2017 Cornersville Bulldogs Football Preview
2017 Cornersville Bulldogs Football Preview
By Anthony S. Puca
Coaches: Head Coach-Gerard Randolph-3rd Year (8-13)
Aaron Pitts (Offensive Coordinator)
Dusty Nance (Defensive Line)
Sam Hubbell (Offensive Line)
Bradley Woodard (Offensive Line)
Andy Woodard (Defense)
Hayden McMahon (Quarterback Coach)
Louis Scheuchenzuber (Receivers and Outside Linebacker coach)
Eliot Cook (Inside Linebackers and Special Teams Coordinator)
John Dyer (Punters Coach)
Lindsay Vandever (Athletic Trainer)
This could be a big year at Frog Bottom
Gerard Randolph is entering his third season as the Cornersville Bulldogs head football coach and the Giles County native has the boys from Frog Bottom at the cusp of producing maybe the best season ever in Cornersville.
“Expectations for this group is very high,” Randolph said. “I will be honest, my expectations have been high ever since I took over this program and I expect this team to go out and compete at a high level every time that we get the opportunity.”
The Bulldogs went 3-7 in Randolph’s first season in 2015 and after a full summer of work and preparation to learn the new coach’s philosophy, Cornersville turned the corner in 2016, going 5-6 and they earned a postseason appearance for the first time since 2013.
“We were excited about making it back to the playoffs with this group of young men, they worked extremely hard last year to get better as a team,” Randolph said. “With some of the adversity that we faced with injuries early on, it was nice to see them fight through it and give this program a chance to be successful. As a coach I was very proud of the hard work and effort that was given last season.”
Even though a big loss at perennial powerhouse South Pittsburg in the first round of the playoffs ended their season, the defeat did not diminish the accomplishments that the team achieved.
“Making this group of young men believe that they belong and can compete at a high level each and every time they take the field is our goal as coaches,” Randolph said. “The thing about this great sport is that there is always room to grow, and this coaching staff that we have here is committed to helping this fine group of young men try and reach their potential.”
The very unique aspect of this Bulldogs squad is the closeness and experience of the ultra-talented junior class that has been together for a long time and has been the bedrock of the team and the recipients of all the growing pains, but hopefully this season all that pain and hard work will pay off with a deep playoff run.
“This group has played a ton of football together and that is so valuable to this program and community,” Randolph said. “As a staff we are looking forward to this group to continue to play some really good football here at Cornersville.”
“They are such a competitive bunch of guys and I will admit this is a really fun group to see come through the program.”
Entering Week 7 last year, the Bulldogs were riding a four-game winning streak and in the top echelons of the Region 4-A standings before four consecutive losses dampened any title hopes.
Randolph and the Bulldogs have been pounding the grindstone all summer and have improved each week and into the preseason scrimmage, 7-on-7’s, and the Region 5A Jamboree.
“The summer went well for us, we were able to focus much attention to our strength and conditioning program during the earlier part of the summer before the dead period came along,” Randolph said. “We got the chance to compete against some really good competition this fall and the guys showed a lot of grit and determination against some really talented teams.”
Cornersville was never out of a regular season ballgame as they lost five games by an average point margin of just 7.8. That’s one touchdown, more or less.
When they won, they averaged a 17 point margin with the closest game a 35-28 victory at Grace Christian-Franklin.
The Bulldog defense also reached a big milestone, recording a shutout (14-0 at Richland) for the first time since Cornersville blanked Perry County 33-0 on October 5, 2007 at Linden.
Defense is the name of the game once again at Cornersville as nine starters return to the unit and Randolph is excited about the future.
“Defensively we want to play fast, physical, and aggressive,” Randolph stated. “We like our personnel that we have on defense, and we are really excited about how many guys return on this side of the ball.”
“We continue to try and build depth so that we can keep guys fresh, and still play at a high level.”
On the defensive line, the Bulldogs return senior defensive end Brock Powers and junior Peyton Finch at the other defensive end position.
“Brock had a really good junior year and we expect nothing less during his senior year,” Randolph said.
Powers will also handle the long snapping duties on punts and field goals.
Sophomore Houston Williams mans the defensive tackle spot and is a player that has shown a lot of improvement according to Randolph.
“Houston really came into his own as the season progressed last year. Houston has improved his technique and really understands what we expect out of him on defense.”
A great defense always needs a big body in the middle and senior Brice Dunkleman exemplifies that model.
“Dunkleman is a big body that has taken on a big time leadership role on this team. He is a big guy with a ton of upside,” Randolph stated.
Also in the middle of the Bulldog defense is junior Devin Baus, who will start at the all-important Sam linebacker position.
“This position requires a tough and physical guy that can defend the run and drop into coverage. Devin is a very versatile guy that can do both,” Randolph said.
Junior C.J. Coble will be on the inside at the Mike linebacker Trenten Warren at the Will linebacker position. Both are three year starters in the middle and both have been All-Region selections the last two years.
“C.J. is a very hard nose player that really understands the game of football. They both have a nose for the football, and we look forward to having those two guys playing in the middle,” Randolph stated.
The Bulldogs’ defensive backfield sports a new right cornerback in Darien Bush and on the other corner will be junior Blake Pickett.
