Here is the analysis from the first half of the regular season from DNJ prep editor Tom Kreager.


Record: 3-2 overall, 0-2 in 7-AAA

Overall grade: C+

Offense: C

The Blackman offense may be on an uptick with the emergence of Chase Smotherman. He has teamed with Quindell Cousin to give the Blaze a potent passing attack. The Blaze are now averaging 157.6 passing ypg. That could raise the final grade. The trio of Antonio Allen, Dee Mathers and Cole Notgrass have taken on the running duties. Combined, they give a solid run game (186.4 rushing ypg). All of that has produced 24.6 points a game, but just 12 ppg in 7-AAA play.

Defense: C+

The Blaze defense is improved from a year ago, but still is giving up 24.6 ppg. Take out the 42-7 loss to district leader Siegel and that dips to 13.5 ppg. The defense is giving up just 274.2 ypg behind defensive leader J.J. Lord. The Blaze held Siegel to its smallest point total all season.

Special Teams: B-

The Blaze biggest special team miscue was likely a 48-yard punt return for score by Oakland’s Tyler Black. Kyle Mincey has done a good job in the kicking department, hitting 15-of-17 PATs and a couple of field goals.


Record: 2-3 overall, 1-1 in 9-A

Overall grade: C

Offense: A

Eagleville has opened the attack up with Ryan Jordan at quarterback. He is a big reason why the Eagles are averaging 30.2 points a game this season. Jordan already has 975 passing yards this season and has offset a rash of injuries at running back. RB Chris Hale is out indefinitely as he mends a high-ankle sprain. That will limit what the Eagles can do as they have just Dakota Durand and Jordan Siler with significant experience in the backfield. And both of them have had injuries as well.

Defense: D

A stingy defense a year ago, injuries this year have been a big hit to the Eagles’ defense. Eagleville is giving up 24.6 points a game at this point, which has forced the Eagles to perform each week. The Eagles have given up more than 30 points the past two weeks. In two District 9-A games, the Eagles have given up an average 330.5 yards a game.

Special Teams: B+

First-year punter Chris Hale leads the area with a 37.8-yard average. But he is now out of the lineup due to injury. Freshman kicker Rudy Guerra has been a pleasant surprise for the Eagles as well. Guerra is 17-of-18 kicking PATs and has a pair of field goals for the Eagles. Those two ingredients are a key part to Eagleville’s first-half success.

La Vergne

Record: 1-4 overall, 1-1 in 7-AAA

Overall: D

Offense: D-

La Vergne’s offense has been sluggish through much of the season, averaging just 10.8 points and 240.8 yards a game. Only Smyrna’s offense has been less productive among District 7-AAA teams. Daryl James had a career night in an upset of Oakland where he had 215 yards on 31 carries. However, he has had 217 yards on 23 carries the other four games. First-year quarterback C.J. Fore has had his moments, but he leads 7-AAA with seven interceptions. La Vergne held the lead in its first two games at halftime, but failed to score a point in the second half and lost both games. The Wolverines managed just six points off a Smyrna team that had been giving up 35 points to that point.

Defense: C

The defense has been a bright spot for the Wolverines, who are giving up 20.2 points a game, but just 210.8 total yards. That has been boosted by a pass defense giving up just 50.4 yards a game in the air. The Wolverines run defense had given up 190.5 yards a game on the ground prior to holding the Bulldogs to just 40.

Special Teams: F

The kicking game, or lack thereof, has a been a big problem for the Wolverines. La Vergne hasn’t hit a PAT all season, and it has yet to convert a 2-point conversion through five games.


Record: 0-5 overall, 0-2 in 9-A

Overall: D

Offense: D-

The run game has produced 56.2 yards a contest through the first five contests. Quarterback Brent Hofbauer has had some good moments, throwing for 598 yards in the first fivegames. However, he also has had 10 interceptions with two touchdowns. The Cougars are averaging 10.8 points and 175.8 yards game. MTCS’ receivers Justin Winn and Oakley Starling have been good receivers for the Cougars.

Defense: D

A young defense has had their moments at MTCS. But the Cougars have struggled to play four complete quarters, that was evident against Ezell-Harding when the Cougars led entering the fourth quarter only to lose 34-13. MTCS is giving up 39 points a game.

Special teams: D

Griffin Harper has been a bright spot for the return game, averaging 26.8 yards. The duo of Philip Bonabi and Thomas Goodwyn have combined for 4-of-6 on PATs. But the kickoff game isn’t a strength. The Cougars squib kick every opportunity. Brent Hofbauer is averaging 29.3 yards a punt.


