Tag Archives: Montgomery Bell Academy

MBA pair earns boys soccer all-American honors

Montgomery Bell Academy’s Andrew Conwell and Will Emerson were both named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s high school all-American team recently.

Conwell, a senior midfielder, scored 14 goals — including the state semifinal game-winner and one in a 3-0 Division II-AA championship victory — with 10 assists this past season. He’s set to attend the University of Washington, where his dad, Ernie, was a member of the Huskies’ 1991 national championship football team.

Emerson, a junior defender, was part of a unit that allowed just three regular-season goals. He has committed to Stanford as part of its 2016 recruiting class.


Naval invasion taking place in Middle Tennessee

Originally published in the July 13 issue of The Contributor.

It’s roughly 700 miles from Nashville to Annapolis, Md. – the location of the United States Naval Academy.

And while there’s no way to physically make the two any closer, Amos Mason has helped shorten the distance in some respects.

The former Brentwood Academy three-sport standout was one of the early products of what has become a recruiting pipeline for Navy’s football program as coach Ken Niumatalolo enters his eighth season.

Signing a year after ex-Goodpasture quarterback – and current Heisman Trophy hopeful – Keenan Reynolds and alongside onetime Independence standout Jalen Wade, Mason is projected to be among 14 Middle Tennessee products that will either be on the Midshipmen’s roster or at the Naval Academy prep school this fall.

Another Midstate standout, East Nashville defensive back DeVarius Cortner, committed to Navy earlier this spring.

“I always try to send them down here to look for more kids,” said Mason, a 6-1, 250-pound junior who heads into the upcoming season listed second on the team’s depth chart at left defensive end, during a recent trip home.

“I know the talent we have down here. Coach (Ashley) Ingram, who recruited me, always takes a look down here and does a great job of recruiting them and selling them Navy, and they turn out to like it.”

The sales job and the success – Navy has made five bowl appearances in six years (including a 24-6 win over Middle Tennessee State in the 2013 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl), with a 10-win season and a pair of nine-win campaigns – have made their impression. Among last year’s area seniors, eight committed to the program, with five of those entering the Naval Academy prep school for the upcoming year.

“They know the kids can be successful. That’s what they told me about Jackson,” said Jack Pittman, father of former Brentwood Academy lineman Jackson Pittman and an assistant coach for the Eagles. “The Naval Academy has had the same coaching staff, they’ve had success with the kids and they’ve continued to come back to certain areas. I think they’re willing to take a chance on a kid, listen to coaches a little more, based on relationships.

“With Jackson and me, we looked at the statistics. You’ve got 250 kids that are going to get drafted (annually by the NFL). What are you going to college for? You have to think about it in the right way.”

In addition to the younger Pittman, Blackman’s Charlie Davidson, Quen Hardy and Ronnie Killings will attend the prep school along with Independence’s Dom Childress.

Cole Euverard, who quarterbacked Montgomery Bell Academy to the Division II-AA state title and was named Mr. Football last fall, was inducted into the Academy along with Friendship Christian offensive lineman Andrew Wood and Lipscomb defensive lineman Jackson Mitchell.

All will go in with the knowledge that upon graduation, they are obligated to active military duty.

“You have a secured job, for however long you want to have it,” Mason said, in a variation of the pitch he received. “Most college kids are doing internships, trying to find jobs. They give us a job. We have to do it for five years. If you want to, you can continue doing that job, or you can get out and do something with your degree from the Naval Academy. You have a lot of options, after that five years. And at 27, 28, you’re still relatively young.”

With scholarship offers to wrestle – as a former three-time state champion — at Eastern Michigan and Cal Poly and to play football at Murray State and Samford, no other option was as attractive as Navy for Mason.

“I’m at a Division I school, playing huge schools like Notre Dame and Ohio State,” he said. “I don’t know how much better it could get. You get to play in the Army-Navy game. I’m pretty sure that was the only game on television that day. You’re going to a bowl, playing in the only game on TV. Getting that kind of coverage, everybody seeing us, the opportunity you have at the Academy and the opportunities you have after – it’s tough to turn down.

