Wildcat wrestlers win two tourneys as Kramer collects 600th coaching victory

Wilson Central enjoyed a busy holiday season which included two tournament championships and coach John Kramer’s 600th career dual win.

The Wildcats went 5-0 to win a dual tournament in Huntsville, Ala., defeating Coffee County, Sparkman, Huntsville, Bartlett and defending Alabama state champion Bob Jones in the finals.

Central went to Rossview and posted an 81-0 win over Kenwood, an 84-0 shutout of Montgomery Central (Kramer’s 600th), Northeast 71-12 and No. 7-ranked Rossview 52-18. The Wildcats also won their annual Bussey-Dickerson Invitational.

Central’s Hunter Borders won the 113-pound championship and was named outstanding wrestler for lightweights. Teammates joining Borders in the first-place column were Grant Fetters at 120 pounds, Steven Fisak at 126, T.H. Oakley at 132, Cullen Belcher at 145, Alex Pergande at 152, Levi Stone at 160 and Michael Kramer at 285.

Finishing second were Michael Mercante at 106, Cole Fort at 138 and Jesse Richardson at 220.

Avery Warnock, at 120, and Matthew Hills, at 182, were third.

Mt. Juliet native Caleb Cotham named Reds assistant pitching coach

Caleb Cotham, Mt. Juliet High Class of 2006, has been named assistant pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds where he will focus on analyical data under his former Vanderbilt pitching coach, Derek Johnson.

Cotham, 31, was named to the position Jan. 2. He pitched for the Reds in 2016 before a knee injury ended his career. He came to Cincinnati from the New York Yankees in a trade for closer Aroldis Chapman following the 2015 season. He posted a 7.15 earned-run average over 35 seasons in two seasons with the Reds and Yankees.

Lady Bears outscore Station Camp

MT. JULIET — Reghan Grimes, Tondriannha Davis and Emma Palmer combined to score 58 points Friday night to lead Mt. Juliet to a 70-58 win over Station Camp.

Grimes, a freshman forward, led the Lady Bears with 22 points while center Palmer put in 19 and Davis 17, including three 3-pointers, as Mt. Juliet improved to 15-3 for the season and 5-1 in District 9-AAA.

The Lady Bears led 20-10 following the first quarter, 40-24 at halftime and 54-38 through three periods.

Ryleigh Osborne sank a pair of triples as she and Nevaeh Majors each scored six for Mt. Juliet.

Olivia Delk drained a pair of threes as she and Faith Eubank threw in 13 points apiece for Station Camp.

Mt. Juliet will play host to Wilson Central at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Golden Bears shine on TV with 16th straight win

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet showed its wares on MyTV30 Friday night and dominated Station Camp 17-1 for the Golden Bears’ 16th straight win.

The Bears led 22-10 following the first quarter, 38-21 at halftime and 56-34 through three periods as they improved to 17-1 for the season and 6-0 in District 9-AAA.

Will Pruitt poured in three 3-pointers to lead Mt. Juliet with 19 points while Gage Wells added 11. J.C. Crawford notched nine points and Gavin wilson eight as each sank a pair of threes. Bryan Aiken scored six points while Taj Mason finished with five, Riggs Abner four, Ryan McIntosh and Jacob Burge two apiece and Isaac Thomson a free throw.

Kavon Blankenship sank all six of his free throws as he totaled 22 points for the Bison, who fell to 14-5, 4-2.

Mt. Juliet played host to rival Wilson Central on Tuesday night and will travel to Lebanon to open the second half of the district round robin at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Pedigo returns to coaching at Wilson Central

Had there been a Wilson Central in the early 1990s, Kacey Cardiff would have been a Lady Wildcat. As it was, the Gladeville native became a Mt. Juliet Lady Bear softball player and later its coach.

Kacey Pedigo is going home as Wilson Central’s softball coach, she and principal Travis Mayfield confirmed last Wednesday.

“I grew up in The Glade. I grew up on Stewarts Ferry (Pike),” Pedigo, 43, said last week. “I can’t tell you how many last names, when I was talking to Mr. Mayfield and Mr. (athletic director Chip) Bevis, I know those names. I know not only them, but also their mamas.”

Pedigo, who last coached in 2011, is replacing Melissa Weiland, who was transferred to Mt. Juliet Middle School during Christmas break for reasons not limited to the Lady Wildcats’ 15-16 record (their first losing season in their 17-year history) in her only season on Wildcat Way.

“All I can say is the way the program is at the present time, I felt it was better to go in a different direction with a new head coach,” Mayfield said Wednesday. “It wasn’t going the way I felt it should be, so I decided to make a change.

“Coach Pedigo had applied when we had an opening previously. I contacted her to see if she would be interested in returning to coaching. She said she is. We talked… I recommended her to human resources and it was approved just before we came back from break.”

The record Mayfield looked over showed a 223-94 record in seven seasons at Mt. Juliet, including three trips to the state tournament. Two of those ended in the championship round with runner-up finishes to Soddy-Daisy (in 2006 and ’07). She’s a three-time District 9-AAA Coach of the Year, including her final season, 2011, which marked her third trip to state as a coach.

