TSSAA playoff announcement had flaws

Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 11:35pm

Tuesday is ‘Election Day’ and, if reviews were coming in on the new TSSAA football playoff format, chances are there will be a mixed vote.

Just as in any new plan, there are some glitches that were virtually inevitable, most notably a couple of wrong sites for first-round games Friday. On the announcement show Saturday, carried locally by 104.5-FM, The Zone, there were a few changes made on the air before the show ended, one on a game site, and a few others coming on teams placed in the wrong quadrants.

After the program, the brackets were taken off the TSSAA Web site as additional adjustments had to be made.

“One mistake made is one too many,’’ said the TSSAA’s Bernard Childress on the TSSAA Web site. “The errors made are totally unacceptable. As Executive Director, I take full responsibility for them.’’

Thankfully, there were no incorrect teams named as playoff participants as opposed to naming a wrong team and having to take it out of the bracket and replace it with a correct one. That would have been little short of a disaster.

“We apologize to our school administrators, coaches and fans,’’ he added.

As with any new system, there are kinks to be worked out. Childress said the TSSAA would address the situation at its Nov. 19 Board meeting in Hermitage.

As Hunters Lane Coach Richard Campbell said, “I think they’re doing the best they can with a new system. We’re all in the same boat, no one had an advantage.’’

FRA, Page grab playoff berth

None of the fans who were supporting Franklin Road Academy was complaining about the steady rain which came down throughout the Panthers football game Friday night.

That’s because FRA (6-4) clinched their first playoff berth since 2004 and first home playoff game since 2000 with a muddy but very satisfying 10-7 win over Ezell-Harding.

“This is huge for us,’’ said standout running back Doug Page, who rushed for 210 yards in 33 carries and the only TD. “This gives us a chance to have at least one more game on our home field and enable us to get out fan support. After all the mud and rainy conditions, this win was great for our team.’’

Page finished the regular season with 1,325 yards, best for a DII-A rusher in Nashville and one of the best totals in any class.

FRA hosts Fayette Academy (5-5) Friday night as the Panthers are seeking their first playoff win since 2000.

Early in the fourth quarter, Ezell marched to the FRA five, but a running play, followed by an intentional grounding pass left it fourth and goal from the 17. From there, junior Matt Williamson knocked down a pass in the end zone, preserving the Panther lead in one of the big plays of their season.

“I saw the ball, and the receiver had position on me, but I was determined not to let him catch it,’’ said the 5-10 Williamson. “I was behind him, but I jumped as high as I could and was able to knock it away.’’

“Our team played great when it counted and were especially good in the fourth quarter in a game where we just had to slug it out,’’ said Coach David Pack. “We had to step it up on defense, and that’s what we did the last two quarters.’’

“Coach (Ezell coach) Jackson Howell had an excellent game plan, and those guys came ready to play,’’ he added. “I’m very proud of our team.’’

Page scored on an 11-yard TD on FRA’s very first possession, and he clinched the game by breaking free, bolting 47 yards to the Ezell five with 1:33 left.

The winning points came off the foot of junior Jackson Wills, who booted a 20-yard field goal with six seconds left in the half.

Ezell, which ended 5-5, was fighting for its playoff life, were led by QB Blake Mitchell and RB Lance Capitano, who scored the Eagle TD, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Ryan’s Pollard excels

Father Ryan kicker Nick Pollard is having a spectacular senior season. The Irish kicker has booted 30-of-30 extra points, along with 9-of-11 field goals, including two of 53 and 52 yards and two more of 40 or longer.

“He’s as good as any kicker I’ve ever coached,’’ said Irish head coach Bruce Lussier. “He went to a lot of those summer kicking camps between his sophomore and junior season, and that was too much as he didn’t have a very good junior year. He went to hardly any of them this past season, and I think his leg is much stronger as a result.’’

Ryan (7-3) clinched a first-round playoff bye with its impressive 21-11 win at Baylor.

Eichelberger sparks Firebirds

Pearl-Cohn junior back Senquay Eichelberger, one of Nashville’s best defensive backs, made another huge play in the Firebirds’ 10-0 win over CPA Friday, clinching a playoff berth.

Leading 4-0 in the fourth quarter, Eichelberger picked off a pass and returned it 41 yards for a TD, clinching the win. In a key mid-season win over previously unbeaten East Lit, in the first quarter of a scoreless game, Eichelberger picked up a fumble and returned it 88 yards to the eight. It set up the first Firebird TD and led to a 28-0 win.

BHS wrestler to Harvard

Brentwood High wrester Cameron Croy, who has been undefeated and state AAA champ the past two seasons in the 189-pound class, has committed to Harvard.