BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTO BY ANDY COLLIGNON
As the regular season winds down, Williamson County’s football teams are all trying to make that last-minute push for a playoff spot or better postseason standings.
We’ve got no shortage of November-ready teams, though as is customary, only a few can push ahead to play in the month after.
State games are hard to reach and even harder to win, but the county has a few teams that look like they could hoist the trophy when it comes time to give the playoffs a go.
Who are they, exactly?
The obvious state contender in the county right now is Brentwood Academy, a top-to-bottom talented team who just finds ways to devastate whoever is on the calendar.
Though, that changed once McCallie stopped by and got a last-second win, the first BA loss in about two years.
Friday’s MBA game will determine a lot for where the Eagles are right now. It’s not necessarily a season-ender if they lose to their big rival, but it’ll put MBA in the driver’s seat for their district, and might put BA on the road in November.
The last place they want to be is having to will a playoff win up in Nashville against MBA. No matter how great this team is (make no mistake; they’re great), playoff road rival games are just hard to win.
BA’s too talented and well-coached not to make a hard push for yet another state title, though the challenges are more plentiful than usual for the Eagles. It’ll be exciting to see how they manage the hurdles.
Christ Presbyterian Academy
The CPA Lions are the only undefeated team in the county as of now, as they’ve blown past most of their competition have established themselves as the team to beat in their district.
QB Ryan Eledge has the talent to take CPA as far as it wants to go, though he, by no means, has to do it by himself.
The three-headed monster of Kane Patterson, Sam West and Andrew Madden at running back is almost impossible for any team to stop, and we all know how far a good ground game can take you in the postseason. WR Noah Henderson is Eledge’s favorite target in the air, and should be a hard guy for any team to cover.
Patterson’s also the face of that defense, who, while not quite as potent as the offense, has the talent to rise up to the occasion if need be.
The Lions offense might be enough to will them to the state game on its own, but that defense will need to really step up and play its best ball to bring the trophy back to CPA. The offense can do it all by itself, but it’d be easier for the Lions if the version of themselves that clobbers both sides of the ball makes the November run.
The Bruins have both sides of the ball pretty down pat, with two starting-ready QBs in Cade Granzow and Dylan Stevens should they need him, a deep arsenal of weapons like Chayce Bishop, Avery Williams, Carter McKechnie and Walker Merrill, an able pass rush and a dangerous secondary.
There are good odds the team could have to play a Cane Ridge (one of two losses the team has taken this year) or a Ravenwood (who they edged in a last-second bout) early in November, and the road only gets harder from there. Hey, that’s what happens when Oakland stands in the way of you and a trophy. If Brentwood can’t get it this year, no harm, no foul. They’re young at just about every position at the roster, and should contend for the Granzow’s time as a starter. Though, the young QB will have a tough path ahead.
The Raptors are no stranger to the playoff stage, with QB Brian Garcia leading this newest iteration of the storied program. HC Matt Daniels is one of the best at it right now, but you have to wonder how Ravenwood can fare if they can’t get the Region 6A crown and get home field throughout November. There aren’t a lot of weak spots on the roster, but there are bigger fish in the pond right now.
The school’s experience in navigating this stage will come in handy as they try to once more plow through to postseason glory, but this Ravenwood team might be a year away from being where they normally are.
But this is also the Raptors we’re talking about. Forgive stating the obvious, but if this team knows how to do anything, it’s win. That helps once the playoff roll around.
The Eagles are not the team we saw put down a flop against Oakland at the start of the year. That defense is substantially better than they were to start the year, and quarterback Ethan Cash has been putting up outrageous stats. WRs T.J. Sheffield and Isaiah Collier are also nearly impossible to shut down in unison.
The big thing right now to watch is if Indy can maneuver to claim the region. This team at home is not one any should want to run into, and of course, head coach Scott Blade has experience in managing December football in the past. After a 1-3 start, Indy has just been a different outfit and is hard to stop on offense. It’ll come down to the competition they see in the playoffs and if that defense has what it takes to lock down some of the best offenses in Class 6A.
The Page Patriots have skyrocketed in 5A to be dangerous on both sides of the ball, thanks in large part to an offense powered by QB Cade Walker and WR Michael Burdick.
The defense doesn’t let up a lot, and the team is beginning to find more consistency on the ground. That will serve them well in a playoff setting.
Though, this week’s big game against Shelbyville Central will both likely decide their region and determine who’s got what it takes to make the step forward to contend out of that region when it comes to taking on the rest of 5A.
The Patriots really will benefit from going ahead and getting a first glance at the Golden Eagles now, for that might be a team they see here in a few weeks.
Class 5A is filled with talented teams ready to contend, so Page will need to batten down the hatches to make this season one to remember. The potential is there, though.