“I have no regrets.”

MBA, Harpeth Hall win Hill Center Relays city championships

Ben Weisel took more than one for the team Friday night.

The Father Ryan distance runner wound up running nearly four miles in the Hill Center Relays city championship track meet at Harpeth Hall – winning the 1600 meters and the 3200 meters, finishing second in the 800 and running a leg on the Irish 4×400 relay.

“We were chasing MBA,” Ryan coach Doug Jones said. “He’s a great kid, works hard, does what you ask him. I probably won’t do this to him again.”

The Belmont signee wasn’t complaining after the long night, during which he nearly pulled off the tough triple – finishing just .91 seconds behind University School of Nashville’s Dylan Groos in the 800, his third race of the meet.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said after the 1:58.98 effort, which followed a 9:45.49 in the 3200 and a 4:29.71 in the 1600. “I wasn’t sure how it’d go. I’ve never done this many races in a row. I had hoped it would break exactly the way it did. I wasn’t sure if I’d have to run 9:30 (in the 3200). I knew the 1600 would be close to 4:30, but I can do that without pushing myself too hard, so that would give me the option to run another event.

“We were just going race by race, to see how each one went and how I felt. The 800 is just a speed workout, to see where I’m at and to get some points for the team.”

MBA, which set a school record with its 3:22.95 finish in the 4×400, took team honors with 145 points – pulling away from Ryan, which finished as meet runner-up with 96 points.

In addition to the relay win in the final event of the night, the Big Red got hurdle wins from Sam Curry (110s) and Will Pearson (300), who ran the opening two legs of the 4×400.

“That was a fun race,” MBA coach Robert Pruitt said of the relay, on which Curry, Pearson, Luke Bullock and Mike Lacey held off USN for the victory. “We’ll do it again in the (Division II) region, with Brentwood Academy mixed in, and we’ll do it again in the state with Memphis University School mixed in.”

On the girls side, Hillsboro’s Janel Pate came in with a chance to sweep three events as well after qualifying in the 100, 200 and 400 meters. However, the Alabama signee pulled out of the latter two in order to attend her senior prom.

“This is a big meet, but the most important thing is the sectionals and the state,” Pate said after winning the 100 with a 12.12. “I just want to get myself ready for the 100 and the 400 and the long jump.”

Harpeth Hall, which set a school and meet record with its 3:55.53 in the 4×400, won girls honors with 180½ points – nearly doubling second-place East Nashville (91).

It marked the second time in a week that the Honeybear foursome of Sophie Pilkinton, Reagan Freeman, Hallee Petrie and Lydia Witty had set a new standard in the event, following a 3:56.57 in last week’s Great 8.

“We knew after the Great 8 we’d be running our region lineup and that our legs wouldn’t be as fresh,” coach Jim Romero said. “We tried to clean up our handoffs; they weren’t great at the Great 8. We knew if we cleaned those up, we could pick up a second, and we did.

“I think some of these girls can continue to peak. That’s the question, can we get more out of them over the next two weeks. We just hope we have them where they need to be and where they can help us the most.”

Weisel and Ensworth’s Tyra Gittens – who won the 100 hurdles (14.85), the long jump (17-8½) and the high jump (5-11), setting a meet record in the latter – were named the meet’s Most Valuable Athletes.


Montgomery Bell Acad. 145; Father Ryan 96; Univ. School of Nashville 47; Pearl-Cohn 44; Maplewood 41; Stratford 40; Martin Luther King 36½; Franklin Road Acad. 35; Christ Presbyterian Acad. 32; Lipscomb Acad. 28; Antioch 25½; Hume-Fogg 25; Cane Ridge 21; Ensworth 20½; McGavock 14; Nashville Christian 12; Hillsboro 9; Hunters Lane 8; Donelson Christian 8; East Nashville 8; Overton 3½.

