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Questions about quarterback will control storylines

Jimmy Trodglen/


By Jimmy Trodglen


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In six weeks, the curtain will be raised on the high school football season and coaches will quickly discover if their worst fears are warranted.

The dead period is over, the seven-on-seven schedules are at their peak and preseason practice begins in a matter of days.

For right now, quarterbacks and receivers are working on timing, and defensive backs are perfecting what they were taught during spring practice.

There might be more questions heading into this season for the Clarksville area teams than in previous years, and it all begins with multiple teams starting first-year quarterbacks.

With talk shifting to high school football, here’s an early sample of what to expect.

About those quarterbacks

Bryce Robinson, Heath Williams and Ford Cooper have graduated, leaving Clarksville Academy, Northeast and Clarksville High, respectively, with noteworthy questions about their quarterback’s experience and playmaking abilities, further heightening the importance of the seven-on-seven tournaments.

Only two of the nine county schools will return a quarterback with experience.

Robinson, Williams and Cooper were veteran quarterbacks capable of winning games in the fourth quarter, a reality that will be absent in August and September for most teams.

New coaches abound

Of the nine schools in the Clarksville area, four have new coaches – Brandon Clark (Northeast), Neil Furnish (Northwest), Les Greer (Kenwood) and John Crosby (Clarksville Academy) , with Clark owning head coaching experience at Houston County, and Greer owning a resume that includes assistant coaching stops at some of the state’s elite football programs.

Year of the linemen

With the loss of Robinson, Williams and Cooper, the quality of quarterbacks can be questioned, but the same can’t hold true for offensive linemen with two Division I linemen starting for Clarksville High and another at Montgomery Central.

Jason Eaton and Blake Hundley give the Wildcats an offensive line that rivals Henry County’s line. It will also allow the Wildcats’ eventual quarterback time to develop. Montgomery Central returns the bulk of its offensive line, built around Nick Rye, from a 10-2 team that relied heavily on the running game.

Remember these names

While quarterback play is suspect, there is enough offensive talent to spread around. With Robinson now at Austin Peay, Deiondre Wilson will be the catalyst for the Cougars and is a legitimate game changer.

Northeast will rely heavily on talented receiver Tomario Vereen, who could see time as a kick returner.  The most prolific offensive player in the county will be Indians running back Drez Sanders, who ran for over a 1,000-yards his junior season and could easily surpass 1,500-yards this season.

If the Indians look to duplicate their best season in the program’s history, Sanders will be the reason why.

Formidable schedule

Credit most of the city schools for loading their non-region schedules including Kenwood, which will play Hopkinsville, Ky., Oakland and Hillsboro – each own at least one state championship.

Northeast will open its season against Riverdale and F.J. Reitz, Ind. The Wildcats will play Springfield, Stewarts Creek and first-year school, Rockvale.

Trek remains difficult for Fort Campbell

Fort Campbell will move from 4A to 2A, but the schedule remains difficult with Mayfield, Murray and Grayson County added to the schedule. Mayfield played in last year’s 2A state championship game.

Henry County gap

Henry County reached last season’s 5A state title game, losing to Knox Central. The Patriots have owned Clarksville area schools for nearly two decades and the trend isn’t likely to change. The gap between Henry County and every other team in the region remains, so it’s likely playing for second place will be the primary objective.

Jimmy Trodglen, editor, Twitterr@Tnssports360.

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