VIDEO: Blackman battles Centennial in soccer game

Blackman’s Scrimmage vs. Centennial highlights Tuesday night.

Cecil Joyce, Wochit

Here are the biggest keys to the Murfreesboro area high school soccer teams for the 2021 season:

Black man

Make stops. First year coach Chandler Tygard brought Blackman a quick offensive style and the Blaze seem to get the concept well. Still, they have to stop their opponents. While Tygard and Co. anticipate shootouts this year, the Blaze defense needs to be reinforced to avoid a bushel of 49:42 losses.

Eagleville

Let the star shine. Eagleville has moved to Class 1A and star quarterback / defensive back Marcus Collins will be an important key to offense and defense. As a strong runner and passer, Collins has to be healthy and the line-up for him could run into great numbers in 1A.

La Vergne

Stay tough. The Wolverines earned a playoff spot last year thanks to a strong offensive brought back by Ray Banner. Banner graduated, but offensive mastermind Mike Woodward’s philosophy shouldn’t change. Running the ball behind a tough offensive line was the bread and butter of the team.

Middle Tennessee Christian

Hang out with hooper. With Aden Hooper, the Cougars have one of the best quarterbacks in the area. Hooper could have a big year this season talking to Mr. Football. He has a strong arm and is able to run the ball too. The Cougars should be able to score points on the board if Hooper stays healthy.

Oakland

So that James and Horton stay healthy. Let’s be clear, the Patriots are favorites to win the Class 6A state title again, and they certainly have the tools to do so on either side of the ball. Keeping senior running back Jordan James (Georgia engagement) and senior wide receiver Isaiah Horton (Miami engagement) on the field will be tremendous, especially when it’s deep into the postseason and a possible trip to Maryville is coming up.

Riverdale

A balanced offensive. The Warriors should have some of the best defenses around, especially up front, and they also have strength on their backfield with returning starters Marcus Lloyd and Brandon Connard running back and Jameson Holcomb quarterback. When the Warriors balance the run and pass attacks, the points should come and complement the strong defense.

Rockvale

Turn around the corner. The Rockets are now in their third year as a varsity program, and coach Rick Rice is expected to see the build-up efforts pay off in the first two seasons. Numerous freshmen and sophomores played on the first Rockvale team in 2019 and these players have the chance to make a huge impact. If so, a first trip to the playoffs is not out of reach.

seal

Change climate. The stars fought for a couple of years, but this is the second year of the Adam Renshaw era. There are several recurring starters who have played for Renshaw and show that maturity and experience in the field will be key to adding multiple winnable games to their schedule.

Smyrna

High point in the postseason. The Bulldogs have been one of the top teams in their area for several years, but a Williamson County roadblock in the playoffs was a thorn in the side of coach Matt Williams and his crew. The playoff street is much cheaper now, and Smyrna doesn’t have to see players like Ravenwood, Brentwood, Franklin, Independence or Summit until the state semi-finals. The high point of the playoff time would be great for the Bulldogs.

Stewart’s Creek

Sustained momentum. The Red Hawks had a good regular season but COVID-19 forced them to miss the regular season final against rivals Smyrna (that was for a potential title in the region) and the playoffs. The Red Hawks have shaken it off and it will be crucial to build on the momentum in a new region (4-6A).

Reach Cecil Joyce at cjoyce@dnj.com or 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Cecil_Joyce.