High jump – Zack Weatherly (CPA) 6-2; Pole vault – Ben Brunson (H-F) 13-6; Long jump – Darryl Harris (P-C) 22-7½; Triple jump – T.J. Turner (Mwd) 44-4½; Shot put – Daniel Bituli (NCS) 45-11; Discus – Rutger Reitmaier (Lips) 134-6; 4×800 – Univ. School of Nashville 7:57.97; 110 hurdles – Sam Curry (MBA) 15.15; 100 – Darius Morehead (Ens) 10.94; 4×200 – Martin Luther King 1:31.03; 1600 – Ben Weisel (Ryan) 4:29.71; 4×100 – Cane Ridge 43.68; 400 – Simpson Tanner (USN) 49.24; 300 hurdles – Will Pearson 40.05; 800 – Dylan Groos (USN) 1:58.07; 200 – Rontavius Groves (P-C) 22.08; 3200 – Ben Weisel (Ryan) 9:45.49; 4×400 – MBA 3:22.95.


Harpeth Hall 180½; East Nashville 91; Ensworth 77; St. Cecilia 57; Cane Ridge 54; Martin Luther King 39; Univ. School of Nashville 37; Overton 23; Lipscomb Acad. 20½; Antioch 18; Hillsboro 18; Stratford 17; Father Ryan 14; McGavock 10; Hillwood 9; Maplewood 7; Nashville Chr. 6, Glencliff 6; Pearl-Cohn 5; Christ Presbyterian Acad. 3; Hunters Lane 3; Hume-Fogg 2; Franklin Road Acad. 2.

High jump – Tyra Gittens (Ens) 5-11*; Pole vault – Hannah Malkofski-Berger (USN) 10-0; Long jump – Tyra Gittens (Ens) 17-8½; Triple jump – Jordyn Lesh (HH) 37-3; Shot put – Makayla Thompson (McG) 37-7; Discus – Nautica Merrell (MLK) 108-9; 4×800 – Harpeth Hall 9:43.28; 100 hurdles – Tyra Gittens (Ens) 14.85; 100 – Janel Pate (Hbo) 12.12; 4×200 – East Nashville 1:45.47; 1600 – Emma Sloan (Ens) 5:18.08; 4×100 – East Nashville 49.63; 400 – Lydia Witty (HH) 56.50; 300 hurdles – Grenetria Shell (EN) 44.23; 800 – Sophie Pilkinton (HH) 2:18.21; 200 – Maya Perry-Grimes (CR) 25.67; 3200 – Caroline Daniel (HH) 11:50.41; 4×400 – Harpeth Hall 3:55.53*.

*meet record

Hill Center Relays city championships start Tuesday

The Hill Center Relays city championship meet starts Tuesday at Harpeth Hall, with boys field events and girls running preliminaries set to begin at 4:30 p.m.

Girls field events and boys running qualifiers take place Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

On Friday, boys and girls running finals are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

The meet includes all Davidson County public and private schools.

The host Honeybears won last year’s girls title, with Montgomery Bell Academy taking top honors on the boys side.

Ensworth’s Tyra Gittens returns to defend her championships in the long jump, the high jump and the 100-meter hurdles, with Hillsboro’s Janel Pate looking to do likewise in the 100 meters. Pate also won last year’s 200, but did not run that event at last week’s Great 8 and may not compete in it this week. Harpeth Hall’s 4×400 relay team ran a 3:56.57 at the Great 8, setting a meet and school record.

University School of Nashville’s Simpson Tanner, who won last year’s 800 meters, ran a 48.98 to win the 400 at the Great 8 last week. The Tigers are the defending city champs in the 4×400 and had a 3:26.86 in the Great 8.

Let’s get ready to wrestle — state tourney style …

Josh Peck wouldn’t call it strength in numbers, but having a room full of wrestlers two days before the state tournament was an appealing sight for the Ravenwood coach.

And he figures it will be mutually beneficial to all involved.

Six other teams – District 11-AAA rivals Brentwood, Centennial and Independence as well as Page, Battle Ground Academy and Franklin Road Academy – were represented at Tuesday’s practice as fine tuning for the weekend wound down.

