The Gallatin High School football team enters the final two weeks of the regular season facing a pair of must-win situations.
First priority for the Green Wave is defeating visiting Hillsboro, which visits Calvin Short Field on Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Gallatin (4-4 overall, 2-3 in Region 6-5A) must win its final two games to secure one of the four playoff berths from Region 6-5A.
“We’ve kind of put ourselves in a hole,” Green Wave head coach Mark Williams said. “We felt like we could have had a much better record. We let a couple get out of hand. That’s not indicative of this football program.
“They are winners. We as coaches believe in them. They know how to win. We just have to get back on that track.”
Gallatin is coming off a bye week, which came following a 42-14 loss at Hendersonville two weeks ago.
“(The season) is a grind, but that’s with any football team,” Williams said. “Every team has been going at it since July. You definitely want to be playing late in the season. To do that, you have to embrace it.”
Hillsboro (5-3) is one of three teams – along with Beech and Hendersonville – that enters Friday’s play with a 4-1 mark in 6-5A play. The Burros can win the regional title by defeating the Green Wave and then knocking off Beech in the two teams’ regular-season finale, but Hillsboro could also potentially miss the playoffs by dropping its final two games.
The Burros outgained visiting Hunters Lane by a 465-80 margin in total yardage during last Friday’s 48-0 victory.
Hillsboro senior quarterback Daylon Murphy completed 7 of 11 passes in that contest, resulting in 174 yards. Murphy threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to senior wingback Malique Fleming and a 33-yarder to senior running back De’Andre Alexander.
Alexander rushed for a team-high 93 yards on just four carries, including touchdowns of 75 and 10 yards.
Murphy has completed 57 of 122 pass attempts this season, resulting in 1,181 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Alexander has rushed for 466 yards and five touchdowns, while senior running back Jeremy Hill has compiled 446 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
Fleming (13-328-2), Alexander (10-125-3), senior wide receiver Jay King (17-375-2) and junior slotback Javonta Payton (6-146-3) are the primary targets for Murphy.
The Burros’ lone region loss was a 21-14 setback at Cane Ridge on Sept. 25.
However, Hillsboro – the Class 5A runner-up last season (suffering a 23-6 loss to Knoxville West in the state championship game) – followed that by rolling to a 29-3 win at Glencliff prior to last Friday’s rout.
The Burros last missed the playoffs in 2011.
Since starting the season 4-1, Gallatin has suffered three consecutive losses to county rivals – Station Camp (27-19), Beech (45-7) and Hendersonville.
The Green Wave suffered multiple injuries in the loss to the Commandos two weeks ago, with junior tailback Jordan Mason re-aggravating a leg injury in the second quarter. Then, Gallatin lost junior starting quarterback Wyatt Hayes and senior back-up quarterback Christian Campbell to second-half injuries.
Hayes and Campbell are expected to play, though Mason is questionable for Friday’s contest.
“We’ve had an injury here and there,” Williams said. “We have the next-man-up mentality.
“It’s just about going out there and executing.”
It’s the final home game for the Green Wave, who concludes the regular season with a contest at Cane Ridge next Friday.
Gallatin last missed out on the postseason in 2012.
“Our kids, they know the situation,” Williams said. “We have to have that determined spirit to get it done.
“We sort of control our own destiny. That’s a good place to be.”
Cane Ridge (6-2 overall, 3-2 in Region 6-5A) at Station Camp (3-5, 2-3)
Kickoff at 7 p.m.
Last game: Cane Ridge rolled to a 45-0 victory over visiting Glencliff last Friday. Station Camp suffered a 41-14 loss at Beech two weeks ago.
Last meeting between the two teams: Never played.
There’s no magic formula for the Station Camp High football team to reach the postseason for the fifth straight season.
However, an open date last week could prove to be an excellent elixir to help get some injured Bison back on the field in time for Friday evening’s critical Region 6-5A showdown with visiting Cane Ridge.
Senior running back/linebacker Chris Dunavin is probable to return, pending final clearance from doctors after suffering a concussion against Gallatin on Sept. 25 and missing the last two games. Junior quarterback Tyler Thompson suffered a knee injury the same night but is still two weeks away from returning to the field, according to head coach Shaun Hollinsworth.
Junior wide receiver Marcus DeVault, recovering from turf toe, will be available on Friday after missing the Bison’s 41-14 loss at Beech on Oct. 9.
The Bison (3-5 overall, 2-3 in Region 6-5A) have been outscored 72-14 over the last two games, losses at home to Hendersonville and at Beech following region victories over Hunters Lane and Gallatin.
Those two region wins have Station Camp in a position where they can climb into the top four and thus earn a playoff berth, but the team will need some help to finish there.
The Bison can’t afford another loss, and the Ravens (6-2, 3-2) have put together three straight victories – over Hillsboro, Hunters Lane and Glencliff – to put themselves in fourth with two games remaining.
