With a chance to gain some late-season momentum, Donelson Christian Academy is beginning to set its sights on the postseason.
DCA (7-2, 2-0) brings down the curtain on the regular season when it visits Zion Christian (5-4, 1-1) in Columbia on Friday. The Wildcats are virtually assured a first-round bye for the Division II-A playoffs, which open Nov. 4, and an accompanying two-week break if they win.
“I feel like we have a good shot at a bye regardless, but if we win [Friday], I know we’ll have one,” coach Dennis Goodwin, whose teams have reached the TSSAA playoffs 20 straight years, said earlier this week.
There is only one scenario in which DCA could finish as low as second place. With favorable results, first place remains a possibility even with a loss at Zion Christian.
Goodwin was thankful for the recent open date, which gave his unit a chance to heal up some injuries.
Since then (Oct. 7), DCA has outscored Mt. Juliet Christian 48-0 and Davidson Academy 21-0. In all, the Wildcats have won four straight since a 21-17 loss to Boyd-Buchanan Sept. 23.
“We’ve played very well since the bye week,” Goodwin said. “We had 10 kids out at one point, including several starters. At one point, we had just a shell of our team, and we really needed that bye week. Since then, most of our guys are back.”
Thankfully for DCA, the injured list didn’t include either quarterback Kyle Kennedy or split end Collin Johnston.
Kennedy has more than 4,000 career passing yards — and counting — while Johnston has an outside chance at 1,000 receiving yards this season. The dynamic duo has shattered nearly every school passing and receiving record, respectively.
Goodwin said that Johnston is getting some interest from colleges such s Princeton and Vanderbilt and some area schools. Kennedy is attracting attention from a lot of area schools like Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay.
“They have both worked really hard to improve themselves, giving all the extra work in the summer, and all the things they’ve needed to do,” Goodwin said.
Next up is a high-scoring Zion Christian team that has impressed Goodwin on film, especially the Eagles’ standout quarterback/linebacker Colt Duncan.
“They have an outstanding quarterback, [Duncan], who plays more like a fullback,” he said. “He’s a hard runner, an excellent passer, and he’s very hard to contain. We’ll have our hands full against him and that offense.”
After that comes the postseason.
There, the Wildcats hope to erase some painful playoff memories. They exited one-and-done for the last three years.
• TSSAA to release brackets: The TSSAA has announced that it will broadcast the 2011 Blue Cross Bowl bracket release show live 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, following the end of the football regular season Friday. The complete brackets will be broadcast on Nashville’s WNPT-TV (Ch. 8) and on radio on 104.5-FM, the Zone.
• Key game in 10-AA: A lot is riding on the Pearl-Cohn at Christ Presbyterian Academy District 10-AA game Friday.
CPA can finish as high as second, behind Maplewood, if the Lions win. If Pearl-Cohn wins, the Firebirds finish first and Maplewood second.
The top two finishers in each district clinch an opening round home playoff game.
In District 12-AAA, surprising Antioch and Overton have clinched the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, respectively.
• State volleyball: Defending state champion Ensworth (33-4) advanced to within one win of a second straight Division II-AA title and earned a spot opposite Baylor in the winners bracket final.
The Tigers won two matches Wednesday in Murfreesboro, including a five-game marathon against St. Agnes. They finally secured the victory 18-16 in the fifth.
St. Cecilia advanced to the winners bracket final in DII-A before it lost to St. George’s. Davidson Academy went 0-2.
In Class AA, Goodpasture (44-3) beat Red Bank before then to Page in the winners bracket final.
District foes Ravenwood and Independence both won and appear headed to a finals rematch in Class AAA.
Battle Ground Academy at Chattanooga Baylor
Brentwood High at Franklin
Cane Ridge at Antioch
David Lipscomb at Stratford
Chattanooga McCallie at Brentwood Academy
Davidson Academy at Knox Webb
Donelson Christian Academy at Zion Christian
East Lit at Whites Creek
Ensworth at Father Ryan
Glencliff at Hunters Lane
Goodpasture at Greenbrier
Hillsboro at Centennial
Hillwood at McGavock
Montgomery Bell Academy at Pope John Paul II
Mt. Juliet Christian at Franklin Road Academy
Nashville Christian School at Jo Byrns
Pearl-Cohn at Christ Presbyterian Academy
Ravenwood at Independence
Riverside Christian at Ezell-Harding