She also went to state as a Mt. Juliet senior catcher in 1993 under coach Mike Gwaltney, whose daughter, Casey, was also on that team and is a longtime Wilson Central faculty member who previously served on the Lady Wildcat coaching staff.

“I love ball,” said Pedigo, who played third base at Cumberland for coach Junior Hawkins and coached at John Overton in Nashville before returning to her alma mater in the summer of 2004. “That’s something that never left.”

She was head of the MJHS health education and physical education department when she left coaching. She now teaches a CDC special ed class at Mt. Juliet and is reluctant to leave it without a teacher, even though Mayfield said he likes his coaches to teach in his building. A short-term solution is still being worked on between Mayfield and MJHS principal Leigh Ann Rainey.

“(Mayfield) has been very kind whenever we’ve talked,” Pedigo said. “Ms. Rainey’s been very kind. They’ve both been awesome. I didn’t know if it would happen… It did and it’s a blessing.

“I love these kids. They make me better. They’re phenomenal. They can teach us all about life. I’m with them during the day and I’m blessed to be able to go over (to Central) and (work on) ball again.”

One of her Lady Bear players from the ’06 runners-up, Caroline (Mason) Simpson, will be on her Central staff, as will Taylor (Bond) Dalton, who played for the Lady Wildcats against Pedigo’s Lady Bears, and Leigh McCutchen, who had served on Weiland’s staff.

“We went back to school on Monday and we’ve been together every night this week making it happen,” Pedigo said.

Beech girls end Mt. Juliet’s 13-game win streak, takes 9-AAA lead

HENDERSONVILLE — Mt. Juliet’s 13-game winning streak came to a screeching halt Friday night as Beech won the battle for the District 9-AAA lead 50-39.

The Lady Bears led 15-11 following the first quarter before Beech moved in front 25-23 by halftime and 39-31 through three as the Lady Buccaneers improved to 14-4 for the season and 4-0 in the district. Mt. Juliet, which hadn’t lost since dropping an opening-day TSSAA Hall of Champions double header to East Nashville and Stewarts Creek, slipped to 13-3, 3-1.

Deshiya Hoosier hit five three-pointers to lead the Lady Bucs with 19 points while Tia Dean dropped in nine of 14 free throws on her way to 15.

Emma Palmer produced 10 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Lady Bears. Reghan Grimes added eight points while Nevaeh Majors and Tondriannha Davis each scored six, Ryleigh Osborne five and Halle Jones four.

Mt. Juliet played host to Hendersonville on Tuesday and will entertain Station Camp at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Lady Wildcats roll past Gallatin

GLADEVILLE — Sydnee Richetto and Nicole Brill combined for 41 points Friday night to lead Wilson Central past visiting Gallatin 56-42.

Richetto racked up four three-pointers over the first three quarters and sank all eight of her free throws in the fourth as she turned in a game-high 22 points and the Lady Wildcats climbed to 11-4 for the season and pulled even at 2-2 in District 9-AAA. Brill notched 19 points.

The Lady Wildcats led 10-7 following the first quarter, 21-17 at halftime and 37-28 through three periods as Gallatin slipped to 12-5, 1-3.

Dottie McSpadden sank five free throws for Central while Aubree Starnes and Teoria Woods each threw in a three and Gracen Robinson and Kaylee Richetto two apiece.

Jeremia Montgomery led the Lady Wave with 14 points, sinking 6 of 8 free throws.

Wilson Central played host to Smyrna in a non-district game Monday before resuming league action 24 hours later at Station Camp. The Lady Wildcats will journey to Portland on Friday for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff.

Bears dominate Beech for 14th straight win

HENDERSONVILLE — Mt. Juliet blazed to its 14th straight victory Friday night 78-32 at Beech.

The Golden Bears led 23-12 following the first quarter and 37-19 at halftime as they improved to 15-1 for the season and 4-0 in District 9-AAA.

Will Pruitt popped in 13 of his 15 points in the first half, hitting a pair of three-pointers, for Mt. Juliet while Gavin Wilson threw in 13 and Gage Wells and Charles Clark 10 apiece. Riggs Abner notched nine points while Ryan McIntosh and J.C. Crawford each scored six, Bryan Aiken four, Taj Mason a three-point play and Zach Blair and Jacob Burge a free throw apiece.

Kaleb Powell pumped in a pair of threes to lead Beech with 12 points as the Buccaneers dropped to 10-6, 2-2.

Mt. Juliet played host to Hendersonville on Tuesday and will entertain Station Camp on Friday.

Wildcats wear out Gallatin 63-52

GLADEVILLE — Three Wildcats scored in double figures Friday night as Wilson Central took a 63-52 District 9-AAA win over visiting Gallatin.

Caleb Lawrence fired in four three-pointers to lead Central with 17 points whileDaniel Jackson’s 16 included three triples and Tyler Hayes’ 14 included two from long range. Connor Miller finished with five in the fourth quarter, Jordan Beard four, Daniel Beard a three and Adler Kerr and Josh Gibson two each as the Wildcats climbed to 6-8 for the season and 2-2 in the district.

Baijwok Adaing totaled 28 points for the Green Wave, who fell to 10-7, 1-3.

