Tigers looking to improve on successful 2019 campaign

Anthony S. Puca Sports Editor
Posted 8/19/20

Uncertainty turns to reality Like all other high school football teams nationwide, there has been much uncertainty that there would even be a football season because of the COVID-19 pandemic until word came down from the governor that the 2020 campaign was given the green light...

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Tigers looking to improve on successful 2019 campaign

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Uncertainty turns to reality

Like all other high school football teams nationwide, there has been much uncertainty that there would even be a football season because of the COVID-19 pandemic until word came down from the governor that the 2020 campaign was given the green light.

“We tried to always take the optimistic approach to the situation like there would be a season,” Marshall County High School head football coach Thomas Osteen said. “We tried to have the mentality that there would be a season despite of all the uncertainty out there.”

“Needless to say we were ecstatic when the governor gave the ok to resume tackle football practice.”

Osteen, who is entering his seventh season at the helm of the Tigers, talked about facing the health challenges pertaining to the TSSAA guidelines.

“We are always going to focus on what we can control,” Osteen said. “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.”

“We are going to embrace all the challenges of this season no matter what form they come in.”

That first challenge came on Saturday when it was announced that the home opener versus Columbia Academy was cancelled because of COVID-19 related concerns.

“A mutual decision was reached by both schools because of concerns that arose over the validity of the game because of Covid-19 rubric protocol,” Osteen stated. “It’s miserable telling a healthy kid that’s been working like crazy all summer he can’t play in a football game because of the current restrictions applied in our society.”

Tigers put together nine-win season

MCHS had a very successful 2019 campaign that ended sooner than anyone had thought as they posted a 9-3 record, won the Region 4/4A title with an undefeated 5-0 mark, but lost a second round playoff game at Lewisburg.

The Tigers stormed out of the gate, opening up with a big 41-7 win at Columbia Academy, followed by a 31-14 win in the home opener at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg, and a 30-6 win at Tullahoma to complete the first of three, three-game winning streaks.

The first one was broken by a tough 36-30 home loss to Shelbyville in Week 4 before the Tigers embarked on a three-game road swing.

In probably its toughest stretch of the campaign, the Tigers swept all three games, including a 35-20 win over Maplewood in the annual Music City tour.

The Tigers belted eventual Region 5/4A champs Springfield 42-12 before clobbering Lawrence County 48-3 in a Thursday night contest for their fifth lopsided win in a row over the Wildcats.

The Tigers returned to Lewisburg for Homecoming in Week 8, facing archival Giles County.

Weird things happen when these two teams meet and it did that night as the Tigers took a 10-7 halftime lead and blocked a field goal on Giles County’s first possession of the second half.

Two plays later, The Tigers had the ball on the Bobcats’ 19-yard line when the stadium lights went out.

After a 15 minute delay, Giles County stuffed the Tigers’ offense and took over on downs.

Both defenses held firm and with 3:46 remaining in the game, Marshall County recovered a fumble, but after much discussion and delay by the officials, the call was overturned and the Bobcats cashed in on the favor when they scored with 1:11 remaining in the contest.

Marshall County drove the length of the field in lightning fashion, putting the ball in the end zone with eight seconds left, but an illegal shift penalty negated the score and the game ended one play later on an incomplete pass.

MCHS bounced back in a big way, blasting Spring Hill 45-13 and clinched the Region 4/4A title with a 30-14 win over Nolensville in the regular season finale.

The Tigers crushed Stone Memorial 39-8 at home in the opening round of the playoffs before suffering a 28-24 season ending home loss to DeKalb County as they squandered a 10-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the contest.

2020 squad has high potential

Although they have lost some key players on both sides of the ball, Osteen has proven that he knows how to move forward, keeping his team focused on winning.

Osteen has the track record to back it up as he has a 56-21 overall record, a stellar 21-4 region mark, four region titles, six playoff appearances, and three consecutive state semifinals appearances from 2015 thru 2017.

