Nashville Christian's defense a concern

Nashville Christian's defense a concern


Nashville Christian's defense a concern



As impressive as Clarksville Academy has looked the past two weeks, coach Todd Hood knows that the real impression may come tonight.

Not that Stewart County and Montgomery Central didn’t pose their own sets of problems, but the talent and competition level will be just a bit greater as the Cougars (2-0) play host to District 10-A rival Nashville Christian (1-1) at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy Sports Complex.

“They’ll be the biggest challenge of the year for us,” Hood said about Nashville Christian. “We know that in order to win another district championship, we’ll have to go through them and I’m sure Jo Byrns will be right there in the mix as well.”

The Eagles were out of that mix a year ago but that didn’t stop them from jumping out on the Cougars 10-0. Clarksville Academy had to rally to pull out a 28-16 victory. But that Academy team was dripping wet the senior leadership. This year’s group is still finding its identity. But if you go by the first two weeks of the season, it would be hard to argue that Hood’s team hasn’t already found that identity.

“We’re playing well right now,” he said. “We’ve been really pleased at how our young kids have stepped up so far. Now this game will be a huge test for us so we’ll get to see just how good we are but confidence is high right now. Anytime you can get wins against a 3A school and 4A school that have double the enrollment you have, it’s nice.”

Clarksville Academy’s offense has been rolling scoring 47 and 51 points, respectively, in the first two games. But Hood expects a different final score tonight.

“Nashville Christian has the kind of defense that can mess you up,” he said. “They do a lot of blitzing and they come at you in all directions so we have to be ready.”

One way to combat that aggressive style is with quick plays and the Academy is known to utilize Hood’s no huddle offense. But Hood isn’t sure wearing down Nashville Christian in the fourth quarter will be possible.

“This is probably the one team that you can’t do that against,” he said. “They are going to be in shape because that coaching staff does a great job of preparing them. But we’re hoping that we can do some things offensively that force them out of some of those blitzes.”

Quarterback Ryan Young and running back Phillip Booker lead the Eagles’ attack. Booker ran for 176 yards last week on only eight carries while Young threw for a score as Nashville Christian routed Middle Tennessee Christian 41-6.


More USA TODAY High School Sports