Football Preview: Battle-tested Nolensville eyes deep postseason run

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After a 7-5 season and back-to-back playoff appearances, the Nolensville High School football team is ready to take the next step – on the back of its defense.

“We can’t have the mindset of being a new school on the block, it’s time to put our big boy pants on and get the job done,” said senior linebacker C.J. Ware.

Nolensville enters its fourth season in varsity football and the team has its eyes set on a deep post season run with state championship implications. Despite graduating their first senior class and losing premier running back Colton Dooley, the Knights remain optimistic about their future in Williamson County football.

“We’re excited about our season, we’ve come a long way and our numbers are as big as they’ve been in Nolensville since I’ve been here,” said head coach Paul Derrick. “We’re excited to see who will step up and what our guys are able to achieve this season.”

The Knights have four returning offensive starters including quarterback Ryder Galardi. Nolensville has five returning starters on the defensive side of the ball, including corner back Tim Coutras.

Coutras will be making the switch to free safety during this season and it’s a move he’s ready for.

“Moving to safety will definitely be a big change, our safety is like the field general, calling plays and getting everyone lined up,” said Coutras. “At first I was worried about having to shift to a more vocal leadership role, but with seven-on-sevens having come and gone I feel way more comfortable stepping into this role.”

Even though the Knights are the newest team in the county, Derrick has found ways to separate them from all the others. According to Derrick, the team’s offensive staff has the experience of a tenured program. Pat Kerns, the offensive coordinator for the Knights, was one of those assets highlighted by Derrick.

“When teams play us, they are going to have to plan for several different schemes, as a second-year coach that’s a big asset for me to lean on,” said Derrick.

The coach also sighted his defense and team’s ability to play hard as two more defining keys for next year’s success.

“Something we talk about all the time is attitude and effort, I feel that every player on our team exhibits both of those things,” said Derrick.

The Knights’ path to the postseason won’t be a cake walk. The team struggles in season openers and is considered relatively inexperienced compared to the other old-guard programs in the county.

“For us it’s going to be about getting our kids to reach their potentials as quickly as they can to have success,” Derrick said.

This story and photos are included in the 2019 Williamson Herald High School Football Media Guide! Pick up your copy for stories like this, full schedules, predictions and more!

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