Preps: Condensed schedule challenges Hillwood, other Metro schools

Sunday, August 5, 2012 at 10:23pm

The old saying “it’ll be here before you know it” might not fit the situation for Nashville Metro schools football coaches.

With a condensed schedule, those such as Hillwood’s James (Bubba) Spears likely believe it’s more appropriate to go with “there’s not enough time in the day.”

He, like many others, will have to have to whip his troops into shape in a hurry.

“In all my years of coaching, I can never remember a situation like this one,” Spears, who also has coached at Stratford, Hunters Lane and East Literature said. “With the early opening of schools, our practice is really crammed so close to the beginning of the season.”

With the three-day Metro Jamboree starting Thursday at Maplewood (Hillwood will take part), Spears said his team would have only a total of a week of preparation.

“Practice started last Monday [July 30], and with schools opening up so early [Aug. 1], we weren’t able to have our two-a-days in pads,” Spears said. “With that situation, we’re only going to have seven days of practice before the Jamboree, four last week, then three this week. We’re pretty far behind.

“I certainly understand the balance of academics and athletics, but this has become an issue. There’s just not enough practice time before the season starts.”

In recent years, the start of the school year in Metro has steadily moved up. Traditionally it came in mid August. This year was the earliest ever.

“Right after the Jamboree, we are opening up in Week Zero [Aug. 17 at Hillsboro], and that is right on top of us,” Spears said. “I realize we don’t have to play in Week Zero, but for a lot of us, in order to get a 10 games in to go with our region schedule, for a lot us, it’s necessary to play that week.”

In addition to being short on time, Hillwood also lacks experience.

“We’ve got 17 seniors, but only about half of them played much, if at all last year,” Spears said. “People look at our roster, and think we have all these seniors, but it really doesn’t match up with our lack of experience. Junior class, same way.”

Spears said after his team’s scrimmage at Harpeth on Friday that junior Cortez James would be the Toppers starting quarterback.

“He started the last four-five games last year, and he’s looked pretty good so far in practice,” he said.

• Metro Jamboree: The 44th Metro Jamboree opens Thursday at Maplewood High.

Hillwood kicks off the proceedings against the host Panthers at 7 p.m. Pearl-Cohn follows with a matchup against Hunters Lane at about 8 p.m.

On Friday, the action shifts to Cane Ridge, where the host Raptors meet Donelson Christian Academy at 6 p.m., followed by McGavock vs. Stratford, then Whites Creek vs. Antioch.

The Jamboree concludes Saturday at Overton. The host Bobcats meet Hillsboro at 7 p.m. in a rematch of their scrimmage from the past Thursday. East Nashville, which changed its name from East Literature after the past school year, then plays Glencliff.

All segments are two quarters each, with no kickoffs. The first quarter begins on the 30-yard line. There is no overtime.

Admission is $6 per person.

• Goodpasture goes North: Goodpasture travels to play Trinity Christian Academy (Fla.) in the Bluegrass High School Football Showcase Classic Saturday, 1 p.m. (CDT) Aug. 25 at the University of Louisville’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

The Cougars’ matchup with Trinity is the second of four games that day in the event. Riverdale will meet Louisville Ballard in the third game at 4 p.m.

Goodpasture opens its season at home Aug. 17 against Christ Presbyterian Academy.

• Maplewood coach passes away: Maplewood secondary coach Bryan Holt died Friday following complications after a long bout with sickle cell disease. A graduate of Whites Creek High and Tennessee State, Holt, 35, followed head coach Arcentae Broome from McGavock to Maplewood to start the 2009 season.

• CPA invited: Reigning Class AA state basketball champion Christ Presbyterian Academy has been invited to the Holiday Invitational and Carolinas Boys Beach Ball Classic over the Christmas Holidays at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Convention Center. The event is Dec. 26-31 and features 16 teams from 12 states.

• Litton alumni to unveil new center: The alumni association for old Litton High will hold an open house for the new Alumni Center at the school, 4500 Gallatin Pike, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

Ribbon cutting is 11 a.m. Saturday, with the program and tours to follow.