Brentwood Academy had little trouble rolling over rival Montgomery Bell Academy when the two private school powerhouses met during Week 8.
And since that decisive 34-point victory, the Eagles have coasted to five consecutive wins by an average of 28.2 points, leaving very little to suggest that Thursday’s BlueCross Bowl rematch with MBA will be any different than the Oct. 9 meeting.
“The bottom line is they beat us 48-14,” MBA coach Marty Euverard said.
“It’s going to take our best game,” added Big Red running back and DII-AA Mr. Football Back Ty Chandler. “And I think that’s what we’re going to throw at them.”
Is it possible that Brentwood Academy blows the doors off of Montgomery Bell Academy for a second time this season? Absolutely, but recent history says otherwise.
“I think the advantage MBA has is not only have they played (at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium), they’ve won there,” Brentwood Academy coach Cody White said. “They also beat a team there that had beat them in the regular season.
“They understand it’s a new game, and I think our kids do as well.”
Since the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s formation of Division II prior to the 1997 season, there have been 15 rematches in the highest DII classification’s state champion game.
In just over half of those games (8), the team that lost the regular-season meeting actually bounced back to take the title.
In fact, that was the case a season ago.
“We kind of looked back at the championship game last year,” Brentwood Academy quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall said. “When the state championship comes around all the records, all the previous games — all the everything — you can’t look back at them.”
MBA, which snapped its seven-year title drought last December, suffered a 50-44 regular-season defeat to four-time defending state champion Ensworth.
When the two teams met again in Cookeville, however, the game couldn’t have been any different.
Not only did MBA avenge the Week 6 loss, securing the school’s 10th state championship in the process, but the 10-7 triumph was dominated by defense — nothing like the thrilling overtime shootout that occurred two months prior.
“That gives us a lot of confidence,” Chandler said. “We’re basically in the same situation, and we have the chance to do the same thing this year.”
In the program’s seven Division II state titles, the Big Red have had to avenge regular-season losses in five of them, including victories over the Eagles in 1998, 2002 and 2003.
Brentwood Academy, which leads Division II-AA in scoring offense (44.3 ppg), total offense (437.1 ypg) and scoring defense (12.5 ppg), did the same to McCallie for its 2006 state championship.
Long time coming
With so much talent consistently flowing through the program, including Florida State junior and 2014 All-American Jalen Ramsey, it’s hard to believe it has been nine years since Brentwood Academy has hoisted a state championship trophy.
Last year’s campaign was cut short by a 30-28 quarterfinal defeat at Memphis University School — a team the Eagles had trounced 31-14 in their season opener.
“To go somewhere you haven’t gone in a long time, it’s exciting,” Oatsvall said. “I remember how it felt last year not being able to send the seniors off the right way. I’ve created a special bond with these (seniors) too, especially the offensive line, so sending them off the right way would be a perfect end to the season.”
Senior offensive lineman Ryan Johnson added, “That’s just something very few people get to do and it would be so exciting if we could do that, especially with us going off to college. Bryce (Mathews) is going to Ole Miss, Brandon (Adams) is going to Vanderbilt and I’m going to Tennessee. We’re going to be playing each other soon, and it would just be a great thing to have between us.”
Brentwood Academy’s biggest strength is without a doubt the trio of Southeastern Conference commitments along its offense line. As a result, Oatsvall, who has only been sacked three times in 2015, has been virtually unstoppable behind center, especially in high-stakes situations.
In the Eagles’ win over previously unbeaten MBA earlier this season, the dual-threat Oatsvall had 412 total yards — 236 of which came on 19-of-24 passing — and the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder found the end zone five times.
“I like playing under the bright lights,” said Oatsvall, a two-time Tennessean + TitanUp High School Football Player of the Week who has thrown for 1,685 yards, run for 1,005 more and accounted for 26 total touchdowns this season. “When you have great teammates around you — receivers like Camron (Johnson) and offensive linemen like Bryce, Ryan and Brandon — it takes the pressure off and makes it easier to play.”
The same can be said of Chandler, who has run behind his offensive line for 2,311 yards and 31 rushing touchdowns on the year.
“I think when you say, ‘If we can hold him under 200 we’ve had a good game,’ that tells you all you need to know,” White said of Chandler, who churned out 189 yards and a score in the first meeting. “We’re a pretty good defensive team, but I think he’s as good as anyone in the state. I haven’t seen anybody better.”
BRENTWOOD ACADEMY (11-1)
Top players: Jeremiah Oatsvall (Jr. QB), Bryce Mathews (Sr. OL), Ryan Johnson (Sr. OL), Brandon Adams (Sr. OL/DL), Camron Johnson (So. WR/DB), Max Mullen (Sr. LB/DB)
Points scored: 532 (44.3)
Points allowed: 150 (12.5)
Playoff results: Def. Briarcrest 50-3, Baylor 24-7
MONTGOMERY BELL ACADEMY (11-1)
Top players: Ty Chandler (Jr. RB/DB), David Gaw (Sr. LB/S), Sam Sullivan (Sr. WR/DB), Glenn Coleman (Sr. QB), Chapman Malone (Sr. WR/DB), Charles West (Sr. WR/DB)
Points scored: 441 (36.8)
Points allowed: 225 (18.8)
Playoff results: Def. McCallie 38-10, Christian Brothers 35-14
BLUECROSS BOWL MATCHUPS
At Tennessee Tech, Cookeville
Ravenwood vs. Maryville, Saturday, 7 p.m.
Independence vs. Sevier County, Friday, 7 p.m.
Knox Catholic vs. Pearl-Cohn, Saturday, 3 p.m.
CPA vs. Alcoa, Friday, 3 p.m.
Marion County vs. Trezevant, Saturday, 11 a.m.
Nashville Christian vs. Greenback, Friday, 11 a.m.
Brentwood Academy vs. MBA, Thursday, 7 p.m.
St. George’s vs. Northpoint Christian, Thursday, 3 p.m.