Hillsboro Burros win first round of playoffs, 48-7 against the Lincoln County Falcons
The Hillsboro Burros (8-3/4-1) won their eighth consecutive first round football game beating Lincoln County 48 – 7. They joined eight other Metro Nashville Public High Schools who also played a playoff game. Five MNPS teams all advance to the second round.
Counties like Shelbyville (9-2) and Lincoln County bring with them a tradition of fans who are willing travel anywhere to see their team play and Lincoln Co. did not disappoint Friday night. They brought a huge fan-base out to support the Falcons and win or lose, they are some of the nicest fans in the state.
Hillsboro picked up its 8th win Friday and may be peaking at just the right time in the season.
GAME WRAP UP
Hillsboro hit the end zone quickly, putting up fourteen points on their first two drives. Lincoln County, however, settled down their nerves and focused on their defensive game plan and stalled the Burro offense for the rest of the first quarter.
The half ended with Hillsboro chalking up 29 points to the Falcons 0. Third quarter adjustments were made and on a 60 yard pass for a touchdown, Lincoln Co. was on the board.
Hillsboro answered with another 19 points and the win was secured with the Burro’s Jevon Russell’s TD.
Box Score Highlights: Total offense, 480 yards…..5/65 yards in penalties improving a year start average in first four games of 12/165……zero turnovers….. 1 Pick 6 TD by Harold Jamison…… 5 QB sacks.
How did Metro Teams fair?
Ten Metro Nashville schools participated in the first round of playoffs, making it the 5th year in six for at least ten teams out of thirteen to make the playoffs. This is notable because Regions have been redefined to include more parity and making it more difficult to assume large school district is assured a certain number of playoffs bids. Currently, all MNPS football teams now play several regular season, regional games with schools that are not in Davidson Co.
One high school, Whites Creek, made the playoffs after a team in their region was caught playing an ineligible player for six games and was disqualified leaving open the door for Whites Creek to be the next team up.
Overton High School was scheduled to travel as the fourth seed to Ravenwood, however, Antioch and Overton football teams fought at the end of the game instead of shaking hands and both teams were fined and disqualified from both this year and next year’s playoff games.
This incident cost both schools not only a significant fine of $2,000. In addition to the fine, Overton has the extra penalty of losing the proceeds from a playoff gate. Unfortunately, for Ravenwood, they incur the most unfair cost and are is the real losers because as hosting team for the playoff game, they lost funds raised from concessions and the gate.
Who is still playing?
Cane Ridge, East Nashville, Hillsboro, Maplewood, Pearl Cohn and Stratford all advance to the second round of the 2018 TSSAA Playoffs. The second round includes several match-ups that are sure to be great games.
Ravenwood @ Cane Ridge
The Ravenwood Raptors (9-2) will travel to Cane Ridge (11-0) to take on the Ravens Friday night. Both teams have impressive records and have made the trip to Cookeville in the last 4 years. Raven wood has two losses; one from a nationally ranked South Warren team located in Kentucky just outside of Bowling Green and a loss to Brentwood in the regular season, a rival that has historically been a close game in years past.
To spice up the game predictions, Cane Ridge beat Brentwood in the regular season and has a better record going into Friday night. Cane Ridge is averaging slightly more points per game with an average of 41 points a game against other notable opponents such as Centennial, Smyrna and Marshall Co. Ravenwood is averaging 39 points per game and has essentially had a bye week for round one with the restrictive probation that disqualified Overton from playing them last Friday.
This ought to be a close game with highlight reel plays.
Our Pick: Cane Ridge 35 – Ravenwood 31
East Nashville @ Fairview
East Nashville Eagles (3-1/9-1) will fly to Fairview (5-0/8-2) to take on the Yellowjackets. The 2018 playoff appearance is Fairview’s thirteenth straight trip to the playoffs, but only three times have they made it out of the second round. Fairview’s two regular season losses come against two highly favored playoff teams, Fred J. Page and Ravenwood.
