Just before running out to practice, Brentwood Academy football players touch one of the panels located just outside their dressing room.
There are 10 in all, one for each of the school’s state football championships. The last came in Carlton Flatt’s final season of 2006.
Half a dozen years between titles is far too long by Brentwood Academy standards.
But as the Eagles look toward 2012, they do so with an eye toward adding an 11th panel.
New Coach Cody White inherited a wealth of top-notch returning talent, including plenty of skill players.
Among the aces are:
• Quarterback Max Staver, who passed for 1,900-plus yards and 19 touchdowns last year. The senior recently committed to Florida over a host of other SEC and Dvision I schools.
• Cornerback/split end Jalen Ramsey, who had 32 tackles, two interceptions, 612 total yards and eight touchdowns on receptions/returns. He also was the Division II decathlon champion in May. He committed to Southern Cal after receiving scores of DI offers.
• Running back/defensive back D’Montre Wade, who rushed for more than 1,500 yards and scored 20 touchdowns, with 17 catches for 164 yards and one touchdown. He also had 32 tackles on defense. He is highly recruited by Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, UT-Chattanooga and MTSU.
• Offensive/defensive lineman Amos Mason, 6-foot-2, 230 pounds and one of the Nashville area’s top two-way linemen who also is highly recruited by several DI schools.
All are ranked highly in nearly all the pre-season recruiting services.
“It’s awesome,” the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Staver said. “We have at least four guys who are all very talented, as well as some new guys who will really help our depth. What we have to do is keep it simple, work tirelessly and compete hard every single down.
“Nothing is guaranteed, and as a team, we have to accept each challenge as it comes to us.”
Added Wade: “I think we are going to be better than last year. I really like Coach White, he comes from a successful coaching background in Texas where football is extremely important. … We have to work hard and commit ourselves if we’re going to be a good team.”
Virtually all pollsters predict a two-team race in Division II-AA between BA and two-time defending state champ Ensworth, led by Corn Elder.
Those teams play on Oct. 19.
“We can’t be eaten up by all the preseason hype and recruiting service reports with highly recruited football players and things like that,” White said. “We know that nothing is guaranteed.”
Is there such a thing as too many good players?
“What our guys need to understand is that there are lot of dudes around them, blocking well, pass protecting well, doing other things that need to be done,” White said. “It’s how well they handle that which will dictate our success.”
The Eagles finished 2011 with a disappointing — for them — 9-3 record and second-round loss in the DII playoffs. It was the end of the Ralph Potter era.
“I am excited and pumped up about this season,’’ White, who inherits a program which has missed the playoffs just once since 1975, said. “So far, I’ve seen guys willing to work and become better.”
BA opens the season Friday at nationally ranked powerhouse Trinity, (Ky.).The No. 1 ranked Shamrocks crushed BA 45-7 in last year’s opener, one of the worst losses in school history and ultimately won the Kentucky state title.
“It’s a great situation in that we can go up and compete against a great team and find out exactly where we are as a team,” White said. “I’m excited about our challenge.
“We’re going to face a challenge every week, we’re in a very tough league. We just have to keep working hard week to week to get better.”
Brentwood Academy at Trinity, (Ky.)
Blackman at Independence
Columbia Academy at Ezell-Harding
Cookeville at Brentwood High
LaVergne at Antioch
Hillwood at Hillsboro
McGavock at Tullahoma
Sycamore at Glencliff
Hunters Lane at Maplewood
Overton at Father Ryan
Pearl-Cohn at Cane Ridge
White House-Heritage at Davidson Academy
Whites Creek at Rossview
Franklin Road Academy at St. George’s
Christ Presbyterian Academy at Goodpasture
Friendship at Donelson Christian Academy
Stratford at Pope John Paul II
Kingsbury at Montgomery Bell Academy
Memphis University School at Ensworth
Siegel at Franklin
Middle Tennessee Christian at Nashville Christian
Page at Kenwood
Clinic Bowl Kickoff Classic
Smyrna at Battle Ground Academy, 7:30 p.m.