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Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Tournament Basketball

Few things can compare to the excitement of basketball tournaments. The tension and emotion is amplified knowing that every game is one team’s last. The seniors on both teams take the court knowing that this could be their last game, and thus the end to an important chapter in their young lives. The effort is extraordinary from tip-off to the final buzzer in every game….Fantastic!

MNPS schools hosting tournaments this week include: Stratford High School, Antioch High School, Antioch Middle School, and McKissack Middle School (played at Pearl-Cohn).

Extraordinary Hoops Venue … The Creek

Every high school gym has its own personality – its own character. The North Sports Report had the privilege of attending a couple of games at Whites Creek recently, and the production value of “Basketball Night at the Creek” is off the charts.

The atmosphere is electric with the championship banners, the Cobra painted at mid-court and on the wall, and the framed jerseys of bygone sports heroes like Vanderbilt star and Super Bowl champion Shelton Quarles. The Whites Creek marching band rocking in the bleachers, the top-notch cheerleading squad, a regal Coming Home ceremony (like homecoming except for basketball), the expert public address announcer, and exciting basketball all add up to a superior spectator experience. Sitting in the stands, I had a flashback to my youth and could vividly picture Cobra great Jackie Cowan, one of the all-time great women’s basketball players in MNPS and Vanderbilt history, running the floor and dominating play. Basketball Night at the Creek is one of those must see experiences for all sports fans.

Shout Out

Last week, I ran into longtime Hume Fogg girls basketball coach Angela Hubbard who mentioned that she enjoyed reading the Sports Report each week … Result: The North Sports Report made it a point to attend her next game (which they won in overtime) and gives a shout out here. Woop Woop for Coach Hubbard!

Keeping up with the Firebirds

Mike Strasinger of www.sportsnashville.net wrote a tremendous tribute to Pearl-Cohn’s football program and Coach Tony Brunetti for his untiring efforts to encourage opportunities for Pearl-Cohn student-athletes to obtain college scholarships. It takes more than X’s and O’s to be a successful coach…it takes undying dedication to and love for your players. Coach Brunetti’s efforts for his players display that dedication and love to the nth degree.

Every Day I’m Grapplin’…Update from the Mat

The State Wrestling Championships will feature several MNPS grapplers this week in Franklin. According to the TSSAA website, the wrestling championships will include:

  • Salih Musa (Overton);

  • Breon Blackwell (Antioch);

  • Hamadi Hassan (McGavock);

  • Adrian Whitworth (Overton);

  • Chris Ocon (Overton);

  • Clarence Mathis (Antioch);

  • Carlos Garcia (McGavock);

  • Kevin Braziel (McGavock);

  • Roland Bituli (Hillwood);

  • Ronquai Love (MLK);

  • Trenton Bell (Hunters Lane);

  • Carlos Harrison (McGavock);

  • Trevion James (Antioch);

  • Shad Haji (Glencliff)

  • Garang Madut (Glencliff)

  • Keith Harris (MLK); and

  • Nolan Sexton (McGavock).

Congratulations and good luck to all MNPS wrestlers!

TSSAA Honors MNPS Great

Legendary Coach and administrator James Armstrong has been named to the 2012 class of the TSSAA Hall of Fame. Coach Armstrong’s influence on countless student-athletes, on high school athletics in Middle Tennessee and on the entire Nashville community cannot be overstated. Congratulations to Coach Armstrong for this well-deserved and long overdue honor.

Spring Sports

It’s still cold, but practice for Spring Sports started this week. From now until graduation, MNPS student-athletes will be taking it to the track, diamond, court, and pitch (i.e. soccer field) as they look to dominate again this year in Track, Softball, Baseball, Tennis, and Boys’ Soccer. Spring Sports Fever…Catch it!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Extraordinary Effort



Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Signing Day…Scholarship Celebration

Celebrations were held in the cafeteria, auditorium, library and gymnasium in schools all across Nashville as student-athletes signed their scholarship papers to attend college. The North Sports Report attended the signing celebration at Hillsboro. As I watched the proud parents and the student-athletes officially accept scholarship offers amid the cheers, balloons, media attention etc., it dawned on me that I was witnessing the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice by the student and the parents – not to mention, the teachers, youth league coaches, middle school coaches, extended family and friends. I know the student-athletes deserve the accolades, but those parents have traveled from field to field, sat through terrible weather, nursed bruised egos after losses, cleaned the uniforms, encouraged, insisted on the completion of homework, chauffeured to practice, and on and on and on. Parents…that signing party was for you too.