Central led 12-6 following the first quarter, 31-18 at halftime and 48-33 through three periods.

The Wildcats played host to Smyrna in-district action Monday night before a trip to Station Camp on Tuesday. They will travel to Portland on Friday night.

Strong second quarter sends Saints to victory

HENDERSONVILLE — Mt. Juliet Christian seized control in the second quarter and held serve in the second half for a 48-38 win at Merrol Hyde on Thursday night.

Merrol Hyde led 8-7 following the first quarter before a 17-6 second sent the Saints into halftime ahead 24-14. They were up 34-23 going into the fourth as Mt. Juliet Christian climbed to 8-7 for the season.

Jordan Willis sank three 3-pointers as he and Gavin Forsha threw in 13 points apiece for Mt. Juliet while Montrell Walker tossed in 10. Darius Hylick four, Carter Branim a three, Logan Collier and Dwayne Ewers two each and Jack Crouch a free throw.

Isaac Stinson scored 11 for Merrol Hyde.

Mt. Juliet Christian returned to Division II District 4-A action at Donelson Christian on Tuesday and will entertain Nashville Christian on Thursday.

Friendship Christian School basketball homecoming court

Friendship Christian School will celebrate basketball homecoming Friday. The ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. prior to the games with Davidson Academy.

The homecoming queen is Bayley West, daughter of Bill Bob and Kimberly West, of Lebanon. The homecoming king is Jake Blair, son of Rick and Kristen Blair, of Mt. Juliet. The senior attendant is Cameron Burton, daughter of Terry and Renee Burton, of Lebanon. The senior escort is Landon Crecelius, son of Stephen and Renee Crecelius, of Lebanon. The junior attendant is Mallory Dean, daughter of Jennifer and Charley Dean, of Lebanon. The junior escort is Jaheim Robinson, son of Adam and Kimberly Tune, of Lebanon.

The sophomore attendant is Khia Nicole Young, daughter of Kera Dye and Jerry Young, of Lebanon. The sophomore escort is Cole Cottrell, son of Renn and Nancy Cottrell, of Lebanon. The freshman attendant is Nishika Shah, daughter of Vick and Mona Shah, of Lebanon. The freshman escort is D.J. Rogers son of Amy Flippin, of Gallatin. Pictured (back row, from left) are Rogers, Robinson, Blair, Crecelius, Cottrell, (front row, from left) Shah, Dean, West, Burton and Young.

Mt. Juliet defense stymies Blue Devils

Staff Reports

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet’s defense put the clamps on Lebanon for the first three quarters of a 56-42 win in the District 9-AAA opener for both teams Friday night.

The Golden Bears led 7-2 following the first quarter, 23-10 at halftime and 38-15 going into the fourth. The Blue Devils found some offense in the fourth quarter to cut the margin to 10 before falling to 5-2 for the season.

“We didn’t give up,” Lebanon coach Jim McDowell said. “But you can’t dig that kind of a hole against a team like Mt. Juliet.

“Right now, they’re kind of the class of our league.”

“Both teams were really amped up at the start,” Mt. Juliet coach Troy Allen said of the slow offensive start. “We did a good job getting to their shooters until the fourth quarter.

“These early district games are tough when you play a team that tough. When you play like we did the first three quarters, it’s pretty encouraging.”

Point guard Will Pruitt paced the Bears with 18 points while backcourt mate Gavin Wilson sank a pair of three-pointers on his way to 15. Ryan McIntosh tossed in 10 while Gage Wells scored six, Bryan Aiken and J.C. Crawford three each and Taj Mason a free throw as Mt. Juliet improved to 6-1.

Jeremiah Hastings had 14 points to lead the Blue Devils, who were just 3-of-22 from the floor in the first half. Gaven Reasonover scored seven, Polo Phillips six; Malcolm Logue, Jackson Stafford and Ethan Njezic four each and Zion Logue three.

“It was not our best showing, that’s for sure,” McDowell said. “Hopefully, we’ll get better.

“Always they’re going to play physical, play sound defense. We held them to 23 points in the first half, which is good defense for us. We got to hit shots when they’re open. Mt. Juliet did that and we didn’t.”

Both teams returned to district action Tuesday night – Lebanon at Hendersonville and Mt. Juliet at home against Gallatin.

On Friday, Mt. Juilet will travel to Portland while Lebanon entertains Wilson Central.

Wildcats rally to break losing streak

GLADEVILLE — Wilson Central rallied in the third quarter Friday night to take the lead and the Wildcats went on to break a three-game losing streak with a 46-43 win over Hendersonville in the District 9-AAA opener.

Hendersonville was ahead 12-7 following the first quarter and 26-21 at halftime. But the Wildcats controlled the third period 15-6, taking the lead on a corner three-pointer with about 2:30 to play as they went on to lead 34-32 going into the fourth as they climbed to 4-3 for the season.

Daniel Jackson threw in 13 points and Tyler Hayes 10 to lead Central. Adler Kerr added eight while Caleb Lawrence and Azel Eddings each drained a pair of three-pointers for six and Seth Beck a fourth-quarter triple.

