Two local teams prove that prep football playoffs are always unpredictable

Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10:32pm

Ah, the football playoffs. It's a time when surprises occur, upsets crop up and teams make up for disappointments during the regular season.

Take Donelson Christian Academy.

The Wildcats came in without a playoff win since 2007 — a stretch that included some outstanding teams — with a 6-4 record, somewhat less than lofty expectations.

They won their playoff opener, then went to Jackson last Friday and stunned undefeated University School of Jackson 21-20 to reach the Division II-A semifinals.

"We have a very young team, we just had three returning starters,'' coach Dennis Goodwin said. "But we've improved as the season has gone along.

"Against USJ, we got down 17-0, but our guys stayed after it and never quit. We made some key stops, guys stepped up and made plays and we beat a great team.''

Junior quarterback Will Reddick threw for three touchdowns, including two in the final quarter, as he helped bring his team back from the edge of the cliff.

"Will was outstanding,'' Goodwin said. "He made plays with his legs as well as his arm. We have a group of  players who are eager to learn, and they weren't ready to see their season end.''

Next up for DCA (8-4) is another enormous challenge Friday — powerful Knoxville Webb (9-1), a team that beat the Wildcats 42-6 earlier in the season.

"They have a truly outstanding team,'' Goodwin said. "They have two outstanding athletes who are both capable of big plays. Again, we are going to try to win the time of possession game, try to keep their offense off the field.

“We're going to need to put together a complete game.''

DCA is the only Nashville area team left in the DII-A playoffs after Franklin Road Academy lost last Friday.

Another surprise team of the postseason is Nashville Christian School.

After an early-season region loss to Clarksville Academy, the Eagles traveled up I-24 last Friday and scored a resounding 24-0 victory over the hosts.

That landed NCS in the Class 1A quarterfinals for just the second time in school history.

Tailback Phillip Booker continued his outstanding season with a 178-yard, one-touchdown game, and the defense forced five turnovers (three fumbles and two interceptions).

"I thought that was clearly our best game of the season, offensively and defensively,'' coach Jeff Brothers said. "And Booker was dynamite running the ball.”

Like DCA, the Eagles (10-2) are a much better team than the one they had two months ago.

"We're a much better team than the one which played CA earlier in the year,” Brothers said. "We had a number of players who were trying out for new positions, but I knew we had a good team in the making.''

CA had some issues with an illness, which went around the community, causing the school to be closed for a couple of days last week. But Brothers said he didn't think that was a factor.

"I don't think that had anything to do with the outcome,'' he said. "They weren't missing any players [due to the illness]. As far I know, they had their entire team there.''

Next up is a quarterfinal trip to Collinwood (9-2) on Friday.

"They have an outstanding quarterback, and a good defense,'' Brothers said. "We're only the second team in school history to make the quarterfinals, and I hope we can keep it going.''

FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Friday's area games


Quarterfinals
Class 6A

Mt. Juliet at Brentwood High

Class 3A
Christ Presbyterian Academy at Cheatham County

Class 1A
Nashville Christian School at Collinwood

Semifinals
Division II-AA

Brentwood Academy at Memphis University School
Montgomery Bell Academy at Ensworth

Division II-A
Donelson Christian Academy at Knox Webb