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North Sports Report – Communities come together for sports

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Can you Dig It? Yes, I Can
The North Sports Report attended the Middle School Volleyball Play Day at Overton last weekend and was blown away by the quality of play. The pre-season jamboree-type event is sponsored by the Bellevue Women’s Club and allows teams to work out the jitters before the season opener. From what the North Sports Report saw, the MNPS coaches have these teams in mid-season form already. It’s going to be a great season.

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Alumni Watch
The North Sports Report will be checking box scores and highlights for top performances from MNPS alumni. Just a few to watch include:

  • Overton’s Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox who is hitting .274 with 13 home runs this season;
  • Maplewood/Tennessee Tech’s Ladarius Vanlier has been named preseason All-American;
  • Hillsboro’s Joseph Occhipinti started his junior season for Western Kentucky at Vanderbilt last night;
  • Hillboro’s Kyle Phillips and Overton’s Justin Martin will see plenty of playing time in Tennessee’s opener at Nissan Stadium Saturday;
  • and one of Oregon’s football coaches called Overton’s Ugo Amadi a “blessing from God” and “one of the best mentally, as a freshmen, I’ve ever been around.”
  • …and many more.

Come Together for the Game
Friday night at Stratford High School features a huge community tailgate party, and everyone is there. The North Sports Report saw several Stratford alumni enjoying the game, including MNPS Sports Hall of Famers and former NFL players Joe Campbell and Cory Fleming. Nothing compares to the sense of community that surrounds Buster Boguskie Field each home game.

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Football Friday September 4
The Backyard Burger Bowl is back as the Maplewood Panthers will play Springfield at Vanderbilt Stadium in the 2nd Annual event hosted by the Backyard Burger restaurant chain. The football will be exciting and the concession stand will serve fresh Backyard Burgers. Yes sir, I will be there.

In other games:

  • Stratford Spartans host East Nashville Eagles for eastside bragging rights;
  • Hillsboro Burros welcome Station Camp;
  • Hunters Lane Warriors play at home against Gallatin;
  • McGavock Raiders host Lebanon;
  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds welcome Macon County;
  • Antioch Bears travel to Wilson Central;
  • Cane Ridge Ravens look to stay unbeaten as the visit Hendersonville;
  • Glencliff Colts head to Sumner County to face Beech;
  • Hillwood Hilltoppers visit Kenwood;
  • Overton Bobcats travel to Franklin; and
  • Whites Creek has the night off.

The MNPS home games are at Stratford; at Hillsboro; at Hunters Lane; at McGavock; at Pearl-Cohn; and Maplewood plays at Vanderbilt. Go to a game!

MNPS: The First Choice for Cohesive Communities

North Sports Report – Because football.

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Because Football
Opening night of football season surprises me every year. It’s so much fun! I adjust my expectations accordingly, but each year it is more fun than I anticipate. The marching bands, cheerleaders, fans, mascots, face painting, concession stand vittles, and great football – all combine to create an atmosphere of joy and excitement beyond description. The double dipping of football fun (Friday at Antioch and Saturday for the game at Vanderbilt) left the North Sports Report ready for more. Looking for some fun? Go to a game!

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Middle School Jamborees
Saturday, August 29 is the unofficial start to Middle School sports with the football jamboree at Pearl-Cohn and the Volleyball Play Day at Overton. Good luck to all our players, cheerleaders, and coaches!

Spotlight: Royal Runners
Cross-Country season is getting revved up, and the MLK Boys team is ready to make some noise. Team Captain Jared Clark is a Two-Time All State runner; Team Captain Nolan Gross is a Top 50 Finisher in the State last year; and Will Carson returns as a Top 60 finisher in the State.

Their season includes five big meets at the Steeplechase Course:

  • September 12: AF Bridges Invitational
  • September 19: TN Classic Invitational
  • October 22: Metro Championship
  • October 29: Region Championship
  • November 7: State Championship

Good luck to the runnin’ Royals

Alumni Alert: Whites Creek Alum Honored
Whites Creek’s Frank Omiyale will be inducted into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame in November. Omiyale started all four years for the Tech football team, was named All-OVC and All America his Senior year, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, and played eight years in the NFL for the Falcons, Panthers, Bears and Seahawks.

Football Friday: August 28
Week 2 is loaded with great games. The North Sports Report is headed to Stratford for a battle of undefeated teams as the 1-0 Spartans host the 1-0 Glencliff Colts.

