2021 record: 13-7
Last week: 6-4
High school football rivalry season is here.
The Week 3 Middle Tennessee slate is loaded with crosstown matchups including Riverdale at Blackman, Rossview at Clarksville, Beech and Hendersonville and East Nashville at Stratford. Throw in the Bishop’s Cup between Father Ryan and Pope Prep, and it could be an entertaining week.
Personally, it’s time for me to get on track after a mediocre 6-4 showing in Week 2. Spoiler alert: I won’t be picking against CPA again this Friday.
Here are my thoughts on 10 intriguing Week 3 Midstate matchups:
Main Street Preps Game of the Week
Riverdale (2-0) at Blackman (2-0) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Riverdale looked flawless in shutout wins over Franklin and Rossview, outscoring its first two opponents 72-0. The staunch Warrior defense, led by Caleb and Elijah Herring, has lived up to its billing.
Blackman represents Riverdale's toughest test so far. The Blaze impressed in a thrilling 38-35 win over Brentwood in Week 1, but Riverdale should still win this edition of the Backyard Brawl.
PICK: Riverdale 28, Blackman 14
Summit (2-0) at Brentwood (0-2) – Friday, 7 p.m.
It’s strange to see Brentwood winless through the first two weeks, though stiff competition (Blackman and Father Ryan) had quite a bit to do with those results.
Unfortunately for the Bruins, life won’t get any easier this week as Kentucky commitments Destin and Keaten Wade come to visit.
Destin ran for 265 yards and four touchdowns in a 50-13 win over Henry County two weeks ago, and Keaten totaled 15 tackles and a sack. Anything close to that level of production from the twin brothers will likely equal a Summit victory.
PICK: Summit 35, Brentwood 24
Rossview (0-2) at Clarksville (1-1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
The winner of this one gets the Warfield Shield, and both teams could use that morale boost after suffering lopsided defeats last week.
Rossview is still working to find an identity with a revamped roster, which showed in losses to Wilson Central and Riverdale. Clarksville is trying to settle on a new quarterback after losing Davin Garinger for the season.
While the game may not be pretty, the Wildcats find a way to take this all-Clarksville battle for the fourth straight time.
PICK: Clarksville 17, Rossview 14
BGA (1-1) at CPA (2-0) – Friday, 7 p.m.
BGA turned heads with a season-opening win at Nolensville followed by a narrow loss to Ravenwood last week. Senior running back Sean Williams combined to rush for 355 yards and six TDs in those games.
However, defending Division II-AA state champion CPA is on another level. The Lions blew out Independence two weeks ago and then held off Brentwood Academy for a 21-17 win last Friday.
I made the mistake of picking CPA to lose the first two weeks, but I won’t be doing that here.
PICK: CPA 35, BGA 21
Friendship Christian (1-1) at DCA (2-0) – Friday, 7 p.m.
DCA had little trouble with its first two opponents, outscoring MTCS and Harding Academy by a combined 96-16. Led by senior QB Bradford Gaines, the Wildcats appear to be in position to make a serious push in DII-A. Look for DCA to beat Friendship Christian for the second straight season.
PICK: DCA 28, Friendship Christian 21
Beech (2-0) at Hendersonville (1-1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Beech, normally a run-first team, has taken to the air more often in 2021 to utilize pass catchers like Jackson Long (7 receptions, 156 yards) and Andrew Paige (7 receptions, 95 yards, 1 TD), and it’s working.
Hendersonville bounced-back from a 42-7 loss to Oakland by defeating South Warren (Ky.) 27-20 last week, but the Commandos have dropped two straight meetings to Beech.
PICK: Beech 24, Hendersonville 17
DeKalb County (1-0) at Macon County (2-0) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Macon County is hoping to continue its strong start following wins over East Robertson and Westmoreland. After losing to DeKalb County the past two seasons, the Tigers could go a long way toward earning a home playoff game by breaking that streak.
PICK: Macon County 17, DeKalb County 14
Springfield (2-0) at Northeast (1-1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
After taking care of Clarksville 27-10 last week, Springfield gets another crack at a Montgomery County team. QB Devon Crenshaw and RB Lamarious Daniels are both nearing 200 yards and will likely add to those totals on Friday.
Northeast still has work to do after falling 16-0 at Montgomery Central last week. The Eagles may improve as the season goes on, but the disciplined Yellow Jackets aren’t a team that offers many breaks.
PICK: Springfield 40, Northeast 28
Father Ryan (2-0) at Pope Prep (2-0) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Could Father Ryan be back?
Its backfield combo of Stef Ponder and Bryshon Jackson has been a nice complement to a defense that allowed just 19 total points in wins over East Nashville and Brentwood.
But Pope Prep QB Kenny Minchey (16-of-21 passing, 281 yards, 9 TDs) provides a test. The Knights have also won the last five Bishop’s Cup showdowns.
Consider this one a tossup, with a slight edge going to Father Ryan for the quality of its wins.
PICK: Father Ryan 31, Pope Prep 28
East Nashville (1-1) at Stratford (1-1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
East Nashville ran away with a 42-7 win at Stratford in 2020, but it’s unclear how much that gap may have closed or widened since last season.
East Nashville picked up a COVID forfeit win over Stewarts Creek in Week 2, while Stratford fell 42-16 to Overton.
Given the Eagles’ depth and preseason standing as a Class 3A contender, they get the nod.
PICK: East Nashville 35, Stratford 14