With an extremely tough schedule and some key holes that need to be filled from last year, the Brentwood Bruins have little margin for error entering 2019.
The Bruins have to replace their entire offensive line from last season, a team that went 10-3 and lost to Ravenwood in the Class 6A quarterfinals. But head coach Ron Crawford is optimistic in his group and its potential.
“No. 1, we have to solidify the offensive line,” he said. “We’re looking for some other guys who can contribute there.”
Seniors Tyler Bell and Austin Lowe have some starting experience from a year ago, but after that, it’s been a guessing game, Crawford said. Senior Stone Roston has moved to center from the defensive line, but his 6-foot-2, 265-pound frame works in his favor. Another senior, Aiden Kennedy, was an outside linebacker who now will line up at tackle after putting on 20 pounds in the offseason.
Junior Luke Connor is another one in the mix, along with juniors Mason Mitchell and Chris Mondzlewski and senior Keyshawn Gallon, who also plays on the defensive line.
“We’re looking for eight,” Crawford said. “We’d like to have 10, but we want to have at least eight (in the rotation).”
That group will be crucial for the Bruin offense, especially to protect returning quarterback Cade Granzow, who had 27 touchdowns and played in 12 games as a sophomore. His health and success rely greatly on the progress of theoffensive line.
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2019 High School Football Media Guide
Brentwood Academy hoisted the 2018 Division II-AAA championship trophy – the Eagles fourth in a row.
Brentwood Academy coach Cody White has led the Eagles to four straight championships and has a 71-15 record over seven years at BA.
Amir Annoor drags down Jalen Hollman of MUS during Brentwood Academy's championship win in 2018. He's flanked by Devyn Curtis, right. Both return to help anchor a stout defense for the Eagles.
Senior Wade Williams returns as the Brentwood Academy quarterback.
BGA senior Antonio Stevens recently committed to play college football at Purdue. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound safety also had high interest from Cincinnati, Louisville and Memphis among others.
Jonas Rodriguez enters his first season as head coach for BGA football.
Garnett Hollis Jr. committed to Northwestern recently. The Wildcats senior is one of the top returning receivers for BGA. He uses his length and strength to be menace at cornerback as well.
Nick Semptimphelter, a Bucknell commit, threw for more than 3,100 yards last season to lead the Wildcats to the championship game.
Junior quarterback Cade Granzow accounted for 27 touchdowns last season for the Bruins.
Brentwood coach Ron Crawford has gone 35-16 in the last four years with the Bruins. He is 157-76 overall.
Brentwood senior Walker Merrill, a wide receiver, has garnered offers from Auburn, Kentucky, Nebraska and others as four-star recruit.
Centennial coach Matt Kriesky has produced an 18-16 record in three seasons leading the Cougars.
Desmond Smith, who transferred from Spring Hill last year, missed the first five games of the season due to the change. He'll be making the switch from wide receiver to running back for the Cougars this season.
Centennial's Grayson Marcel, a 6-foot-4 senior, battled injuries last season, but has proven to be a threat under center for the Cougars. He missed four games in 2018 and threw for more than 1,400 yards.
Centennial senior Kevin Townsel Jr. is one of the top returning playmakers for the Cougars this season.
The Christ Presbyterian Academy football team completed a 14-0 unbeaten season in 2018.
CPA's Ingle Martin has produced a 99-16 record as head coach over eight seasons with the Lions.
Jarrett Mathews, No. 66, is one of just a handful of returners from CPA's unbeaten team that won the Division II-AA championship last season. The Lions graduated 31 seniors.
Chris Hughes guided Fairview to a 10-3 record in 2018. He is 90-31 in 10 seasons with the Yellow Jackets.
Logan Nardozzi, a Fairview junior, rushed for more than 1,500 yards last season.
Fairview reached the Class 3A quarterfinals for the third time in four seasons in 2018, but fell against Stratford to miss out on the program's first semifinal appearance.
Father Ryan coach Brian Rector and the Irish will try to end an eight-game losing streak in Week 1. The Irish nearly pulled off the upset in the first round of the playoffs in 2018.
Father Ryan senior Antonio Wright and brother Anthony are among the 13 returning starters this season.
Father Ryan junior David Charles (DC) Tabscott has picked up several offers, including the likes of Purdue, Kentucky and Boston College.
Franklin coach Donnie Webb enters his eighth season leading the Rebels. He's produced a 47-31 record.
Jett Wilson of Franklin is one of just a handful of starters returning on defense for the Rebels.