Zach Morris’s 16 points paced the Commandos, who fell to 3-5.

Wilson Central remained at home Tuesday night to play host to Hendersonville’s arch-rival, Beech, and will travel to Lebanon on Friday.


overpowers MJCA

MADISON — Goodpasture overpowered visiting Mt. Juliet Christian 94-33 Thursday night.

The Cougars led 32-2 following the first quarter and 67-12 at halftime as the Saints slipped to 6-3 for the season and 0-2 in District 4-IIA.

Gavin Forsha finished with 14 points for the Saints while Logan Collier and Jordan Willis each scored five, Dwayne Ewers four, Jack Crouch three and Darius Hylick two.

Mt. Juliet Christian played host to Merrol Hyde on Monday night and will travel to University School of Nashville on Friday.

Lady Bears survive Lebanon miss 51-49

Staff Reports

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet survived a missed Lebanon layup in the final second Friday night to escape with a 51-49 win in the District 9-AAA opener for both teams before a loud crowd at MJHS.

The Lady Bears led 13-11 following the first quarter before Lebanon took a 28-25 advantage into halftime. Mt. Juliet clung to a 42-41 edge going into the fourth as the winners won their sixth straight following two opening losses in the TSSAA Hall of Champions games.

“It was just a battle,” Lebanon coach Cory Barrett said after his Devilettes dropped to 4-3. “It was back and forth. I don’t know if a lead ever stretched beyond five or six points the whole night.”

Lebanon forced a turnover with a second to play under the Devilettes’ offensive basket. But LHS missed a wide-open layup.

“We’ve really had some knock-down, drag-out with them the last four or five times we’ve played them,” Mt. Juliet coach Chris Fryer said. “The fans are getting their money’s worth.

“Lebanon has a lot of good starters, good players. It’s never going to be easy. Anytime we play them, it’s going to be nip and tuck.”

Tondrianna Davis drained three 3-pointers to lead the Lady Bears with 16 points while center Emma Palmer put in 14, freshman forward Reghan Grimes 11 and point guard Nevaeh Majors 10.

“This early in the season, playing a big district game is tough when you’re trying to get better,” Fryer said. “Hopefully, as the season goes along, we’ll get better with our halfcourt offense. We’re still a work in progress.”

Allissa Mulaski led Lebanon with 13 points while Aaryn Grace Lester added 11 as each threw in three triples. Christaney Brookshire scored seven. Anne Marie Heidebreicht hit a pair of threes as she and Addie Porter scored six apiece while Kiri Steverson, Rebecca Brown and Avery Harris had two each.

Both teams will return to district action at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday – Lebanon at Hendersonville and Mt. Juliet at home against Gallatin.

Richetto’s 26 leads

Lady Wildcats past


GLADEVILLE — Sydnee Richetto racked up 26 points, sinking four three-pointers, to lead Wilson Central past visiting Hendersonville 58-30 in the District 9-AAA opener Friday night.

The Lady Wildcats led 13-5 following the first quarter, 27-12 at halftime and 49-20 through three periods as Central improved to 6-1.

In addition to her scoring, Richetto also had five steals. Nicole Brill tossed in 10 points while Gracen Robinson scored six. Jasmin Angel finished with five points and nine rebounds while Miyaunna Cason and Dottie McSpadden each spun in a three, Gracie Clark and Teoria Woods two apiece and Sydney Dalton a free throw.

No one scored in double figures for the Lady Commandos, who fell to 2-4

Central remained at home Tuesday night to face Hendersonville’s arch-rival, Beech, and will travel to Lebanon on Friday.

Davis drains six triples in Lady Bear rout

Staff Reports

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet breezed to a dominant 79-25 triumph over visiting Siegel on Friday night.

The Lady Bears led 27-4 following the first quarter and 47-7 at halftime as they improved to 3-2.

Tondrianna Davis dropped in six three-pointers in leading the Lady Bears with 27 points while Reghan Grimes racked up 22 and Emma Palmer 16. Nevaeh Majors scored seven while Ryleigh Osborne hit an early three and Taylor Pruitt and Gentry Houston each had two.

No one scored in double figures for Siegel.

After traveling to Nashville to take on Overton on Monday, Mt. Juliet will open District 9-AAA action at home at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Lebanon.

MJCA turns it on in fourth to overtake

Madison Acad.

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet Christian climbed from behind to defeat Madison Academy 40-35 Thursday night.

The Lady Knights led 11-5 following the first quarter. The teams played evenly through the second and third periods before Mt. Juliet Christian closed with a 19-9 fourth.

Amelia Lyons led the Lady Saints with 21 points while Megan Blackwell scored six, Bethany Lyons four, Destiny Moser three and Josie Bly, Abigail Eastin and Felicity Keen two apiece as Mt. Juliet Christian pulled even at 3-3.

Sara Adaela led the Lady Knights with 12 points.

Mt. Juliet Christian opened District 4-II-A action Tuesday at Friendship Christian’s Bay Family Sportsplex.

Golden Bears top Siegel 57-47

Staff Reports

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet seized control in the second quarter of a 57-47 triumph over Siegel on Friday night.

