Coach: Scott Blade
Assistant Coaches: Chad Gates, Greg Burns, Keith Hudson, Vic Wharton Jr,
Mike Matthews, Lance White, Jonathan Boren
Athletic Trainer: Brandi Mangrum A.T.C.
Strength Coach: Roy Mangrum
Video Coordinator: Scott Brickell
2013 Schedule Announced
Independence's first two round opponents were a combined 20-1 before entering the games versus the Eagles. Both Rossview and Overton are now out of the playoffs, and the Eagles are moving on. Independence entered the game knowing they had to stop the high-powered run game of the Bobcats. The Eagles kept the Overton offense at bay, allowing only 280 total yards of offense.
Vic Wharton scored what would be the game winning touchdown in the middle of the third quarter with a 1-yard run, giving Independence its first lead against top-seeded, undefeated Overton: 17-14.
With 1:37 left in the second quarter, Overton extended its lead to 14-3 when quarterback Ugo Amadi threw his first pass of the game to running back Justin Martin, who took the swing pass 19 yards down the sideline for the touchdown.
In the following minute and a half, the momentum in the game shifted to favor the Eagles, who kept that momentum to score 14 unanswered points. Independence Coach Blade decided to up the tempo of his offense and run his two minute offense at full speed. They ran hurry-up offense to keep the Bobcats’ defense on the field without substituting players to keep their defense from getting tired. The Bobcats defense indeed looked exhausted as the Eagles marched down the field. On the final play of the half, Dom Childress powered the ball in from 1 yard out to cut the score to 14-10 at halftime.
In the second half, UT Commit Vic Wharton III ran out of the “Wildcat” formation to allow the Eagles to kill the clock and get first downs. Wharton's mid-third quarter 2-yard run proved to be the game winner for Independence.
For the Eagles’ Defense, a challenge all season has been stopping the run. Bobcats’ running back Martin came into the game with 1,745 yards on the season. After his first three carries produced 63 yards and a score; in his final 25 carries, he was held to only 81 yards.
Next week in the quarterfinals, Independence will host Hendersonville, who is coming off an overtime win over Station Camp: 29-28. Quarter-Finals action will kick off at 7pm at Independence High School.
Vic Wharton III caught a pair of touchdown passes from Andrew Bunch, threw for one and returned a fumble 98-yards for a fourth, leading Independence (8-3) over favored Rossview (9-2) 35-25 in the first round of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Class 6A playoffs.
The Eagles soared through the air in the first half as Bunch hit Deion Simms on a 19-yard scoring strike in the first quarter for the first of his four touchdown passes. His second went to Wharton, a 24-yarder, which kept Independence close at the half, down 16-14.
Wharton connected with fellow UT commit RaShaan Gaulden on a 37 yard strike to seal the game versus Rossview.
The Eagles travel to the quad’s number one seed next, undefeated Overton (11-0) in Nashville. The Bobcats rolled over McGavock 30-0 to advance.
RaShaan Gaulden stole the show Friday night and Brentwood’s 21 seniors final game was watching a stellar performance from the UT commit, Rashaan Gaulden. The Independence (7-3, 5-1 11-AAA) senior scored three touchdowns in a 37-13 rout of Brentwood (3-7, 2-4 11-AAA) High School. The Eagles sealed second place in the District 11-AAA standings behind Ravenwood. Independence (7-3, 5-1) awaits its postseason fate as TSSAA officials will announce the Class 6A playoff brackets on Saturday morning. Brentwood (3-7, 2-4) dropped its final two games of the season to miss the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
Independence Gaulden caught two touchdowns from quarterback Andrew Bunch in the first half and all but sealed the victory in the fourth quarter with a 75-yard touchdown interception return. Gaulden hadn’t played at receiver much before this season. But in addition to returning three picks for touchdowns this year at strong safety, the University of Tennessee commit is second on the team in receiving yards. He certainly put his foot on the gas Friday. He caught four passes for 96 yards and started the scoring with a 46-yard receiving touchdown. After hauling in a pass from Bunch on a slant he bounced off three tacklers and sprinted to the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 6:55 left in the first quarter. A couple possessions later in the second quarter, he snagged another pass from Bunch, pivoted and shook off leaping cornerback Andy Schumpert for a 24-yard touchdown.
