Region 5-5A preview: State champ Independence looks to repeat

Region 5-5A preview: State champ Independence looks to repeat

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Region 5-5A preview: State champ Independence looks to repeat

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Landon Guidry

Landon Guidry

Predicted order of finish

1. Independence

2. La Vergne

3. Stewarts Creek

4. Summit

5. Shelbyville

6. Lincoln County

7. Franklin County

8. Columbia

Independence sophomore wide receiver T.J. Sheffield looks in a pass during a recent practice.

Independence sophomore wide receiver T.J. Sheffield looks in a pass during a recent practice.

Top returnees

David Demke, Sr., DE, Independence; Hunter Dupree, Sr., LB, Independence; Landon Guidry, Sr., WR-DB, Independence; Cole Huner, Sr., DB, Independence; Troy Henderson, Jr., RB, Independence; Maleik Gray, Sr., WR-LB, La Vergne; Princeton Fant, Sr., WR-DB, La Vergne; Zach Long, Sr., FB, Stewarts Creek; Tre Bailliez, Sr., RB-DB, Stewarts Creek; Tai Carter, Jr., RB, Summit; Jamal Harden, Sr., RB-LB, Shelbyville; Miguel Martinez, Sr., OL, Lincoln County; Jarious Johnson, Jr., RB-LB, Franklin County; Andre Martin, Sr., RB-LB, Columbia

Top games

La Vergne at Independence (Oct. 28); La Vergne at Stewarts Creek (Sept. 9); Summit at Shelbyville (Sept. 2)

Maleik Gray

Maleik Gray

Region tidbits

Demke, Dupree, Hunter and Guidry — a Mississippi State signee — are four of the seven returning starters on defense for the 5A defending state champion. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Henderson rushed for 933 yards and seven touchdowns at Dupont Manual (Ky.). Fant and Gray are Tennessee commitments. Gray caught 22 passes for 485 yards and 10 touchdowns and had 57 tackles (10 for a loss of yardage) en route to being named a Mr. Football Back of the Year semifinalist. Fant missed last season due to an knee injury. Zach Long rushed for 838 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, while Bailliez averaged 11.7 yards per carry and also recorded 12 tackles for a loss. Summit returns 21 starters, including all 11 on defense. Shelbyville coach Justin Palmer was hired in early July, following the resignation of Jason Hardy in late June. Lincoln County was hit hard by graduation, losing its starting quarterback, top three rushers, top three receivers and top seven tacklers. Franklin County is in search of its first winning season since 2004. Columbia has struggled since finishing as the 5A state runner-up in 2012, producing a 13-18 mark and making the playoffs just once.

Region football preview recap

Schedules

(2015 record in parentheses, * denotes region contest)

Columbia (3-7, 0-7): Aug. 19 at Giles County; Aug. 26 vs. Dickson County; *Sept. 2 at La Vergne; Sept. 9 vs. Lawrence County; *Sept. 16 at Stewarts Creek; *Sept. 30 vs. Franklin County; *Oct. 7 vs. Lincoln County; *Oct. 14 at Independence; *Oct. 21 at Shelbyville; *Oct. 28 vs. Summit

Franklin County (3-7, 2-5): Aug. 19 vs. Marshall County; Aug. 26 at Tullahoma; *Sept. 2 vs. Stewarts Creek; Sept. 9 vs. Mt. Juliet; *Sept. 16 vs. Lincoln County; *Sept. 30 at Columbia; *Oct. 7 at Summit; *Oct. 14 at La Vergne; *Oct. 21 vs. Independence; *Oct. 28 at Shelbyville

Independence (15-0, 7-0, won Class 5A state championship): Aug. 19 vs. Brentwood; Aug. 26 at Centennial; *Sept. 2 at Lincoln County; Sept. 9 at Smyrna; *Sept. 16 at Summit; *Sept. 30 vs. Stewarts Creek; *Oct. 7 vs. Shelbyville; *Oct. 14 vs. Columbia; *Oct. 21 at Franklin County; *Oct. 28 vs. La Vergne

La Vergne (6-5, 4-3, reached Class 5A first round): Aug. 19 at Smyrna; Aug. 26 vs. Antioch; *Sept. 2 vs. Columbia; *Sept. 9 at Stewarts Creek; *Sept. 16 at Shelbyville; Sept. 23 at Maplewood; *Sept. 30 vs. Summit; *Oct. 14 vs. Franklin County; *Oct. 21 vs. Lincoln County; *Oct. 28 at Independence

Lincoln County (7-4, 4-3, reached Class 5A first round): Aug. 26 at Lawrence County; *Sept. 2 vs. Independence; Sept. 9 vs. Giles County; *Sept. 16 at Franklin County; Sept. 23 vs. Tullahoma; *Sept. 30 vs. Shelbyville; *Oct. 7 at Columbia; *Oct. 14 at Summit; *Oct. 21 at La Vergne; *Oct. 28 vs. Stewarts Creek

Shelbyville (7-4, 4-3, reached Class 5A first round): Aug. 19 vs. Lawrence County; Aug. 26 at Giles County; *Sept. 2 vs. Summit; Sept. 9 at Tullahoma; *Sept. 16 vs. La Vergne; *Sept. 30 at Lincoln County; *Oct. 7 at Independence; *Oct. 14 at Stewarts Creek; *Oct. 21 vs. Columbia; *Oct. 28 vs. Franklin County

Stewarts Creek (6-4, 4-3): Aug. 19 at Overton; Aug. 26 vs. Smyrna; *Sept. 2 at Franklin County; *Sept. 9 vs. La Vergne; *Sept. 16 vs. Columbia; Sept. 23 at Antioch; *Sept. 30 at Independence; *Oct. 14 vs. Shelbyville; *Oct. 21 vs. Summit; *Oct. 28 at Lincoln County

Summit (4-6, 3-4): Aug. 19 vs. Spring Hill; Aug. 26 at Northwest; *Sept. 2 at Shelbyville; Sept. 9 vs. Lebanon; *Sept. 16 vs. Independence; *Sept. 30 at La Vergne; *Oct. 7 vs. Franklin County; *Oct. 14 vs. Lincoln County; *Oct. 21 at Stewarts Creek; *Oct. 28 at Columbia

Reach Craig Harris at 615-259-8238 and on Twitter @CHTennessean.

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