In other action:

  • East Nashville Eagles host Maplewood Panthers at TPS;
  • Hunters Lane Warriors visit Hillwood Hilltoppers;
  • Whites Creek Cobras host Sycamore;
  • Overton Bobcats host Marshall County
  • McGavock Raiders play at home against Spring Hill;
  • Cane Ridge Ravens look to go 2-0 as they welcome Mt. Juliet;
  • Antioch Bears look to bounce back at home against LaVergne; and
  • Hillsboro Burros (#1 in the State in 5A according to the Associated Press) open their home schedule by hosting Oakland; and
  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds travel to MBA.

The MNPS home games are at Stratford; at Hillwood; at Whites Creek; at Overton; at McGavock; at Cane Ridge; at Antioch; at Hillsboro; and at East Nashville (at TPS). Go to a game!

MNPS: The First Choice for Friday Fun

North Sports Report – Friday Night Lights Week 1

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

Don’t Miss It
How do you follow a banner year for MNPS sports? In 2014-15, every sports season featured a team state champion from MNPS: Fall – Hume-Fogg Boys Cross-Country; Winter – MLK Girls Basketball; and Spring – Pearl-Cohn Boys Track. Not to mention long playoff runs in football, soccer and volleyball for several teams including Hillsboro’s trip to the football state championship game in Cookeville.

Last year’s top college recruits are now MNPS alumni and Freshmen at UT, Oregon, Illinois, UT Martin, TSU, MTSU, Belmont, and other schools across the country. Don’t you love saying “I saw him/her play in high school” when talking about a local talent playing in college or in the pros. Well, MNPS is loaded with talent again this year. Don’t miss your chance to go to the games, support the schools and students, and see tremendous athletic performances.

The Fall season has started for Cross-Country, Volleyball, Golf, Girls Soccer, and Football. Go to the games. Seriously, go to the games and not just football. You will love it!

Titan Up Bobcat
Overton graduate Dezmond Johnson earned his degree from prestigious Duke University and was named to the Academic All-ACC team for his success in the classroom and on the field for the Blue Devils football team. Now, he has come home as a member of the Tennessee Titans.

Wait. Go back and read that again. Overton High School…Duke graduate…academic All-Conference…NFL player. Wow! Congratulations Dezmond Johnson!

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Football: Can’t Miss Showdowns Highlight Week 1
Week 1 features two nights of high school football this week for MNPS. Go to a game each night.

Saturday, August 22:

The place to be Saturday night is Vanderbilt University for the showdown between the Hillsboro Burros and the Pearl-Cohn Firebirds. Both teams have reloaded with talent and expect great seasons. The Associated Press ranks Hillsboro 3rd in the state for Division 5A and ranks Pearl-Cohn 4th in the state in 4A. They will be talking about this one for a long time – two of the best teams in the state playing on a Saturday night at the comfortable confines of Vanderbilt Stadium. Be there! I bet the place will be crawling with college coaches and recruiters.

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Friday, August 21, games include great season openers and rivalries:

  • The Antioch Bears host nearby rival Cane Ridge Ravens in the battle for southeast supremacy.
  • You can throw out the records when rivals Stratford Spartans and Maplewood Panthers meet. Since it’s the first game of the season, I guess it’s safe to disregard the records in all the games. Nevertheless, this is a hot rivalry hosted by Maplewood this year.

In other action:

  • Glencliff Colts travel to Whites Creek Cobras
  • Hunters Lane Warriors open at home against Clarksville Northwest
  • East Nashville Eagles travel to Rossview
  • McGavock Raiders head to Hendersonville
  • Overton Bobcats play at Stewarts Creek
  • Hillwood Hilltoppers visit Father Ryan

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The MNPS home games are at Antioch; at Hunters Lane; at Maplewood; and at Whites Creek on Friday; and at Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Go to a game each night!

MNPS: The First Choice for Year after Year Success

College Ready: Taking National Signing Day to the next level

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

A great year for MNPS athletics gets even better on Wednesday February 4, as family, friends and coaches gather to celebrate National Signing Day – the day student-athletes choose a college and finalize athletic scholarships. The class of 2015 might be the deepest and most talented group of student-athletes MNPS has produced in many years and includes some of the nation’s top recruits.

The years of hard work and sacrifice pay off for student-athletes and their parents with the signing of college scholarship papers. The North Sports Report will follow the action of the day and attend as many of the celebrations across the district as I can. Nothing is final until the ink hits the dotted line, so the anticipation is building. Things can change right up to the last minute.