“Obviously our goal is as always is to strive for excellence in all that we do and improve each week,” Osteen said. “It’s always our goal to compete for a region championship and see how good we can get our team by the end of the season.”

“I’m excited about the leadership and accountability that this senior class provides and in that I hope we will be much better prepared to handle any adversity that comes out way.”

The Tigers have made 35 playoff appearances with one state championship when they went undefeated in 1984 under the tutelage of TSSAA Hall of Fame coach Bob Edens.

The members of the 1984 title team were, John Conner, Kyle Stacey, Greg Lowe, Randy Riner, Jim Lambert, Tony Moore, Brent Adcox, Tommy Cooper, Jimmy Jett, Tony Kirby, Chris Harris, Petie Allen, Mark Hammond, Daryl Lyttle, Tommy Isley, David Pierce, Howard Warner, Doug Myers, Jason Petty, Wayne Edwards, Jimmy Haislip, Marty Poarch, Thomas Cross, John Brown, Rodney Davis, Keith Stacey, Delwin O'Neal, Kevin Osborne, Devin Lowrance, Keith Peete Danny Pickle, Cameron Coble, J. R. Blacksher, Matt Harris, Hale Hawkins, Emmitt Quarles, David Mrozinski, John Allen, Price Gentry, Jeff Lyttle, Michael Cannon, Cedric Dukes, John Weaver, Jamie Alford, Jeff Taylor, Kerry Thomason , Frank Sullivan, Delane Hightower, Jim Crowley, Keith Cozart, and Sean Whaley.

Because of the cancellation of the home opener versus Columbia Academy, the Tigers will be one week behind of on-field experience when they travel to Lincoln County for their first game of the season on August 28.

“We will move forward trying to do exactly what we preach to our team on a regular basis,” Osteen said. “Focus on controlling what we can control, and that is our attitude and effort daily.”

The Tigers home opener will now be in Week 3 when they open up Region 4/4A play at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg versus Tullahoma.

After a trip to Shelbyville for a Week 4 non-conference contest the Tigers host three games in a row versus Maplewood, Springfield, and Lawrence County.

MCHS runs a late road trip gauntlet, travelling to Giles County, Spring Hill, and Nolensville to end the regular season.

Offense

As far as personal goes, the Tigers return five starters on offense and seven starters on defense.

“We also return a handful of other guys who have played a good bit of football, Osteen said. “Omari Armstrong will return to lead our offensive line and be a key anchor on defense as well and Aky Howard returns at wide receiver and has played a lot of football.”

Other seniors on offense are Connor Hilton (RB), Kaden Whitson (WR), Joseph Gold (TE), Dravin West (WR), Hunter Rolof (WR), Javion Brown (TE), Casey Southerland (WR), Hayden Sheppard (RB), and all-purpose player Christian Stacey, who Osteen said, “Will be the quarterback of our defense as a throwback style linebacker and will play a key role on offense as well.”

Junior Lamarion Pierce looks like he will be the number one running back coming out of camp along with Hilton and a host of other talented players.

Junior Bryson Hammons is the starting quarterback and is coming off a good season last year when he threw for 1,796 yards with 16 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Hammons also had two rushing touchdowns.

“I look to see a huge jump at quarterback after a whole year of experience,” Osteen said.

Besides Howard, look for junior wide out Davonte Davis to have a great season as he is coming off a 10-catch, two touchdowns, 143-yard season.

Rolof also had three touchdowns receptions.

Howard is the leader coming back as he caught 22 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns, while also returning a punt for a score.

Defense

The Tigers’ defense, especially early in the season, will keep them in every game they play as they have seven returning starters on the unit as Davis and Logan McKnight are All-Region retuning players on the defensive line.

Davis had 56 tackles (23 solo), 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries, one of which he caused.

McKnight had 38 tackles (21 solo) last season with eight ending up in losses and he had one sack, four passes defended, and caused two fumbles, both of which he recovered.

The strength of the defense will be in the back end in the defensive backfield which Osteen called, “The most experienced unit on the team.”