“Darien did a great job in the spring at corner, and has continued to be solid at that position coming into the fall,” Randolph said. “Blake is known for being a hard hitting corner that does not shy away from any contact. Blake is long rangy guy with a lot of ability at the corner position.”
Cameron Whitaker and Eli Whitaker will handle the safety duties.
On offense, the Bulldogs return a solid unit that put up a ton of points and without any significant injuries, this could be one of the best offensive units in Class A.
Randolph has acquired enough depth in Frog Bottom that many of the starts can go one way, especially on the offensive line where Alex Webster returns from last year to start of left tackle for the third straight season, Michael Bungay will get the starting nod at left guard, and Clay Mitchell will get the start at center.
“Bungay has really worked hard over the off-season to prepare himself to be in the mix on the offensive line this year,” Randolph said. “And Clay is another guy that has work really hard to earn a starting role on the offensive line this year.”
At left guard will be senior Adam Qualls and at the right tackle spot is sophomore Devin Massengill. “Adam is very capable of playing any position on the offensive line at a high level and last year he was sidelined with a torn ACL, so we are looking forward to him being back out on the field with us this year.”
“Massengill is a kid that we think can have a bright future here at Cornersville. All Devin needs is reps and experience, and that's what we plan on giving him this year.”
Coble, Devin Baus, Powers, and Dunkleman will also see some reps on the offensive line in some of Pitts’ offensive packages.
There continues to be a battle for the quarterback spot with Henlee Mitchell and Jackson Farlar vying to be the number-one signal caller.
“Both guys did really well in our jamboree this past weekend,” Randolph said. “Henlee does a really good job of managing the offense and getting guys in the right spot and made some really good throws in the jamboree, while Jackson poses more of a dual threat with his legs. A young guy with a lot of grit about himself.”
The strength of the team and the money making aspect of the Cornersville offense is at the running back position where the Bulldogs return the entire group, led by Cameron Whittaker and Eli Woodward, who are both two-time all-regions selections.
Whittaker rushed for 854 yards on 131 carries and had 13 touchdowns and Woodard ran for 1,204 yards on 171 carries with 7 TD’s.
Also, returning in the backfield is Trenten Warren, who was limited last year because of an ankle injury.
“Warren is what I call the "Glue Guy',” Randolph said. “He keeps this thing going with his tough hard nose approach on offense. He makes everyone around him better with his effort.”
Wesley Calahan, Kolbe McMahon, Bush, and Brady Calahan will also get some carries.
Bush and McMahon will also see a lot playing time at the receiver positions, along with Peyton Finch, Ryan Prosser, Cameron Estes, and Ethan Courtemanche.
“Finch is a big target for the quarterback and has shown signs of being a really good impact player at the receiver and tight end position and we are excited to have Kolbe McMahon back in the lineup this year.”
The TSSAA realignment process has mixed it up for the Bulldogs, who be in Region 5-A this season along with Moore County, Grace Christian-Franklin, Mt. Pleasant, Richland, and Huntland.
The Bulldogs’ non-region opponents will be Community, Eagleville, Perry County, and Lancaster Christian Academy.
Cornersville has not played Community since 2008, Eagleville since 2004, and Perry County since 2013.
Huntland, Moore County, Richland, Fayetteville, and Grace Christian were all wins for the Bulldogs last season.
“Our main focus is to get better each rep, whether it is practice or during the game. I really believe that this group is committed to our brand of football here and they want to be successful,” Randolph said.
The Bulldogs have a huge opportunity this year with all their depth, talent, and experience and with a little luck with injuries and a few footballs bouncing the right way, it could be 9-or-10 win season at Frog Bottom.
“I'm excited about this team, but nothing is going to come easy, we play in a very competitive region and we are going to have to bring our best game every Friday night,” Randolph said. “Our main goals are to get better each week and try to stay healthy.’
“Our staff is excited about this team and the community is excited about this team. This group has really worked hard to this point, and I believe they will continue to work and make Cornersville Football very competitive.”
2017 Cornersville Football Schedule
|Friday, August 18||7 p.m.||Community|
|Friday, August 25||7 p.m.||at Eagleville|
|Friday, September 1||7 p.m.||at Moore County|
|Friday, September 8||7 p.m.||Grace Christian-Franklin|
|Friday, September 15||7 p.m.||Mt. Pleasant|
|Friday, September 22||7 p.m.||Perry County|
|Friday, September 29||7 p.m.||at Fayetteville|
|Friday, October 6||7 p.m.||Richland|
|Friday, October 13||BYE|
|Friday, October 20||7 p.m.||at Huntland|
|Friday, October 27||7 p.m.||Lancaster Christion Academy|
2017 Cornersville Football Roster
Cornersville High School
2017-2018 Football Roster
Class A Region 4 honorable mention players Devin Baus (OL/DL), Dakota Polk (DB), Blake Pickett (DB), Brice Dunkleman (DL/OL), All-Region and Special Teams Player of the Year Eli Woodard (RB, QB, KR) and All-Region players Trenten Warren (RB, LB), Cameron Whittaker (RB, DB, KR), Brock Powers (OL/DL) and CJ Coble (OL/DL).