By Paul Erland
BSW Staff Writer
Harpeth High will kick off its season with a road game against Clarksville Academy this Friday night, seeking to continue its string of back-to-back TSSAA playoff appearances. Harpeth moves to Region 6-AAA this year with the smallest enrollment of any AAA school in the state. The Indians will rely on a nucleus of 12 seniors to lead the team on the field and in the classroom, including three, D.J. Capps, Tim Kosinski and Frankie Vukelich, recently named to the Tennessee National Guard All-State Academic preseason team.
Harpeth returns five offensive and seven defensive starters, including two-time All-District strong safety T. C. Newton, also an offensive star at tight end. Linebacker/fullback James Meeks is another All-District player. Kosinski will spread his talents and intensity among the guard, center and defensive end positions.
Seniors Kureon Pollard (DE/OT), Hunter Stephenson (defensive line) and Chevy Valentine (DE/TE) will play heavy minutes. Adam LaCour is back and raring to go at linebacker and running back, while Connor Adams returns at DT and will contribute on the offensive line.
Capps and classmate Ashton Maddox are reliable receivers and defensive secondary stalwarts. Maddox may also take some snaps at quarterback. Fellow senior Bradley Baker, out until mid-season, posted nearly 800 yards in total offense (and seven TD) last year, while starting at free safety (32 tackles).
Rounding out the senior class is Frankie Vukelich (DB/WR), who sustained a spinal-cord injury in an automobile accident this summer. Frankie’s fight for life, and his remarkable determination and hard work in staving off paralysis, have inspired the entire Cheatham County community. His return to school and to the team will be the biggest victory the Indians could ever hope for.
Harpeth’s junior class will be well-represented. Walker Weatherly takes over at quarterback, having started at cornerback last year. Drake Fullum is a proven quantity as a runner and receiver. Nick Evatt returns as a receiver from an injury-shortened season, and will also handle kickoff and punting duties. (He tied the school record last year with a 67-yarder.) Tyler Groves will compete with Evatt and Fullum for the placekicking job. Will Gossett should start in the secondary, and Ziggy Brent will log duty as a receiver and defensive back. Connor Barber is poised to take over as a starting linebacker; Drew Eanes and J. J. Callies will also contribute at that spot. The versatile Eanes will lines up at TE, and Callies will see time at fullback. Parker Beech is another two-way player in the line.
The sophomore class is expected to contribute in a hurry. Blake Moulton, Jarrett McKinley, Zechariah Saffer, Devin Spence and Justin Anderson will battle for starting offensive/defensive line positions. Dino Wilson (offensive line/LB), Toby Stinson (LB/TE), Charles Pentecost, Zach Patterson, Landon Fowler, Michael McCoy and Brenden Taylor will battle for playing time.
Freshmen Dylan Capps (QB/DB), Freddy Polk (FB/LB), Austin Potter and Alex Tapia (WR/DB), and Josh Frye and Keyton Rush round out the 2015 Indians squad.
Head Coach Doug Loope and his staff (offensive coordinator Brent Weatherly, defensive coordinator Michael Harris, line coach Zachary Douglas, WR/DB coach Brian Black, RB/LB coach and stat man Sgt. Kevin Downs, Cassandra Fink, Kiely Jenkins, Patrick Loope and Jamie Moulton) will count on the hard work and resolve exemplified by Frankie Vukelich (and a lack of injuries) to carry them through the uncharted waters ahead.
Harpeth plays Clarksville Academy this Friday (August 21) at Clarksville at 7:30 p.m.
Harpeth Ready to Get Back to Playoffs