The teams were tied 11-11 following the first quarter before the Golden Bears dominated the second 24-11 to lead 35-20 at halftime. It was 41-33 going into the fourth as Mt. Juliet improved to 4-1.

Will Pruitt scored 16 points and Gavin Wilson 10 for Mt. Juliet. Gage Wills supplied nine while Ryan McIntosh sank two three-pointers on his way to eight. J.C. Crawford tallied seven while Taj Mason finished with four and Riggs Abner a three.

Matthew Snider scored 13 points and point guard Zion Swader 10 for Siegel.

Mt. Juliet will go to Nashville to take on Overton on Monday night.

Central succumbs to LaVergne

LAVERGNE — Wilson Central’s offense struggled in a 53-38 loss at LaVergne on Friday night.

The Wolverines led 16-5 following the first quarter, 26-15 at halftime and 43-28 through three periods.

Antuan Williams fired in five three-pointers to lead LaVergne with 17 points. Armon Lumas flicked in four triples and Deshaun Prince two as each tossed in 12 points.

Azel Eddings was the Wildcats’ top scorer with six points on a pair of triples. Seth Beck, Connor Miller and Caleb Lawrence each finished with five while Daniel Jackson, Jordan Beard and Tyler Hayes had four apiece and Adler Kerr a pair of free throws.

Central is off until next Friday when the Wildcats play host to Hendersonville in the District 9-AAA opener.

MJCA crushes Currey Ingram

BRENTWOOD — Mt. Juliet Christian found its offense in the third quarter of a 52-10 triumph at Currey Ingram on Friday night.

The Saints led 13-4 at halftime before a 28-2 third expanded the margin to 41-6 as they improved to 6-1.

Gavin Forsha fired in 15 points and Logan Collier 10 for Mt. Juliet Christian. Jordan Willis and Dwayne Ewers each scored seven, Darius Hylick four, Carter Branim and Luke Nave a three-pointer apiece, Jack Crouch two and Gavin Teas a free throw.

Mt. Juliet Christian will travel to Friendship Christian’s Bay Family Sportsplex on Tuesday night for the District 4-II-A opener.

Balanced Saints march past Madison Academy

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet Christian used a balanced attack to defeat Madison Academy 62-43 Thursday night.

Logan Collier fired in 15 points to pace the Saints while Dwayne Ewers and Montrell Walker each tossed in 10. Jordan Willis added eight, Darius Hylick seven, Gavin Forsha six and Carter Branim, Jack Crouch and Perrion Davis two apiece as Mt. Juliet Christian climbed to 5-1 for the season.

Beau Rodriguez racked up 20 points and Andr’e Crayton 10 for the Knights, who fell to 3-1.

Mt. Juliet Christian led 16-9 following the first quarter, 28-17 at halftime and 45-31 through three periods.

Shelbyville spoils Wildcats’ home opener

GLADEVILLE — Shelbyville got off to a fast start and spoiled Wilson Central’s home opener with a 56-40 win Tuesday night.

The Golden Eagles led 22-12 following the first quarter, 38-22 at halftime and 45-37 through three as Central slipped to 2-3.

Erman Garcia buried four first-quarter three-pointers and led Shelbyville with 17 points. Malachi Burns tossed in 12 and Airius Trice seven of his 10 in the fourth.

Tyler Hayes’ 10 points led Wilson Central, including eight in the third quarter. Caleb Lawrence threw in two first-quarter threes as he and Adler Kerr each added eight points while Azel Eddings scored six, Jordan Beard five, Daniel Jackson two free throws and Seth Beck one.

Mt. Juliet roars from behind for 58-52 win

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet seized control in the fourth quarter Tuesday night for a come-from-behind 58-52 win over Centennial.

The Cougars led 15-10 following the first quarter, 29-26 at halftime and 42-41 through three before the Golden Bears used a 17-10 fourth to improve to 3-1.

Gage Wells threw in three 3-pointers to lead Mt. Juliet with 18 points while Gavin Wilson and J.C. Crawford each hit two triples on their way to 12 apiece. Riggs Abner added eight points and Will Pruitt and Charles Clark four each.

Dusty Williams drained a pair of threes as he and Tre Carlton each collected 14 points for the Cougars.

MJ’s Perry named region coach of the year

Staff Reports

Mt. Juliet’s Trey Perry was named Region 4-6A Coach of the Year last week.

Perry, who just finished his sixth season, guided the Golden Bears to their second straight undefeated regular season and third consecutive region title as Mt. Juliet went 12-1.

Wide receiver Malik Bowen was voted Offensive Player of the Year. His Golden Bear teammate, Ronnie Kramer, was named Offensive Lineman of the Year.

As region champions, Mt. Juliet had the most representation on the all-region team, including Michael Ruttlen, Jayce Pardue, Bryan Aiken, Tristan Kilmon, Connor Ruzek, Colby Martin and Marcello Walton.

Representing Wilson Central are Garrett Todd, DeVonte McBroom and Dawson Ray.

Wilson boys succumb in overtime

Staff Reports

Page’s boys took over in overtime Saturday night to close out the John Greer Thanksgiving Classic with a 60-52 triumph over Wilson Central at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.