Here is the schedule for Wednesday:

  • 9:00am – Pearl-Cohn will have eight (that’s right, I said eight) student-athletes sign scholarship papers. Firebird running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn – Mr. Football, Hume Award winner, and Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year – has listed his top choices as Illinois, Purdue, West Virginia and Louisville. His choice is the most eagerly anticipated of the day.
  • 10:00am – At Hillsboro, Vincent Perry is expected to join to play for Coach Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers on the hill in Knoxville, and Juwan Davis is expected to sign with the Austin Peay Governors.
  • 11:00am – At McGavock, Damien Starks will sign to continue his studies and football at Cumberland University, and Chris Claybrooks will sign with Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.
  • 1:40pm – At Overton, DeAngelo Holt is expected to take his sack attack to Johnson City and join the East Tennessee State Buccaneers.
  • 2:30pm – At East Nashville, dual threat quarterback Isiah Upton is expected to be a wide receiver at the next level and will sign with the MTSU Blue Raiders. Lennox McAfee will take his talents to the Southern Conference as he signs with the Wofford Terriers.
  • Cane Ridge will host a celebration for the incomparable Track and Cross-Country star Bailee Dean who has signed to run for the Belmont Bruins.

Several other student-athletes signed earlier in the school year, including Hillsboro track star Janel Pate (Alabama). Other members of the class of 2015 graduated early and are enrolled in college, including some of the top recruits in the nation. Overton’s Ugo Amadi is at the University of Oregon and will play for the Ducks this fall; Hillsboro’s Michael Hughes is already continuing his education at TSU and will play for the Big Blue Tigers this fall; and Hillsboro’s Kyle Phillips has started his first college semester at UT and will a part of a top ten recruiting class.

Congratulations to the student-athletes and their families.

North Sports Report – August 4, 2014

by Mark North, president of The Fans, Inc

It’s Time to Fan Up
The North Sports Report is back to keep you up to date on Metro Schools athletics from a fan’s perspective. This is the place to find photos, stats, schedules and even reviews of concession stand cuisine. But the best way to follow the action is to become a fan and attend the games. You will not be disappointed.

Breaking News – Maplewood Football to Play at Vandy in Backyard Burger Bowl
Great things happen when schools partner with Nashville’s universities and corporate friends. Maplewood Principal Dr. Ron Woodard, Vanderbilt Vice-President for Athletics David Williams, and Backyard Burger Vice President Michael Kern reached an agreement to bring the Maplewood Panthers to Vanderbilt Stadium for a game each of the next three years. The Backyard Burger Bowl will be part of the Panthers’ regular season schedule. This year’s game will be September 5, 2014, and feature the Panthers vs. Lipscomb. Tickets will go on sale soon. Plan to join us at Vanderbilt Stadium that evening for a great celebration of high school athletics.

“Practice…We’re Talking About Practice” –Iverson
Even before school starts, the student-athletes and coaches are hard at work getting ready for the fall season. Discipline, teamwork, sacrifice, challenge, triumph! In the game and in the classroom, student-athletes will earn the payoff for putting in the work. Practice is beautiful!

Fall Season 2014 –MNPS will Shine
Pay attention this Fall. High school sports include Cross-Country, Volleyball, Girls’ Soccer, Football, Cheerleading and Golf; and Metro Schools will feature some of the best student-athletes and teams in the state, including:

  • Cane Ridge’s Bailee Dean, the best cross-country athlete in Tennessee and defending state champion;
  • Hume-Fogg’s state runner-up volleyball team and middle blocker Delaney Gallagher (committed to play at MTSU);
  • Pearl-Cohn’s KeShawn Vaughn, the highest rated running back prospect in the state with scholarship offers from Vanderbilt, Cal Berkeley, Illinois, Arkansas State, and East Carolina;
  • Overton’s Ugo Amadi (committed to play in the SEC for Ole Miss);
  • East Nashville’s dual threat quarterback Isiah Upton (offers from SEC schools and Pac12 schools) and multi-talented Lennox McAfee (committed to play at Wofford);
  • Hillsboro will feature Kyle Phillips – perhaps the most heavily recruited football prospect in Tennessee with offers from all the top colleges – along with Michael Hughes (committed to play at Tennessee State) and Vincent Perry.

That’s just the short list. It is going to be a great year!

New Stadium for the Colts
Demolition of Glencliff’s old stadium will make room for a brand new football stadium. The Colts will play their football games with temporary bleachers this year awaiting a major renovation to their athletic complex. Congratulations to the Colts!

Alumni Alert: Fenway Park Phenom
Overton baseball star, Mookie Betts (Class of 2011) worked his way into the Boston Red Sox starting line-up last month. The Red Sox moved Betts, who started the season in the minor leagues as baseball’s top second base prospect, to the big leagues to play centerfield. His miraculous catch Friday night led the Red Sox to a victory over the Yankees and earned the No. 2 spot on ESPN’s Top 10. Betts is hitting .243 in 12 games with the Red Sox.

Middle School Sports to Include 6th Graders
MNPS middle school sports will include 6th graders for the first time this year. Interscholastic athletics is one of the best after school programs, and expanding those opportunities to more students is a great step by MNPS administration.

MNPS: The First Choice for Community Partnerships

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