Talent, experience, chemistry, hunger.
Ravenwood High School’s football team checks off all the boxes.
Coming off a highly memorable 11-3 season that included a trip to the Class 6A state semifinals, the Raptors enter the 2019 campaign with all the essential ingredients. The team returns a host of prominent playmakers on offense, including three-year starter Brian Garcia at quarterback and essentially the entire defensive unit, including 6A Defensive Player of the Year Bryan Rice.
Throw in the fact that the Ravenwood roster also now includes Reggie Grimes II — a five-star recruit who is the top prospect in the state — and it becomes clear that Ravenwood is a legitimate contender for the state title.
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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.
“There’s a lot of momentum within the program,” said third-year head coach Matt Daniels. “The kids who are seniors this year, they’ve played a big part in building that momentum. They went undefeated as freshmen, and then they joined the varsity and saw a lot of playing time at the varsity level as sophomores. So, it’s been a building process for them, and now they feel like there is only one thing left for them to do in terms of finishing the job.”
The Raptors almost completed that mission last year when they made a deep run in the postseason before falling to Whitehaven in the semifinals.
“It was a good experience for our team, especially our juniors, to be that close to it and to see that little bit of extra that it takes to win it all,” Daniels said.
Garcia, a mobile quarterback with a big arm, will be the centerpiece for the Ravenwood offense. Garcia set single-season school records in passing yards and touchdowns last season.
Running back Tony Rice (who rushed for more 1,100 yards last season) and wide receiver Andrew Mason are two of the most dangerous players in the region, and Ravenwood’s offensive line, including Duke signee Graham Barton, returns almost completely intact from last year.
As for the addition of Grimes to the Ravenwood roster, it was actually a 2-for-1 deal.
Not only did the Raptors get a player who is considered among the state’s best, but they also added a top-notch coach to their staff, former NFL player Reggie Grimes, the father of Reggie Grimes II. Grimes joins the Ravenwood staff after coaching at Mt. Juliet.
“Coach Grimes is a phenomenal defensive coach,” Daniels said. “He has a high standard, he’s aggressive and competitive and he’s brought an edge to our defensive group. As for (Grimes, the player), he’s been terrific. He’s been a great teammate, and he sets an amazing example on how to work hard.”
Other prominent returnees on the Raptors’ talent-dotted roster include Jake Briningstool, Shane Craig, Luke Shouse, Myles Dawson, Junior Colson, Avery Miller, Jordan Smith, Pwen Davis, Ben Severance and Garrett Moorman, along with offensive lineman Gabe Sleenhof and Trent Holloway.
The Raptors’ offseason featured one strange twist, when rumors began swirling that Ravenwood would be getting a handful of players from the Memphis area. Daniels, however, said there was never anything to it.
“I tried to tell everyone — look, the head coach is usually the one who knows what is going on, and I haven’t heard a thing about this,” Daniels said. “It seemed like a bunch of nothing to me, and sure enough, that’s what it ended up being. But it was a good lesson for our kids in terms of learning to block out (any outside noise). I was proud of them for how they handled that.”
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!