He capped off his night and iced the win in the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-four, BHS quarterback Aaron Maher’s pass tipped off the hand of Schumpert and into Gaulden’s hands at the 25-yard line. Gaulden shook off a couple tackles and raced 75 yards to give IHS a commanding 37-7 lead with 11:15 left.
It was the second interception thrown by Maher that was returned for a touchdown. In the first quarter, he sailed a short screen pass into traffic that was picked off by Adam Martin, who rumbled 30 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Maher responded to help BHS cut into the deficit early in the second quarter. He accounted for nine of the 10 plays on the 60-yard drive with three runs and six passes. Twice he came through with big pass plays on fourth down. On fourth-and-two, he slotted a 21-yard completion into a sliding Andy Schumpert. Four plays later, on fourth-and-10, he scrambled to his left and found a wide open Caleb Taylor, who turned and fell into the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown with 9:04 lead.
Maher completed 15 of 32 passes for 170 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Brentwood hung around and appeared to catch a break early in the third quarter. With the Eagles poised to score another touchdown, Bunch fumbled the ball at the 2-yard line. The Bruins recovered at the 8-yard line but failed to score. After three running plays amounted to a loss of two yards, Brentwood set up for a punt. But the snap was low and punter Andrew Garcia was tackled by Kent Katzman in the back of the end zone for a safety.
IHS quarterback Caleb Hollis threw an interception on the next play to Schumpert. But the Bruins gave the ball right back five plays later when Maher’s fourth-down pass went incomplete. Vic Wharton III would iced the game early in the fourth quarter when he sprinted 52 yards for a touchdown down the sideline.
Along with a potent offense, the Eagles believe they are building a stiff defense. In addition to intercepting Maher three times, they also sacked him twice and held Austin Wells and the running game in check.
Independence hopes that defensive progress over the last few weeks carries into the playoffs if a deep run in November is in the works.
Independence 37, Brentwood 13
Independence 14 7 2 7 – 37
Brentwood 7 0 0 6 – 13
IHS – RaShaan Gaulden 46 yards from Andrew Bunch (Drake Dormann kick), 6:55
IHS – Adam Martin 30 yard interception return (Dormann kick), 5:45
BHS – Caleb Tyler 18 yards from Aaron Maher (Carter Jones kick), 9:04
IHS – Gaulden 24 yards from Bunch (Dormann kick), 7:23
IHS – Safety, 5:15
IHS – Vic Wharton 52 yard run (Dormann kick), 11:15
IHS – Gaulden 75 yard interception return (Dormann kick), 8:54
BHS – Andy Schumpert 18 yards from Maher (kick blocked), 5:32
The Franklin Rebels came into Eagles Stadium to take on the Independence Eagles in a District 11-AAA bout Friday night. The winner would hold the rights to automatically qualify for the playoffs and second place in the district. Franklin’s previous week’s contest against Ravenwood was a huge one point loss. This game would provide similar results for the rebels.
Starting at their 21-yard line with 6:47 remaining in the first quarter, Franklin decided to establish its run game. With 10 carries for 41 yards between running backs Nic Hardemon and Colton Black, and one rush for 15 yards from quarterback Joe Critchlow, the Rebels drove the ball down to the Indy 4-yard line.
With their threat to run now established, the rebels looked to a play-action bootleg touchdown pass from Critchlow to DJ Burns. The score put the Rebels up 7-0 with 35 seconds left in the first.
