Friday night’s regular season finale between the Munford Cougars and Memphis Central Warriors turned out to be a showdown for home field advantage in the first round of the TSSAA Playoffs. The Warriors pulling out a 33-31 win over the Cougars earned Memphis Central a home playoff game this Friday against Brentwood.
Now JR Kirby’s Munford squad which started the season 8-0 have to travel to 5A powerhouse Henry County. The Patriots ended the Cougars 2014 season last year in the first round.
But the Cougars are year stronger and wiser led by senior quarterback Jacob Ross. Munford features a powerful running attack that will look to control the clock against Patriots.
Munford’s best defense will be the running of Anthony Boley, Wilson Lowry and Chaz Hayes. The Cougars actual defense features some play makers with Fred Burchette, Kelton Ham and Jordan Panel.
Munford has a solid kicking game with Dalton McCann. The Cougars started 8-0 for a reason limiting turnovers.
The Patriots are also entering the playoffs coming off a disappointing defeat. The Centennial Cougars beat Henry County Friday night to earn the Region championship. Henry County rolled off 8 straight wins prior to the Centennial game after losing the season opener to Liberty. The Patriots pitched five shutouts during that win streak.
Class 5A Clarksville Northeast (5-5) @ Brighton (9-1)
The Brighton Cardinals are winners of seven in a row and the Region 8-5A title. In the past two weeks, Robin Jacobs’ flock have pulled off wins over rival Munford and Bolton 44-7 to earn the top seed in their portion of the bracket.
Brighton features a solid defense that plays even tougher in the Red Zone. Cardinal defenders like Cameron John, Justin Krachen and Zach Camp will be counted on to stop the Eagles.
Camp will also be featured in the offense as a running back. He will team up with Malik Mathews trying to give the Cardinals balanced on offense.
Quarterbacks Chase Kidd and Malik Jackson give Brighton multiple ways to attack any defense. The passing game depends on the success of Aaron Alston and Breland Austin just to name a pair.
Clarksville defense has enjoyed some shining moments in 2015. When the Eagles have tasted victory, opponents didn’t score more than 12 points. The most point given up by Clarksville this season was 43 to Henry County and 41 to Father Ryan.
Class 4A Millington (3-7) @ Hardin County (9-1)
The Hardin County Tigers have enjoyed a stellar 2015 campaign but didn’t earn the top spot in their Region. The Tigers’ only defeat came courtesy of the eventual champions Jackson North Side.
Now Hardin County is the No. 2 seed and will face the No. 3 seeded Millington Trojans this Friday.
The Trojans played in a Region with powerhouse programs Ridgeway and East.
Millington endured a schedule against teams like Munford, Collierville and Covington. Adding in East and Ridgeway, those teams combined to have a 36-14 record.
Toss in Hernando, the Trojans faced multiple formations, schemes and philosophies. Millington will not be surprised by whatever the Tigers line up in.
The Trojans’ defense is led by seniors Jonathan Clements, Paul Robinson and Kameron Middleton. Younger players like James Cox, Kyle Lindley and D’Monte Kemp have to step up and get the Trojans off the field in third down situations.
Millington’s offense has big-play ability with quarterback Eldon Tyms leading the attack. His favorite target Kip Fleming is looking like his early season form after coming back from an injury. And players like Greg Smith are stepping up in the passing game. Justin Coleman will be counted on to give Millington balance at the running back position.
Division II-A Tipton-Rosemark Academy (4-6) @ Northpoint Christian (10-0)
One of the most dominate teams in TSSAA Division II-A resides in Mississippi. The Northpoint Christian Trojans are unbeaten scoring more than 40 points in six of those wins. Northpoint has only given up 20 points or more twice this season.
TRA might be the third team to reach that mark coming off back-to-back wins averaging 45 points. The Rebels of Dodd Gengenbach blew out West Memphis Christian and Rossville Christian giving up an average of 11 points.
TRA endured a tough stretch during the season with injures to key players like Ethan Watson, Colton Vaughn and quarterback AJ Hightower. But Hightower is back in time to gel with his offensive unit. Players like Brodie Starnes, Ethan Carpenter, Jose Flores and Darien Weakley have stepped up in recent weeks to produce those points.