Bitter Middle Tennessee rivals Brentwood Academy and MBA used the Thursday night stage last December to play the best state title game of the eight in Cookeville. The Eagles and the Big Red offenses combined for 1,049 yards and 111 points as BA won their first state title in a decade as they nipped MBA 56-55 in double overtime.
BA quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall had 439 yards of total offense while Division II-AA Mr. Football Back of the year Ty Chandler rushed for 258 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort. This season both teams start in the top two spots of the byteclay.com Division II-AA Spring Top 5.
BA ended a decade of frustration of seeing rivals Ensworth and MBA win state titles by winning their 11th state football title but first since defeating McCallie for a title in 2006. The Eagles return Oatsvall at quarterback as well as their three starting wide receivers in Camron Johnson, Daniel Taylor and Lawrence Segree and will start the year at No. 1.
MBA only returns seven starters total but will start the year at No. 2 as they do return Chandler at running back and three starters in the defensive backfield.
Although BA and MBA start in the first two spots, Christian Brothers under second year coach Thomas McDaniel hope to build on their 2015 semifinal run, while Ensworth will try to shake off a 5-7 season which was their first losing season in the 11 year history of the school.
McCallie returns 12 starters back from their quarterfinal team last season and their biggest upgrade came when they hired former Marion County head coach Ricky Ross to be their defensive coordinator.
For the fifth straight year, I will offer my Spring Top 5 teams in Division II-AA this week.
My Top 10s are based on conversations with coaches in Division II-AA across the state as well as returning personnel that the teams have back in 2016.
5. McCallie Blue Tornado
Last Year’s Record- 6-6, lost to MBA in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Ralph Potter (167-88 overall, 23-24 in four years back at McCallie)
Offensive Coordinator- Mike Newman
Defensive Coordinator- Ricky Ross
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 7/5
Defense- 30 Stack
Key Returnees- George Devaney (OL, Sr.), Tyrik Stewart (WR, Sr.), Jaylan Nowell (LB, Sr.), Shawn McColley (LB, Sr.), Giovanni Hightower (TE, Sr.), T.J. Hall (DB, Sr.), Kendall Watson (DB, Sr.), River Henry (NG, Jr.), Jorden Starling (DE, Jr.), Walker Fannon (WR, Sr.), Robert Riddle (QB, Sr.), Andrew Presley (LB, Sr.), Adams Robinson (DB, Jr.), Rico Dozier (WR, Jr.)
Key Losses- Javaughn Craig (QB), Nygel Edmonds (DB), Corey McDonald (DL), Jay Roberts (DL), Trel Phillips (LB),
Player(s) Looking To Step Up- Rico Dozier. Dozier is an athlete that that can make plays and will have a bigger, expanded role in the offense this season.
Spring Practice- May 9-17
Spring Optimism- The Blue Tornado have good skill athletes that returning quarterback Robert Riddle can get the ball to in the passing game.
Spring Concerns- McCallie will have to rebuild an offensive line that was hit hard by graduation.
4. Ensworth Tigers
Last Year’s Record- 5-7, lost to Christian Brothers in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Ricky Bowers (177-39 overall, 98-22 in 12 years at Ensworth)
Offensive Coordinator- Paul Wade
Defensive Coordinator- Jonas Rodriguez
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 7/8
Offense- Multiple I
Key Returnees- Jaylon King (DB/QB, Jr.), Jarquis Hendricks (LB, Sr.), Tim Covington (FB/LB, Sr.), Peyton Terry (OL/DL, Sr.), Rodney Owens (WR/FS, Sr.), Wesley Walker (DB/WR, Soph.), Rudy Maxwell (TE/DE, Jr.), Tanner Antonutti (TE/DT, Jr.), James Sterchi (FB/LB, Sr.), Nicky Clifton (RB/LB, Jr.), Jaylan Theus (FB/LB, Sr.), Pryce Wade (OL/DL, Jr.), Galen Elcan (OL/DL, Sr.), Henry Byrd (OL/DL, Jr.), Clay Close (DB/WR, Sr.)
Key Losses- Darius Morehead (RB/DB), Blake Mitchell (OL/DL), Patrick Rowan (LB), Coleman Goodwin (QB/LB), Brett Barrett (WR), Wylie Lowe (LB)
Player(s) Looking To Step Up- Jaylon King and Rodney Owens. Both players will get a shot to become the starting quarterback for the Tigers. One of them will have to step up and take the job and play well there for Ensworth to improve on their 5-7 record from 2015.
Spring Practice- May 23-31
Spring Optimism- The Tigers return 15 starters from last year’s team including talented skill players and a solid and young offensive line.
Spring Concerns- Obviously finding a quarterback and getting him comfortable running the offense will be at the top of spring practice to do list.