The Patriots outscored the Wildcats 13-5 in the extra four minutes with Nate Hollman getting six of his 18 in OT. Page went 8-for-8 from the line in the extra stanza.

Page trailed 35-33 going into the fourth before Blane Burrow buried seven points in the fourth and his other two, from the line, in overtime.

The Patriots led 12-8 following the first period and 22-18 at halftime before Central used a 17-11 third-quarter surge to take the lead.

Ben Cyphers scored 11 points for Page.

Tyler Hayes sank all six of his free throws to lead the Wildcats with 13 points while Daniel Jackson dropped in 5 of 6 on his way to 12. Caleb Lawrence threw in three 3-pointers en route to 11. Jordan Beard scored seven points while Adler Kerr, Caleb Berman and Azel Eddings each added three as Central slipped to 3-2.

Central played host to Shelbyville on Tuesday for the Wildcats’ home opener. They will travel to LaVergne on Friday night.

Fiery Franklin outscores Central

Franklin fired out to a fast lead and left Wilson Central playing catch-up the rest of the night in the Rebels’ 75-55 win in the John Greer Thanksgiving Classic at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court on Friday night.

The Rebels rolled to a 24-14 first-quarter lead, 45-35 at halftime and 63-48 through three as the Wildcats suffered their first setback following three opening wins.

Reese Glover fired in five first-quarter three-pointers on his way to eight for the game and 31 points. AH Shari Haynesworth scored 17 and Mat Thurman 12.

Tyler Hayes had 18 points for Central. Azel Eddings found a spot in the corner to sink five first-half triples for all of his 15. Caleb Lawrence finished with four points while Daniel Jackson, Caleb Berman, Adler Kerr and Daniel Beard each threw in three and Seth Beck, Jordan Beard and Connor Miller two apiece.

Mt. Juliet CCC Bears win battle of rocky top

The Mt. Juliet CCC Bears won the Battle of Rocky Top with a shutout victory.

Players are Cayson Weist (4), Brady Coleman (7), Tommy Travers (12), Jacob Tubberville (16), Gage Bullock (20), Kamryn Morton (24), Elijah Booker (32), Bruno Prater (38), Langston Robinson (44), Bayler Cooksey (52), Phillip Chavez (55), Ayden Cole (58), Brayden Lazenby (61), Dalton Goode (62) Vinny  Henry (75), Kaden Goodloe (92) and Lincoln Nave (99).

Head coach Mike Weist is assisted by Brad Cole, Ray Robinson, Warren Cooksey, Kevin Tubberville, Marcel Goodloe and Jason Henry.

Lady ‘Cat offense dries up vs. Knox Webb

Staff Reports

Wilson Central’s offense was missing in action Saturday morning as Knoxville Webb defeated the Lady Wildcats 45-22 to begin Saturday’s action in the John Greer Thanksgiving Classic at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.

Casey Collier got Webb off to a good start with six of her game-high 21 points in the first quarter as the Lady Spartans took an 11-5 lead. It was 22-13 at halftime and 34-17 through three as Central slipped to 4-1.

Catherine Henderson had 10 of her 11 points in the second half, going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line after halftime and 9-of-10 for the morning for Webb.

Aubree Starnes led the Lady Wildcats with seven points while Sydnee Richetto finished with five, Nicole Brill a three-point play; Dottie McSpadden, Miyauana Cason and Sydney Dalton two each and Jasmin Angel a free throw.

Central played host to Shelbyville on Tuesday night in the Lady Wildcats’ home opener and will travel to LaVergne for a 6 p.m. game Friday.

Richetto makes her mark again with 30

One year after Wilson Central’s Sydnee Richetto introduced herself to high school basketball in the John Greer Thanksgiving Classic, the now-sophomore provided a reminder in the Lady Wildcats’ 55-52 win over Dickson County on Friday at Lebanon’s Campbell Brandon Gym/Hester Gibbs Court.

Richetto racked up 30 points, including five three-pointers. She sank 5 of 6 free throws during her 12-point fourth-quarter as the Lady Wildcats climbed to 4-0.

Central trailed 15-10 following the first quarter and 23-22 at halftime before surging in front 38-32 going into the fourth.

Sydney Dalton added eight points and six rebounds for Central while Nicole Brill scored seven points, Teoria Woods four, Aubree Starnes a three, Dottie McSpadden two and Jasmin Angel a free throw.

Ryann Roberts countered with four triples in leading the Lady Cougars with 20 points while K.K. Curtis collected 12.

Bears’ perfect run ends vs. Oakland

Staff Reports

MT. JULIET—Mt. Juliet went toe-to-toe with Oakland on Friday night, but the Patriots’ kicking game proved to be the difference in a 14-7 win Friday night in a Class 6A quarterfinal.

The Patriots set up their first touchdown thanks to a punt that pinned the Golden Bears deep in their own end, then blocked a Mt. Juliet punt to set up the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter.

Mt. Juliet had two drives to try and tie the game, but both were ended by Oakland interceptions, the last coming by D.D. Anderson at the Oakland 15 with seven seconds left.

The Golden Bears’ season ended at 12-1, a game shy of the school’s first state semifinal appearance since 2012. Oakland (12-1) will host Maryville next week for a shot at their seventh berth in a state championship game.

