The last two days, we’ve grouped some teams into two tiers, contenders and sleepers. But there’s a third tier that could threaten to cause chaos in those first two tiers, and that’s where this group comes in.
This might be called the fun group of the bunch. They’re the Potential Noisemakers, teams that have the ability to catch someone on an off night or get on a hot streak and disrupt the standings or playoffs.
They’re also teams that, if certain things go right for them, can be sleepers or maybe even contenders.
Let’s take a look at some teams that could fit the bill:
Trousdale County: The Yellow Jackets are in the unusual position of having to rebuild after losing a successful senior class that reached the semifinals every year. Only one lineman returns and just two starters from last year’s semifinal game are back. Low numbers (28 players) and little depth make 2022 a challenge for Blake Satterfield’s crew, but perhaps they can come together quickly and continue to factor into the Region 4-2A race.
White House: Replacing Ranen Blackburn is the Blue Devils’ biggest task in 2022. Couple that with what should be a motivated Fairview squad and a Waverly team that gets to play at home again after being a road team all of 2021, and there are enough challenges for White House to navigate even before November.
DeKalb County: Briz Trapp will run the show for the Tigers, so as he goes, DeKalb County will go this year. Losing an all-everything player such as Isaac Knowles means replacing several pieces that one guy was able to handle. Not an easy task for a smaller school.
Hillsboro: The Burros were a score away from a playoff spot in 2021 and are letting that pain drive them into 2022. They are in a highly-competitive region, so they can’t afford any early missteps, but if they can take down Station Camp in Week 2, they’re headed in the right direction.
Station Camp: Speaking of the Bison, how will they respond after last year’s brutal stretch to end the season? That’ll go a long way toward determining their fate in 2022.
Portland: The Panthers have some nice pieces in place to potentially give Springfield and Henry County some problems in Region 7-5A. Can they take care of business and secure a top-three finish?
Riverdale: Caleb Herring is back for his senior season but graduation did hit the Warriors in some key areas. Couple that with the threat of Blackman’s improvement and a top-two finish isn’t guaranteed. They will catch the Blaze early, however, and it might pay off down the line.
Hendersonville: Another team hit hard in key areas by graduation, the Commandos must replace fantastic production on both sides of the ball in a region with two Sumner County rivals and a Clarksville team looking to make a push.
Gallatin: The Green Wave would like to forget that second-round loss to Hendersonville in last year’s playoffs, but perhaps that motivation pushes them into a top-two finish this season.
Clarksville: Davin Garinger’s health is the biggest factor in Region 5-6A. If he does stay healthy and the Wildcats’ offense becomes more dynamic, then Sumner County’s stranglehold on the top-three in the region becomes a little less tight.
Cane Ridge: The Ravens suffered a shocking loss to Clarksville in round one last year and could see some challenges from Overton and Smyrna at the top of Region 6-6A. They’re in a tough part of the 6A playoff bracket, but perhaps 2022 has better results in store for Cane Ridge.
Overton: Health also factors into the Bobcats’ hopes, mainly for Delanie Majors, who’s rehabbing a knee injury. They’re hoping Juice gets loose in the second half of the season, when they have their two toughest region games with Cane Ridge and Smyrna.
Smyrna: New turf, same Bulldogs. Arion Carter might be even faster on the new playing surface and Smyrna hopes he can help lift them to a region title. They certainly don’t want a repeat of last year’s first-round loss to Gallatin.
Centennial: The Cougars have a new look and a new attitude entering 2022, looking to bust through into the top four again after being below the cut line each of the last three years.
CPA: The Lions are here simply because of the leadership lost to graduation. Thomas Vaccaro and London Humphreys should be a consistent connection in 2022, and the CPA defense will need to call upon some younger players to step up in key roles. They have a tough schedule but should improve throughout the season and be built for November like they usually are.
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