In the ensuing kickoff, Franklin did its best to make sure Independence playmaker and UT commit Vic Wharton III wouldn't get his hands on the football. After they squibbed it down the left sideline, Indy player #8 Dion Simms picked the ball up with Rebels breathing down his back. As the pressure arrived, he lateraled the ball to Wharton at the 5-yard line. With Franklin players surrounding him, Wharton cut to the left sideline and outran the first wave of defenders. Soon after, he saw an opening and cut back to the right. Even though multiple players had decent angles on him, Wharton's speed proved to be too much, as he left the Rebels in his dust for a 95-yard touchdown. The return tied the game up at seven.
Following a missed Dormann field goal and two plays that netted zero yards, the Rebels were met with third-and-10 at their own 20.Critchlow dropped back with multiple pass rushers in his face. Feeling the pocket collapse, he rolled to the right and fired a rocket across his body to the middle of the field. There to catch it in stride was Malik Grimes, who took it 51 yards to the Eagles' 29. Four plays later, Critchlow capitalized on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Ben Hagaman in the back right corner of the end zone, giving FHS a 14-7 edge with 6:37 remaining in the half. Franklin’s QB Critchlow finished the game 12/16 for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
A 26-yard field goal by Dormann in the next drive cut Franklin's lead down to 14-10.
With 3:47 remaining in the half, it was Black's turn to carry the load for the Rebels. He rushed the ball six times for 31 yards before pounding it in from 6-yards out to put FHS up 21-10 heading into halftime. The touchdown run was Black's only score of the evening. He would finish the night with 31 carries for 108 yards and one TD.
In the first drive of the second half, Franklin continued to display its power on the ground. Carries by Black, and a 25-yard scamper by Hardemon, gave FHS 1st-and-goal at the two. At the end of the play, Independence Safety Adam Swayze was on the field motionless for a few moments. As a precaution, the medical staff took Swayze to hospital for further evaluation. It was found that he just suffered a concussion. Once play resumed the Rebels went back to their ground game with Hardemon scoring to give them a 28-10 lead.
Now down 18 points, it seemed as if the Eagles were done for the game. However, they responded quickly with a 6-yard touchdown run from Dom Childress. A missed extra point from Dormann left them down 16-28 with 8:26 left in the third quarter. Later on, Childress found the end zone again. This time, it was a 24-yard run in the fourth quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 49-yard punt return to the Rebels' 26 by Wharton.
Down 28-22 with 11 seconds left in the game, Eagles sophomore quarterback Andrew Bunch lined up in shotgun with his receivers spread across the field. Lined up on the left side of the formation was Tennessee commit Rashaan Gaulden. As the clock ticked, Bunch fired, hitting Gaulden in the midsection. As he fell to the ground, he secured the football to tie the game up at 28. After the touchdown pass, the kicking team took the field. Eagles Kicker Drake Dormann was called upon again to give Independence the lead. Dormann had missed two field goals and an extra point earlier in the game. As the ball was snapped, Dormann approached the hold and delivered the ball between the uprights to give the Eagles the win.
Independence's 29-28 victory is a storybook ending to a monumental comeback. Friday night's win jumps Independence ahead of Franklin to second place in District 11-AAA. Now at 6-3 overall and 4-1 in district play, the Eagles will look to solidify its playoff berth when it travels to play Brentwood on Friday. As for the Rebels, they fall to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the district. They will host Centennial on Friday. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. kickoffs.
Dickson County Recap
Independence showcased its speed last Friday night to edge Dickson County 49-36. Tennessee commitment Vic Wharton III got things started on a positive note for Independence (5-3, 3-1 11-AAA) by returning the opening kick-off 93 yards for a touchdown. Dickson County (1-8, 1-4) responded by scoring on its opening drive, on Otis Gerron's 4-yard touchdown run.
Both offenses would slug it out for the rest of the night, with Wharton and Gerron duelling on the scoreboard. Independence’s Wharton finished with five touchdowns -- two rushing, one receiving and two on kick-off returns.
Gerron rushed for four of Dickson County's touchdowns and finished with 354 yards. Football coaches know that there are three aspects to the game of football; offense, defense and special teams. With both teams’ offense slugging it out and defenses being worked to the maximum it would come down to the special teams. For Independence, Wharton provided the spark with two returns for touchdowns.