“I can’t say enough about our senior class,” Mt. Juliet coach Trey Perry said. “We went 22-2 in our last 24 games, and those guys have led the way. This is a tough night. We didn’t come out here to play close. We came out here to win a state championship, and we gave it our best effort.”

Mt. Juliet appeared on the ropes in the first half, but bounced back with a 72-yard touchdown pass from Alvin Mixon to Malik Bowen to tie the game at 7 midway through the third quarter. The bomb came one play after Mt. Juliet converted a fourth-and-1 at its own 27.

The third quarter ended tied, and with the Golden Bears with a third-and-4 at their own 19. But after an incompletion, a punt was blocked by Oakland’s Justin Jefferson and the Patriots took over at Mt. Juliet’s 8.

Xavier Myers, who finished with 34 carries for 145 yards, ran for his second touchdown on the next play.

Mt. Juliet moved the ball well in the fourth quarter, but Oakland’s defense held on.

There were only 77 yards and four first downs combined in the first half. Unfortunately for Mt. Juliet, all the first downs and all but 8 of the yards belonged to Oakland.

Given that, it’s probably no surprise the most important play of the half was an Oakland punt. The Patriots’ Garrett Taylor — a Mr. Football finalist — hit one 71 yards that rolled dead at the Mt. Juliet 2-yard line, and the Golden Bears’ ensuing punt gave Oakland the ball at Mt. Juliet’s 40.

Oakland used eight runs to drive for the touchdown, including a 3-yard run on a fourth-and-2 by Myers. Three plays later, he slashed into the end zone on a 13-yard score to give his team a 7-0 lead with 9:33 left in the first half.

Oakland seemed on the verge of taking control, but was stopped on a fourth-and-2 at the Mt. Juliet 21. That kept the Golden Bears in the game and proved to be even more crucial in the second half.

“In a game like this, field position is very important,” Perry said. “Their guy is a Mr. Football candidate for a reason and he showed it tonight, but our defense bowed up several times with their backs against the wall. You could not ask more out of a defense than what we got out of them tonight.”

Mt. Juliet-resident to sign with Ut-chattanooga soccer

Staff Reports

Donelson Christian’s Faith Gober, a Mt. Juliet resident, plans to sign with UT-Chattanooga, coached by former Cumberland coach Gavin McKinney, when the NCAA’s November signing period begins today.

She holds the TSSAA record for career assists with 100 and is second in goals with 191, goals per game with 2.27, season assists with 31 and consecutive hat tricks. She had 31 goals and 16 assists in an injury-shortened senior season. She is a three-time all-state player by coaches and media and a two-time Esmark All-American. She is on the watch lists for the Top Drawer All-America and Gatorade Player of the Year. She is the No. 2-ranked player in Tennessee by Top Drawer Soccer and No. 10 in the South.Gober is also a member of the National Honor Society and is a vice president. She is DCA’s student body president and Fellowship of Christian Athletes vice president.

She chose Chattanooga after visiting Vanderbilt, LSU, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi State as more than 50 colleges showed strong interest in her and was contacted by more than 280, according to her father, Keith Gober.

Saints fall to Nashville Christian 34-7

By Elijah Campbell


Mt. Juliet Christian was unable to contain Nashville Christian’s run game as the Saints were eliminated from the TSSAA playoffs following a 34-7 loss Friday night.

The Eagles jumped out to an early lead after Martease Edwards took an Mt. Juliet Christian punt 72 yards to put the visiting team up 7-0. One possession later, Nashville Christian running back Dakota Owens scored the first of two touchdowns of the night to push the Eagles’ advantage to 14-0 with 1:06 left in the opening quarter.

Mt. Juliet Christian fought back in the second quarter and limited the damage Nashville Christian imposed. With 3:07 left in the first half, the Saints pulled within one score when quarterback Christian Link connected with junior wide receiver Gavin Forsha on a 25-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-7 at halftime.

The second half, however, is where Nashville Christian pulled away for good. The Eagles took the second half kickoff, and on its first drive, took almost six minutes off the clock and capped off the scoring drive with Owens’ second rushing score of the game, this time from only three yards out. A Link interception on the following drive provided the Eagles with excellent field position, which led to Micah Fann’s 4-yard touchdown rush to extend the lead to 28-7.

On the last drive of the game for Nashville Christian, freshman running back Josh Strickland rushed for a 15-yard score.

Despite giving up 147 yards and two touchdowns to Owens, Mt. Juliet Christian head coach Dan Davis claimed it was the futility of his defense that led to Owens’ big night, not him.

“It wasn’t him, it was us. Plain and simple,” Davis said after the loss. “It was us, not him.”

Davis was also positive after the game when reflecting on his team’s season. He said the program took a step closer to where he wants it to be.

“We still made a lot of progress this year. We’ve gone to back-to-back quarterfinal games, and this time we earned a bye. We’ve beaten people we haven’t beaten before, so we’re growing as a program, and we got better this year.”

The loss sends Mt. Juliet Christian into the off-season. Nashville Christian will move on to the TSSAA Division II Class A state semifinals, where the Eagles will square off against Davidson Academy after a win over Grace Baptist Academy on Friday night.

