COLUMN: Centennial saves season, state contenders emerging

COLUMN: Centennial saves season, state contenders emerging


Friday night, the Centennial Cougars did what all good teams do when facing an August 0-3 overall home and 0-2 home district record.

They scored 62 points.

The Cool Springs offensive explosion and some savvy second-half defending gave the team its first win of 2018, and an important one at that. The win breathes life into the program for its 2018 jaunt and proves that this offensive group has the goods to go off at any moment.

Perhaps the most stirring development for the team would be the performance of junior WR Ahsharri Haynesworth, who looked unstoppable in the passing game Friday. He hauled in a handful of tight catches in coverage and three touchdown passes to help chip in for that monster 62-point night. His father, Albert, stormed in defensive lines in his pro football career, but his son looks like a star in the making who should be fielding college interest very soon. He’s still working into the schematics of the game, but he’s got the toolbox ready at his display. His Friday night performance should give Cougars fans a healthy dose of confidence in what he’s capable of this year and beyond.

As should the four-touchdown night of RB Jariel Wilson, an Austin Peay commit who looks bent on adding a trophy to the Centennial case with the way he’s running, and QB Grayson Marcel, who can beat any team in the county when he’s on like he was Friday night.

Centennial’s defense feels like it can do just enough to tighten down when it matters. Most teams will let up a lot of points to Independence’s electric offense, but they made the plays to limit them just enough to let their own offense hammer out the touchdowns. Centennial let a win slip through their fingers against Ravenwood in Week One and got trounced by Hendersonville in Week Two. In Week Three, they saved their season.

Which Centennial team will we see from here on out? Well, they hit the road for trips to Cane Ridge (Sept. 7), Riverdale (Sept. 21) and Franklin (Sept. 28). They host Dickson County on Sept. 14. This slate will determine if the Cougars are meant to sink or swim. After their firework show against Indy, these Cougars have the goods to score on anyone. The question is if they can shore up the defense to prepare for the Eagles of the world.

Or, hey, maybe they can just outscore teams from here on out.

BA, BGA, CPA, Ravenwood, Page all stay undefeated

When you’re looking for state contenders, look for the teams who emerge from August without a scratch.

Over on the private school side, Brentwood Academy, Battle Ground Academy and Christ Presbyterian Academy all look like obvious candidates. No team has really faced much of a challenge so far this season, despite BA facing district heavyweights like Father Ryan and PJPII and BGA going up against fine teams like Nashville Christian and Goodpasture.

Sheesh, CPA had to play Ensworth.

But, we knew all of these guys would be here by now, as would Ravenwood, who is learning to win some hard games early, even when down at one point. That adversary could make a longtime giant even stronger come November. BA might not face a worthy adversary until their Oct. 19 game with MBA. That could have some serious ramifications for playoff seeding. BGA and CPA will collide on Sept. 14, while Ravenwood still has that whole Brentwood game to tend to, and must fend off the dangerous Independence and Centennial offenses.

Page High’s 3-0 start might be the most fascinating of all. They’re not exactly dominating teams week-to-week, but they’re finding ways to win. That comes in handy as time goes on. Charles Rathbone’s guys don’t have an easy road from here; Ravenwood says hello Friday and district rivals Summit and Lincoln County await for the two weeks after their home tilt against Antioch Sept. 14.

Page and Ravenwood will be our Game of the Week, since it’s going to be telling for both teams; more on that Thursday.

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