CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The high school football season will kick off in Montgomery County in much the same way it did in 2013. Montgomery Central and Clarksville Academy will resume their rivalry as prep football returns at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Montgomery Central High School.
Clarksville Academy handled the Indians rather easily en route to a 42-7 thumping, in which the Cougars’ offense racked up nearly 450 yards – nearly 400 on the ground. Running back Jaleel Stubbs was a major reason for that success last year, running rampant through Montgomery Central’s defense for 196 yards and three touchdowns.
Fortunately for Academy coach Todd Hood, Stubbs returns ready to duplicate that effort as both teams open the 2014 season.
“This is always a good rivalry for both schools,” Hood said. “It’s the first game of the year. It’s a rivalry game. It’s just good exposure for both programs on a Thursday night before Friday’s Week 0 games, and it kind of gives us the spotlight for a night. But at the end of the day, it’s about playing football between the lines, and we have to be ready for a very good Central team.”
Hood also talked about working the “kinks” out of his team’s offense as the Cougars prepare for the Indians Thursday. Montgomery Central had a chance to do that last week during the TOA Football Jamboree against Kentucky’s Class 4A Madisonville-North Hopkins. The Maroons cruised to the jamboree win in two quarters of play, but Hood – who scouted Central during that competition – saw enough from the Indians to give him concern.
“They have a good offensive system that has been in place now for a few years with coach (Jeff) Tomlinson,” Hood said. “They’re very well coached and coach Tomlinson is a great one. So we have to play our very best to win (Thursday).”
Stubbs was well on his way to a 1,000-yard season last year before an injury three games into the 2013 campaign sidelined him for the next several weeks. He returned to help an injury-riddled Cougars team reach the Class A playoffs for the fourth straight year in what may be Hood’s finest coaching job.
Stubbs will be a focus of Hood’s offense this year, and after last year’s near-200 yard game against Central, he’ll be the focus of the Indians’ defense.
“He has the experience you’re looking for and the athletic ability as well,” Hood said. “He’s going to be counted on to provide leadership on and off the field, because, again, we don’t have a ton of kids on this roster. We have about 28 players.”
Last year’s rash of injuries also forced Hood to adjust his offense, snatching Michael Conn from his wide receiver position and shifting him to quarterback, where Conn excelled without having played the position since his youth football days. Conn comes into this year having gained valuable experience under center.
“What started out as a curse for our offense, with all of those injuries, ended up a blessing this year,” Hood said. “Michael got a lot of experience last year and played well for us, so we have confidence he can lead this team this year too.”
Conn is primarily a running quarterback, but Hood has worked on his throwing during the summer despite the pull of baseball, a sport that Conn also participates in at Clarksville Academy.
Montgomery Central also has an experienced quarterback in Peyton Delvendahl. The senior has been starting since his freshman year, and although Central has struggled, Delvendahl has been a highlight for Tomlinson’s offense.
Tyler Snead returns at the running back position as Central takes its first step to improving last year’s 3-7 record. It took the Indians six weeks to capture their first football win in 2013.
George Robinson. Prep writer. 245-0747. firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook and Twitter: @Cville_Sports.
HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
Clarksville Academy vs. Montgomery Central
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Records: Montgomery Central 0-0, Clarksville Academy 0-0