East Nashville’s only loss is to Pearl Cohn who they could see again in the quarterfinals. Arguably, Region 5 3A has collectively some of the best athletes in the state on East Nashville, Pearl Cohn and Stratford’s teams.
Limiting penalties will be a factor for both the Yellowjackets and the Firebirds. The team with the fewest is likely to take the win.
Our Pick: East Nashville 14 – Fairview 7
Nolensville @ Maplewood
In the 4A matchup Friday, the Knights of Nolensville (7-4) travel to take of the Panthers of Maplewood (10-1) who has been quietly building a 4A powerhouse football team over the last thirteen years of appearances in the playoffs.
Maplewood’s last appearance in a state championship game came 7 years ago in 2011, though they have made the second round of the playoffs 11 years in a row. They will need to be highly focused to push past a very determined, but young Nolensville team.
Panther QB Bobo Hodges is a Mr. Tennessee Football Semi-Finalist as is a natural leader of the team. If he has the opportunity to shine, Nolensville will have a difficult time containing him.
Nolensville High School opened in fall of 2016 with its first group of 9th and 10th grade students. This year’s seniors are the first class of seniors to graduate from Nolensville High School and the senior football players have been playing to make history all year.
Our Pick: Maplewood 24 @ Nolensville 21 OT
Stratford @ Pearl Cohn
Being a heavily favored to reach Cookeville is not an unfamiliar place for the highly talented Pearl Cohn Firebirds (4-0/8-2). They are coached by Eli Brunetti who has made the trip to Cookeville with the Firebirds as a head coach but has yet to capture the Golden Football.
This past Friday marked the 24th straight playoff appearance of Pearl Cohn. On Friday, November 9, at home, Pearl Cohn will host their longtime MNPS rival, Stratford (1-3/2-8) at 7:00 pm. Unless the rain keeps the fans away, these two teams have historically packed the house to standing room only. With Catfish calling the game, regardless of the score, fans of both teams will be entertained. The Firebirds are led by Xavier Shepherd is on mark to have a career high year. Shepherd is a 3A Mr. Tennessee Football semi-finalist and has been highly recruited.
Our Pick: Pearl Cohn 42 @ Stratford 7
Shelbyville @ Hillsboro (to be played on Overton High School’s field)
For the Hillsboro Burros (9-2), Friday night’s game will be there 11th game played on an unfamiliar field. Battling the construction of a new school hasn’t been easy for the Burros. The loss of the field happened in July, but more recently, the team lost their practice field, and are now practicing on the baseball field. These are just road bumps that Hillsboro Head Coach, Maurice Fitzgerald states that they can overcome if the players take care of each other.
The Shelbyville Golden Eagles (9-2) are led by Head Coach, Justin Palmer who was hired in July of 2016. Shelbyville’s losses come against two teams that are both expected to make a run deep into the playoffs – Marshall Co. and Fred J. Page.
Shelbyville has the potential to really challenge the defense of the Burros. They are a team that likes to score, and score often averaging 45.6 points per game against teams in their region such as Page and Summitt and more recently Gallatin who the Burros struggled with in the regular season. The Burros average 15.4 less points per game and have most recently struggled to convert red zone appearances into touchdowns.
The most significant improvement the Burros have made is in the penalty column. The first four games of the regular season the Burros averaged 145 yards in penalties compared to the 55 of the last four games.
Friday night, the Burros will take on the Golden Eagles Friday night, November 9, on Overton’s football field, off Franklin Road.
Our Pick: Hillsboro 28 @ Stratford 21
Notable & Newsworthy
During the pre-game warm up, Hillsboro Head Coach, Maurice Fitzgerald presented Lincoln County Head Coach, Tim Johnson and players with an NFL Signature Game football that Coach Fitzgerald has had for nearly 15 years.
The Burros football players signed an Official Commemorative NFL football to show their support for the Falcons who lost a football team member less than a week ago.
After the presentation, both teams gathered at center field to acknowledge Hayden Case Hammons, a 16 year old member of the Falcon’s football team. The moment was emotional for both teams.