A blocked punt by Dickson County's Collier Wolcott set up a touchdown, but Wharton gave his team a two-score lead with a second kick-off return touchdown of 91 yards late in the fourth quarter.
Independence's defense then took over as Dom Childress recorded back-to-back sacks followed by a sack by Jordan Pope with less than two minutes left in the game to shut the door on Dickson County.
On Friday October 25 at 7 pm, Independence host Franklin Rebels here at Eagles Stadium.
Centennial Game Recap
The Eagles soared over the Cougars last night with a 31-14 win at home. Independence High School (4-3, 2-1) hosted a “pink-out” against Centennial (4-4, 2-2) last night for the district rival match-up. Both student sections were decked out in pink and competed to see which school could raise most funds for Susan G. Kommen Foundation by selling pink t-shirts to student body and staff.
Only 10:59 into the game, Andrew Bunch sailed one right into Dion Simms for a 19-yard touchdown to kick-off the night. The Cougar Nation answered right back as Deon Sanders ran in a 12-yard TD. The extra-point failed, and the Eagles were up 7-6 with 6:24 left in the first quarter.
14.1 seconds left till the second, RaShaan Gaulden made his way to the end zone and placed the Eagles up 14-6.
To add to Gaulden’s big plays, he stunted for a pick-6 with only 5:24 left in the first half. The Eagles were now up 21-6 at the halftime.
A 29-yard field goal by Drake Dormann in the third would give Indy an 18-point advantage with only 5:22 left till the last quarter. Centennial wasn’t going to give in that easily. The Cougars quarterback Conner Rietveld snuck past the Eagle defense to put a TD on the board and followed a 2-point conversion to give Centennial a 10-point deficit, 24-14.
Emmanuel Hall was in the end zone ready to receive the ball, but Vic Wharton decided otherwise. Wharton picked it off in the end zone to bring a 1st and 10 at the 20-yard line for the Eagles. To follow up, Wharton ran in for a 62-yard TD for Indy that would close off the final score 31-14 for the night.
Independence will travel to Dickson County, as they return for another Friday night game next week.
Blackman Game Recap
After taking on then-undefeated district foe Ravenwood last week, the Independence football team had another perfect record awaiting them Friday in Murfreesboro, the Blaze of Blackman High School.
Blackman raced past the Eagles 47-6 to improve to 6-0 and send Independence (3-3) into a three-game losing streak, the first in new head coach Scott Blade’s Tennessee coaching career.
Blade said the No. 4 Blaze executed their game plan with ease, but also noted the quality of the high-octane team from the ‘Boro – the third such foe in a row for the young Independence squad.
Independence opened the season with wins at Kenwood (28-6) and at home against Marshall County (49-14) and Summit (56-7) before falling to 5A state champ Beech (28-21) and last week against the Raptors (30-14).
Against Blackman, the Eagles were searching for any kind of rhythm from the opening kick. They failed to notch a first down on their opening six drives, falling 28-0 by the beginning of the second quarter.
The Eagles gave up 419 yards of offense against Blackman while mustering only 159 yards.
Independence tried three quarterbacks under center in the first half alone. The trio combined to go 4-of-19 for 78 yards.
The one scoring drive of the evening for the Eagles nearly was derailed twice before starting quarterback Caleb Hollis rushed in for the touchdown on his third try from the one. Prior to that, Vic Wharton III picked up a pass while on his backside on 4th-and-7 from eight yards out. Wharton, the athletic Tennessee commit, almost looked like he picked up the ball from the field, but notched the first down and nearly the score on the play.
Wharton was one of the few bright spots in the Eagles offense, snatching five receptions for 86 yards. Wharton has 16 grabs for 320 yards and a touchdown during the three-game slide.
Hollis finished with 81 yards passing, completing just 5-of-15 passes and throwing another interception late in the fourth. He now has seven interceptions in the Eagles three losses.
