After high school athletes across the state were finally able to complete a full three seasons of sports for the first time in two years, now feels like the perfect time to look back at 2020-21 and observe the best moments across all eight schools in Montgomery County.
In this four-week long series, we will reminisce on the seasons of two schools per week in alphabetical order.
This week: the Northeast Eagles.
Northeast athletics had one of the absolute best sports seasons in the past school year, maintaining their hold among the best of the best in Montgomery County when it comes to athletics. They started strong in 2020 and finished strong in 2021, with multiple honorees and multiple teams shining in the spotlight over the school year.
Best boys moment
The Eagles knew that their rematch against Clarksville High on the gridiron wasn’t going to be a blowout like the first one — and that was exactly the case. The two squads met in the football postseason with a bid to the 5A quarterfinals on the line, and the game of the year was born.
With neither team geared to make a true state championship run, the matchup truly felt like a title game between the two 931 schools with bragging rights on the line. Leave it to an interception by a sophomore defensive tackle — Gabriel Austin — to secure the win for the Eagles.
Best girls moment
The Lady Eagles track and field squad showed up and showed out in Murfreesboro, competing in five different events — 100 meter hurdles, 300 meter hurdles, 4x100 meter relay, long jump and pentathlon — while securing three top-10 finishes. It was easily the brightest day for Northeast girls athletics of the season, and it comes as no surprise that the esteemed Lady Eagles were so dominant once again.
Best boys athlete
Northeast is unique in that in almost every one of its competitions, it has at least one guy who could take home this award. For that reason, I can’t truly give this honor to just one person. Instead, it’ll be a short list that serves as a cabinet of the best.
First, a mention to Jaylen Bussey, who was a standout receiver for the Eagles football team and sixth man on the basketball team. His teammates Jaylin Bowser (football), Elijah Leaupepe (football) and Isaiah Farrior (basketball) all deserve love too. There are also soccer stars Innis Ortis, Gregory Cousin and Naythen Nugent. Two-sport stud Nick Kauffman also played stellar defense for the Eagles soccer team after serving as a rock-solid kicker during football season, including knocking in a 43-yard field goal.
Best girls athlete
Again, there are multiple choices here, but I’m going to go with Cierra Bowser.
Widely regarded as one of the best guards in the city, she was named to the Main Street Preps all-Montgomery team for a second straight season by averaging 11.4 points per game along with strong steals, assists and rebounding numbers. Then she went on to compete in the state track tournament, finishing 14th in Tennessee in the long jump competition. Talk about a two-sport star.
Boys team of the year
This is another difficult decision. I could give this to the basketball team, who won their fourth district tournament championship in a row. Or I could give it to the football team, who finished second in the region with only one loss to a city opponent with two wins over Clarksville.
But I’m going to opt for the soccer team. They won the district championship over heavy favorite Rossview, then won the region championship in a shootout (another heavy contender for best boys moment, by the way) and played their hearts out in the sectional before taking a controversial loss. While this team didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, they overachieved what most people thought they were capable of — and for that, they are extremely deserving of this title.
Girls team of the year
I mentioned the track and field team earlier, but this time they truly get their dues.
They sent the most competitors to Murfreesboro out of any school in the entire county — boys and girls combined — and did so with flash. Jocelyn Jenkins competed in three solo events, the aforementioned Bowser and Natalya Bryant competed in one each. The team also placed third in the state in the 4x100 meter relay.