See photos from Signing Day 2012!

Student-Athletes who signed on February 1 included:

Eric Miles (Antioch) Carson Newman
Amiri Hawkins (Hillsboro) Univ. of Tennessee Martin
Ben Ross (Hillsboro) Carson Newman
Ladarius Vanlier (Maplewood) Tennessee Tech
Steven Johnson (Maplewood) Lindsey Wilson College
Caleb Azubike (McGavock) Vanderbilt
Presley Gamble (McGavock) Southern Virginia
Zabian King (Overton) Arkansas Tech
Elijah Annor (Pearl-Cohn) Austin Peay
Larry Brown (Pearl-Cohn) Bethel
Darrius Darden-Box (Pearl-Cohn) Southeast Missouri State
DeMario Darnell (Pearl-Cohn) Tennessee Tech
Ryan Deisling (Pearl-Cohn) Jackson State
Terrence Haynes (Pearl-Cohn) Highland Community College
Carl Jones Jr. (Pearl-Cohn) N.C. Central
Trevon Miles (Pearl-Cohn) Highland Community College
Jordan Payne (Pearl-Cohn) Bethel
Ronald Stayton-Williams (Pearl-Cohn) Fayetteville State
Tyler Wilson (Stratford) Carson Newman
Girls Basketball
Keira Holt (Hillsboro) Wilberforce University
Girls Soccer
Sloane Logan (Overton) Georgia Southwestern State

Congratulations to all MNPS Seniors and to everyone that helped them reach for the stars.

Middle School Hoops Tournaments

The second season starts soon. At the outset of basketball tournaments, every team has a chance to win the championship. The Eastern Division and Western Division Middle School tournaments start February 9, and the first games will be played on the home court of the higher seed team with the winners advancing to Pearl-Cohn High School for the Eastern Division and Antioch Middle School for the Western Division (seems geographically backward, but that’s the information I have) the next week. The Middle School City Championship Basketball Tournament will be played at Pearl-Cohn High School February 23 and 24. Make your plans to attend the high-flying hoopapalooza that is the Middle School Division and City Basketball Tournaments.

Spartan Pride…New Coach Named

The Stratford Spartans football team will take the field this fall under the leadership of new coach Aaron Pitts. Coach Pitts is up to the task of continuing the Stratford tradition of great players and teams and legendary coaches. From his history as a “passing game” specialist, opposing defenses better be ready for an exciting brand of Stratford football. Good luck Coach Pitts and all our MNPS coaches.

Brush with Fame

The North Sports Report ran into Pearl High football legend, TSU great, former Philadelphia Eagle, and present-day tailor to the stars Randolph Williamson this week. Randolph is another example of MNPS sports legends returning to Nashville, starting a successful business and inspiring a new generation.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Inspiring a New Generation



Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Update from the Alley…Bowling Alley that is

Aaron Ruiz, a sophomore at Cane Ridge, enters the state Bowling Championships this week with the highest average in the state – an average of 227.00. What? That’s right, a state leading average of 227!

Darius Holland of Maplewood bowled one of the all-time greatest games in TSSAA high school bowling history in the district tournament. His almost perfect 288 assures his place in the TSSAA record books.

Several MNPS bowlers will be knocking them down at this week’s state championships in Smyrna. The state qualifiers include: Aisha Lee (East Lit); Summer Earnest (Hume Fogg); Chasity Towns (Hunters Lane); Raven Gore (Maplewood); Brandi Caruso (Overton); I’eshia Davis (Stratford); Aaron Ruiz (Cane Ridge); Canaan Morse (Hillsboro); Trevor Owen (Maplewood); Colin Beason (MLK); Andre Rucker (MLK); Matt Holland (McGavock); Brent Morphis (McGavock); Anh Nguyen (Overton); and Andrew Sawyer (Overton).

Good luck to all MNPS bowlers.