Stopping the run and gaining yards on the ground have been two of the biggest issues for the Eagles during the three losses. Blackman chewed up 290 yards on the ground, Ravenwood went for 232 and Beech totaled 371. Also during that stretch, the Eagles rushed for a combined 96 yards. They had seven against the Blaze.
Independence next hosts Centennial on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Independence 0 6 0 0 – 6
Blackman 21 20 6 0 – 47
B 11:12 – Ronnie Killings 55 return (Blaine Burks kick),
B 7:55 – Styles Corder 25 run (Burkes kick),
B 4:03 – Cole Notgrass 9 run (Burkes kick),
B 11:49 – Juaun Jennings 33 pass to Killings (Burke kick),
I 4:10 – Hollis 1 run (kick failed),
B 2:28 – Notgrass 42 run (Burkes kick),
B 1:16 – Jennings 9 run (kick failed),
B 3:07 – Davidson 19 run (run failed).
Ravenwood Game Recap
Independence (3-2, 1-1) was hoping to get a bounce back game and stay on track for the district championship and playoffs with a win at Ravenwood Friday night. However, the Eagles ran into a much improved Ravenwood Raptors team from a year ago. New Raptors head coach Will Hester has his team believing in what they are doing and it showed last Friday night. The defense of the
Raptors kept the Eagles off their game causing four turnovers that proved to be Independence’s down fall in a 30-14 loss.
In the first half, the Raptors defense tallied five sacks. When added to three takeaways in the second half, the Raptors bottled the explosive plays for the Eagles. Hollis felt constant pressure which at times made it difficult to spread the ball around to his weapons on the outside. Hollis threw for 277 yards on the night. An interception late in the game kept the Eagles from a possible go ahead lead. The ground game for Independence was non-existent versus the Raptors producing only 15 rushing yards on 23 carries.
Offensively, the Raptors relied on the three strong running backs, Seth and Chris Rowland and Daniel Fountain. Fountain led the way with 90 yards rushing including a 33 yard touchdown run breaking multiple tackles along the way.
The Raptors passing game had a couple of key moments. Ravenswood’s star receiver Van Jefferson caught a 10 yard touchdown pass from Avery Jankowski in the first quarter. Jankowski found Austin Percy on key third downs to move the chains all night. The most important play of the game came with under 4-minutes left to play and Ravenwood, leading 16-14. With a 4th and goal from the 2-yard line, Jankowski hit running back Will Barton out of the backfield for the score as the pass just sailed over the hands of blitzing Independence safety, Rashaan Gaulden.
Beech Game Recap
Independence (3-1) suffered its first loss of the 2013 season last Friday night, 28-21, to Beech (3-1) High School. Both Beech and Independence began the game ranked #4 in the state in 5A and 6A respectively. For Beech, they were without their star running back and Tennessee Volunteer commit, Jalen Hurd. However, Beech’s back up running back Dorian Carter stole the show as he ran 54 times for 317 yards and all four Buccaneer touchdowns.
Carter was basically the entire offensive threat for Beech (3-1) as they failed to complete a single pass during the game. Carter did most of his damage in the first half running wild for nearly 200 yards and three touchdowns with the Bucs leading 21-7 at the break.
Beech came out in the second half with the same attitude as in the first half, but Independence was able to match it with help from Rashaan Gaulden and the Eagle defense. Gaulden made the tackle on Carter after his first eight carries in the second half and that theme continued.
Gaulden then caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Caleb Hollis on the Eagles’ first drive of the half to make it. 21-14.
The Independence defense continued making stops in the second half and in the opening minutes of the 4th quarter the offense struck again. Hollis hit Deion Sims for a 10-yard score to tie the game at 21.
On the following Beech drive, Carter had one more big play drive left in the tank. On a 4th and 1 at midfield he busted through for a 35 yard run. Later on he would score his fourth touchdown of the night from 13 yards out with five minutes left.
The Independence offense was hampered by five turnovers and it hurt those most late, throwing interceptions on the last two possessions of the game.
