By Donovan Stewart
Last week had its share of thrills, close games and blowouts by teams wanting to show that they belong among the state’s elite.
Let’s look at the big winners;
Biggest Statement: No. 2 Ensworth 41, No.1 Montgomery Bell Academy 28
The Tigers (6-0) wanted to show to the state that they can compete with the big boys in Division II-AA and did just that Friday night.
Junior running back Orleans Opoku Darwa, showed a full house of over 4,000 and a live Comcast crowd how good he was as he rushed for a career high 304 yards on 25 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Tiger comeback.
MBA, winners of 19 straight, led 28-27 to start the fourth but Opoku Darwa and senior quarterback Tavarres Jefferson (197 yards rushing 4 TDs, 118 yards passing) sealed the win as Tigers outscored the Big Red 14-0 in the final stanza for the win.
Biggest Statement, Part II: Memphis University School 42, Cookeville 0
While Ensworth was showing they belonged in middle Tennessee, MUS was dismantling an undefeated Cookeville team in Memphis.
The Owls (7-0) served as rude hosts, taking a 28-0 at halftime behind the arm of quarterback Barry Brunetti, who tossed three touchdowns in that first half and scored the fourth touchdown himself.
The Owls, now ranked No. 2 in the state behind Ensworth, outgained Cookeville 354-77 for the game.
Closest Call: Howard 28, Polk County 26
In Benton, the Hustlin’ Tigers had to withstand a Polk County comeback and a two-point conversion which failed as Tyler Lee slipped before getting to the end zone.
No. 5 Howard (6-0) is now tied with No. 3 McMinn Central for the Region 3-3A lead while No. 8 Polk County (5-1) is a game behind.
Hustlin’ Tiger quarterback Michael Bryant had perhaps his finest game of the season as he completed 14 of 21 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown.
Bryant also ran for another touchdown as Howard will now take on Tyner this Friday.
We Own You: McCallie 24, Baylor 3
The Red Raiders just can’t catch a break against their cross-town rivals. McCallie has won 11 straight against Baylor.
Jay Fullam, a Vanderbilt commitment, picked off a pass and went the distance from his free safety position to put the final nail in the Red Raiders’ coffin.
Friday Night Stat Stuffers
Dray Mercer, RB, Perry County – 16 rushes, 218 yards, and four touchdowns in 53-29 win over Cornersville.
John Markham, RB, Friendship Christian – 15 carries, 214 yards, and two touchdowns in 34-7 win over Monterey.
Terrance Martin, RB, Franklin County – 23 carries, 217 yards, and one touchdown in 29-20 win over Coffee County.
Scott Sowell, RB, Hickman County – 15 rushes, 217 yards and two touchdowns in 47-6 win over Loretto
Tony Kemp, RB, Centennial – 22 totes, 241 yards and one touchdown in 44-41 win over Dickson County.
Cody McCallister, QB, Dickson County – 19 carries, 260 yards, and two touchdowns in 44-41 loss to Centennial.
Orleans Opoku-Darkwa, RB, Ensworth – 28 carries, 304 yards, and two touchdowns in 41-28 win over MBA.
Tavarres Jefferson, QB, Ensworth – Had 197 rushing yards and four touchdowns and 118 passing in 41-28 win over MBA.
Spencer Wise, QB, MBA – Passed for 310 yards on 21-of 32 passing and four touchdowns in 41-28 loss to Ensworth.
Jackson Yeager, QB, Obion County – Passed for 381 yards and tossed three touchdowns in 63-21 loss to Crockett County.
Preston Overbey, QB, University School of Jackson – The sophomore passed for 436 yards and threw five touchdowns on 28 of 48 in 42-35 loss to Milan.
Danny Smigielski, WR, USJ – Had 10 catches for 162 yards and three touchdowns in 42-35 loss to Milan
Jobronski Gilbert, RB, Milan – Rushed for 255 yards and four touchdowns in 42-35 win over USJ
Colton Speed, QB, Union City – Rushed for 202 yards and scored three touchdowns in 41-7 win over Bruceton.
Will Johnson, RB, Jackson Christian – Rushed for 216 yards and three touchdowns in 44-7 win over Humboldt.
Devin Collins, WR, Knoxville Powell – Had only five catches but had 214 yards and two touchdowns in 52-25 win over South Doyle.
Jacob Swafford, DB, Rhea County – Intercepted four passes in Golden Eagles 34-8 defeat of Walker Valley.
Edgar Montgomery, RB, Silverdale – Ran for 229 yards and three touchdowns as the Seahawks defeated David Brainerd 47-19.
By The Numbers
1,011- Total yardage in the Ensworth-Montgomery Bell Academy game, won by Ensworth 41-28.
806 – Combined rushing yards for Centennial and Dickson County in 44-41 Centennial shootout win.
431.5/11 – Yards per game and number of touchdowns thrown by USJ sophomore quarterback Preston Overbey the last two weeks.
296.5 – Yards per game for Ensworth junior running back Orleans Opoku-Darwa in his last two games.
70-0 – Final score of the Gatlinburg Pittman-North Greene game Friday, won by Gatlinburg Pittman.
57.3 – Scoring average for Class 1A defending champion South Pittsburg, best in the state.
26 – Points Alcoa’s defense has yielded this season, tops in the state.
19-1- Montgomery Bell Academy head coach Daniel McGugin’s record as Big Red leader.
14 – Consecutive losses to Williamson County teams for Columbia.
11 – Consecutive wins over Baylor by McCallie.
Boyd Buchanan (6-0, No. 5 in Class 2A) at South Pittsburg (6-0, No. 1 in Class 1A)
Two ranked undefeated teams that were in the same region years ago. Game doesn’t have any region implications but pride and South Pittsburg’s 21-game winning streak on line.
Red Bank (4-2) at Cleveland (5-1, No. 5 in 4A)
These two teams, plus Rhea County, all are tied for the Region 4-4A lead. Red Bank will put a 24-game region winning streak on the line and have won four-straight region titles. The last team not named Red Bank to win the region? Cleveland.
MBA (6-1, No. 3 in DII) at Brentwood Academy (5-2, No. 6 in DII)
Another great rivalry this time in Division II as the Hatfields and McCoys will do battle. MBA is coming off its first loss in two seasons to Ensworth, while BA comes off a big region win. MBA took both games last season, one in the regular season, the other in the state title game.
Brighton (6-0, No. 4 in 4A) at Henry County (6-0, No. 2 in 4A)
This will be the best game in West Tennessee this week as upstart Brighton heads to Paris to take on the very dangerous Patriots and the three-headed rushing attack of Marsalis Teague, Dominique Allen and Lennies McFerren. Brighton will counter with 1,000-yard Kale Jackson. The winner takes the inside track to the Region 7-4A title.
Stew’s Top 10 (Regardless of Classification)
1. Maryville (4A) 6-0
2. Henry County (4A) 7-0
3. David Lipscomb (3A) 6-0
4. Ensworth (DII) 6-0
5. Memphis University School (DII) 7-0
6. Farragut (5A) 7-0
7. Dobyns- Bennett (5A) 6-0
8. Montgomery Bell Academy (DII) 6-1
9.. Franklin (5A) 5-1
10. Alcoa (2A) 5-1
For comments or suggestions reach Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org