College Choices … Seniors Begin the Next Chapter

When The City Paper reported this week that Maplewood’s Ladarius Vanlier chose to attend Tennessee Tech this fall and return to play on the field of his final high school game, it reminded me that we have many young adults in our schools completing college applications, receiving acceptance letters, earning scholarships of all types, and preparing to leave the nest to take what they have cultivated through their life in our schools toward greater and higher accomplishments.

We are proud of the Class of 2012!

Spelling Test

Have you ever noticed how many cheers involve spelling? It’s true – some of the greatest cheers at high school and middle school sporting events require a working knowledge of how to spell certain key words.

Quiz: Which of these “spelling” cheers is the North Sports Report’s favorite?

  1. The ever popular free throw cheer: “R-E…R-E-B… R-E-B-O-U-N-D…Rebound”

  2. The edgier and more controversial: “M-I-S-S…M-I-S-S…Miss it”

  3. The rough and tumble: “Let’s get a little bit rowdy: R-O-W-D-Y”

  4. The long word spelling: “Be aggressive: B-E…A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E”

  5. Tri-word spelling: “Go…G-O; Fight…F-I-G-H-T; Win…W-I-N: Go, Fight, Win”

  6. Or, simply: “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y”

The correct answer is: All of the above.

Sportsmanship Award

The prestigious Hancock-Nipper Football Sportsmanship Awards were presented by the Nashville Civitan Club last week and included Maplewood Panthers Football Coach Arcentae Broome; Antioch Bears star Eric Miles; and Maplewood Panthers hero Wagner Serrano. Congratulations to all MNPS student-athletes who exemplify the high standards of sportsmanship.

To read all about it and find a great picture of the recipients, check out www.sportsnashville.net.

Alumni News

University of Georgia basketball star and MLK alumnus Gerald Robinson not only leads the basketball team at Georgia, he is also pursuing his master’s in Adult Education after earning his undergraduate degree in Speech Communication last Summer. MNPS alumni are awesome!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for V-I-C-T-O-R-Y



Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Hoops in High Gear

During the break, the North Sports report attended the East Literature basketball tournament and Hillsboro’s visit to Hunters Lane. Amid the constant chants of “D-up, D-up, D-up” from the round-ball faithful, I witnessed some nail-biting action, dominant performances, slick no-look passes and thunderous dunks. Now, when I say “thunderous dunks,” I mean high-flying, rim-rattling, backboard-swaying, Sports Center highlight worthy, slam-bam jams. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

Center of Attention (aka Games are Won in the Trenches)

When you check the football box scores in the morning paper, it never includes the most important player on the field – the Center. It might be cliché to say no play would begin without the center, but a successful team relies on the grit, determination, and skill of the center of the offensive line, and MNPS has some of the best in the state.

If you only checked the box score, you would have missed that the winning team of the Toyota East West All-Star Game was anchored by center Carl Jones, Jr., a senior at MLK and a member of the Pearl-Cohn Firebirds. Congratulations to all MNPS linemen who toil in the trenches while others get the glory.

All-Midstate Teams Announced

The Tennessean’s All-Midstate teams for the fall sports included several MNPS students:

First Team:

  • Caleb Azubike, McGavock (Football)

  • Ladarius Vanlier, Maplewood (Football)

Second Team:

  • Demario Donnell, Pearl-Cohn (Football)

  • Denzel Jones, Maplewood (Football)

  • Sam Klockenkemper, MLK (Cross-Country)

  • Randall Smith, Maplewood (Football)

Third Team:

  • Dustin Binkley, Maplewood (Football)

  • Michael Cain, Whites Creek (Football)

  • Gabriela Herrera, Hillsboro (Cross-Country)

  • Elise Norton, MLK (Soccer)


On a side note – and in my entirely biased opinion – it appears to me from attending many MNPS sporting events this fall that the local morning paper overlooked several other deserving MNPS students and coaches in its post-season honors. Congratulations to everyone who competed in athletics this fall.

Loss of a Legend

Tom Squires, a 2008 inductee to the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame, Madison High School alumnus, and local sports-writing legend passed away this week at the age of 63. His contribution to high school athletics in Nashville is immeasurable. We send our condolences to his wife Brenda, son Chandler and all his family and friends.

