For Cane Ridge, there’s a lot riding on Friday night’s Region 6-5A opener against Hendersonville
There’s the chance to grab an early leg up in what’s sure to be a competitive 6-5A race, along with the opportunity to secure the young program’s first 3-0 start.
Perhaps most important, however, is the chance to prove that the Ravens belong.
“What’s on the line for us is, ‘Can we take that next step in becoming that program?’” second-year coach Eddie Woods said.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. (WUXP-30).
With traditional powers Hillsboro and Pearl-Cohn off to rockier-than-expected starts, it appears as though Cane Ridge, which is ranked ninth in Class 5A, could be the top Metro Nashville Public School team in 2016.
“We want to be in the same ranks as Hillsboro and Pearl-Cohn, but those guys have tradition,” said Woods, whose team beat quarterfinalist Hillsboro 21-14 in last year’s regular-season meeting. “We’re trying to build that tradition.”
Pearl-Cohn, a Class 4A runner-up in 2015, is 1-1 and has scored just 16 points. Hillsboro, which is two years removed from a Class 5A runner-up finish, is 0-2 with 20 points.
Cane Ridge, which is 9 years old and located in Antioch, has won 10 of its first 13 games under Woods.
“The confidence is high,” Ravens senior Brandon Lewis said. “We don’t expect to be anything but the best, and we work like that.”
“We really don’t get caught up in rankings, but who doesn’t want to be at the top,” Woods said. “That’s what we’re trying to work toward.”
And while the Ravens won’t be facing off a Metro opponent Friday, a win over the third-ranked Commandos might go a long way in not only solidifying the title of Metro’s top team, but also one of the top Class 5A teams statewide.
“Myself and the coaching staff have been preparing for this since December,” Woods said. “It’s a big region game first of all against a big program, and if Cane Ridge wants to be one of those programs in Middle Tennessee then we have to beat programs like this.
“It’s just a fact.”
Hendersonville, which is coming off its third straight 10-win season, ran wild in the schools’ only previous meeting, churning out more than 400 yards and six touchdowns en route to last year’s 42-25 win.
“That was the first team that scored on us last year,” Cane Ridge senior Jordan Bell said of the Commandos, who are led by junior running back Anthony Hughes. “We didn’t know what to do and kind of broke down, but this year we’ll know what to do.”