Last Friday, McGavock had one of the biggest one-season turnarounds in its season opener of any football team in the state.
Even coach Jay Gore found it impossible to ignore the difference after his team defeated Tullahoma 34-13.
“I told them we had made a 45-point turnaround from a year ago, and I think that speaks to the path we’re on and the improvement we’re making,” Gore, who is starting his third season with the Raiders, said. “I think it was a combination of both the improvements we’ve made and Tullahoma being pretty young with the loss of some impact players.”
The same teams opened against one another last season. Tullahoma won that one 36-12.
This time quarterback DeAnthony Patrick scored two touchdowns and threw a 59-yard touchdown to Reginald Batey. The Raiders rolled up 388 yards total offense, and Batey scored three touchdowns in all.
“This year, we have a true athlete at the quarterback position, rather than just a drop back type of passer,” Gore said. “[Patrick] is someone who can stretch the field, end zone to end zone, sideline to sideline that defense has to plan on. We’re still in pass mode, but DeAnthony has the ability to pull the ball down and run, make yardage that way.”
But it’s not just big offensive numbers that are a difference for these Raiders. It’s additional strength, which is evident in both the offensive and defensive lines.
“We spent $5,000 upgrading our weight room,” Gore said. “And the improvements we’ve seen reflect the difference. We have three types of weights we combine for a total.
“Last year at the end of the summer, we had one guy with a 1,000 pounds of combined lift and five who had 900 pounds. This year, at the end of spring practice, we had one guy with 1,200 pounds combined and nine with 1,000 pounds. That’s huge for us, and it’s turning into a strength.”
McGavock’s strength and ability will be put to the test Friday against powerhouse Mount Juliet, which trounced the Raiders twice last year. The second time was in the playoffs to ended the Raiders’ season.
“Mount Juliet lost about 28-30 lettermen, but they always seem to be very good, and this year is no different,” Gore said. “[Coach] Roger [Perry] does a great job there. Their principal, Mel Brown, is an old McGavock guy and you know he is both athletic as well as academically-minded. Mount Juliet is good in all sports.”
Asked to look ahead, Gore said, “We don’t ever talk about won-lost records. We just talk about getting better each game and each day.”
Even though it’s early, so far, so good.
Antioch at Station Camp
Battle Ground Academy at Ravenwood
Brentwood High at Smyrna
Centennial at Overton
Cane Ridge at Father Ryan
Christ Presbyterian Academy at Kenwood
East Nashville at Pope John Paul II
Ezell-Harding at Middle Tennessee Christian
Franklin at Hendersonville
Glencliff at Westmoreland
Hillsboro at Franklin Road Academy
Hillwood at Nashville Christian School
Maplewood at Brentwood Academy
McGavock at Mount Juliet
Oakland at Hunters Lane
Page at Independence
Pearl-Cohn at Blackman
SBEC at Davidson Academy
Trinity, (Ky.) at Montgomery Bell Academy
Whites Creek at Stratford
x-Goodpasture vs. Trinity Christian, (Fla.)
Ensworth at Lexington Catholic, (Ky.)
(x-at Blue Grass Showcase in Louisville)