NCS Ready to Compete for State Title
By Stetson Marlin
The Nashville Christian football team, coming off of a 10-3 season last year, is looking to build on yet another successful season. Nashville Christian made it to another quarterfinal, their fifth in as many years. Nashville Christian only lost seven seniors, and returns multiple starters from last year’s team.
Nashville Christian, as well as many other private schools from around Middle Tennessee, made the move to Division II-A. This move will not only bring on tougher competition, but the team will have to travel more. Nashville Christian has to travel to Columbia, TN twice, as they face Columbia Academy and Zion Christian Academy. They also have to travel to Fayette Academy and Tipton- Rosemark Academy, which are both just outside of Memphis. This will add up to over 500 miles of traveling during the regular season. When asked about moving divisions, Coach Brothers said, “We continue to work for the same level of success and personal accountability as we’ve had before.”
One strength about this year’s Nashville Christian football team is their experience. They return most of their offense and defense from last year. Most of the starters on this team play both sides of the ball. They return Brant Lawless, at defensive tackle and tight end. Brant had 38 tackles and 14.5 tackles for loss last year, all while getting double teamed just about every play. Brant racked up many accolades last year as he was a Class 1A Mr. Football finalist, and was also on the Small School All-American 2nd team on Maxpreps. They also return key running back Xavier Myers as well, who had 1173 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns last year. Another key returnee is Jesse Watson. Jesse can play many positions, as he plays wide receiver, safety, and also is a part of the return game.
At offensive line, they return all but one lineman from last year including Jack Elliot, Maverick Marlin, Tanner Goodman, Hayden Jarrell, and Warren Hanson, all who started games on the offensive line last season. Many of those on the offensive line also play on the defensive line as well. At the linebacker position, they return Jesse Parrish, Sid Morris, Elijah Reid and Daniel Watson, all who got key reps last year at that position. Adam Young and Daniel Watson also played the fullback position last year and to return this year. The tight end position also returns Will Irwin who received a good amount of playing time last season. Jesse Watson, Zach Young, Bobby Clark, Devon Clarke and Zach Clark all return at the wide receiver and cornerback position.
Chad Kinnard will take on the role of quarterback this year. Chad is a senior this year and will get his first opportunity as the starting quarterback. He knows the system well and should fit the spot perfectly.
Another strength of this Nashville Christian football team is the coaching staff. Head Coach Jeff Brothers and Offensive Coordinator Phillip Montgomery are both going into their 8th year at Nashville Christian. Coach Ryan McClary, heading into his 7th season, and Coach Kyle Anderson, heading into his 3rd season, return to the same coaching positions they’ve coached in past seasons. This offseason, Nashville Christian added 2 new coaches. Coach Andrew Shaw was hired to be the new Defensive Coordinator. He previously coached at Ensworth High School before being hired by Nashville Christian. Coach Steadman Bell was also added to the coaching staff to help coach the wide receivers. Coach Brothers, when asked about the coaching additions, said, “Fantastic additions. They are both high energy guys who bring a lot of experience. Our guys have responded to these coaches well and these coaches added to a program that was already strong and make it even stronger.”
Nashville Christian, because of the hiring of Coach Andrew Shaw and the personnel they have back, are moving to a 4-3 defensive scheme. With the size of the defensive line, and the loss of a few key contributors to the safety and linebacker position, the move to a 4-3 defensive scheme was imminent. “We are versatile on the front with our guys, as we can move guys around. Our coverage is pretty solid the way we have it set now, so we are excited about that and that it gives us an opportunity for different looks.”, said Coach Brothers about the new 4-3 scheme.
Another strength that stands out for Nashville Christian is its senior presence. This senior class consists of Jack Elliot, Nathan Gaidos, Brant Lawless, Maverick Marlin, Warren Hanson, Will Irwin, Jesse Watson, Bobby Clark, Webb Templeton, Chad Kinnard, Hampton Turner, Sid Morris, Kyle Bean and Daniel Watson. Many of these players have had key reps the last few years. Coach Brothers, when asked about the senior class, said, “We have a very talented group and we will see how they will come together and bond, not just within the class but with the entire team.” This group of seniors hopes to bond together and have the chance to lead the team to another successful year and potentially a shot at another state championship.