Six thoughts on the opening round of the TSSAA playoffs:
Brentwood’s toughness pays off: Down 34 players, missing nine starters, losing your starting quarterback to a knee injury three plays into a playoff game. Recipe for disaster, right? Don’t tell that to Brentwood. The Bruins got a stellar performance from backup quarterback Davis White — who spent most of the week preparing at wide receiver due to the number of players out for contact tracing at the school — and took advantage of some special teams miscues by Cane Ridge to roll past the Ravens and into the second round. Whether they get Cade Granzow back in round two remains to be seen, but if he’s unable to go, the Bruins know what they have in White. And with Independence coming back for a rematch, it could get wild again.
Bear down: Mt. Juliet’s defense gave up its fair share of yards to C.J. Taylor and Warren County, but it was the Golden Bears’ offense that provided a late lift into the second round. Taylor had 200 rushing yards, but it only helped the Pioneers to 14 points as Mt. Juliet held on. The Golden Bears travel to Oakland for the third consecutive season in the playoffs, and they’ve kept things tight into the second half each of the past two years. Can they keep the Patriots within reach again?
Region sweep: Though there were only three games instead of the usual four since Ravenwood had a bye into round two with Stewarts Creek’s quarantine, Region 6-6A still took care of business on Friday, sweeping those three on-field contests in grand fashion. Franklin, Independence and Brentwood outscored their opponents 143-40 to set up rematches with Franklin visiting Ravenwood and Independence traveling to Brentwood. The Raptors and Eagles won the previous contests in the regular season.
Working overtime: Overtime games are rare in high school football, but there were two involving area teams on Friday. Brainerd clipped Smith County 14-13 in the extra session of a Class 3A first round game, while Columbia and Gallatin needed triple overtime to settle their 5A playoff opener. The Lions scored first in the third extra frame and their defense held Gallatin out of the end zone for a 21-14 win.
Rontavious runs wild: East Nashville turned Rontavious Gregory loose at Fairview, and he was more than happy to oblige, scoring all four of the Eagles’ touchdowns in their 26-13 road victory. Gregory rolled up 253 yards on 16 carries, including a 91-yard touchdown romp as East Nashville set itself up with a rematch against Pearl-Cohn next week.
Only took a half: Lipscomb Academy wasted no time laying waste to St. George’s defense, piling up 35 first-quarter points and topping it off with 28 more in the second quarter of the Mustangs’ 63-3 rout. Alex Broome — now a Mr. Football semifinalist — scored on the game’s opening offensive play from 53 yards, then added four more scores in the first half. He finished with 131 rushing yards and four touchdowns on seven carries and had five receptions for 181 yards and another score — all in the first 24 minutes. The Mustangs have rolled off nine consecutive victories since dropping their first two games to start the season, and they’ll host Lausanne next week in the Division II-AA quarterfinals.