The stage was set as Williamson County’s finest athletes and coaches previewed their football seasons and the move-up to new divisions at MaFIAoza’s restaurant at the Factory in Franklin on Wednesday night.

The evening started with the Brentwood Bruins, who finished state runners up in Class 6A with a loss in the state championship game to Oakland High School last season. The Bruins will start Davis White at quarterback this season.

“I am super excited for the opportunity to coach Brentwood football,” said new Brentwood head coach Clint Finch, who replaces Ron Crawford. “We have been fortunate at our time here to reload with kids. We lost a lot of talented football kids last year, but we feel like we have kids that are talented enough to take their place.”

Centennial had tons of youth on last season’s football team, but with more experience at key positions, they are hoping to make some noise in the 6A division.

"They bring the energy every day and are ready to make a statement in Williamson County," said Centennial head coach Matt Kriesky.

Fairview is trying to get the sour taste out of their mouth in a loss in the first round of the 3A playoffs against East Nashville last season.

“If I am just hoping for my team to make the playoffs, I am probably going to have to find something else to do,” said Fairview head coach Chris Hughes. “Our goal is to win a state championship every year. We never stop shooting for that goal.”

Franklin is coming off a season in which they made it to the 6A quarterfinals, powered by an upset of Ravenwood. They will have a lot to replace as they had 19 seniors graduate from last year’s team.

“This conference is a different animal,” said new Franklin head coach Alex Melton, who replaces Donnie Webb. “You just know every week it is a battle. You could have a couple of plays in the region that could determine whether you are first, second, or out of the playoffs.”

“When we are playing as a great team we should be able to beat great teams,” said Franklin offensive lineman and fresh Stanford commit Fisher Anderson. “With a lot of those players gone now off to college, we know the possibilities for this team.”

“It comes down to we know what football we should be playing,” said Franklin running back Bryce Sparks. “No one picked us to beat Ravenwood. We play our ball; I firmly believe we can beat anybody.”

Independence is coming off a 7-3 season advancing to the second round of the 6A playoffs against Brentwood. The team will have a new quarterback in senior Joseph Cummings as they have a tough challenge ahead of them opening against two private schools that made it to their district championship game in CPA and Lipscomb Academy.

“Those our two of the finer teams in the state,” said Independence head coach Scott Blade. “CPA has won several championships, and Lipscomb is on the cusp of it. We do take pride in that we try to play most teams as we can. These are games that people want to see right out of the gate.”

Nolensville will begin play in a new conference in the 5A division with a new starting quarterback in junior Coby Walton at the helm to replace graduate Ryder Gallardi.

“He (Walton) is a little different than Ryder,” said Nolensville head coach Paul Derrick. "He is very even keel. The thing I am most proud with Koby is that he is a quiet kid, but he has really tried to be a leader and more vocal.”

Page is coming off a season in which they lost to Hillsboro in the first round of the 5A playoffs last season. The Patriots will have Colorado State commit Jake McNamara at quarterback when they start their schedule with the annual Battle of 840 against Fairview.

“Coach Hughes always has his team prepared,” said Page head coach Charles Rathbone. “He has always said he would be willing to go 1-9 every single year as long as that victory is against Page. The challenge is that game needs to mean everything to us, and we have to match them play for play and be as physical.”

“A terrible loss last season against Fairview has really motivated us,” said Page quarterback and Colorado State commit Jake McNamara. “Starting off with another WillCo game is what we want. We are looking forward to this game to get the rivalry back to our side.”

Ravenwood will have a family reunion with former head coach Will Hester back in the saddle again. The team has a new quarterback in Chris Parson, a Florida State commit. They will experience fireworks out of the gate, facing a team led by highly recruited quarterback Marcel Reed from MBA.

“This is home for me,” said Ravenwood head coach Will Hester. “My parents still live across the street from Ravenwood High School. I grew up in the area before Ravenwood even existed. We play alphabet soup of the private schools, and then you throw Hendersonville in there; one of the most historic programs in Middle Tennessee. It will be exciting for the fans to see two great 2023 quarterbacks compete against each other, but in the end, they can only do so much.”

Ravenwood is still stinging from the loss to Franklin in the playoffs last season.

“That loss was painful,” said Ravenwood senior wide receiver Lee Molette. “It took me awhile to get over it. Hoping we go into this year making sure that loss doesn’t happen.”

Summit will go into this season in a new conference in 7A after taking home the 5A championship crown last season.

“I feel as a quarterback it is important for me to be a leader on the field,” said Summit senior quarterback and Kentucky commit Destin Wade. “I want to lead off the field by example and with my voice too. We just have to keep our head down and keep on working toward the goal.”

“I have to be the leader on the defensive side of the ball just like Destin on offense to make sure we are not making mistakes and go 100 percent in our reps,” said Summit linebacker and Kentucky commit Keaten Wade. “We need to focus one game at a time.”

“I think a target on our back goes with winning a state championship,” said Summit head coach Brian Coleman. “We are also the new guys in the league, so I do not think we are the hunted; we are the hunter. Those guys are used to playing each other so much. Hopefully we can surprise people with the way we play and the way we compete.”