UPDATE: After this article was written, Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee extended the State of Emergency to Aug. 29. The guidelines prohibit all contact sports (excluding college and professional) through that time period. Week 2 of the high school football season is currently scheduled for Aug. 28.
Now that July is here and the dead period is just about over, excitement for football season is officially beginning to pick up steam.
Now, it’s worth noting that due to the extremely unstable state of the county – and Tennessee as a whole – some of these games are subject to change, whether it’s the dates, opponents or something even more extreme.
This has also factored into offseason training – almost every school in the county has been barred from having any kind of official in-person workouts as of the publishing of this article, so it’s impossible to be entirely sure of how good (or bad) some of these games might actually end up being.
That said, we can go off of expectations and last year’s results to get an idea of which game might be the one to watch week-by-week:
Week 1: Clarksville at Rossview
Of course this is the most interesting game of the week.
The tradition of Wildcats vs. Hawks to open the season has become perhaps the best in the entire city and, if everything goes the way it’s currently planned, that will continue in 2020.
Clarksville won on their home field last season, but after graduating a slew of college-bound starters on both sides of the ball, the window is open for their crosstown rivals to swoop in and reclaim the Warfield Shield.
Honorable mention: Clarksville Academy at Green Hill
Week 2: Montgomery Central at West Creek
From an established rivalry in Week 1 to a potentially budding one in Week 2, the Indians will travel to Coyote Trail after defeating West Creek 21-12 last season at home.
More notable than the score, though, was the fight that took place just before halftime that cleared the benches and resulted in a total of six players being ejected – five of which were Coyotes. That incident turned the game on its head and gave the Indians the opportunity to dominate the second half and claim the win.
We’ll find out on Aug. 28 if the bad blood from 2019 has carried over. Even if it hasn’t, this will be a fun game to watch.
Honorable mention: Springfield at Clarksville
Week 3: Kenwood at Northeast
I personally believe that this one has Region 7-5A Game of the Year potential.
“Now, wait a second,” you’ll think. “These teams finished fourth and fifth in the region last year. Why would a matchup of these middle-of-the-road squads have that kind of potential?”
It comes down to two names: Jaylen Washington and Jaiden Puig.
Washington, a junior, was last year’s All-County second team selection at quarterback, while Puig, a sophomore, took over for the Eagles toward the end of the season and ripped off several wins despite being a freshman with zero varsity experience. These two teams put on a 30-24 show in 2019 with the Knights coming out on top, and now that these two young gunslingers have had more time to hone their skills, the face-off should be a thrill in their first time going head-to-head.
Honorable mention: West Creek at Northwest
Week 4: Jackson Christian at Clarksville Academy
Hear me out.
Yes, these two teams finished in the basement of Division II-A West last season at 1-7 apiece, but sometimes it’s the games where progress is on display that are the most intriguing. The Eagles beat the Cougars in 2019 in a 38-32 contest, and given that we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 summer, this could be the most unpredictable game on this list.
Honorable mention: Northwest at Montgomery Central
Week 5: Northwest at Kenwood
It’s a shame what happened to the Vikings in 2019. After starting 3-1 with their only loss coming by one score to a then-hot Montgomery Central squad, they took their first real hit of the season to the Knights by two scores at home – and didn’t win a game from there on out.
They have holes to fill and questions to answer coming into this year, but this could be the game where everything gets flipped around. Given the circumstances, Northwest could start off cold but gradually gain momentum, culminating in a momentous win against the Knights.
As for Kenwood, it will be only their second in-region game of the season around a handful of monster opponents (Oakland and Hillsboro, for reference) and could seriously make-or-break their run at two consecutive postseason appearances.
Honorable mention: Clarksville at Henry County
Week 6: Northeast at West Creek
We’ve already mentioned that Jaiden Puig went on a crazy run in 2019 and this is where it started.
Out of nowhere, he and returning receiver Jaylin Bowser exploded to put an absurd 54 points on the Coyotes last season to halt all of West Creek’s momentum. Just as notably, he’ll get his second and final matchup with 2019’s top quarterback in the county, TiAnthony Wagner.
This has all the makings of a high-scoring slugfest that has potential to make or break one of these team’s chase at a playoff berth.
Honorable mention: Nashville Christian at Clarksville Academy
Week 7: Clarksville at Northeast
It’s way too early to know exactly who will be the teams to beat this season – especially given the circumstances.
That said, I’m going to make a prediction: the Wildcats and Eagles will be representing the Clarksville area in the 2020 postseason. Feel free to come back to this and trash my opinion should it prove horribly wrong.
Given that take, it only makes sense that a matchup between the two of them would be highly anticipated, especially since their meeting last year yielded 82 (!) total points in a Wildcat win.
Honorable mention: Kenwood at West Creek
Week 8: Montgomery Central at Springfield
Last year’s Indians vs. Jackets game felt like a revelation and ended up being a reminder of what could have been.
It was unusually cold – even for October – and rained all night. The muddiness and slippery field contributed to a 13-10 final score in Montgomery Central’s favor, and seemed to be the clear indication that they may have been not only the best team in the county, but one of the best in their region. Alas, they fumbled the final two weeks and missed the postseason altogether.
Springfield went on to fall just short of a state title with their only in-region blemish coming against those very same Indians. This year’s rematch could be a blowout, but I would not be surprised if it were just as competitive as last season.
Honorable mention: Kenwood at Clarksville
Week 9: Bye week!
No games this week.
Week 10: Rossview at Hendersonville
The Commandos dominated the Hawks in 2019… or at least that’s what the final score would suggest.
In reality, the Hawks truly defeated themselves, losing an astonishing eight fumbles in the loss, several of which led straight into scoring drives for Hendersonville. Should that luck – and ball security – have gone a bit better, that game, which secured the Commandos playoff spot, could have looked much different than it did.
Look for Rossview to make this game far more competitive than some might expect this year.
Honorable mention: Northwest at Clarksville
Week 11: Clarksville at West Creek
The only game between two CMCSS schools in the final week of the season also seems like it’s the one that could decide the last postseason spot – or two.
While Kenwood and Northwest battle Dyer and Henry County respectively, the Wildcats and Coyotes will be squaring off with the fates of multiple teams potentially on the line.
Clarksville gave West Creek the beating of its season in 2019 to secure a spot in the playoffs, which could only serve to give WCHS further motivation to make this one count even more than it already could.
Honorable mention: Montgomery Central at White House Heritage