May 13. We will play a spring game beginning at 6 p.m.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       East Hickman
8/27       @Scotts Hill
9/3         Cascade*
9/10       @Zion Chr.
9/17       @Loretto*
9/24       Columbia Central
10/1       Richland*
10/15     @Summertown*
10/22     Spring Hill
10/29     @Forrest*
*region game

RICHLAND (2-7 in 2020), Region 5-2A

Coach: Nick Patterson (4th season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“Offensive line! All returning, all had big-time gains this offseason. It’s my fourth year here, so expectations are clear.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“New region, new classification.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“To find high-motor guys who are fully engaged in the process of competing every day.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“Linebackers – who’s gonna step up and lead our defense?”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“We’ll have a spring game on May 21 to end practice.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/19       @Cornersville
8/27       Zion Chr.
9/3         @Summertown*
9/10       Hickman Co.
9/17       Cascade*
10/1       @Mt. Pleasant*
10/8       Collinwood
10/15     Forrest*
10/22     @East Hickman
10/29     @Loretto*
*region game

SPRING HILL (3-6 in 2020), Region 6-5A

Coach: Ben Martin (4th season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“I think we’ll have some strong senior leadership this season.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“Youth and game-time experience for most positions.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“Determine this year’s team identity; evaluate every position/player.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“I think Mac Richie (senior running back; 276 rushing yards, two TDs in 2020) will continue to be a solid player for us. Aiden St. Croix (seior receiver/defensive end) has really stepped his game up. Louis Alderette (senior receiver/defensive back) has outworked almost everyone in the offseason. I think it could be a breakout year for (junior running back) Kaiden Martin.”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“We will wrap up May 15 with our annual Maroon and White Game at Buford Gladney Stadium at 7 p.m.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       @Bowling Green (Ky.) Greenwood
8/27       Summit
9/3         @Page*
9/10       Lewis Co.
9/17       Lincoln Co.*
9/24       Coffee Co.
10/1       @Nolensville*
10/15     @Franklin Co.*
10/22     @Mt. Pleasant
10/29     Columbia Central*
*region game

SUMMERTOWN (3-6 in 2020), Region 5-2A

Coach: Dakota Crews (1st season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“Our senior leadership.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“Learning a new offensive and defensive system this spring and summer. Our guys have responded well, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“To get our guys to compete. They’ve done a great job in the weight room and it has carried over into our spring practice. We’re trying to establish a culture of compete, compete, compete. In every drill, every play, every rep, every test in school, we want our guys competing.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“It’s hard to pinpoint one player or one position. (Quarterback) Colton Shaffer, (running back/receiver) Javen Edmiston and (receiver) Michael Abbott are a couple of our senior skill players to watch, but we have so many guys stepping up.”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
Summertown concluded spring practice with an intrasquad scrimmage on May 6.

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       @Lawrence Co.
8/27       @Wayne Co.
9/3         Richland*
9/10       Collinwood
9/17       @Forrest*
9/24       @Zion Chr.
10/1       Loretto*
10/15     Mt. Pleasant*
10/22     Lewis Co.
10/29     @Cascade*
*region game

SUMMIT (14-1 in 2020), Region 7-6A

Coach: Brian Coleman (8th season)

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“There’s not much to be comfortable about when moving up to 6A and one of the best regions in the state.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“Durability, with the grueling schedule we have. We will need to develop depth.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“Getting back to basics – blocking and tackling technique, etc.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“All eyes are usually on the Wade twins (quarterback Destin, a Class 5A Mr. Football finalist in 2020, and linebacker/defensive end Keaten; both are Kentucky commits).”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“We will wrap up May 13, maybe with a Navy/White Game.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       @Henry Co.
8/27       @Spring Hill
9/3         @Brentwood*
9/10       Blackman
9/17       Centennial*
9/24       Beech
10/1       Ravenwood*
10/8       Independence*
10/22     @Shelbyville
10/29     @Franklin*
*region game

ZION CHR. (4-6 in 2020)

Coach: Jeff Jordan (1st season)
*Acting coach James Dickinson submitted responses prior to Jordan’s hiring on May 6

● What is your biggest comfort as you consider your 2021 team?
“As of now we have no comfort. Numbers will be down this fall. There’s a lot of praying and planning at this point.”

● What is your biggest concern as you consider your 2021 team?
“The number of players we have to play this fall are a full work in progress. Offensive line and defensive line are a very big concern. We lost a lot of great players up front from last season.”

● What is your primary objective for spring practice?
“Getting new players out, working with all grades from 4th all the way up to 12th. Getting kids that have not been playing to buy in and play.”

● “All eyes on … “ what player or position during spring practice?
“With limited numbers, all eyes are on every player. We all know (senior quarterback/linebacker) Luke Perko is the key – an outstanding young man and a true leader.”

● When does spring practice wrap up for your program? Do you have a spring game planned, and if so, when?
“We’ll finish up the last week of classes. (Final day of school is May 20.) There will be no spring game.”

● What is your 2021 schedule?
8/20       Grace Chr.
8/27       @Richland
9/10       Mt. Pleasant
9/17       Eagleville
9/24       Summertown
10/1       @First Assembly Chr.
10/15     @Grundy Co.
10/22     @Wayne Co.
10/29     Cornersville

Zion softball a win from advancing

By Chris Yow

COLUMBIA — With the game tied, Zion Christian singer Halle Adcox ripped a line drive to left and cleared the bases in the fourth inning to lift her team to a 6-4 win over Davidson Academy on Thursday. The game was suspended in the bottom of the sixth inning, and umpires deemed the field unplayable following a lightning delay.

Due to TSSAA rules, the Lady Eagles were declared the winner, as the game was official.

“You hate it for their kids to end their season that way,” Zion Chr. coach Russ Adcox said. “I thought we had the momentum though. We were hitting the ball well and had our three and four hole hitters up.

“(Pitcher) Ashleia (Coble) had just gotten a huge strikeout, too.”

Davidson Acad. scored a pair of runs in the fifth, but Coble was able to get out of the inning with that strikeout. Her excitement as she came off the field was met by her dad, Eric’s, excitement who chest-bumped her to the ground.

“I told him not to hurt my pitcher,” Adcox said, laughing.

Zion got on the board early with a run in the first, but Davidson took a 2-1 lead in the third. Rebecca Hazard, who finished the game 3-for-3 singled in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.

Once again, though, the fourth inning was the key for the Lady Eagles. On Wednesday, Zion Christian plated eight runs in the fourth, and yesterday saw four runs cross, including three on the Adcox double. Hazard tripled home a run as well in the inning,

With the win, Zion Christian advances and is just one win away from a trip to the state tournament. The Lady Eagles travel to District 4 No. 1-seed Goodpasture at 3 p.m. with the trip on the line.

“We know that everybody we play is good from here on out, and if we get our bats going we will be a tough out as well,” Adcox said. “This is as far as we’ve ever been in the postseason, so we just want our girls to enjoy this experience.”