Tigers in, Forrest needs a win
The final week of the prep football season is here and there are only two games on tap for the county teams as the Forrest Rockets host Community for senior night and the Marshall County Tigers travel to Nolensville.
The 2018 Region 5A champions and 2017 Class A state runnerup Cornersville Bulldogs have a bye week as they await the winner of the Region 6A McEwen/Hollow Rock Bruceton fourth-place battle tonight at McEwen.
For the Forrest Rockets it’s simple, beat Community and they are in the playoffs.
Forrest (4-5, 2-3) took down Cascade at home last week in a solid 42-14 win and are coming off their only two-game winning streak of the season.
“Our defense did a great job of reading their keys and relentless pursuit to the ball,” Forrest coach Eli Stephenson said about the win over the Champions. “The offense was able to control the line of scrimmage and sustain drives and our kicking game did a great job of winning the field position battle.”
History is on the Rockets’ side as they have never lost to the Vikings, holding an 11-0 all-time advantage, including a 55-22 win at Unionville last season.
“We have got to use the confidence we got from the Cascade win and build off of it for Community,” Stephenson said. “We also have got to play disciplined and fundamental football.”
Community (1-8, 0-5) has lost six straight coming into Friday night’s game at the Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill, but Stephenson is not looking past the Vikings to the playoffs as he said, “I’m just focused about Community this week.”
Stephenson, in his first season as Forrest’s head coach, also talked about his first experience as head coach about what it means to compete in the senior night game.
“I’m very proud of this senior class,” Stephenson said. “This class is a hardworking group of kids and I would love to see the hard work pay off for the kids with a win this Friday.”
Forrest’s 12 graduating seniors this year are Josh Meglis, Wesley McCoy, Pryor Haines, Justin Leonard, Gauge Anderson, Alex Patmore, Jeff Gross, Jacob Wright, Carter Housch, Billy Forrest Perryman, Jayme Ozburn, and Dowlen Hosford.
The Marshall County Tigers are on the road this week for a huge game at Nolensville with the winner taking third place in Region 4-4A.
The Tigers are coming off a tough loss versus 6A Brentwood last week in a gutsy performance by head coach Thomas Osteen’s team where the Bruins came up with a fourth quarter pick-six to finally put MCHS away 28-18.
“We asked the guys last week to continue to work hard and trust the process,” Osteen stated. “They put a great week of practice together and competed like crazy against a very strong 6A football team.”
“Hopefully it continues to give the guys confidence that we can play with anyone that we step on the field with.”
Marshall County is banged up and has been for weeks now, but the next man up mentality has worked in Lewisburg so far and Osteen looks for that to continue this week versus a tough Knights team.
“Unfortunately, we will be without a few more key pieces this week as a result of more bumps and bruises suffered against Brentwood,” Osteen said. “Some guys will be re-evaluated later in the week to see what their availability might be on Friday.”
“Needless to say we are all hands on deck and have been that way for a long time now.”
Nolensville (5-4, 2-2) started the season with a 4-1 record before losing three out its last four games, including a close 20-13 loss at first place Maplewood last week.
The Knights lost 49-6 to Marshall County (4-5, 2-2) in the final game of the regular season last year and have some weapons to give the Tigers a battle this week.
“Nolensville is coached extremely well and has some top end players on offense and defense,” Osteen said. “It will be an extremely tough matchup made even tougher with our array of injuries.”
“We must stop their running game led by Colton Dooley and offensively we must find a way to create some explosive plays and control the line of scrimmage.”
A Tigers’ loss sends them to number 10 ranked Stone Memorial (8-1) next week, while a victory over the Knights gives Marshall County third place and a visit to the winner of the Livingston Academy (5-4)/Macon County (4-5) game tonight at Livingston.
“I think they are excited to show what they can do in the second season, no matter the venue,” Osteen said. “No team has faced the adversity that we have this season, so I think our kids will be itching to display how much that adversity has shaped them next week.”