“Connor Hilton, Hayden Sheppard, Kaden Whitson, Hunter Rolof, and Lamarion Pierce have all played a ton of football,” Osteen added.

Hilton led the way with 84 tackles last season (57 solo), two tackles for loss, one interception, nine passes defended, one safety, and three blocked punts.

Sheppard had 66 tackles (29 solo), one fumble recovery, one interception, and three tackles for loss.

Rolof came up with 39 take downs (20 solo), 1.5 tackles for loss, two passes defended and an interception.

Whitson had 24 tackles (20 solo), one tackle for loss, three interceptions, five passes defended, one fumble recovery, and he blocked one punt.

Pierce had 16 tackles (10 solo), two interceptions, two passes defended, and a fumble recovery.

Outstanding kicking tradition continues

The Tigers have had great kickers, starting with the all-time leader in Aaron Medley, who converted 111-of-121 extra point attempts, blasted 120-of-196 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, and made 20-of-32 field goals, highlighted by a 50-yarder against Spring Hill his junior season.

As a senior, Medley was named to the Class 4A All-State team as a punter

Medley was four-time all-region selection, a Mr. Football finalist, and went on to have a successful career at the University of Tennessee.

Medley also made the Tennessean's All-Midstate Team and was named to the Second Team Defense of MaxPreps Medium Schools All-American Football Team as a punter.

Caleb Estes followed by making 6-of-10 field goals, 41-for-45 on extra points, and a field goal long of 38 yards.

He was the Region 4/4A Kicker of the Year his senior season.

The beat goes on as 2019 Region 4/4A Special Teams Player of the Year Jon Estes enters his senior season as a Tiger after making 14-out-of-16 field goals last season, converting 41-of-45 PATs, and had 72 kickoffs for 4,328 yards and 36 touchbacks.

Estes, who has 83 career points, is a pre-season all-state selection and a favorite for a Mr. Football Award this season.

Schedule

Date Opponent Site

August 21 Columbia Academy Cancelled

August 28 Lincoln County Away

September 4 Tullahoma Home

September 11 Shelbyville Away

September 18 Maplewood Home

September 25 Springfield Home

October 2 Lawrence County Home

October 9 Giles County Away

October 16 Spring Hill Away

October 23 Bye

October 30 Nolensville Away

*All games 7 p.m.