In six victories this season, the Ravens’ defense has been the backbone of Cane Ridge’s success, allowing just 40 points (6.7 points per game) and posting three shutouts. However, in losses to Hendersonville and Beech, Cane Ridge combined to give up 73 points.
The Ravens took care of business last week in a 45-0 victory over visiting Glencliff, in which the Colts were limited to 19 yards of total offense.
D.J. Thorpe threw for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 10-of-16 passing.
Station Camp will travel to Glencliff next Friday, while Cane Ridge will host Gallatin to close the regular season.
Cascade (3-5 overall, 2-3 in Region 4-2A) Westmoreland (4-4, 2-1)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Eagle Stadium
Last game: The Champions claimed a 35-28 win Community on Oct. 9. The Eagles suffered a 37-0 loss at White House Heritage on Oct. 9.
Last meeting between the two programs: Never played before.
Westmoreland enters the contest sitting in a tie for second place in Region 4-2A and can secure a playoff berth with a win.
Cascade must win its final two games to have an opportunity to earn one of the four playoff berths from 4-2A. The Champions conclude the regular season by hosting winless East Robertson.
Cascade has put itself in that position by winning its last two games, a 14-6 win at Jackson County and a 35-28 win at Community.
The Champions have made the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons.
The Eagles had their four-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt with a 37-0 loss at White House Heritage two weeks ago.
Neither Westmoreland nor Cascade played last week.
Westmoreland is attempting to qualify for the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
An Eagle win over the Champions would set up a battle for second place in 4-2A next Friday when Westmoreland plays at Watertown. The top two teams in each region host first-round playoff games, while the third and fourth-place teams will have to travel for their postseason openers.
Friendship Christian (5-3) at Portland (3-5)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Edgar Johnson Stadium
Last week: The Commanders captured a 16-13 victory over visiting Donelson Christian Academy. The Panthers suffered a 28-14 loss to visiting Maplewood.
Last meeting between the two programs: Never played.
The two teams seem to be headed in opposite directors. The Commanders have won three consecutive games, while the Panthers have dropped four of their last five contests.
Portland has lost back-to-back region contests and has nothing riding on Friday’s non-region game.
All of the 5-4A teams have just one region game remaining, in week 11 (on Oct. 30). Pearl-Cohn and Springfield are both undefeated and have secured playoff berths, and they will meet next Friday for the regional championship.
The region’s other two playoff teams will be determined by which squads win the week 11 match-ups between Portland/Macon County and Maplewood/White House.
It’s the second of three consecutive home games for the Panthers to conclude the regular season.
Portland continued to play without junior tailback Emmanuel Johnson last Friday, producing a total of 136 yards in the loss to Maplewood. Johnson has not been cleared to return to action following a concussion.
Friendship Christian sophomore quarterback Mike Jones passed for 86 yards last Friday and rushed for a team-high 107 yards on 32 carries.
Page (6-2) at White House (4-4)
Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Dewey H. Whitson Stadium
Last week: The Patriots captured a 49-27 victory over visiting Giles County. The Blue Devils suffered a 41-3 loss to visiting Pearl-Cohn.
Last meeting between the two programs: White House claimed a 35-25 victory over visiting Page in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs in 2013.
The Patriots are two points away from entering Friday’s game unbeaten, having suffered a 21-20 loss at Lipscomb Academy and a 28-27 setback to visiting Battle Ground Academy in overtime.
Of the team’s six victories, Page has won five of those contests by at least 18 points.
The Patriots are averaging 32.8 points per game.
A week ago, Page senior quarterback Michael Magochy completed 22 of 34 passes for 303 yards and five touchdowns.
Magochy has connected on 107 of 181 passes this season for 1,687 yards and 17 touchdowns, with only one interception.
Senior Connor Morss caught seven passes for 108 yards – including a 9-yard touchdown – last Friday, and two of sophomore Will Pierce’s three receptions resulted in touchdowns (of 12 and 10 yards).
Morss leads the team with 34 receptions for 434 yards and five touchdowns.
Senior teammate Michael Roberts rushed for 126 yards on eight carries, including second-half touchdowns of 84 and 20 yards.
Roberts is averaging 6 yards per carry, having compiled 626 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He has also caught 17 passes for 392 yards and three more scores.
Pierce (12-245-2), senior Trevor Johnson (19-267-3) and junior Andrew Metkler (15-207-2) have all been primary targets for Magochy.
The Blue Devils were outgained in total yardage by a 518-54 margin last Friday, finishing with just 10 rushing yards on 30 carries.
The non-region game doesn’t have any playoff implications for either team. The Patriots will play at Marshall County next Friday to determine the Region 4-4A champion, and White House plays at Maplewood next Friday, with the winner advancing to the playoffs and the loser ending its season.
The Blue Devil program has played Page 13 times, with White House winning 10 of those games.
>> White House is hosting Pink Out Night on Friday, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee.