The Eagles had a scoring opportunity late. With less than a minute on the clock and near midfield a half-back pass from Vic Wharton was just too long for Gaulden to reel in. Gaulden would have scored to tie the game.
Next week, Independence travels to Ravenwood (3-0) for a key District 11-AAA matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00pm.
Summit Game Recap
The Independence Eagles (3-0) were able to take care of any distraction that homecoming game would normally provide when it faced neighborhood and District 11-AAA newcomer Summit (1-2) Friday night. The Eagles had virtually no problem with scoring in all aspects of the game and the Eagles scored at least one touchdown in every quarter in route to their 56-7 victory over the Spartans.
The Homecoming celebration started early for the Eagles as senior Vic Wharton III sliced thru the Spartans with a punt return of 70 yards just one minute into the game. Rashaan Gaulden kept the crowd going as he returned an interception over 75 yards for score just minutes later.
Wharton and Gaulden combined for the first five Independence touchdowns. Quarterback, Caleb Hollis hit Gaulden from 20 yards out to make it 21-7. Then Hollis connected with Wharton for a pair of air scores. Hollis finished with 111 pass yards and 4 touchdowns.
With a 42-7 halftime score, Blade was able to sit his starters the entire second half and allow for younger players to gain live experience. Blade and his staff were able to get every player on the team in the action. The second half saw the emergence of a solid running game for Independence. Sophomore running back, Daniel Wright, provided a ground attack for the Eagles as he amassed 99 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.
Next week the Eagles host Beech in a game that will be televised on CSS. The reigning 5A Champion Buccaneers are without their star running back Jalen Hurd, but are coming off an important win vs. Gallatin, 40-36. Kickoff for the game is 7:00 PM at Independence High School Stadium.
Marshall County Game Recap
Independence 2013 home opener was a final tune-up before the District 11-AAA schedule begins next Friday. Independence hosted Marshall County Friday night and was able to score in every quarter as UT commitment Vic Wharton had a field day, scoring four times on passes, rushes and punt returns to lead the Eagles to a 49-21 win over Marshall County.
Wharton showcased his abilities in the second and third quarters, breaking open a 7-7 tie with a 60-yard punt return, a touchdown run of 78-yards and 15-yards reception from Caleb Hollis, then driving home another rushing 4-yard TD, giving Independence a 42-7 lead that was never challenged.
Hollis threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns on the night; the first one was an 11-yard strike to another UT commitment, Rashaan Gaulden, as the Eagles rolled up 438 yards of total offense. Final score was Independence 49 Marshall Co 14.
Independence opens the District 11-AAA schedule with a Homecoming contest against neighborhood rival Summit next Friday night at 7 PM.
Kenwood Game Recap
The 2013 high school football season kicked off Friday night. For the Independence Eagles it begins with a new head coach at the helm, Scott Blade. The Indy football team would start the 2013 season with a long trip to Clarksville, TN to face the Golden Knights of Kenwood High School. For the Eagles they would come away with a very solid 28-6 victory over Kenwood High School. Senior Vic Wharton III, UT Commit, showed his veracity by scoring three times. Wharton rushed for a TD and was on the end of two Senior QB Caleb Hollis Touchdown passes (21, 34). Wharton defensive prowess showed when he intercepted a Kenwood pass in the third quarter. QB Caleb Hollis would add another Touchdown on a four yard run in the fourth quarter. Independence rolled up 75 plays for a total of 369 yards of offense. Hollis was 20-26 for 280 yards and 2 TD passes.
Next game for the Eagles, they host Marshall County on August 30 in their home opener of the 2013 season. Kickoff is set for a 7pm start time. Come out early and support your Eagles!
|#3||Wharton III runs for 1 yard (PAT Good - Dormann)||7-0|
|#11||Hollis pass complete to #3 Wharton 21 yards (PAT Good Dormann)||14-0|
|#11||#11 Hollis runs for 4 yards (PAT Good - Dormann)||21-6|
|#11||Hollis Pass to #3 Wharton III 34 yards (PAT Good- Dormann)||28-6|