By SAM McGAW
Brentwood Academy aims to rebound from its Week 2 loss with a road contest against Pope John Paul II Friday, while Franklin Road Academy and Christ Presbyterian Academy look to earn their first wins of the year.
See below for a closer look at each team’s matchup:
Brentwood Academy (1-1) at Pope John Paul II (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday*
Brentwood Academy aims to jump back into the win column Friday when it visits Pope John Paul II.
BA suffered a 35-21 loss against Kentucky powerhouse Trinity last week.
“We play teams like that for a reason,” BA head coach Cody White said. “It’s good for finding out early on who you are and where your weaknesses are. It was good for us as a team to be able to reflect and see where we’re at entering league play.”
BA’s offense struggled to find a rhythm last week. It went 0-for-8 on third-down conversions and it held the ball for just under 17 minutes.
Seven of its eight non-scoring drives went six plays or less.
“We have to get solid on our line of scrimmage on offense,” White said. “As a staff, we have to do a better job of getting our guys in position to have longer drives. We can’t go three-and-out. We can’t do that to our defense. We put our defense in a terrible position in the first half. We have to get some continuity, and that starts with running the football.”
While the Eagles struggled to drive, they didn’t have trouble producing big plays.
Their first touchdown was an 80-yard pass from quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall to Camron Johnson.
Oatsvall later ran for a 72-yard touchdown.
Oatsvall enters this week with 339 passing yards, 140 rushing yards, four touchdowns (1 rush) and four interceptions. Johnson has 11 catches for 178 yards and two scores.
The duo will look to take advantage of a Knights’ defense that’s allowed 52 points over the past two weeks.
“They’re a lot better than they have been in the past,” White said about the PJP defense. “There are some big, strong kids up front for them, and they have a lot of skill on the back end. They disguise their coverages well. They make you beat them.”
After struggling to defend the run over the first two weeks, BA’s defense is, once again, tasked with stopping a ground-heavy attack.
The Eagles have given up 553 yards and five touchdowns on the ground so far, including 384 yards and four scores against Trinity last week.
PJP has ran the ball 38 times in each of the past two games, picking up 480 yards in the process.
“Those same guys playing in their secondary are their offensive skill guys, and they’re talented,” White said. “They have a really good quarterback (Ben Brooks). He’s savvy, he’s smart and he runs the ball well and throws it well. He’s a good athlete.”
Christ Presbyterian Academy (0-2) at White House-Heritage (2-0), 7 p.m. Friday*
The CPA Lions enter Week 3 in unfamiliar territory.
With last week’s 45-0 loss against Knoxville Catholic, the Lions are on the heels of back-to-back losses for the first time since 2010. That was also the last time they had more than two losses in a season.
“I think the biggest thing we’re lacking is game experience,” CPA head coach Ingle Martin said.
“Being put into the two games we’ve had against a Class 7A school in Georgia (Parkview) and then probably the best team in the state in any classification in Knoxville Catholic, all of our mistakes were going to be magnified a great deal. But really, I’m proud of the resilience our seniors have shown and the way they are leading.”
The Lions will look to get back on the right track Friday when they visit Region 5-3A foe White House-Heritage (2-0).
CPA, which has been outscored 77-7 through the first two games, defeated the Patriots twice last season.
White House-Heritage improved to 2-0 last week with a 22-21 win over Nashville Christian School.
The Pats’ offense features a strong rushing attack, led by Chris Rippy and Preston Sharder.
Rippy has rushed for 234 yards and one touchdown this season, while Sharder has 123 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
“They’re a very fundamental team,” Martin said. “They’re multiple, as far as how they’re going to attack you. They do a really great job of taking advantage of what’s there and their kids execute it. Our defensive coordinator, Ryan Taylor, will tell you that their coaching staff gave him as much fits in the two games we played them as anyone we’ve faced.”
CPA’s offense features a pair of quarterbacks in senior Devin McKnight and sophomore Ryan Eledge.
Together, they’ll look to move the chains against a Pats’ defense that’s averaging 276.5 total yards allowed per game.
“Defensively, they know what they do and they do it well,” Martin stated. “Their kids play hard and they give you all the trouble you need. They were one of the better teams we played last year, as far as effort goes.”
Franklin Road Academy (0-1) at Donelson Christian Academy (1-1), 7 p.m. Friday*
FRA aims for its first win Friday when it visits the Donelson Christian Academy Wildcats.
FRA’s opportunity to go 1-1 was cut short last week due to lightning cancelling its matchup against Columbia Academy just before halftime.
“It’s sad from a couple of perspectives,” FRA head coach Bill Whittemore said. “One, we’re a young football team that needs the reps, so anytime you can get live competition from a different team is beneficial for us. Then, for the upperclassmen, they only get 10 games – 20 halves – and one of the halves got taken away from them. It stinks, but I don’t think anybody will regret the decision that we made [to cancel].”
The Panthers were driving with a 9-3 lead with just over three minutes left in the second quarter when the lightning was detected.
“We played with a lot more intensity,” Whittemore said. “I just think there were a lot of jitters for our first game (21-3 loss against Fayetteville). We have a lot of young guys playing out there for us. They showed some resilience and came out with a lot more energy and compassion this past Friday. It wasn’t great, but it was better, for sure.”
After picking up just 128 total yards against Fayetteville in Week 1, FRA’s wing-bone offense was able to find some success against Columbia Academy. Whittemore said the improvement is due to its increased rapport.
“We still have a lot of missed assignments and we’re not finishing our blocks like we like to, but I feel like we’re getting more in sync,” he said. “That’s kind of the deal with what we do. It’s a lot of timing, it’s a lot of knowing your assignment and doing your assignment, and being consistent. We just have to get more and more consistent.”
The Panthers may find trouble against a DCA defense that’s allowed only nine points this season.
“They’re a physical football team, they always are,” Whittemore said. “I would say their strength is their interior line. They’re also tough on the edge. Their linebacking corps is mostly returning, so they got some depth at certain positions. We have to make sure we get the right matchup.”
DCA’s offense is led by running back Jayden Walker and quarterback Henry Mosley.
Walker already has 404 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the year. He racked up 293 of those yards and all of his touchdowns in last week’s 36-9 win over Jackson Christian School.
“Their running back is one of the better backs we’ll see this year,” Whittemore stated. “He’s very elusive. If he gets out in space, he’s going to be hard to tackle. They’re a downhill, physical football team. We just have to play our assignments, make our reads and wrap up and tackle well.”
Sam McGaw is sports editor of Home Page Media Group. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@SamMcGawSports.
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