by TONY STINNETT
The 2009 football season started like many others for Cannon County’s Tyler Jacobs and his 12 fellow senior classmates.
New season, new coach.
This time it was Joel Schrenk - the third head football coach in four seasons for the 2009 senior class.
“I really did not know what to expect,” Jacobs admits. “We had three coaches in four years so that part wasn’t new but a new coach also means a new offense and new ideas. I was thinking, ‘Here goes another season but it is my senior season and I’m going to try to make it shine.”
Only problem was new coaches can sometimes lead to uncertainty as far as future plans. And seniors don’t always weigh heavily in the plans of first-year coaches who instead may opt to play younger players, develop their system and build for the future.
Cannon County’s first year coach eased any such tension early in his tenure.
“The day I got here we sat in the locker room and I promised these seniors they would not be left behind,” Schrenk said. “I would not do that to them because that is the case a lot of times. They accepted that and took me at my word. When I asked them to do something, they did it. What made our season so good was those kids buying in.”
The season was better than good.
It was historic.
It was monumental.
It was notable.
It was significant.
And it will be celebrated … for years to come.
Just the type of season a senior would script if given the chance.
Cannon County’s 13 seniors may have not got the ending they wanted following a 29-20 setback to Harpeth in the first round of the TSSAA State Football Playoffs, but the story as a whole was a masterpiece that included a district championship, a winning campaign, a first-round playoff home game and the program’s first playoff appearance since 1995.
“This season has meant a lot to all of us,” senior tailback, corner Daniel Woodin said. “We came together as a team and worked hard to reach this point. We had hoped to keep it going but this is something we all can look back on with pride.”
The senior class set a standard for those who follow in hopes it won’t be another 14 years before the Lions make a return trip to the playoffs. It is a class that included Jacobs, Daniel Woodin, Andy Agee, Andrew Woodin, Emby Mills, Dylan Light, Charles Steelman, Dillion Collette, Bryant Hare, Tyler Jacobs, Cesar Wilson Meliton Cancino, Patrick Gerdes and Cody Collins.
They provided the critical leadership necessary to attain championship status. They hope to have set the foundation for future success.
“I don’t want to see it end here,” Jacobs said. “I hope future players build a winning tradition and we keep it going.”
Underclassmen already are following the lead of their elders.
“Being part of this team means a lot to me,” said freshman Brandon James, who was fortunate to gain invaluable varsity experience during his first high school season. “Our seniors and upper classmen are great. We are going to go far in the future. We just have to keep working and build on this.”
Though Cannon County loses numerous quality seniors, it does return a host of players who played key roles in this season’s success. Schrenk expects those players to take the next step in their development during an all-important offseason.
“We want going to the playoffs to be the norm, not the exception,” Schrenk said. “That takes a lot of hard work and dedication and we had a great deal of that this season. We had tremendous senior leadership.”