Roster

2020 Tiger FOOTBALL ROSTER

Number Name Grade Ht. Wgt. Position

1 Kaden Whitson SR 5'7 150 DB/ WR

2 Lamarion Pierce JR 5'10 152 DB/RB

3 Devonte' Davis JR 6'1 153 WR/DB

4 A'Ky Howard SR 5'7 137 WR/DB

5 Connor Hilton SR 5'10 177 DB/ RB

6 Jakavan Curry FR 5'6 128 DB/WR

7 Dusten Baur SO 5'10 137 QB

8 Jayden Randolph FR 5'7 157 DB/WR

9 Kortez Ingram JR 5'8 138 DB

10 Joseph Gold SR 6'0 181 LB/TE

11 Dravin West SR 5'9 173 WR/ H

12 Trey Warner SO 5'8 159 QB/ LB

13 Devin Wiser SO 5'6 147 WR/ DB

14 Bryson Hammons JR 5'11 182 QB

15 Antomme Cowthorne FR 5'10 164 WR/DB

16 Hunter Rolof SR 6'2 160 WR/DB

17 Markese Davis FR 5'8 174 TE

18 Christian Stacey SR 5'11 185 LB/ TE

19 Casey Southerland SR 5'7 130 WR/DB

20 Hayden Sheppard SR 5'9 165 DB/ RB

21 Malachi Trapp FR 5'11 164 LB/RB

22 Thomas Beech SO 5'9 183 LB/ FB

23 Kamarian Ingram JR 5'9 145 DB/WR

24 Issac Brinkley SR 6'0 258 DL

26 Grayson Miller SO 5'8 175 DB/WR

27 Iyasen Biggers JR 5'8 163 RB

28 James Hery SO 5'3 125 DB

29 Demari Braden SO 5'7 173 RB/LB

30 Logan McKnight SR 6'1 216 DE/TE

31 Darian Crenshaw SO 6'0 172 DE

33 Jayden Hart SO 6'1 224 WR/DE

34 Jon Estes SR 5'11 164 K

35 Javion Brown SR 5'7 187 LB/TE

36 Montae Vaughn SO 5'9 140 DB

37 Khamani Ewing FR 5’7 125 DB

38 Nathan Pinedo JR 5’7 133 DB

39 Layne Smallwood SO 5’8 140 BB

40 Kamron Dunnavant JR 5’9 165 LB

41 Brock Anderson SO 5’8 181 DL

42 Camron Lee SO

43 Brandon Tucker FR 5'11 148 LB

44 Parker Little SR 5'11 260 DL

45 Magnum Cannon FR 5'8 152 LB

46 Cameron Harwell FR 5'7 126 WR/DB

48 Chloe League SO 5'2 186 DL

50 Wesley Hartman FR 5'9 194 OL

51 Bradley Wright JR 6'1 245 DL/OL

52 George Vilchiz SO 5'10 219 DL

53 Chandler Davis SR 5’8 222 DL

54 Quenten Pool SO 5'7 279 OL

55 Jonathan Bair SO 5'10 219 DL/OL

56 Christian Wilson FR 5'10 221 OL

57 Tristen Crabtree SO 5'5 224 OL

59 Seth Vines FR 5'7 203 OL

60 Deshawn Crenshaw FR 6'1 242 OL

61 Juan Garcia SO 5'8 220 OL/ DL

62 Dalton Haislip FR 5'10 262 OL

63 Wesley Holder FR 5'9 257 OL

64 Omari Armstrong SR 6'0 315 OL/DL

65 Kainen Martin JR 5'11 241 OL

66 Gannon McMahon SR 6'1 263 OL/ S

67 Elijah Wentzel FR 5'6 225 OL/DL

68 Matthew Hazlett SR 5'11 270 OL

70 Braxton Roberts FR 5'10 249 DL/OL

71 Kris Hall SR 5'11 237 OL

72 Anthony Diaz SO 5'11 297 OL/DL

73 Caden Mills SO 5'10 231 OL

74 Zach Moore JR 6'1 260 OL/DL

75 Peyton Garcia FR 5'8 203 OL

76 Isaiah Stewart SO 6'2 232 DL

77 John Morgan Thomas SO 5'10 190 OL/ LB

78 Eli Alexander FR 6'1 225 OL

79 Charmello James JR 5'11 230 OL/DL

80 Adam Hopper SO 5'11 167 TE

81 Omarion Alred JR 5'8 138 WR

82 Wyatt Joyce FR 5'7 119 K

83 Andrew Wood FR 5'5 116 DB

84 Haiden Hanson SO 5'9 164 LB

85 Damian Howard SO 5'8 191 DL

87 Malachi Marks SO 5'9 147 DB

Head Coach: Thomas Osteen (7th season, 56-21 overall, 21-4 region, four region titles, six playoff appearances, three state semifinals appearances)

Ron Shirey: Associate Head Coach, Special Teams Coordinator, Linebackers

Danny Pickle: Defensive Line

Josh Beddingfield: Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Backs

Nathan King: Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line

Hunter Newton: Wide Receivers

Jake Barnes: Running Backs

David Grogan: Defensive Backs

Blair Conger: Offensive Line

Kevin Hull: Wide Receivers/ Offensive Analyst

Waymond Boyd: Defensive Line

School Colors: Blue and White Mascot: Tigers

Game day Assistance: John Osteen, Joel Hutson

Managers: Lydia Fagan, Kyleyah Hazel, Kaitlyn Frey, Ally Anders

Videographers: Jerry Perry, Kevin Hull

Trainer: Greg Cloutier

Principal: John Bush

Athletic Director: Kevin McGehee

Cheerleading Sponsors: Carolyn Mills and Marlena Brewer

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