Bears make statement with upset win

MJ awaits visit from Oakland

MT. JULIET — Mt. Juliet answered naysayers about its strength of schedule Friday night with a convincing 35-14 upset of Blackman in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs at Mel Brown Athletic Complex.

The Golden Bears bounced back from a fumbled opening kickoff and ensuing Blackman touchdown to eventually dominate the Blaze on a blustery night on a muddy field, advancing to next Friday’s 7 p.m. quarterfinal against top-ranked Oakland at the Brown Complex.

The Blaze, whose only previous loss was to Oakland, returned to Murfreesboro with a final 10-2 mark for 2018.

With the wind affecting both teams’ passing games, it became a running game, and a matter of whose mistakes would hurt which team most. In the end, Blackman’s three lost fumbles were more costly than Mt. Juliet’s two.

After Trey Knox scored from the wildcat on a 2-yard run to stake Blackman to an early lead, Mt. Juliet offensive coordinator Zach White went through his call sheet to find what would work and found ramming Justin Harrigan up the middle worked best.

The battering ram from Pennsylvania set Mt. Juliet up for the first of quarterback Alvin Mixon’s three touchdown runs, this one on a 15-yard run to the left pylon off the read-option to tie the score early in the second quarter.

Then it was Blackman’s turn to fumble the kickoff as the Bears recovered at the Blaze 35-yard line. Following a 30-yard run by Connor Ruzek, Mixon weaved through the defense for 10 yards and the go-ahead score 25 seconds after his tying touchdown.

Amazingly, Mt. Juliet got a third straight possession by recovering a surprise onside kick. But Blackman’s Luke Hayes blocked Robbie Brewington’s 31-yard field goal try and returned it 36 yards to the Bear 44.

By then, defensive coordinator Greg Abner and, it seemed, every other coach on the sideline, had figured out the Blaze’s scheme and were all signaling in defensive signals.

“We diagnosed everything,” Perry said. “There was no stone left unturned. I could not be more proud of our coaching staff, of our players, because our offense, defense and special teams, we needed those reps. Just like on kickoffs, with us getting three fumbles, those are things that are huge in situations like this.

“Coaches say ‘don’t play with emotion, don’t play with emotion’. I’m just not that guy because I can’t coach without emotion. And they played that way tonight.”

It worked as the Blaze couldn’t make hay with their field position and had to punt.

It continued in the second half as Blackman had to punt from midfield. The ball made an abrupt stop on a rugged field at the 30, from where Michael Ruttlen scored on a 70-yard wingback trap to give the Bears breathing room at 21-7.

Mt. Juliet got another unanswered possession as the Blaze again fumbled the kickoff. But the Bears stalled and tried to punt, only to have a high snap leave Blackman with the ball at the MJ 40.

Quarterback Drew Beam’s first completion of the night got Blackman inside the 20 and Ta’micus Napier’s 9-yard run (the transfer from McGavock had 91 yards on 14 carries before exiting in the fourth quarter with an injury) put the Blaze inside the 10.

“Obviously, he’s (Napier) a really good back,” said Perry, noting the Bears faced him twice when he was at McGavock. “You got to have three sets of eyes in the box. Our guys did a great job with that all night long, playing the cutback lanes, because that’s where they’re really good at walling people off and cutting back, and our guys took advantage of that.

“And our defensive backs were awesome. Our defensive backs have tremendous speed and we made the windows tight for them.”

Perry admitted the cold wind was a factor, for both sides.

“We asked before the game if we could have a wet, cold phone booth to play in tonight and that’s exactly what we played in tonight, and that’s okay with us,” Perry said.

Blackman’s third fumble of the night, recovered by linebacker Britain Steele, killed the Blaze’s chances of a comeback.

Or so it seemed, as the Blaze got the ball right back on a Mt. Juliet turnover on the 12.

But the Bear defense bowed its neck, focusing on Napier and stopping him at the 4 before a delay-of-game penalty backed up the Blaze on fourth down, from where Beam’s pass went incomplete.

Mt. Juliet went 91 yards the other way on runs by Harrigan, who had 85 yards on 22 carries, and a 37-yard jet sweep by Ruttlen, who led the Bears with 143 on nine, before Ruzek’s second 30-yard run of the night landed him in the end zone early in the fourth quarter.

The Bears finished with 340 rushing yards, not an unusual stat this season. But having two runners with more than 80 yards and one with over 140 (Mixon finished with 60) is because Mt. Juliet fields so many rushing threats in its wing-T.

“These guys all year long have been so unselfish about who’s getting the ball, who’s getting touches,” Perry said. “They block for each other, and that’s huge.

“And, cliche of the year, but our offensive line was tremendous, headed up by Coach (Curtis) Grah. They were special tonight.”`

In desperation, Blackman went for it on fourth down, only to have Beam called for intentional grounding, giving Mt. Juliet the ball at the Blaze 17. Mixon muscled in the 1-yard scoring sneak for his hat trick with 6:29 to play.

Blackman got a late touchdown on Beam’s 6-yard run with 4:45 to go.