Preps: Glencliff revels in return to playoff football

Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 10:47pm

There has been plenty of excitement around Glencliff High this week, as students are celebrating the joy of getting into the playoffs.

But right off the bat, the Colts (6-4) face a tall opening round Class 5A matchup on the road Friday against powerful and tradition-rich Gallatin (9-1). First-year coach Brandon Easley knows it is an ominous undertaking.

“I’m from Franklin,” Easley said. “I’ve been up to Gallatin, I know the atmosphere, how big football is there.”

By contrast, Glencliff has won just four playoff games in school history. All four came in 1999 when coach Jim Wilson’s team swept to the Class 5A finals before it lost to Sevier County at Vanderbilt.

The school has been back to the playoffs just twice since then, falling in the opening round in 2003 and again in 2009 when the Colts lost to Hillsboro in overtime.

Last year, they were 1-9. Easley, who was hired in March, revived the program, especially on the defensive side.

Glencliff allowed 340 points, one of the worst figures in the state, in 2010. This year, opponents have scored just 114 points. The Colts have two shutouts and three wins in their last four games. In only one game (a 23-0 loss to McGavock) have they allowed more than two touchdowns.

Glencliff owes much of its resurgence to the 1-2 punch of seniors Avery Hill and Montez Brown, who both play running back and linebacker.

“It starts with those guys. Both go both ways and are doing a great job for us,” Easley said.

Hill leads the offense with 756 yards rushing with five touchdowns. Brown leads the defense with 109 tackles.

“We took a team which was 1-9 last year and turned it around,” Easley said. “And we’re going to Gallatin, a place where there’s great atmosphere where we’re going to try to give ourselves a chance to win. We’ll have to limit turnovers and try to get off to a good start.

“It’s been great around school this week. There’s a real feeling of excitement about our team.”

Class 3A Playoffs: Christ Presbyterian Academy (9-1) hosts Cheatham County, and Goodpasture (7-3) hosts Grundy County.

If both CPA and Goodpasture win, they would stage a rematch of their first game back on Aug. 19, which CPA won 35-14.

State Cross Country: The state cross country meet in Class AAA, A/AA and DII will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Edwin Warner Park Steeplechase course.

Friday’s games

Class 6A
Siegel at Overton
Smyrna at Franklin
Brentwood at Independence

Class 5A
Centennial at Tullahoma
Station Camp at Antioch
Glencliff at Gallatin

Class 4A
Page at Lexington
Creek Wood at Maplewood

Class 3A
Pearl-Cohn at Smith County
Cheatham County at Christ Presbyterian Academy
Grundy County at Goodpasture

Class 1A
Nashville Christian School at Moore County

Father Ryan at St. Benedict
McCallie at Battle Ground Academy
Briarcrest at Montgomery Bell Academy
Pope John Paul II at Brentwood Academy
Ensworth, bye

Evangelical Christian School at Franklin Road Academy
Jackson Christian at Davidson Academy
Ezell-Harding at St. George’s
Donelson Christian Academy, bye