Under coach Jonathan Parks, Cane Ridge High finds itself in some uncharted waters these days with a 6-1 record and its sights set on the first playoff berth in the four-year old school’s history.
The 28-year-old, first-year coach took over a team that had won just five games in its first three seasons. The Raptors surpassed that total with their 41-12 region romp at Glencliff last Friday.
“The attitude around the school is totally different,” Parks said just after a practice earlier this week. “I cannot go by a classroom or walk down the hall without some sign or reminder of our team’s success or some students talking about it.
“We have a great coaching staff, and it’s much easier to succeed when you’re surrounded by guys like I have. And our administration has been great.”
Parks, 28, a former MTSU lineman, was the Raptors’ offensive line coach for the past three seasons before he was promoted to head coach last February.
The turnaround took hold back in Week 3.
“We were down (10-7) to Ravenwood at the half,” Parks said. “But we came back and won [21-10 behind two touchdown passes by quarterback Sherrod Caruthers], and I think that showed our guys we could be a second-half team. Later, we beat McGavock for the first time, which really got our confidence up. It’s going to be exciting to see what happens when we put four quarters together.
“[Monday] when it rained, we had to go indoors, but we had our best practice of the year. Everyone is buying in.”
It helps that the team includes 23 seniors who have been around since the program started.
“What I like best is that we have a real together mindset,” Parks said. “Whether it’s going through the good times together or the bad times together, they stay focused.”
The combo of Caruthers and wide receiver Jeremy Greer — both seniors — is one of Nashville’s best and a reason the Raptors average right at 30 points per game.
The 6-foot, 160-pound Caruthers is closing in on 1,000 yards passing. Greer, with more than 400 yards, is the leading receiver in Nashville. And at 5-foot-5, 143 pounds, he is certainly one of the smallest.
“Jeremy is like a pinball in a slot machine the way he bangs around into tacklers and keeps going,” Parks said. “He is hard to bring down.
“The other night against Glencliff, we had a fourth down in the red zone and the coaches were contemplating kicking a field goal. … [Greer] ran over to the sidelines and said, ‘No field goal, give me the ball.’ We decided to and sure enough, he scored a touchdown.”
Cane Ridge is well positioned in to earn a spot in the Class 6A playoffs, according to the latest standings,. If the season ended today, the Raptors easily would make the field.
Next up is a clash Friday at Centennial.
“They are the best 3-3 team I’ve seen,” Parks says.
A homecoming game with Hillwood is Oct. 19, followed by a huge regular season finale showdown with neighborhood rival Antioch Oct. 26.
“It’ll be the Exit 62 [interstate] showdown,” Parks said. “That might be the game of the year, possibly for the region championship. But we’ll just take it week by week.”
• Rachel Johnson and Nicole Page finished first and second, respectively, as Franklin Road Academy easily won the TSSAA DII-A girls state golf tournament Tuesday in Manchester. It was the Panthers’ second crown in three years.
Johnson and Page tied for first with148, four-over par, scores in the two-day event. Johnson won a one-hole playoff for medalist honors.
The Panthers finished with a 296 team total, far ahead of runner-up University School of Nashville (341). USN won the title last year and FRA won in 2010.
Defending champ Ensworth finished second behind Baylor by one stroke (298-299) in the DII-AA girls division. Baylor’s Blakesly Warren won a two-hole playoff over Ensworth junior Alex Farnsworth for medalist honors after each shot 144. Farnsworth was defending champ. Ensworth’s Maddie Williams was fifth.
In the boys divisions, Baylor and Evangelical won in DII-AA and DII-A, respectively. Battle Ground Academy senior Gavin Shellnut (144, tie for third) and FRA senior Myles Morrissey (149, fifth) were the best area individual finishers.
• Hillsboro’s 6-foot-8 Jamontae Davis and Father Ryan’s 6-foot-2 Jamonte Graham have committed to Tennessee State for basketball. They were teammates for a travel team in Nashville.
• Former Maplewood High star Ladarius Vanlier, a true freshman at Tennessee Tech, ws named OVC special teams player of the week. He had 291all purpose yards, including a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in a loss to Murray State on Saturday.
His total was the fourth highest in school history.
• Unbeaten Ensworth (7-0) moved up one spot to No. 24 in this week’s USA Today Super 25 Prep Poll. The Tigers host Montgomery Bell Academy (5-2) Friday.
Antioch at Hunters Lane
Glencliff at Hillwood
Maplewood at Christ Presbyterian Academy (TV-30)
Overton at McGavock
Stratford at East Nashville
Battle Ground Academy at Brentwood Academy
Cane Ridge at Centennial
Franklin Road Academy at Ezell-Harding
Greenbrier at Lipscomb Academy
Lawrence County at Franklin
Montgomery Bell Academy at Ensworth
Nashville Christian School at East Robertson
Oakland at Ravenwood
Page at East Hickman
Pope JPII at Father Ryan
Whites Creek at Pearl-Cohn
Zion Christian at Davidson Academy