The Middle Tennessee area has several teams that might fall under the “sleepers” category. For this exercise, we’re highlighting teams that can make a case for a deep run, but a couple of things need to go right in order to truly be a title contender.
This is the second of three such groups that will come this week, with Noisemakers coming Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Watertown/Westmoreland/East Robertson – Region 4-2A has a ton of question marks among its top four finishers from last year. One of them, Trousdale County, returns only one starting lineman on a roster of just 28 players. If teams are going to get past them, 2022 is the year to do it as only two players who started last year’s semifinal game return. So which one could it be? Watertown has enough experience back to win the region again, but Westmoreland (outstanding defense) and East Robertson (dangerous skill players) have a case to make as well.
Fairview – Layden Grant and Connor Farris lead a Yellow Jacket team that’s motivated to get past the first round this season in Class 3A, and with White House graduating several key players, the door is open for Fairview to return to the top of Region 6-3A.
Springfield – An experienced Yellow Jacket team returns with Devon Crenshaw leading the offense and fellow seniors such as Lamarion Turner and Dya’Ron Grundy providing stability up front. Big seasons from junior defensive back Clarence Cobbins and sophomore Keenan Chatman could help Springfield be a contender again.
Blackman – The Blaze really don’t do anything quietly, so it’s hard to sleep on them. Offensively, a bevy of weapons are at Chandler Tygard’s disposal and Blackman will score its share of points quickly. Can the defense cut its points allowed number from 37 last season to the high 20s this year? If so, they’re a playoff team. If they manage to get it to the low 20s, they become a contender.
Beech – The Buccaneers had some assistants depart for Liberty Creek this season, but an Anthony Crabtree-coached team doesn’t slip too far down the list. They have a good chance to win Region 5-6A, and a decent shot to be playing as late as Black Friday should things work out as planned.
MTCS – Expectations will remain high for the Cougars after a banner year for the program in 2021. They’ll need to work in a new quarterback and Division II-Class A figures to have several horses in the race this year, but Middle Tennessee Christian could very well be among them.
Davidson Academy – The Bears took some lumps in region play, but they return quite a bit of talent from a team that reached the semifinals in their first year after moving up to Division II-Class AA.
Brentwood Academy – A deep, experienced team at the skill positions returns, but building depth on the lines and sophomore quarterback George MacIntyre’s development are the keys to the Eagles’ 2022 season with a tough schedule in front of them.
Ensworth – Losing Jacob Page as a transfer hurts the offense, but Shamar Porter is one of the area’s most talented players and the Tigers have quite a bit of experience returning in skill positions and at linebacker as well.
Greenbrier – Nathan Robinson figures to factor on both sides of the ball and the Bobcats are a fairly experienced group with good chemistry. They do need to build some depth for the future, but the 100th year of Greenbrier High School could be a special one if they continue their upward trajectory. Arguably Pearl-Cohn’s biggest challenger in Region 5-4A.
Smith County – The Owls’ sheer size will be an edge in 2022 and senior Bryce Currie is primed for a big season. However, Smith County can’t afford many injuries as there are depth concerns with low numbers. They might be a year away with East Nashville in the same region.
Follow Chris Brooks @Brooks_615 on Twitter and on Instagram @cbrooks615.