All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program.
The Blue Devil players will be wearing white jerseys with pink numerals, after wearing pink jerseys in last season’s game against Cheatham County. Parents of the players have the option to purchase their child’s jersey. If they choose not to do so, any of the remaining jerseys can be bid on for purchase.
The area coordinating sponsor is Farm Bureau Insurance Agency manager Tal Plumlee.
It’s the second consecutive year that White House is participating in the Pink Out Night program. The Blue Devil program was one of 34 high schools who wore the pink jerseys last season in support of the fight against breast cancer.
Over the first three years of the Pink Out games, more than $1 million has been raised. Almost $300,000 was raised from the 2014 games, which are intended to honor breast cancer survivors and educate people about the disease.
Beech (6-2 overall, 4-1 in Region 6-5A) at Hunters Lane (1-7, 1-4)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Warrior Stadium
Last game: Beech captured a 41-14 win over visiting Station Camp two weeks ago. Hunters Lane suffered a 48-0 loss at Hillsboro last Friday.
Last meeting between the two teams: Hunters Lane rolled to a 34-7 victory at Beech during the 2004 season.
The Buccaneers are in a position to clinch a home game in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs if they win their final two games.
Beech – having already clinched a playoff spot – comes off of a bye week having won four consecutive games since a 30-16 loss at Hendersonville on Sept. 11.
Senior Rodrick Napper rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries in the Buccaneers’ victory over Station Camp.
Hunters Lane has lost two straight games since the Warriors’ lone victory this year, a 12-0 triumph over visiting Glencliff on Sept. 25. The 12 points matched a season-high, set in losses to Sycamore (14-12 on Sept. 11) and Cane Ridge (48-12 on Oct. 2).
The Warriors have been shut out four times this season, and have been outscored 192-30 over five region games. Against Hillsboro, the Warriors found themselves on the wrong end of a first-half scoring surge, trailing 41-0 at halftime.
Beech can win the region with wins in its final two games, in addition to a Hendersonville loss.
Hendersonville (7-1 overall, 4-1 in Region 6-5A) at Glencliff (2-6, 0-5)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at B.H. Thompson Stadium
Last game: Hendersonville rolled to a 42-14 win over visiting Gallatin two weeks ago. Glencliff suffered a 45-0 loss at Cane Ridge last Friday.
Last meeting between the two teams: Hendersonville captured a 35-14 win over visiting Glencliff during the 2008 season.
The Commandos can win Region 6-5A with two wins and a Hillsboro loss over the final two weeks of the regular season.
That path starts at Glencliff, losers of four consecutive games since an 8-7 victory against Hillwood on Sept. 11. Over those four games, the Colts have been outscored 135-10 and have been shut out twice.
Glencliff has been outscored 183-10 in region play and has allowed 250 points in eight games this season.
The Commandos – ranked fifth in Class 5A in the Associated Press Statewide Poll – have won three consecutive games since a 49-21 loss at Hillsboro on Sept. 18, which accounted for nearly half of the points the Commandos have allowed in region play.
The Commandos have outscored region foes 166-104 and have allowed more than 16 points only twice this season, in the Hillsboro loss and in a 42-25 victory over visiting Cane Ridge on Sept. 4.
Hendersonville will finish the regular season at home against Hunters Lane, while Glencliff will host Station Camp.
Pope John Paul II (2-6 overall, 0-5 in the Division II-Class AA East/Middle Region) at McCallie (4-4, 2-2)
Kickoff at 7 p.m. at Spears Stadium
Last week: Pope John Paul II suffered a 42-21 loss to visiting Baylor. McCallie claimed a 28-24 victory at Oxbridge Academy (Fla.).
Last meeting between the two teams: McCallie rolled to a 64-14 victory over the visiting Knights in the first round of last year’s Division II-Class AA playoffs.
The Knights will finish the season on the road, beginning with Friday’s visit to Chattanooga to face McCallie.
The Blue Tornado went out of state for a close victory last Thursday, defeating Oxbridge Academy (28-24) in West Palm Beach, Fla.
McCallie took the lead for good on Rico Dozier’s 35-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes remaining in the contest. Dozier rushed for 39 yards and two scores on four carries.
Blue Tornado quarterback Robert Riddle completed 21 of 32 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown.
The Knights fell behind early and never recovered in last Friday’s loss to Baylor. Junior quarterback Ben Brooks completed 20 of 27 pass attempts for 210 yards, hitting junior Pace Dempsey and senior Neal Adams for a pair of second-half touchdowns.
The Knights have been outscored 229-99 in five region losses this season, while McCallie has outscored region opponents 124-102 over four region games.
PJP II will finish the regular season next week with a non-region game at South Warren (Ky.), while McCallie travels to Brentwood Academy.
McCallie can finish third in the region with two victories and two losses by either Baylor or Montgomery Bell Academy, which would earn the Blue Tornado a first-round bye in the playoffs.