Last July, prior to fall practice, James 'Bubba' Spears took a look at the last four games of the football scheduled and grimaced. The East Literature coach knew that all 10 of the games of the season would be tough enough for a first-year program, And he also realized that it was very back-loaded with very tough challenges, against all four of the 4A teams in the district, to play against his 3A team.
That started last Friday against Maplewood, one of the premier teams in Nashville, but somehow, the Eagles carved out a rainy 9-7 victory. It was likely the biggest upset of the weekend in Nashville, rivaled only by Antioch’s stunning 14-10 victory over previously unbeaten Overton.
“Our kids fought hard, they made the plays,’’ said Spears whose team has fashioned a 4-3 record, an almost unbelievable mid-October achievement. “Maplewood had some injuries, and we had a few too, but no one made any excuses. A big key was the fact we had no turnovers.
East Lit won its first three games, lost its next three when it looked like the new program had just hit the wall. But then came the win over the Panthers, a unit which had already beaten Lipscomb and CPA and almost knocked off MBA.
The winning points came on a 25-yard field goal by freshman Amid Yarmais with 1:10 left after he had missed two earlier. Senior Troy Bozeman rushed for 88 yards in 15 carries. Chris Jackson made his one catch a good one, a 49-yard TD pass from Antonio McKissack, who passed for 104 yards. Spears also pointed out some stellar blocking of John Houston in the offensive line.
Joe Williams, an historian of old East High, said the closest East came to beating Maplewood in the last 40 years was a 14-11 Panther win in 1971. “I played at East 1978-79-80) and we never came close. The school didn’t beat them at any time for about 10 years prior to that,’’ he said.
East Lit limited Maplewood to just six first downs to the Eagles’ 16 and made no turnovers. Maplewood, playing without backs Ladarius Van Lier and Stanley Hagan, had just 89 yards rushing. East Lit had more total offense, 222-138.
“We probably weren’t quite as good as our first four games would indicate, we were not as bad the last three weeks as we showed,’’ Spears said.
Next up is a Thursday visit to winless Stratford, a place where a lot of East Lit players co-opted to last year where they could play, football prior to the Eagles’ forming their own team. The last time old East High beat Stratford was in 1974 by 8-7.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of emotion in that game, a lot of our guys know a lot of their guys,’’ Spears said.
East Lit then closes with two more very good 4A teams, Whites Creek and Lipscomb.
Former Joelton star wins title
Helen Lee Armstrong, a former multi-sports standout at old Joelton High in the 1950s, played on the winning Tennessee Amigos basketball team which captured the gold medal in early September at the National Senior Games tournament in Palo Alto, Calif.
Competing in the age 65-69 division at Stanford University, Armstrong, one of just eight players, was part of a team which won the title. The Amigos advanced to the finals of the winners bracket where they eliminated the Connecticut Bouncers 29-20, then edged the Michigan Spirits 29-27 in overtime in the championship game. The softball team she was on also won the silver medal.
Armstrong was recognized by the Tennessee state legislature in recent ceremonies at the State Capitol in downtown Nashville. The Amigos went 8-0 over the three days,
Glencliff (22-1) won a thrilling five-set decision over Antioch last Thursday, avenging an earlier loss, to edge out the Bears to clinch the top seeded spot in the District 12-AAA volleyball tournament.
That tourney is being held at Glencliff this week. Semis are Tuesday at 3:30 and 5, with finals Wednesday at 4 when Glencliff and Antioch are seeded to meet in the finals. Most DI tournaments open this week.
USN hosts the DII-A Middle/East play-in games Tuesday at 4:30 when FRA meets Mt. Juliet Christian. The winner plays USN at 6. That winner advances to the quarterfinals Thursday at DCA.
CPA hosts tourneys
This week opens a busy tournament time at CPA. Besides the golf team competing in the state A/AA tournament Tuesday and Wednesday, the school hosts the District 9-A/AA volleyball tournament Tuesday and Thursday (semis and finals) when the Lions hope to defend their crown. Next week, the school hosts the district soccer tournament, beginning Monday, Oct. 19.
DCA, BA golfers shine
Donelson Christian Academy sophomore Sarah Harris won the girls golf individual championship in the DII-A state golf tournaments last week in Murfreesboro. Harris shot a 147 (75-72) two-day score as she and Jordan Hollinshead helped DCA finish 21 strokes ahead of USN.
It was DCA’s second title in three years.
Dylan Healy led the Brentwood Academy boys to their first state golf championship, taking the DI-AA division. Healy, a sophomore, carded a 142 (72-70) and won medalist honors and teamed with Taylor Davis (145) as the Eagles finished eight strokes ahead of runner-up MUS.
A handful of Nashville football games have been moved up to Thursday due to the Midstate teachers’ meetings. They include:
Glencliff at Antioch
McGavock at Goodpasture
Hunters Lane at Overton
Whites Creek at Pearl-Cohn
East Lit at Sttatford