Even though we’re getting close to playoff football here in Williamson County, there’s still room for one of the better rivalries going to have its say.
The Brentwood Bruins and Franklin Rebels will meet once again, this time a bit delayed after each started 2018 facing each other.
Both teams are roughly where they were last year, too. Brentwood is poised to make another deep playoff run behind seasoned quarterback Cade Granzow and a stout defense, and Franklin is figuring out how to maintain offensive consistency while sporting a well-coached defense.
The game heads to Franklin’s home turf this year and has a lot riding for the Rebels as they try to make the playoffs in a dead-heat sprint with Centennial for the coveted last spot in Region 6-6A.
Franklin helped itself a great deal by getting a double-overtime win against Centennial recently in their annual Battle of Franklin, and Brentwood is riding strong after taking down rival Ravenwood and not losing since that key ‘Battle of the Woods’ win.
Their lone loss came to 5A powerhouse Henry Co. on the road in September, and even that one was as close as could be. The Bruins have one of their best teams in a long time and look to repeat as Region 6-6A champs if they can close out the seasons with wins.
The real question comes to how Brentwood will handle the rival Raptors once they really start gelling, which is par the course for the team under Matt Daniels. They take their time to really get going, and once they do, they become a powerhouse for any and all opponents.
Brentwood’s 2019 futures depend on very likely being able to grapple with Ravenwood a second time, but this week, they’ve got to take care of Franklin.
The Rebels need this more than Brentwood, and it’ll make this a closer contest than you might think.
Guy Lipscomb moving into more of a playmaking role on offense and Joshua Nichols moving back to quarterback has given the Rebels a new lease on life this year, and they’ve been dramatically better in recent weeks.
Almost beating Independence on the road, soundly defeating McGavock and edging Centennial in a wild bout has made the Rebels feel the playoffs in a legitimate way after starting 1-3.
This game will come down to that Rebels defense being able to contain Brentwood’s high-powered offense. Granzow is, of course, a quarterback who can burn you on the ground and in the air with roughly the same amount of power, so the key to this one will be dialing up pressure and forcing Brentwood to win in the run game.
For Brentwood, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s a road game, indeed, but the Bruins are a much better team than the Rebels are right now. Don’t let the rivalry atmosphere get to you and execute.
This one should be a fun night at Howard Gamble Stadium, but it’s the Rebels who will have to be on their best.
PREDICTION: Brentwood 27, Franklin 17
Watch for, say, a 10-10 halftime tie to erupt for Brentwood in the second half. The Bruins lock it down on defense just enough to slow down Lipscomb and the Franklin offense, and Granzow makes a play here and there to ice a typically-hairy rivalry bout and keep Brentwood perfect in the region.