by Danny Brewer
For many years now, Rutherford County has been blessed with some of the best high school football in the state of Tennessee. The battles that have taken place within their own borders have been legendary and in fact prepared them for runs through the TSSAA state playoffs. But in reality, how good is the county that has been dubbed “the SEC of Tennessee”?
That moniker was one that Rutherford County earned on the playing field. Riverdale, Oakland, and Smyrna have all won multiple state titles this century while Siegel and Blackman have enjoyed deep runs into the post season. LaVergne has produced division 1 college and pro players in recent times. The question is however, how do they stack up now?
Over the past ten years, Smyrna finished as state runner-up (2010) and Oakland has claimed one title (2018) and finished as runner-up (2016). The addition of high schools (Rockvale, Stewart’s Creek) has allowed the class 6A family to grow, but that has also divided some of the talent.
So why do we ask this question now? Of course 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone on the planet, let alone the high school football teams in Rutherford County. But a quick check of last week’s scoreboard saw both Blackman (Warren County) and Siegel (Coffee County) lost to district rivals that usually are counted as wins on the schedule. Smyrna has been inconsistent, Lavergne has also been up and down while Rockvale and Stewart’s Creek are still building their programs.
Oakland has been the recent flag bearer for the County and that appears to be no different as they are off to a 5-0 start. Riverdale has shown promise with a nice ground attack and they stand at 4-1. It remains to be seen as to how everyone will stack up as the season plays out. Currently at the halfway point, there is still time to right the ship, but the clock is ticking.
As is the case with anything in high school sports, players and coaches come and go. This of course leads to ups and downs as the cycle works. The baton as best has been passed around in Rutherford County since the 1980’s as to who was tops in the area, but the fact was, all were pretty good. The playoff setup usually saw Rutherford County teams knocking each other out of the post-season. Oakland has been at the top of the heap in recent times and head coach Kevin Creasy has done an excellent job of cultivating talent. The rest of the “big” schools have been seemingly on a downward trend.
So what’s the answer to our question?… Winning in high school is about way more than the scoreboard. Growing young people and producing productive members of society is the real goal. Of course, in doing this, usually the scoreboard takes care of itself. The people in Rutherford County are thirsty for success and football may be down a bit right now, but pride and hard work will bring it back to the accustomed level. Until that time, let’s just enjoy the pure aspect the sport of high school football brings to the table of life.