Brentwood Academy’s fourth straight state title in 2018 put it in company with only three other programs all-time in Tennessee: Alcoa (2004-10), Ensworth (2010-13) and Maryville (2004-07).
In order to move alone into second place all-time with a fifth championship, the Eagles will have to improve every week through a tough schedule, head coach Cody White said.
“We’ll be young in some spots … but I think we can be OK if we continue to improve through the course of the season,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll be playing well at the end when it matters most.”
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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 in 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.
Brentwood Academy’s key to its title run a year ago was its defense. In its only two losses, BA gave up 31 and 25 points in back-to-back weeks to McCallie and MBA, respectively, but in its other 11 games allowed only six points per outing.
Defense will be the strength of the Eagles yet again, led by standout inside linebacker Devyn Curtis and defensive end James Stewart.
“I think we have to find some answers on our defensive line … but we have some kids who we think can play there,” White said. “We have a lot of experience on the back end. That will be a strength for us.”
Wade Williams returns at quarterback to guide BA’s offense, but the senior might not be the story this season. It may be explosive sophomore Jordan James, who’s racked up offers from the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and others this offseason. They’ll also have a solid offensive line in front of them, led by Eli Sutton and Noah Josey.
“Our running back was offered by Alabama, so I think we’ll be solid there,” White quipped. “Our line has a chance, if it continues to get better, to be one of the best we’ve had in a long time.”
As has been the case for the Eagles the past couple of seasons, they’ll have to travel outside the state of Tennessee for a few games this season.
“We have a hard time finding teams here who’ll play us … so, as usual, we’re having to travel,” White said.
BA will start at Florence High School (Alabama), then will play against Clearwater Central Catholic at Milton High School in Milton, Georgia before returning home for a rematch with McCallie in Week 3. The Blue Tornado beat the Eagles 31-27 last season.
The matchup with McCallie starts a four-game home stretch for BA, including matchups against 2018 Class 6A runner-up Whitehaven, Father Ryan and West Toronto Prep (Canada).
Games at Knoxville Catholic (Thursday, Oct. 3) and rival MBA (now in the Division II-AAA West Region) will wrap up the Eagles’ regular-season road trips in Weeks 7 and 8.
Then, after a bye, BA will host Ensworth and Baylor before entering the Division II-AAA playoffs.
“It’ll be a very, very difficult schedule,” White said. “As long as we see improvement game to game, then we’ll see what we need to see. For us, it’s always a matter of improving over the course of the year.”
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!