Alumni Alert #1

Hunters Lane alum Grant Boone standing alongside Gary Danielson and Vern Lundquist in the CBS Sports booth.Did you see Hunters Lane alumnus Grant Boone on the CBS broadcast of the Sun Bowl? Grant was a member of the first class of Hunters Lane High School and has gained a reputation as one of the best up-and-coming play-by-play announcers in the country. CBS called him to fill-in for announcer Verne Lundquist whose illness made him questionable for the game. Although Lundquist recovered to handle his duties, Grant received some air time during the broadcast. Alumni Alert trivia: Grant Boone is the nephew of crooner Pat Boone and attended Madison High School until Hunters Lane opened for the 1986-87 school year.

Alumni Alert #2

Whoa! How about that tackle by Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins near the end of Sunday’s game with the Titans? That’s right… Glencliff Colt Tim Dobbins is headed to the NFL playoffs this week. Tim attended Iowa State and played for the Cyclones after graduating from Glencliff.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Thunderous Dunks


Maplewood Panther

The Maplewood

Panther (not

Mark North)

Hume Award

Thank you to the Kiwanis Club of Nashville for hosting the 68th annual Hume Award luncheon last week at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel. Awarded since 1944 to a football player from Nashville public schools based on “scholarship, sportsmanship, individual performance and value to the team,” the Hume Award is one of the most prestigious honors for student-athletes.

The luncheon recognized this year’s Hume Award recipient, Dustin Binkley from Maplewood, as well as finalists DeMarco Moore from Antioch, Maurice Cooper from Hillsboro, Caleb Azubike from McGavock, and Ike Amadi from Overton.

Other Hume Award nominees included Jamaris Lavay Pye (Cane Ridge), James Franklin Patterson (East Lit.), Travelle Ervin Deion Pointer (Hillwood), Scottie McCrae Peace (Hunters Lane), Ryan Andrew Deising (Pearl-Cohn/MLK), George Enrique Gutierrez (Stratford), and Michael R. Woodside Jr. (Whites Creek).

Hume Award trivia – Overton Principal Dr. Shuler Pelham was a finalist for the Hume Award in 19….well, let’s just say many years ago.


McGavock Raiders host the 39th annual McGavock Invitational Wrestling tournament this weekend. Wrestlers from across the state, including MNPS wrestlers from McGavock, Cane Ridge, Antioch, Hunters Lane, Hillsboro, MLK, Hillwood, Whites Creek and Glencliff will grapple Saturday beginning at 9:00am. The Junior Varsity tournament starts Friday at 4:30pm and also includes wrestlers from Hume Fogg and East Lit. Admission is $5.00 for the JV tournament on Friday evening and $8.00 for Saturday’s main event.

If you’re not pinned down this weekend, come to McGavock and watch our wrestlers go to the mat for MNPS.

State Championship Game

Blue Cross Blue Shield Bowl
Sunny weather, not-so-sunny outcome.

It was a great Saturday afternoon for the trip to Cookeville for Maplewood’s Championship game appearance. Tennessee Tech played the gracious and hospitable host for a sunny and beautiful Championship Saturday. The team fought hard to the end and brought home the silver football trophy; the band rocked the house; the cheerleaders and Panther mascot displayed the Panther pride; the fans traveled well and included Nashville elected official Howard Gentry, at least five MNPS high school principals, several central office administrators including associate superintendents Lora Hall and Jay Steele, Director of Schools Jesse Register, and Board Chair Gracie Porter. We are proud of the Panthers.

Travel tip: Ralph’s Do-Nut Shop. When you travel to Cookeville to tour Tennessee Tech on a campus visit, or for next year’s state championships, or any time you drive east on Interstate 40, do not miss the donuts at Ralph’s Do-Nut Shop. I recommend the “Butter Twists.” Tell the folks at Ralph’s the North Sports Report sent you.

Ralph's Donut Shop

Tell Ralph 'North Sports Report' sent you.

Brush with Fame/Alumni News

I ran into TSSAA administrator, baseball great, and Madison High School Alumnus Gene Menees in Cookeville. Gene is still one of the most popular players in Nashville Sounds’ history. Everyone from Nashville of a certain age remembers the familiar Greer Stadium call when he was introduced … “Now batting, second baseman, Geeenoooo Meneeeeeeees!” Priceless.


