County jamboree kicks off prep season

County jamboree kicks off prep season


County jamboree kicks off prep season



The final dress rehearsal for the high school football season kicks off tonight with a grand setting.

The Rutherford County football jamboree, which hasn’t been held since 2000, kicks off at 6 p.m. today at Riverdale High’s Tomahawk Stadium.

It’s a long awaited event for District 7-AAA fans. All six schools in the Rutherford County football league are participating. The jamboree matchups are determined by the Week 10 games.

“Our county is known for such good good football teams in it,” said Blackman coach Philip Shadowens, who coached in the jamboree when he was the coach at Smyrna. “It is neat from a fan perspective. It’s a great chance to see all six teams. You can see them all in one night.”

La Vergne will play Blackman at 6 p.m., followed by Siegel-Smyrna with Oakland and Riverdale serving as the night cap. Blackman, Smyrna and Riverdale are the home teams. Each matchup includes two 12-minute quarters.

Admission is $7 with the six teams splitting all gate receipts after all of Riverdale’s expenses for holding the event have been paid. Tickets can be purchased at each participating school for $5 with all proceeds going to that program.

Oakland football coach Thomas McDaniel proposed bringing back the jamboree in the offseason. Many of his assistants had once played in the event.

“It was a tradition,” McDaniel said. “The guys that work with me that played in it say they loved it. It was a cool thing to kick off the season. There were great turnouts.”

Back then, the event was annually held at MTSU’s Floyd Stadium and featured the four Rutherford County programs — La Vergne, Oakland Riverdale and Smyrna. Currently, the plan among 7-AAA coaches is to put the jamboree on a rotation as far as who hosts the event.

“It was kind of a city versus a county event,” recalled Siegel coach Greg Wyant, who was an assistant at Riverdale during the previous jamboree era. “Oakland would have Smyrna or La Vergne and Riverdale would have the other.”

Some have questioned why teams within the same district would be willing to scrimmage against each other prior to the start of the season. However, area coaches say that isn’t a big deal.

“If you think you are hiding something in this district you are fooling yourself,” Wyant said. “Everyone kind of knows what the other is doing. There is film on everyone out there.

“There are two ways you can look at it. You can go in there and be simplistic in what you do and not show anything. Or you can do a bunch of stuff and make them prep for a lot of things the next time. I don’t know if there is a whole lot to hide. We aren’t going to show our whole offense with us playing Franklin the next week.”

McDaniel said he’d like to see the county pair up with Williamson County teams in the future for the jamboree if something could be worked out. But this is a starting point.

Coaches say they intend to play a good majority of players in the contest with their starters kicking off the scrimmage and playing a couple series if not the first quarter before reserves are inserted.

“We will probably play a lot of kids,” Shadowens said. “We won’t play our starters an extended time.”

As far as how bad coaches want to win the jamboree, McDaniel said that’s not the goal.

“I’m getting older so I’m trying to chill out,” McDaniel said. “I want to win, but my main focus is executing and not looking sloppy. ANd we want to get out without any major injuries. We want to showcase the work we’ve put in.”


More USA TODAY High School Sports