“It’s not just having a big room, but having good practice partners,” said Peck, who has traditionally issued an open invitation to area programs this time of year. “Some of these guys can beat everybody on their own team, but you come here and you’ve got a conglomerate.

“There’s somebody that will push you and make you better. And right before state, when the competition level goes up, the better your practice, the better you’ll be.”

Breaking the monotony of a long season is one purpose served by practicing with other teams. Creating a bit of an edge is another.

“You’re out of your element,” Peck said. “You want to work harder with another team – to show them you’re not tired, to show them how hard you work.”

Super six: Middle Tennessee has a half-dozen wrestlers that will be looking for their second state championships in as many seasons.

In Class AAA, Brentwood 152-pound senior Luke Hamilton won at 145 last year. Riverdale’s Sean Kennedy returns at 170 and Wilson Central’s John Kramer is back at 220 after claiming titles at those weights in 2014.

In Division II, Father Ryan’s Eli King eyes a 132-pound crown after winning 106 a year ago, with teammate Chris Wesnofske looking to follow his 2014 win at 132 by doing likewise at 145. Montgomery Bell Academy’s D’on Coofer goes for a second straight 220 title.

Chasing perfection: Riverdale features a pair of undefeated wrestlers — Kennedy (43-0) and sophomore 285-pounder Nick Boykin (38-0).

Also looking to stay perfect is Blackman’s Tyler Garrison, who comes into the state tournament at 54-0 and on a 91-match win streak that covers his junior season as well. The 160-pound Garrison was unable to wrestle in last year’s tournament after being ruled medically ineligible.

Working through tragedy: Blackman will have five wrestlers in action at this week’s tourney, following the death of Daniel Winters in a car wreck early Sunday morning. Winters had just qualified for his first state tournament by placing third in the 120-pound weight class at the Region 5 tourney.

Senior Michael Brobeck, the driver of the vehicle, will not participate after winning the region 132-pound title. Freshman Hunter Winters, Daniel’s younger brother, qualified with a fourth-place region finish at 170 but will not wrestle.

“He’s not ready,” Blackman coach Ronnie Bray said of Hunter’s availability. “If he were a junior or a senior, he’d probably be mature enough, but as a freshman, he’s just not ready.”

As for the remaining five wrestlers – including Garrison, 138-pound region champ Josh Feuerbacher, 152-pound region titlist Matthew Sells and 195-pound region runner-up Andre Bravo – Bray said they’re handling the situation as well as could be expected.

“Each of them is different,” he said. “Thank goodness Tyler and ‘Bam’ (Feuerbacher) are seniors; they’ve still got their eye on the prize. The others are there, trying their best to work hard. (Wednesday) was a big day to get through.

“They’ve been awesome.”

Schedule: Wrestling begins at the Williamson County Ag Expo in Franklin with four rounds of Class AAA competition starting at 3 p.m. Thursday, and resumes Friday at 10 a.m. with all three classes in action as well as the girls tournament. Championship semifinals are scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday and championship finals are set for 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $10 per day and parking is $5 daily.

Independence sets fundraiser: The Indy Eagles Wrestling Club will hold a dinner on March 12 at Dolan’s in Spring Hill. Tickets for two are $100, and ticket holders will also be able to guess the number of M&Ms in a jar with a 2015 Ford Escape going to the winner. For more information, go to indywrestlingroom.org.

Mo’s Pick-6: Playoff predictions from across the state

With a handful of postseason games remaining, picks for all 28 playoff matchups appear here … Check ’em out …

Oakland (11-1) at Blackman (11-1): A Class 6A matchup that’s been anticipated since Aug. 24 – when Blackman defeated the Patriots 28-21 – is the biggest game in the Midstate this week. Oakland hasn’t lost since, allowing two touchdowns or less in 10 of its last 11 games and scoring 30-plus points in nine of those. The Smiths – LB Josh and QB JaCorey – will be keys to the Patriots’ success. Blackman has been stellar all year behind QB Jauan Jennings, posting at least 40 points in its last 10 wins and losing only at Alabama power Hoover in the Blaze’s regular-season finale. Both teams survived 7-AAA rematches to set up this showdown, with top-seeded Blackman downing Riverdale 48-21 and No. 2 seed Oakland getting past LaVergne 23-7. It’s tough to beat a good team twice in the same season. Oakland 33, Blackman 30.

