High School Playoffs First Round

Playoff Football: Summit, Ravenwood open postseason with marquee matchups

Franklin treks to Cane Ridge again; Nolensville hosts first playoff game

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Ten Williamson County area football teams begin postseason play Friday night in the first round of the playoffs. Summit’s trip to Gallatin in Class 5A and Stewarts Creek’s visit to Ravenwood in Class 6A are among the premier opening round matchups.

The Spartans finished the regular season 8-2 with both losses coming in Region 5-5A play to close third in the region standings for the second season in a row. They’ll travel to face a Green Wave team that lost for the first time in a Week 9 showdown with top-ranked Beech for the Region 6-5A crown.

“We are going to give it a good shot, that’s for sure, but they’re very talented,” Summit coach Brian Coleman said of Gallatin. “You have to beat everyone anyway to get to the end, we just have a tough first rounder to get past out of the gate.”

The Spartans are saddled with trying to slow six-foot, 205-pound running back Spencer Briggs. The senior has rushed for more than 1,500 yards and averages eight yards per carry to lead Gallatin. Defensively, the Green Wave haven’t allowed more than two touchdowns in a contest this season with five shutouts.

Summit is looking for a jump-start in the playoffs with the full return of quarterback Destin Wade. The sophomore suffered an ankle sprain in late September and has been held back the last couple weeks. Coleman said Wade gives the Spartans another dimension with his ability to run and throw the ball.

“When he’s healthy, we bring a lot to the table,” the sixth-year Spartans coach said.

Coleman said his team is also drawing experience from last year’s triple overtime loss at Beech in the first round. Summit battled, but dropped a 45-42 thriller against the Buccaneers, who went on to fall in the 5A semifinals.

“We’re going to feed off that experience of being in a big game like that,” Coleman said, noting that most his starters played in that 2018 playoff game. “These guys know what it takes to compete on this stage and we’re excited.”

The Raptors (9-1) will host a two-loss Stewarts Creek team in Brentwood in a similar matchup in Class 6A.

“They were recently No. 10-ranked team in 6A in the state; 9-1 versus 8-2 isn’t ideal for round one, but that’s why we scheduled the regular season like we did,” Ravenwood coach Matt Daniels said. “The only non-playoff teams on our schedule were the two teams that didn’t make it from our region, so we believe we are battle-tested.”

The fourth-ranked Raptors own wins over seven playoff teams this season, including a 38-0 shutout against Smyrna and a 28-15 victory over Cane Ridge – the two teams who have beaten Stewarts Creek this season. The Red Hawks fell 24-21 at Smryna to end the regular season last week.

Also in Class 6A, Franklin returns to Cane Ridge for another first round matchup. The Rebels battled the Ravens to a 7-6 score through the midway mark of the third quarter last season before three interceptions returned for touchdowns derailed the visitors.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to go there and play again, but no question, it’s going to be a challenge,” Rebels coach Donnie Webb said.

Junior quarterback Xayvion Clemmons leads the Cane Ridge offense and has several weapons in his receiving corps, including Quenton Barnes, who has caught 33 balls for 577 yards and six scores.

“Some teams you face have that one good wide receiver and you can plan to try and take that one side of the offense away, well, Cane Ridge, they have more than one,” Webb said. “They do a good job of spreading you out.”

The veteran coach said he hopes his team can play more physical than the Ravens, taking a note from how Region 6-6A rival Ravenwood found some success in that 28-15 Week 10 win in Brentwood against Cane Ridge.

Senior Guy Lipscomb leads the Rebels offense with 13 total touchdowns this year. He’s rushed for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs.

Other 6A matchups include McGavock (3-7) at Brentwood (8-2) and Independence (6-4) at Smyrna (6-4). Page (9-1) hosts Hunters Lane (3-7) in a 5A first round contest, while both Nolensville (8-2) and Fairview (8-2) are at home as well. The Knights will host Macon County (5-5) in their first playoff home game and the Yellow Jackets get a visit from Giles County (4-6)

In Division II-A, Battle Ground Academy (7-3) takes on FACS (5-5) in Franklin and Christ Presbyterian Academy (4-6) hosts Knoxville Webb (3-6).

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