The Independence Eagles football team will open region competition Friday night at 7p.m., traveling to the Centennial Cougars home field. This could be an early battle for playoff seeding in the Williamson County 6A region.
Independence is led by Scott Stidham, who was the head coach at South Gibson last season. In his first year, the Eagles are currently 1-1 with a loss to CPA and a win over Trezevant (Memphis) last week.
The Cougars’ head coach is Matt Kriesky. He has been with the program since 2016. His team is now 2-0, with wins over John Overton High School and Lincoln County.
Independence will rely on talented running back senior Tre Hartwell, who some experts have tabbed as a potential 6A Mr. Football award contender. Hartwell totaled 85 rushing yards with three rushing touchdowns against Trezevant last week.
Centennial’s star quarterback is senior Brendan Jones. Last week against Lincoln County, Jones totaled 227 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 29 yards.
Another senior playmaker for Independence is wide receiver Daniel Morales. Morales had 76 yards and two touchdowns last week.
Centennial carries several weapons on offense, but a dynamic option for their team is junior wide receiver Dominic Reed. Reed had 52 yards and two touchdowns for the Cougars last Friday.
Independence delivers a solid choice at quarterback in junior Peyton Kirton. Last week, he had 76 passing yards, two touchdowns, and ran for 29 yards.
Independence’s offensive line will need to be conscious of Centennial senior linebacker Zavion Haddox. Against Lincoln County last week, Haddox had five tackles with two for a loss, including one sack.
This matchup is big for both programs as they each have a good chance at finishing in the top four seeds to make the playoffs. It will be important for the winning team to get a leg up in a crowded field by starting 1-0 in region play.