Franklin senior Josh Nichols started at quarterback last season, but will see some time at receiver this year for the Rebels.
Head coach Rusty Smith guided GCA in its transition from 8-man football and now will lead the Lions into Division II-A.
Grace Christian Academy, located near Leiper's Fork, joins Division II, Class A in 2019.
Independence's Chase Robertson, a 6-foot-4, 245-pounder, recently committed to Princeton. Along with Carter Runnion and Caleb Lanford, the trio anchor the defensive line for the Eagles.
Head coach Scott Blade is 56-22 in six years at Independence.
Senior Ethan Cash returns to lead the Independence offense under center. He threw for more than 2,200 yards last season with just five interceptions.
Nolensville coach Paul Derrick went 7-5 in his first season at the helm for the Knights in 2018.
Nolensville's Ryan Pistulka, No. 34, is among several key returners for the Knights in 2019.
Junior Ryder Galardi took over as the starter at quarterback last season at Nolensville and returns to lead the Knights offense.
The Nolensville football team has produced back-to-back playoff appearances despite only entering the school's fourth season of playing varsity football.
Senior Bubba Johnson, pictured here in 2017, transferred back to Page after spending his junior season at Spring Hill.
Page senior Cade Walker guided the Patriots to a 10-2 record in 2018. Walker threw for 1,961 yards with 23 touchdowns as a junior.
Coach Charles Rathbone enters his eighth season as head coach at Page. He's produced a 50-30 record.
Senior Miles Bonn is one of the top returning targets for the Page passing game.
Senior Brian Garcia enters his third season as the starting quarterback at Ravenwood.
Ravenwood senior Bryan Rice, a 6-foot, 224-pounder, was named the Region 6-6A Defensive Player of the Year in 2018.
Ravenwood coach Matt Daniels is entering his third year leading the Raptors. He's 20-6 in his first two years.
Graham Barton, a Duke signee, leads an offensive line that returns this season almost completely intact a year removed from a run to the Class 6A semifinals.
Brian Coleman has gone 27-28 in five seasons as head coach for Summit.
Sophomore Destin Wade returns at quarterback to lead the Summit offense.
Summit's George Odimegwu rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season for the Spartans. The senior has attracted offers from Western Kentucky and Illinois State among others.
Keaten Wade and twin brother Destin return as sophomores for the Summit Spartans in 2019. The multi-sport studs helped Summit reach the playoffs a season ago.
“Cade gives us the opportunity to be successful,” Crawford said. “I think we just got to the tip of the iceberg last year. He has great character, and he’s a great teammate.”
But Brentwood has to replace several of its skill players on offense as well, especially in the backfield, where junior Luke Walters and sophomore Scott Collins are very green at the varsity level. Walters, however, is a state track qualifier in the 400-meter dash, and Collins was a freshman starter for the Bruins’ baseball team, so both have talent, Crawford said.
At receiver, seniors Walker Merrill, Garner Jones and Clay Hanley will be targets for Granzow, along with sophomore Aaron Walton and tight ends Austin Spradlin and Karson Dreier, both seniors. Merrill is one of the most experienced and has received multiple scholarship offers, Crawford said.
On the defensive line, Gallon returns as a starter, along with junior James Lowe, who started most of last season. Seniors Anders Mount and Grantly Johnson are also in the rotation on the defensive line.
The linebacking corps is senior heavy, with Jack Wells, Kaleb Williford, Xiere Howard, Sterling Ambrose and Will Laughlin, along with junior J.P. LaBreche. Howard, Ambrose and Laughlin at ILB are three of the Bruins’ best, so Crawford wants to keep them all on the field.
“We’ll need all three,” he said. “If we can get those three guys healthy, we want them all on the field.”
The secondary is led by senior safety Bryce Bergholtz, a two-year starter, along with fellow senior Davis Witt. Both started all of last year and will be crucial in the back of the defense.
At corner, four guys are in the mix, led by junior John Howse, who started all 13 games as a sophomore, along with seniors Grant Shacklett and Cooper Finch and sophomore Carter Patton.
All-everything kicker Tabor Miller returns for his senior year after handling all of the special-teams duties a year ago.
The Bruins have a challenging road ahead, with the usual grind of region opponents, along with 2018 Division II-AA state champ Christ Presbyterian Academy and three-time state champ Knoxville Catholic on the schedule and 10-time state champ Montgomery Bell Academy slated for the Aug. 23 season opener.
“Our schedule is extremely challenging,” Crawford said. “We’ve gotta make sure we stay healthy to get through this season.”
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!