By SAM McGAW
Brentwood Academy and Father Ryan duel in a Division II-AA East/Middle Region clash Friday, while Ravenwood takes its two-game winning streak on the road against Overton.
See below for a closer look at those matchups:
Father Ryan (4-3) at Brentwood Academy (5-2), 7 p.m. Friday*
The Brentwood Academy Eagles look to jump back in the win column this week when they host the Father Ryan Fightin’ Irish.
BA is on the heels of a 31-24 loss against Montgomery Bell Academy. It was its first defeat against a Tennessee high school since November 14, 2014.
“I thought MBA played exceptionally well and got after us pretty good,” BA head coach Cody White said. “Hopefully, it was a good wake-up call for us.” I don’t think we played our best game, and that’s somewhat due to them. If that’s the case and we only lost by seven, we’re sitting okay.”
BA allowed MBA running back and Tennessee commit Ty Chandler to rush for 333 yards and four touchdowns.
It was the second straight game the Eagles gave up 320 yards or more on the ground.
“We have to tackle better than we did last week,” White said. “We have to be a lot more aggressive and maintain our gap integrity better. For us, defensively, I think it’s more of a want-to piece that we have to find.”
Stopping the run will be key against Father Ryan’s trio of rushers in quarterback Jay Shoop and running backs Jackson Byrd and Elton Nkwembe.
Byrd rushed for 171 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 45-14 win over Spring Hill, while Nkwembe had 88 yards and two scores.
“Our mantra is we have to be able to run the football in order to have success,” Father Ryan head coach Brian Rector said. “It’s pretty much the foundation of what we need to do to succeed. We have to look at every possible way in which to do that.”
BA’s potent offense is spearheaded by senior quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall.
The Austin Peay commit has 1,139 passing yards, 470 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns (8 run) and seven interceptions on the year.
“We have to be very disciplined, with the amount of scramble plays he makes,” Rector said. “He’s very productive, very intuitive and he’s extremely creative in the way that he plays. We have to be controlled and have great eyes if we want to have any chance of slowing down their offense.”
Running back Mario Pleasant adds another dimension to a BA attack that averages 37.6 points per game.
The sophomore has rushed for 523 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
“When you have a solid offensive line, a really good running back, a distributor at quarterback and very high level skill on the perimeter, it makes you defend everything,” Rector said. “There’s certainly not one thing you can focus on as a defense, or BA will have its way with you. We have to play everything.”
Ravenwood (4-3, 3-1) at Overton (4-3, 2-2), 7 p.m. Friday*
The Ravenwood Raptors take their two-game winning streak on the road Friday when they visit the Overton Bobcats.
Ravenwood, which has outscored its last two opponents 79-15, enters the league affair sitting in third place in Region 3-6A.
It’s coming off a 49-3 win against Lebanon. It was only the second time this season it scored more than 23 points in a game.
Wide receiver John Rall has led the charge for the Raptors’ offense with five touchdown receptions over the past two games.
He’ll look to keep rolling against an Overton defense that’s allowing close to 21 points per game.
The Bobcats fell to Mt. Juliet 35-21 last week.
Overton’s offense is led by quarterback and Tennessee commit Theo Jackson. The unit averages 29 PPG.
A win for the Raptors will push them ahead of Mt. Juliet for second place in the region. A loss would drop it into a tie for fourth with Wilson Central.
Sam McGaw is sports editor of Home Page Media Group. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SamMcGawSports.