By Todd Lamberth
City– Thompson’s Station
Last Year’s Record– 14-1, lost to Farragut in 5A title game
Head Coach– Scott Blade (116-30 overall, 44-10 in four years at Indy)
Offensive Coordinator– Scott Blade
Defensive Coordinator– Lance White
Assistant Coaches– Kelly Myers (OL), Kyle Castles (OL), Gary Tucker (DT), Matt Powell (DE), Greg Burns (WR/S), Jeremiah Justice (RB), Thomas Murray (K), Chad Gates (Freshman)
Returning Starters on Offense and Defense– 8 (5 Off/3 Def)
Last Playoff Appearance– 2016
Key Returnees– Troy Henderson (RB, Sr.), T.J. Sheffield (WR, Jr., Tennessee commitment), Kendrell Scurry (WR, Jr.,), Zion Katina (OL, Sr.), Beau Myers (OL, Sr.), Weston Landry (K, Jr.), Jake Huner (LB, Jr.), Colby Logan (LB, Jr.) Kyle Greenwell (P, Sr.), Jevan Robertson (FS, Sr.), Nathan Cisco (QB, Jr.)
Key Losses– Hunter Dupree (LB), Michael Pierce (DL), David Demke (DE), Cole Huner (FS), Landon Guidry (SS), Montray Steele (WR/DB), Austin Copps (OL), Michael Weathers (OL), Isaiah Demello (OL), Alan Watson (DB),
Independence has appeared in back-to-back Class 5A state title games and is attempting to make it three straight appearances in 2017. To make it back, they will have to do it in a new classification.
The Eagles are 29-1 the last two years as they won the 5A state title in 2015 and finished runner-up last season to Farragut.
Independence will make the move to 6A this year and they were recently ranked No. 5 in the tnhighschoolfootball.com 6A Spring Top 10.
For the third consecutive season, Independence will break in a new quarterback as the keys to the offense will be handed over to junior Nathan Cisco.
Cisco appeared in seven games as a sophomore and was 13 for 18 passing for 124 yards in mop up duty last year. The good news for the Eagles is that he has plenty of weapons surrounding him along with one of the best offensive minds in the state in head coach Scott Blade.
The wide receiver position is stacked as juniors T.J. Sheffield and Kendrell Scurry along with senior Hank Aranna and junior Micah Thieman will return to give opposing defenses fits.
Both players are highly touted Class of 2019 recruits as Sheffield (48 catches for 885 yards, 10 touchdowns/384 yards rushing seven more touchdowns) is committed to Tennessee while Scurry (58 catches for 977 yards and 16 touchdowns) recently reopened his recruitment after being committed to Tennessee.
Aranna (10 catches for 103 yards) and Thieman (five catches for 46 yards) will add depth to the receiving corps.
Senior Troy Henderson will also be another weapon for Cisco as he accumulated 1,378 total yards (978 rushing, 27 catches for 400 yards) and scored 24 touchdowns for the Eagles last year.
Seniors Zion Katina (tackle) and Beau Myers (guard) will return to provide leadership on the offensive line while the Eagles will have to find starters at all four defensive line spots but expect Andrew Cannon (DE, Jr.), Frank Thomas (DT, Sr.), Blake Bixby (DT, Sr.) and Colby Shaffer (DE, Sr.) to get plenty of playing time.
Juniors Colby Logan (82 tackles, three sacks) and Jake Huner (75 tackles, two sacks ) will be the leaders at linebacker while Jevan Robertson (109 tackles, four interceptions) will be the last line of defense for the Eagles at free safety.
Independence Since 2010:
By The Numbers:
29-1- Overall record the last two seasons for Independence
2004- Inaugural season for Independence
6,979/81- Combined passing yards and touchdowns tossed the last two seasons by Indy quarterbacks
Independence In the Playoffs:
Total Number of Playoff Appearances- 8
Playoff Record- 16-7
Deepest Playoff Run- Won 5A state title in 2015
Coach Blade’s Thoughts:
“Looking forward to see the 2017 version of the Eagles. We have been blessed the past two years and hope to carry some of that good fortune to 6A where we know the competition will be great.”
August 18- at Oakland
August 25- at Summit
*September 1- Centennial
September 8- at Hillsboro
*September 15- Franklin
September 22- OPEN
*September 29- Brentwood
October 6- CPA
*October 13- at Dickson County
October 20- Memphis East
*October 27- at Ravenwood
*Denotes Region Game