By Donovan Stewart at TNhighschoolfootball.com
Last Year’s Record– 8-4, lost to USJ in Division II-A Quarterfinals
Region– Division II-AA Middle
Head Coach– Roc Batten (42-26 in six years at BGA)
Offensive Coordinator– Zach Schneider
Defensive Coordinator– Roc Batten
Assistant Coaches– Tony Butler (LB), Scott Semptimphelter (QB), Roydell Williams (WR), Andrew Park (RB), Mike Jones (OL), Nathan Bibb (OLB), Dontel Watkins (DB), Phillip Broadway (DL)
Offense– Multiple Spread
Returning Starters on Offense and Defense– 17 (9 Off/8 Def)
Last Playoff Appearance– 2016
Key Returnees– Kel Hawkins (WR/DB, Sr.), Austin Hardiman (OL/DL, Sr.), Jack Jewell (WR/DB, Sr.), Ollie Reese (WR/DB, Sr.), Drew Martin (QB, Sr.), Cannon Worth (OL/DL, Sr.), Conner Mitchell (DB/WR, Sr.) Robbie Kirkpatrick (OL/DL, Sr.), Mathew Ligon (RB/LB, Sr.), Brandon Jackson (LB/TE, Sr.) Eli Mayberry (OL/DL, Jr.), Brock Baldwin (OL/DL, Jr.), Jaylen Frierson (RB/LB, Jr.), Tiy Reed (WR/DB, Jr.), Teddy Holloway (OL/LB, Jr.), Kenneth Rawls (OL/DL, Jr.), Wyatt Greenewalt (OL/DL, Jr.), Evan Gaunt (DE/TE, Jr.), Briston Bennett (RB/DB, Soph.), Garnett Hollis (WR/DB, Soph.)
Key Losses– Joseph Altshuler (OL/DL), Joseph Pasley (RB/DB), Bo Jewell (WR/DB), Brad Lasher (OL/DL), Jake Holloway (QB/DB), Julian Craig (RB/LB),
There’s definitely a feeling of excitement around the Battle Ground Academy football program heading into the 2017 season and for good reason. The Wildcats, who played in the Division II-A state title game in 2014, return 17 starters from last season’s 8-4 Division II-A Quarterfinal team.
Nine will return to start on offense including a ton of skill players which prompted the Wildcats to be ranked No. 4 in the TnHighSchoolFootball.com Division II-AA spring Top 6 poll.
Quarterback Drew Martin will return to lead the offense after passing for 2,450 yards and tossing 23 touchdowns for the Wildcats in 2016.
Another reason for great optimism is the return of Martin’s top three targets in the Wildcat passing game with seniors Jack Jewell, Ollie Reese and Kel Hawkins all coming back in 2017. All three receivers numbers were similar in 2016 with Reese (37 catches for 616 yards, eight touchdowns), Jewell (33 catches, 571 yards, six touchdowns) and slot receiver Hawkins (36 catches, 526 yards, six touchdowns) all having good, productive seasons with Martin slinging them the ball. Other receivers that will add to the depth of the position will be senior Connor Mitchell, junior Tiy Reed and sophomore Garnett Hollis.
Leading rusher Jaylen Frierson (520 yards, six touchdowns) will return along with Mathew Ligon and sophomore Briston Bennett to add depth to the ground game.
Three juniors return to start on the offensive line with Eli Mayberry, Teddy Holloway and Brock Baldwin to stabilize the line with seniors Austin Hardiman, Cannon Worth and Robbie Kirkpatrick as well as juniors Kenneth Rawls and Wyatt Greenewalt contributing as well.
Worth and Baldwin return to start on the defensive line with Greenewalt joining them at defensive end with Hardiman, Kirkpatrick, Mayberry, Rawls and junior Evan Gaunt providing depth.
Ligon (65 Tackles, one interception) and Brandon Jackson return to lead the linebackers along with contributions from Frierson and Holloway.
While Mitchell (55 tackles, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries) and Hawkins (35 tackles, 17 passes broken up, five interceptions one for touchdown) and Jewell (five interceptions) will return in the secondary.
Look for Reed, Reese, Bennett and Hollis to also compete for playing time in the back end of the Wildcat defense.
BGA Since 2010
49-32 overall record, seven playoff appearances
By The Numbers:
8- State title game appearances by BGA as the Wildcats have won five state titles.
1889- Year that BGA was established, making it one of the oldest schools in the state
BGA In the Playoffs:
Total Number of Playoff Appearances- 23
Playoff Record- 35-18
Deepest Playoff Run- won five state titles in 1995 (1A), 1997 and 1998 (DII-A) and 2001 and 2003 (DII-AA)
“Really excited about our leadership in the senior class and the return of our top Skill players and the experienced our lineman gained from the previous season. Our team has the potential to have solid depth but we must continue to work and stay focused on the process to get better each day and opportunity.”
August 17- at Forrest
August 25- Nashville Christian
*September 1- Goodpasture
September 8- at Boyd Buchanan
*September 15- at CPA
September 22- ECS
September 29- Whites Creek
October 6- at Glencliff
*October 13- FRA
October 20- OPEN
*October 27- at Lipscomb Academy
*Denotes Region Game