October is providing some happy days at Nashville Christian School.
The Eagles are pushing their way deep into some uncharted territory as they roar into the home stretch of the football season.
Coming in, new coach Jeff Brothers made his mission clear for a team that was 7-23 over the past three seasons (1-9 last year) with just six region wins the past five years.
“We are rebuilding – for 2010,” he’s said over and over.
Friday, on homecoming night, everyone in the NCS crowd was happy as the Eagles improved to 6-1 with a 55-0 romp over winless East Robertson. It was their sixth straight victory after an opening 7-6 loss to Hillwood in a game they dominated the stats.
“I’m very excited about where we are and how we’ve been playing lately,” Brothers said. “If we continue with this level of play, we have a chance to make this a truly special season.”
In the last two weeks, his team broke into the school record book and rewrote some marks set more than a generation ago.
• The 55-point victory over Easter Robertson equaled the record for largest margin of victory, tying the 1978 team’s win over Clarksville Academy by the same score.
• A 56-7 win over Mt. Juliet Christian two weeks ago broke the school record for points in a game.
But challenges remain, particularly in Week 10.
Next up is a trip to winless Houston County, a team NCS beat 38-0 last year. After that is the final home game against McEwen, then a road trip to undefeated and top-ranked 1A power Jo Byrns.
“The only team we’re thinking about is Houston County, a team which presents a lot of problems to prepare for,” Brothers said.
A win there and another over McEwen guarantees a first playoff berth since 2000. If NCS beats McEwen, it clinches no worse than a second-place finish in Region 5-1A. The top two teams qualify in four-team regions in their respective class.
Prior to last Friday’s win, NCS was No. 7 in the TSSAA 1A playoff standings. The Eagles also were ranked No. 7 in MaxPrep and No. 10 last week in AP and appear certain to move up this week.
Weiss has big night for Eagles
No one had a bigger night last Friday than senior co-captain Nick Weiss.
Weiss escorted senior homecoming queen Cassie Wright to midfield, prior to the opening kickoff. Then he put his helmet on.
Just after NCS made a goal line stand on its first defensive series, Weiss rushed two times for 97 yards and scored from 49 yards out for a 7-0 lead. He finished the game with three touchdowns and 216 yards rushing in only five carries (an average of 43 yards per carry).
“Yes, this would have to rank right at the top,” said Weiss who is one of six seniors who were in the second grade the last time NCS made the playoffs. “We’ve played very well lately, and we’ve got a lot of momentum going into the last three games when we need to finish strong.
“Coach Brothers has got us going in the right direction and we need to continue to practice hard.”
Weiss has 759 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on the season.
“We’ve gained a lot of momentum recently, and we’ve had great support from our fans,” senior split end Thomas Knoblach said.
Knoblach continues to lead all Nashville receivers. Even though he caught just one pass Friday (the Eagles didn’t throw but four passes), it was for a 45-yard touchdown. He has 32 catches for 597 yards.
Knoblach also returned an interception 52 yards for a score, hit all extra points he attempted and booted six of his seven kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks.
Quarterback Matt Ogle was just 2-for-3 passing, but he closed in on the 1,000 yard mark. He has hit 47-of-74 for 805 yards overall
C.J. Cameron returned a fumble 15 yards for a touchdown. John Sneed blocked a punt. Brandon McCoy had two sacks.
It’s all added up to happy days for these Eagles.
• DISTRICT VOLLEYBALL: David Lipscomb gained the top seed for the District 10-AA volleyball tournament, which opens 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lipscomb.
The Mustangs finished in a three-way tie with Hume-Fogg and CPA, but got the top spot via a tiebreaker. The Mustangs beat Hume-Fogg in three straight games, Hume-Fogg beat CPA in four and CPA beat Lipscomb in four, which gave the tiebreak to Lipscomb.
That’s huge, because it throws CPA and Hume-Fogg into the same bracket, opposite Lipscomb, and only two teams (the two finalists) advance to region tournament.
Finals are 7 p.m. Thursday Lipscomb, following the semifinals (4 p.m and 5:30 p.m.)
• Hillwood won a tiebreaker for the top seed in the District 12-AAA tournament, which opens Tuesday at Overton High.
Glencliff (22-2) and Hillwood both finished 10-2 in district play. Perennial champ Glencliff split two matches with Hillwood, but the Colts had to go five games to win theirs, so the Toppers grabbed top seed and got a bye.
Glencliff meets Antioch 4 p.m.Tuesday.
• Undefeated Nashville Christian School is a heavy favorite to win the District 10-A tournament which NCS will host Monday and Tuesday.
• CLASS AAA STATE GOLF: Ravenwood senior Taylor Manning is back to defend her individual championship as the Class AAA state golf tournament opens Tuesday morning at Willowbrook Course in Manchester.
Last year’s team runner-up Ravenwood had the lowest score (145) of all the region champs and is expected to compete with defending champ Soddy Daisy for the girls crown.
Region 6-AAA team champ Brentwood High carries the best area hope in the boys division after the Bruins shot a 299 in the region.
Final rounds are Wednesday.
District volleyball pairings
At Overton High
4 p.m. – McGavock-Cane Ridge; Antioch-Glencliff; 5:30—Hunters Lane-Overton.
4 p.m.—Winner match 1 vs. Winner match 2; Hillwood vs. winner match 3. 5:30—Championship match.
At David Lipscomb
3:30 p.m.—Stratford vs. Pearl-Cohn; 4 p.m.—MLK vs. East Lit; 5 p.m.—CPA vs. Whites Creek; 6 p.m.—H-Fogg vs. Maplewood; 7 p.m. Lipscomb vs. Winner match 1.
4 p.m, 5:30 p.m.—Semifinals. 7 p.m.—Championship match.