Record: 3-2 overall, 1-1 in 7-AAA

Overall: B-

Offense: C

OK, the offense is averaging 34.4 points a game through the first half the season. But throw out a 56-point effort against winless Hunters Lane and 44 points against Gallatin (2-3) and that number drops to 24 points a game. Right now, Emmanuel Smith is the Patriots’ No. 1 offensive threat and is being used as a passer, rusher and receiver by coach Thomas McDaniel. That has helped the Patriots average 349 yards a game.

Defense: B-

The defense has had its moments and appears to be making progress, giving up 15.5 points over the past two weeks. But overall, the Patriots are giving up 275 yards a game and 18.4 points. The secondary has been tested, and Tyson Cope has answered with four interceptions to date. The addition of linebacker Cliff Thompson helps the Patriots’ pass rush. If Travon Willis gets healthy, he also will be a big help stopping the run and putting pressure on the quarterback.

Special Teams: B

Tyler Black gives the Patriots an ability to make plays on the return game. His 48-yard punt return for score was a big factor in a win over Blackman. Hayes Foster has been fairly consistent at kicker, which was an issue at times last season. He is 18-of-19 for the year. Punter Alex VanSenus (35.9 average) has improved from a year ago as well.


Record: 4-1 overall, 1-1 in 7-AAA

Overall: B+

Offense: A

The Warriors have averaged 41.4 points a game and 490.8 yards a game thus far this season. Only Siegel has better number through the first five games. Dillon Woodruff was able to open things up a week ago and finished with 289 passing yards and 107 rushing yards in a loss to Siegel. Mariko Odom (106.6 rushing ypg) is off to a great start at wingback and WR Tad Onwu may be ready for a breakout season after a nine-catch, 154-yard effort against the Stars.

Defense: B

OK, throw out the 49-point, 550 yards given up to Siegel and this is a B+ or better. But weaknesses were exposed in the secondary. Riverdale is allowing 20 points and 259.4 yards a game. Linebackers Scottie Boykin (58 tackles), Brandon Stewart (41 tackles, two interceptions) and Peyton Phillips (36 tackles, seven recovered fumbles) lead the defense.

Special Teams: C

Todd Huber’s kicking helps this grade from being any lower. He is 27-of-30 on PATs and took over the punting duties two weeks ago. He is averaging 35.8 yards a game. However, the kick return defense has been suspect early in the season and must improve.


Record: 5-0 overall, 2-0 in 7-AAA

Overall: A

Offense: A

The Stars average an area-best 48 points and 491.4 tota yards a game at the half-way mark of the regular season behind quarterback Brent Stockstill. Siegel has mercy ruled all but one of its first five opponents. Teams must defend the deep ball with talented receivers Tae Martin (89.2 receiving ypg), Dominique Gooch (46.4 receiving ypg) and Tyler Walton (28.6 receiving ypg) make up an oustanding trio. And defenses must stop the run game led by Denzel Harding (102 ypg).

Defense: B+

Siegel had given up just 21 points through the first four games before the Stars yielded 28 to Riverdale a week ago. But the Stars’ 9.8 points allowed is best in District 7-AAA. Defensive end John A. Simpson and Jamison Frazier have stood out up front, and defensive back Jace Tyson has been a ball magnet in the secondary with five interceptions. The only thing that keeps this from being an A is giving up 502 yards against the Warriors.

Special Teams: A

Harrison Reed is a weapon that no other team in Rutherford County has. His kickoff accuracy gave Riverdale’s return game fits all night. He also has 41 points scored. Tae Martin has a punt return for a TD. And Malik Flagg has been a tackle machine on kickoffs.


Record: 1-4 overall, 1-1 in 7-AAA

Overall: D

Offense: D-

Youth and inexperience has taken a toll on the Bulldogs’ offensive attack. Smyrna is averaging just 9.2 points and 146 total yards a game. First-year starting quarterback Matt Rodell is throwing for just 39 yards a game. Newcomer Kyle Smith has given the Bulldogs a bit of a run threat, running for 121 yards in a loss to Olive Branch. Xavier Kynard has been a bright spot at receiver, catching nine passes for 204 yards.

Defense: D+

The Bulldogs defense had a rough start to the season due to tough scheduling that must be factored in to their grade. Their first four opponents were ranked in the state in their respective state and classification. Smyrna is giving up 29.2 points and 388.4 yards a game through the first five games. Smith does have a fumble recovery for touchdown for the Bulldogs.

Special teams: C-

Rodell started off well at punter averaging 38.5 yards a game, but he was replaced by Helman Garcia after Rodell suffered a muscle strain. Garcia is averaging 31.6 per punt since replacing him.


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