Football season is here and the first high school games across the Midstate are kicking off this weekend. Each week this Fall we will have a Source Game of The Week, where we will be on location covering the biggest matchups all season long.
This week, for the first stop on our tour of Middle Tennessee football Fridays, we are headed to Davidson County for Lebanon at Antioch.
Lebanon Blue Devils
Maxpreps Tennessee Rank: 17
Head Coach: Chuck Gentry (34-21 6th year)
2021 Record: 11-2
Returning Starters: 15 (7 Offense , 8 Defense)
After a lackluster 2020 season, the Blue Devils bounced back and took off in 2021 with a single loss in the regular season. Lebanon would go on to lose to the eventual state champion, Oakland, in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Expectations are high for this season with 15 starters returning and a lot of senior experience. How will this team handle those expectations? Will they rise to the occasion and build on a stellar 2021 outing, or will they disappoint?
Maxpreps Tennessee Rank: 313
Head Coach: Devin Arnold (0-0 1st year)
2021 Record: 0-10
Returning Starters: 8 (4 Offense , 4 Defense)
Antioch is a program that is struggling. They have 6 wins total since 2016. One of them coming against their season opening opponent, Lebanon. The Bears last winning season came in 2012, and they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2016. When you get into a bad rhythm like that you have to make a change to try to break the trajectory, and that’s just what Antioch did. Devin Arnold will coach his first season as the Bears head coach (The sixth since 2012) and with only eight starters returning who really knows what we will see from The Bears. Maybe they will surprise some people.
“From Lebanon you will typically see a 3-4 defense, but they may bump into a 3-3-5 to contend with the spread style offense that Antioch will have. On the other side of the ball, it’s the same style offense in the all-shotgun attack of Lebanon. The Bears will typically run a 4-2-5 defense though and allow that 5th DB to play in the box if needed.
Playing on a team’s home turf and vengeance can do a lot of things, but I don’t think it propels the Bears over the Blue Devils.
Prediction: Lebanon 42 Antioch 14” - Anonymous Wilson County Coach
Coach is on the money here. While there’s plenty of unknown that can go the Bear’s way, that’s not enough to think they can get past a Lebanon team that is the favorite to repeat as 6A-6 champs. Week one is special not only because it’s the start of the best time of year, but also because nobody has a record yet. You can’t truly judge any team fully, and it can still be a special season for anyone. Every team is still in control of how their story will be written. We will see on Friday night if the Blue Devils get started on a back to back special kind of story, or if the Bears play spoiler and get started on a story of their own.