3. Christian Brothers Purple Wave
Last Year’s Record- 9-3, lost to MBA in semifinals
Head Coach- Thomas McDaniel (84-27 overall, 9-9-3 in one year at CBHS)
Offensive Coordinator- Thomas McDaniel
Defensive Coordinator- Johnny Allen
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 3/5
Offense- Multiple I
Key Returnees- Keegan Voss (QB, Sr.), Ryan Thomas (LB, Sr.), Bryce Bush (DL, Jr.), Patrick Healy (DL, Jr.), Grayson Walthall (OL, Jr.), Jordon O’Neill (OL, Sr.) Gray Woodmansee (WR, Sr.), Nic Cantu (OL, Jr.), Connor Cremerius (OL, Jr.), Walter Soekfer (DB, Jr.), Jarrett Fowlkes (FS, Jr.), Reau Folk (SS, Jr.), Connor DeFreece (Ath, Jr.), Dominique Garrett (RB, Jr.)
Key Losses- Ben Hill (TE/DE), Aaron Davis (WR/DB), Cole Kelly (WR/DB), Lawson Wherry (S), Owen Martin (LB), Daniel Cianciolo (OG), Austin Lee (RB),
Player(s) Looking To Step Up- Dominique Garrett. The junior will get the first crack to be the go to running back replacing Austin Lee.
Spring Practice- May 9-20
Spring Optimism- The Purple Wave will return Keegan Voss at quarterback as well as a solid offensive line to try to win the West region for a third straight season and second time under Thomas McDaniel.
Spring Concerns- Christian Brothers will need to find starters on both sides of the ball as they only return eight starters including just three on offense.
2. MBA Big Red
Last Year’s Record- 11-2, lost to Brentwood Academy in title game
Head Coach- Marty Euverard (126-64 overall, 47-16 in five years at MBA)
Offensive Coordinator- Marty Euverard
Defensive Coordinator- Chris Chauvin
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 4/3
Offense- Multiple I
Key Returnees- Ty Chandler (RB, Sr.), Montgomery Owen (WR/DB, Sr.), Gordon Pollock (SS, Jr.), Fenner Pollock (DB, Jr.), Dean Cheevers (K, Sr.), Brett Star (LB, Sr.), Clint Blackwell (WR, Jr.), Jake Evans (TE, Sr.), Micah Battle (WR, Sr.), Cameron Wade (DB, Sr.), Harrison Graves (LB, Jr.)
Key Losses- Sam Sullivan (LB), Jordan Wilson (TE), K.P. Frazier (OL), Phelps Gambill (OL), Joseph Snowden (OL), Clarke Allen (DE), D’On Coofer (DT), David Gaw (LB),
Player(s) Looking To Step Up- Cameron Wade. Wade will step into the starting lineup this year after being a backup last season.
Spring Practice- May 270
Spring Optimism- The Big Red return stud senior running back Ty Chandler as he rushed for over 2,500 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior. MBA also returns three of four starters in the secondary on defense.
Spring Concerns- MBA have a lot of work to do on both the offensive and defensive lines as they lost all five starters as well as the starting tight end on offense and all four starters on the defensive lines.
1. Brentwood Academy Eagles
Last Year’s Record- 13-1, beat MBA for state title
Head Coach- Cody White (74-35 overall, 38-11 in four years at BA)
Offensive Coordinator- Cody White
Defensive Coordinator- David Norris
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 6/5
Key Returnees- Jeremiah Oatsvall (QB, Sr.), Camron Johnson (WR/S, Jr.), Jack McDonald (FB, Sr.), Lawrence Segree (WR, Sr.), Daniel Taylor (DB/WR, Jr.), Elijah Teat (OL, Sr.), Joshua Higgs (DE, Sr.), Easton Cline (LB, Sr.), Jeremiah Pittman (LB, Sr.), Gavin Schoenwald (SS/QB/TE, Sr.), Evan Beddoe (S/WR, Sr.),
Key Losses- Bryce Mathews (OL), Ryan Johnson (OL), Brandon Adams (OL/DT), Jack Propst (LS), Max Mullen (LB), Coutrell Plair (DB/WR), Trent Taylor (DB), Chris Hopkins (SS), Prince Momodu (RB), Brian Garvey (OL), Isaac Way (K)
Player(s) Looking To Step Up- Elijah Teat. Teat, the only returning starter on the Eagle offensive line will be looked at to provide leadership to a rebuilt unit that lost three Division I lineman.
Spring Practice- May 2-13
Spring Optimism- The Eagles return a ton of skill players on offense, including quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall and three very talented wide receivers in senior Lawrence Segree and juniors Camron Johnson and Daniel Taylor.
Spring Concerns- Besides finding starters on the offensive line, the Eagles will have to come up with three starters in the secondary.
Three More Teams To Keep Your Eye On– Baylor, Briarcrest and MUS
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