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Playoff experiences await Wildcats, Tigers, Bears
Nov 02, 2012 12:00 am
By ANDY REED
Playoffs are old hat for some teams and a new experience for others.
Watertown is a regular in the TSSAA postseason. But the Purple Tigers have boarded buses for the season's 11th game ever since a two-game homestand in 1985.
But for this week, Watertown will leave the buses parked as Cascade becomes the first November visitor to Robinson Stadium since Ezell-Harding ousted the Tigers in the second round in 1985. WHS had defeated Monterey behind the old hedges the week before.
"Kids are excited, school is excited," said Watertown coach Gavin Webster, whose wife, Kellie, was a WHS cheerleader in '85 and father in law, Bill Robinson, was the Purple Tiger coach. "It's been a long time since Watertown has hosted the playoffs. Got a good atmosphere and looking forward to it."
As a school, Wilson Central has playoff experience. But the current group of Wildcats and students haven't experienced it since the last postseason trip in 2008.
And the playoffs are a way of life at Mt. Juliet since Coach Roger Perry came to town midway through the last decade.
Wilson Central at Brentwood
A physical Bruin squad awaits the Wildcats. Brentwood is 9-1 with only a late-season stumble to Blackman keeping it from a perfect regular season.
"They line up shoe to shoe with their offensive line," Wildcats coach Brad Dedman said of the Bruins. "It's double-wing. Their offensive line comes off the ball great. They come off low, hard everytime. They have one left tackle who has committed to UT-Chattanooga. They have a tight end who's really good; he didn't play last week against Franklin but he's been in every other film that we saw. They like running the football most of the time, but they'll throw it enough just to keep you honest."
Though former Mt. Juliet coach Dan Winfree is still on the staff and son, Austin, is one of the Brentwood quarterbacks, the offense belongs to first-year coach Mark Pemberton, who was at Macon County last year.
"The quarterbacks, they rotate them on every play," Dedman said.
Brentwood runs a 5-2 defense.
"It's definitely the strength of the team," Dedman said of the Bruins' D. "They have two inside linebackers who are as good as any two we saw all year long. They run pretty well and they're both really physical. As a defense, they're really physical.
"They try to wear you down. That's something we're going to have to match their physicalness."
This is a loaded quad as Central is seeded seventh despite an 8-2 record. Three other teams have fewer wins, but two are seeded higher because they finished in the top two of their districts while the Wildcats' loss to Mt. Juliet last week dropped them to third in District 9-AAA.
"Brentwood maybe should be 10-0," Dedman said. "They made some mistakes against Blackman where they probably shouldn't have gotten beat in that game."
Dedman said outside linebacker Chase Hobbs remains out with a toe injury sustained in Week 7 against Beech. Otherwise, the Wildcats are healthy, the coach said.
The winner will face either John Overton or Arlington next week with Brentwood hosting and Central traveling.
Cascade at Watertown
The teams opened the season with each other for several seasons in a row about a decade ago. Now one will end the other's season.
Cascade is 6-4 while Watertown is 7-3.
"They want to run the ball," Webster said of the Champions. "They'll get in some gun sets with some two-back. They will have some tight slots and a pistol look with a running back behind him. They can throw the ball a little bit, but they want to...try and run the ball."
And they'll run it with No. 4, whose name is unknown.
"He's a sophomore," Webster said. "He's about 6-2, 220 pounds. He seems to be their primary ball carrier. He's their go-to guy. If they've got to get something, they want to go to him."
Cascade runs a 3-3 stack on defense.
"They move around a little bit on defense, try to disrupt you and get after it," Webster said.
The winner will travel to Friendship Christian next Friday.
Independence at Mt. Juliet
The most famous Eagle is former Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson. But since it's been years since the Music City Miracle man left the NFL, the one who most concerns Mt. Juliet is a junior whose family has a long-ago Lebanon connection.
Junior athlete Vic Wharton is the fastest among a collection of fast Eagles.
"He has about five [positions]," Perry said of Wharton, whose grandfather, also named Vic, coached baseball at Lebanon in the early 1990s while his son [and Vic III's uncle Brandon] was an LHS freshman who transferred to John Overton and later played basketball for Tennessee. "His best is kick returns. He plays quarterback, wide receiver, plays defensive back, kick returns. Very, very talented, a lot of speed.
"They've got some playmakers other than him. They got some running backs, another quarterback who comes in and plays."
Independence runs just about every formation in the book, as well, from the spread to the power-I.
"Multiple is an understatement for their football team," Perry said. "You name it, they run it."
Independence runs a 3-3 stack on defense.
"They do a lot of stunting, bring a lot of linebackers," Perry said. "They have a lot of team speed, a lot of good athletes. Their record [6-4] is not indicative of their football team."
Mt. Juliet enters the game with a 9-1 record and is seeded fourth in a stacked quad.
"It's exciting," Perry said of playoff time. "We feel very fortunate to be where we are.
"We just hope we can continue to improve. There are things we've got to improve on to advance."
The team that advances will either travel to Dickson County or host McGavock next week.
Perry said the only Bear expected to miss this week is backup tackle Jared Caperton.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org