Football Preview: Eagles face tough slate, but journey may lead to another crown

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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.”

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!

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