FRANKLIN — Special teams played a major factor when rival Centennial visited cross-town rival Franklin in Friday evening’s season opener.
Week1: High school football recap
The Tennessean’s Katie Myers and high school sports coordinator Tom Kreager recaps the first week of the Tennessee high school football season.
Centennial rallies past Franklin
Centennial football rallies past Franklin
East Nashville late score drop Rossview
Demarquez Trotter ran back a failed Rossview field goal to help the Eagles beat the Hawks 21-14 in the closing seconds Friday night to open the high school season.
Trinity tops Ensworth 14-7
Ensworth suffered a 14-7 seasom-opening defeat to nationally-ranked Trinity (Ky.) on Friday
Dickson County vs. Creek Wood
Highlights from the Dickson County vs. Creek Wood game August 19. The Red Hawks came away with a 30-26 win.
Gallatin football at Mt. Juliet
Footage and interviews from Friday’s season opener between Gallatin and Mt. Juliet.
Hewitt-Trussville 33, Montgomery Bell Academy 24
MBA lost 33-24 to Hewitt-Trussville of Alabama in the 2016 season opener.
Seaon opener – Centennial at Franklin pregame
High school football season opener between Centennial and Franklin
Pregame festivities at Ensworth School
Pregame festivities at Ensworth prior to the Tigers’ season-opening game against nationally-ranked Trinity (Ky.)
East Nashville-Rossview Pregame
East Nashville and Rossview take part in pre game warmups prior to the startif the 2016 prep football season Friday at TPS Complex
Pregame: La Vergne at Smyrna
Students for Smyrna and La Vergne prepare for the big rivalry
Dickson County vs. Creek Wood pregame
Sights and sounds from the pregame festivities leading up to Dickson County vs. Creek Wood
Springfield opens season with Greenbrier
Springfield plays Greenbrier on Friday night
Gallatin at Mt. Juliet football pregame
Pregame video prior to Friday’s game between Gallatin and Mt. Juliet.
White House student body
White House fans prep for the White House Heritage game.
Ravenwood fan Eric Mills ready for season
Ravenwood fan Eric Mills talks about the start of football season.
Baylor Bramble attends Siegel’s season opener
Siegel linebacker Dalton Frantz and Coach Greg Wyant discuss seeing Baylor Bramble at their season opener.
High school football countdown
High school sports writers for the USA Today Sports network for Middle Tennessee discuss the games they are covering Week 1.
Centennial wide receiver Austin Waddell (5) catches a pass in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown against Franklin with 18 seconds left in the fourth quarter on Friday, August 19, 2016, in Franklin.
The Cougars struggled in what’s considered the third phase of the game … until the third quarter.
That’s when Centennial junior Tavion Fleming made the first of two special plays of his own.
Fleming’s 89-yard punt return shifted the momentum, turning a 10-point deficit into a one-score game.
“I caught it and made the first man miss,” Fleming said. “I saw my teammates in front of me. They guided me.”
Though the host squad extended the lead back to 10 points, Fleming was in the right place again after his team scored on Austin Waddell’s 66-yard reception with 1:13 remaining. Fleming recovered Andrew Knight’s ensuing onside kick, and Waddell caught the game-winning 34-yard scoring pass with 18 seconds remaining, giving the Cougars their only lead at 28-24.
“We have a first-year kicker, and we have not been doing a great job of kicking onside kicks,” Centennial first-year coach Matt Kriesky said. “I didn’t think we were going to get it, but we executed well.”
Special teams impacted things earlier in the half as Cougar punter Senturian DuReaux booted a 47-yard punt in the third quarter that rolled dead at the Rebel 6. However, the favorable field position was erased due to a Centennial penalty.
“We work on our special teams every day,” Fleming said. “Monday, we do kickoffs. Tuesday, we do punt return. We rotate them every day.”
The ensuing punt was downed at the Rebel 22, and Franklin junior Carter Hendry connected with a wide-open J.P. Batarseh for a 78-yard touchdown on the next play.
Earlier in the game, DuReaux’s knee touched the ground while fielding a snap while in punt formation. That led to Christopher Miller-Hill’s 23-yard field goal that created a 10-7 lead for the Rebels at halftime.
“That’s the difference in the game,” Franklin coach Donnie Webb said of the Fleming’s special-teams heroics. “We have to be able to do the little things, getting lined up correctly and covering punt correctly.”