Last year, Antioch surprised the Nashville football scene with an unexpected region championship. The Bears won’t sneak up on anyone this season.
However, based on an impressive 27-14 win over McGavock last Friday, they won’t be in hibernation for the second half of the season.
Antioch (4-1) took a strong step toward another Region 6-AAA title with a solid three-back running game, an effective passing plan and a good defense.
“Last year, we probably sneaked up on some teams, but that won’t be the case this season,” coach Mike Woodward said. “But we’re going to have to be more consistent. We still haven’t put four good quarters of football together yet.
“In the second half [Friday], we did virtually nothing. We’ve improved since the season started, but we have a long ways to go.”
Picked well down the ladder in preseason region polls last year, Antioch got off to a dismal 1-3 start.
The Bears got a springboard 27-18 win over McGavock to jump-start their season. Then came a win over Hunters Lane and an improbable fourth-quarter rally for a 22-15 victory over Overton.
They won the region at 5-1 (6-4 overall) and earned a spot in the 6A playoffs.
At 2-0 in region play thus far, Antioch is in line to repeat its first-place finish as they brace for a home game Friday against Glencliff. After that come region clashes with Hunters Lane and a big showdown with rival Overton.
Hosey’s a headliner: Against McGavock, sophomore quarterback Raekwon Hosey ignited the Bears offense with a 79-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.
From there, the Bears shifted into a more methodical approach with a two-yard touchdown run by Moses Cornelius and an 11-play, 99-yard drive capped by Hosey’s 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Juan Davis, which made it 20-0.
The Bears scored on all four first-half possessions and racked up 18 first downs in all.
“On the TD, I just followed my blockers, then it broke open for me,” Hosey said.
Hosey finished with 134 rushing yards on just 11 carries and hit on two of four passes for 30 yards.
“We have some really good running backs who make great fakes and they all run really well,” he said. “I love our offense and how hard those guys play.”
Those backs include Cornelius, Clarence Mathis and Tyler Bumbalough, who helped Bears build a 27-7 lead at the half. Cornelius led that group with 125 yards in 24 carries and two touchdowns.
“When we run the ball like that, we’re hard to stop,” Cornelius said.
Cornelius also plays linebacker and he and his defensive mates limited McGavock’s passing game with numerous breakups and heavy pressure on quarterback DeAnthony Patrick.
McGavock fell to 1-3 mark (0-1 in the region) with its third straight loss.
The Raiders will try to snap their skid Friday when they host surprising Cane Ridge (4-1).
“We’re just not stopping anyone on defense,” coach Jay Gore said. “And once we move the ball, we’re making mistakes, we fumble then we drop a pass in the end zone.”
• Few, if any, envisioned the struggles of Goodpasture and Lipscomb Academy. Everyone will have a chance to watch rivals, however, when they meet in a Thursday Night Lights TV-30 game this week.
Due to a combination of injuries and suspensions, Goodpasture is 1-4. The latest stumble was an 18-0 loss Friday against Westmoreland, a team the Cougars had outscored 120-27 the past three years.
Lipscomb is 1-3 so far. Cortez Adams rushed for 116 yards and a 59-yard touchdown as Maplewood beat Lipscomb 12-6.
• Trailing 17-7 in the fourth quarter, Franklin scored 21 unanswered points in a 28-17 win over Hillsboro that spoiled the return of Craig Clayton, who coached the Rebels the past seven seasons before being dismissed last season after a disagreement with administration. Clayton is now the coach at Hillsboro.
• Christ Presbyterian Academy quarterback Albert Mitchell continued his hot hand Friday, passing for 246 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-16 win at Stratford. The Samford commitment has guided the No. 4 (AP) Class 3A Lions to a 4-0 start. Next up is a home game against Davidson Academy.
• Harpeth Hall and Father Ryan finished second and third, respectively, behind Baylor in the girls silver division of the annual Junior Ward cross country championships Saturday at the Steeplechase Course. Ravenwood placed second behind Morristown West in the girls gold. Ensworth High sophomore Emma Sloan (girls silver) was the only Nashville winner in the girls divisions.
• Father Ryan will host its annual Irish Volleyball Classic on Friday and Saturday in the Irish Gym.