Centennial (10-2) at Ravenwood (12-0): In another 6A rematch – though not quite as electric – Centennial looks to avenge a 24-0 Week 6 defeat at the hands of the Raptors, who have been multifaceted on offense and smothering on defense all year. Ravenwood, seeded No. 1, has outscored its two playoff opponents 112-21 and shown little sign of slowing down after winning its 10 regular-season games by an average margin of 24.5 points. QB Cole Brown is expected to be available after sustaining an ankle injury in last week’s 46-7 win over McGavock. The sixth-seeded Cougars face their third straight road game, after winning 24-7 at Hendersonville in a contest they controlled from the outset. RB Deon Sanders and LB Tyrel Dodson will have to play big yet again for the visitors to have a shot. Ravenwood 31, Centennial 27.

Shelbyville (9-3) at Hillsboro (12-0): Class 5A No. 2 seed Shelbyville survived a 42-41 overtime win against Beech last week to advance, as QB Mason Cunningham threw for 275 yards and five TDs. After a 2-2 start, the Golden Eagles have won seven of their last eight games – dropping a 21-18 regular-season finale to Lawrence County. Cunningham and Eddings have been pivotal performers for Shelbyville. Hillsboro scored 34 straight points in its 41-7 second-round win over Springfield, marking the seventh time the top-seeded Burros have scored 40 or more points this season. RB Vincent Perry, who committed last month to Tennessee, had a breakout effort with 198 rushing yards and three TDs on 11 carries while Tennessee State commitment Micheal Hughes ran and threw for scores. Hillsboro 42, Shelbyville 31.

Nashville Chr. (11-0) at Columbia Acad. (11-0): In one of two statewide matchups between unbeatens, second-seed Nashville Christian goes on the road looking for its first-ever 12-win season and its third consecutive 1A semifinal berth. The Eagles stayed perfect with a 21-0 win over Wayne County, as Mareio McGraw rushed for 127 yards and two TDs on 11 carries. NCS has held 10 opponents to 14 points or less, with five shutouts. No. 1 seed Columbia Academy got a three-touchdown effort from QB Jackson Cary – two rushing, one passing – and Taylor Thompson added a 73-yard interception return for a score in a 53-35 win over Clarksville Academy. The Bulldogs have been explosive offensively, averaging 45.6 points, but defeated Wayne County 28-27 in Week 7. Nashville Christian 34, Columbia Acad. 27.

MUS (8-3) at Ensworth (9-1): The four-time defending Division II-AA state champion Tigers opened postseason play by defeating Briarcrest 42-6 as RB Darius Morehead rushed for 109 yards and a TD on 13 carries while QB P.J. Settles threw for a score and ran for one. Ensworth has won five straight games against the Owls, including last year’s 27-10 decision in the state finals and a 31-14 victory in the 2012 championship game. MUS advanced into the semifinal matchup with a 30-28 win over Brentwood Academy, rallying from a 28-7 deficit and avenging a 31-14 loss in the season opener. The Owls got a 67-yard touchdown run from Mr. Football finalist Colton Neel early and a pair of TD throws from Marcus Evans late to key the win. Look for the Tigers to play for a fifth straight title. Ensworth 35, MUS 24.

Baylor (8-4) at MBA (9-2): Sophomore RB Ty Chandler’s second five-TD performance of the season rolled the Big Red into the DII-AA semifinals with a 43-14 win over McCallie. Chandler (1,158 rushing yards, 20 TDs) finished with 181 yards on 15 carries in the win, with QB Cole Euverard (2,191 offensive yards, 25 TDs) throwing for a score. Baylor, which defeated MBA 23-20 in Week 2, won 10-7 at Christian Brothers to advance. MBA is within a victory of its first championship game appearance since 2009. MBA 27, Baylor 21.

