Preps: NCS eyes playoff berth even though it's currently on the outside looking in

Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 11:18pm

With four crucial games on the schedule the rest of this month, Nashville Christian School is closing in on a Class A playoff berth.

Currently, the Eagles (2-4) are not in the 24-team field, according to the TSSAA Class 1A playoff standings announced this week. They are the No. 31 team, seventh on the list waiting to get in.

“Our last four games are against region opponents,’’ coach Jeff Brothers said. “So at this point, we’re looking at every game the rest of the way as a playoff game.”

Last year, the Eagles had no such worries. NCS went 8-2, complete with an eight-game winning streak, and finished second behind only Jo Byrns in the region, easily qualifying for the postseason.

NCS went 1-9 the year before Brothers arrived.

With a young group, it hasn’t been as easy this year. The Eagles snapped a four-game losing streak with a 10-7 victory over Lancaster Christian last Friday.

“We’ve lost three games where we were either tied or leading the game in the fourth quarter,” Brothers said. “We could be 5-1 or at least 4-2.

“I knew this season we would have an adjustment period to some degree and that it might take a while. We lost about 4,000 yards from our offense from last year and we have several new guys.”

The losses included quarterback Matt Ogle, a freshman player at Cumberland University, and all-state receiver Thomas Knoblach, who plans to walk on for UT-Chattanooga in January.

Asked about the strengths of his team, Brothers mentioned linemen like seniors Sam Cooper and Hunter Pearce, as well as hard-running senior fullback Brandon McCoy.

Next up is homecoming in a region game against East Robertson, a team the Eagles flattened 55-0 last year.

McGavock rebounding: After a 0-4 start, McGavock (2-4) has bounced back with Region 6A wins over Cane Ridge and Hunters Lane.

As a result, the Raiders have fleeting hopes for the 6A playoffs. But upcoming Friday is a tough matchup at Overton (6-1), which has won six straight.

“Overton is always well-coached under Terry Anderson and has great athletes,” McGavock coach Jay Gore said. “They’re a physical team and you know they are going to pound it at you.

“Last year, we had a lot of guys who stepped up and made plays when we needed them. This year, we haven’t had that as much.”

Playoff picture: CPA (No. 5), Pearl-Cohn (No. 15) and Goodpasture (No. 21) all are solidly in the Class 3A playoffs through Week 6.

Maplewood is 16th in Class 4A, and Overton is 10th in Class 6A.

CPA (6-0) is still ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 3A by AP, with a huge trip to Maplewood Friday.

Statistical leaders: With 1,227 yards through seven games, Maplewood’s LaDarius Vanlier is by far the leading rusher in Nashville.

Donelson Christian’s Collin Johnston is the leading receiver in Nashville with 619 yards on 34 catches, with six touchdowns, three of them coming last week.

State Golf: Hendersonville repeated as team champion and Brentwood finished second in the boys division of the TSSAA Class AAA state golf tournament, which concluded Wednesday in Manchester.

Hendersonville’s Carson Jacobs placed third in the individual standings with a two-under par 142. Peyton McClure led Brentwood with a two-over (146), tied for eighth.

Independence finished seventh in the girls division. Abbie Gregory of Beech tied for second (149) and was the top area finisher.

FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
(Week 7)

Friday’s games
Brentwood Academy at Battle Ground Academy
Centennial at Cane Ridge
Christ Presbyterian Academy at Maplewood
David Lipscomb at Greenbrier
East Lit at Stratford
East Robertson at Nashville Christian
Ezell-Harding at Franklin Road Academy
Father Ryan at Pope John Paul II
Franklin at Lawrence County
Hendersonville at Glencliff
Hunters Lane at Antioch
McGavock at Overton
Pearl-Cohn at Whites Creek