Last week: 23-5, .821.

Season: 610-184, .768.

The rest:

Maryville over Science Hill

Whitehaven over Arlington

Knoxville West over South Doyle

Oak Ridge over Rhea Co.

Henry Co. over Ridgeway

Fulton over Sullivan South

Livingston Acad. over Loudon

Pearl-Cohn over White House

Trezevant over Crockett Co.

Alcoa over CAK

Notre Dame over McMinn Central

CPA over Lipscomb Acad.

Milan over Hickman Co.

Oneida over Knoxville Grace

Trousdale Co. over Marion Co.

Adamsville over Mt. Pleasant

Peabody over McKenzie

Greenback over Coalfield

Monterey over Copper Basin

Union City over Lake Co.

BGA over St. George’s

Knoxville Webb over ECS

Mo’s Four-Down Territory …

A quick look back and a look ahead as the regular-season finales loom across the Midstate …

First-and-10: For all the senior talent on the field for Oakland in last week’s Battle of the ‘Boro, it was a sophomore that may have made the play of the game in the Patriots’ 42-20 win over District 7-AAA rival Riverdale. Strong safety JaCoby Stevens’ 80-yard fumble return in the third quarter broke the game open, giving his team a two-touchdown advantage. “It was the first momentum play we’d had go in our favor all night,” coach Thomas McDaniel said. “We’d dominated the first half and it was 14-14. They’d gotten a red-zone interception return and a kickoff return. It was the first gift from the football gods we’d gotten.” The 6-2, 195-pounder also had a TD catch in the win, continuing to be an impact player on both sides of the ball. “Most people look at him and think ‘defensive player’, but he could be a mismatch with his size and jumping ability and ball skills,” McDaniel said. “I could see him as a D-I receiver.”

Second-and-5: Michael Lacey touched the ball five times Friday night. Three of those plays – including the first one of the game — ended with him in the end zone as Montgomery Bell Academy defeated Pope John Paul II 42-7 in a Division II-AA matchup. Lacey returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and rushed for 88 yards and two scores on four carries. “The kickoff return to start the game was huge; that got us going,” MBA coach Marty Euverard said. “Then right before the half, he took one 56 yards. It was just an inside trap, but if he gets through the first level, he’s tough to bring down. The offensive line did a good job of blocking, but we’re fortunate to have somebody with his speed.” With Ty Chandler adding 167 yards and two TDs on nine carries, the Big Red rushed for 308 yards in the contest.

Third-and-short: It looks like District 10-AAA is going to shake out as it had originally been expected to back in August, but the way it got there went a little differently than anticipated. Rossview’s decisive 44-20 win at Springfield – behind a combined 432 rushing yards from Isaiah Johnson and Tristan Luke – virtually locked up the runner-up spot for the Hawks (6-3, 5-1), whose only league loss came to league leader Henry County back in Week 4. The Patriots (7-2, 6-0), defending Class 5A champions, downed Rossview 42-20 in Paris before scratching out a 21-20 win two weeks later at Springfield (7-2, 4-2).

Fourth-and-inches: With the playoffs in sight, a couple of Metro hopefuls were bitten by the injury bug last week. Bailey Goodman, a two-year starter on Hillsboro’s offensive line, suffered a broken leg on the first play of the undefeated Burros’ 57-0 Senior Night win over Glencliff. “We were rotating seven guys up there; now we’ve got six,” said Craig Clayton, who anticipates junior Chris Chapman moving from right tackle to fill Goodman’s spot at left guard and sophomore Julian Houston going to the tackle spot for this week’s matchup with Hunters Lane. East Nashville, meanwhile, is hopeful of Isiah Upton’s return after the dual-threat quarterback sustained a knee injury in the Eagles’ 19-0 loss — their first of the season — to Nashville Christian. East faces Lipscomb this week.