An exciting slate of basketball games awaits MNPS fans this Friday night December 9.

  • Antioch Bears travel to Hillwood Hilltoppers;

  • Overton Bobcats visit Cane Ridge Ravens;

  • East Lit. Eagles travel to CPA;

  • Hunters Lane Warriors host Glencliff Colts;

  • McGavock Raiders head to Green Hills for a showdown with Hillsboro Burros;

  • MLK Royals travel to Stratford Spartans;

  • Maplewood Panthers host Whites Creek Cobras; and

  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds host David Lipscomb.

The MNPS home games are at Hillwood, Cane Ridge, Hunters Lane, Hillsboro, Stratford, Maplewood, and Pearl-Cohn. Pick a game and enjoy!

-- Mark North, Board of Education Vice-Chair & District 3 Representative

MNPS: The First Choice for Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Value to the Team


Mark North

Board Member &
Sports Fan Mark North

Championship Week

The opportunity to compete is the priceless reward for participating in interscholastic athletics, and the great benefits of athletics derive from the competing. You cannot ask for more than the opportunity to compete for a championship. I might get carried away here, but I think a great quote from American history is apropos.
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
If that doesn’t fire you up for championship week, you better check your pulse. The Maplewood Panthers football team takes its great enthusiasms and great devotions to Cookeville this Saturday, December 3rd at 3:30 to compete for the 4A State Championship.

Everyone should take the short drive east to cheer for the Panthers as they bring the golden football trophy back to MNPS. Go Panthers!

Madness at Municipal Auditorium

I had a great time last night at the basketball games between MLK and Hume Fogg at what those schools have termed “Magnet Madness.” I witnessed some impressive individual performances – including a 30 point outburst by Jordan Majors for the MLK girls’ team and premier post play by Hume Fogg boys’ center Sam Smith; enthusiastic fan base and student sections; extraordinary teamwork; and a stunning comeback. The atmosphere was electric, topped off by the Hume Fogg Jazz Band that entertained during breaks in the action with everything from Purple Haze to Sweet Georgia Brown to the Theme from The Simpsons. High school basketball is really entertaining.


According to www.sportsnashville.net, the Metro Nashville Football Coaches Association has named its All City team for this year. The All-City team is:

  • Antioch – Darius Williams, Christian Molina, Demarco Moore, Aaron Kabelu, Tyler Bumbalough, Tyrone Smith;

  • Cane Ridge – Jesse Williams, Malachi Tullis;

  • East Lit – Michael Leater, Antonio McKissack, Kendall Trice;

  • Glencliff – Treon Hill, Montez Brown, Justin Farr, Jason Marrow;

  • Hillsboro – Patrick Segovia, William Cooper;

  • Hillwood – Anthony Johnson, Jahmare Anthony;

  • Hunters Lane – James Maney, Howard Cliffe;

  • Maplewood – Ladarius Vanlier, Randall Smith, Navonte Parks, Steven Johnson, Christopher Lee Denzel Jones;

  • McGavock – Caleb Azubike, Tony Mason, Nolan Sexton;

  • Overton – Rick Thomas, Ike Amadi, Geremy Henderson, Brandon Scruggs, Zabian King;

  • Pearl-Cohn – Trevon Miles, Darrius Darden-Box, Dedric Wilson, Demario Donnell, Larry Sims, Andre McDonald;

  • Stratford – Tyler Wilson, Derrick Howell, Oliver Lewis;

  • Whites Creek – D’Harius Brown, Kenneth Marlowe, Michael Cain.
Congratulations to everyone who competed.

Alumni News

Hume Fogg Class of 2010 alumna Claiborne Willis, a member of the Centre College Women’s Soccer team, was named Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference after she scored three goals in a game for her first collegiate hat trick. We are proud of our MNPS alumni!

Pick a team and support it, and I hope to see you in Cookeville on Saturday.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the Triumph of High Achievement!


Mark North

Board Member &
Sports Fan Mark North

A Pep Rally to Remember

Can you imagine if the greatest marching band on the planet showed up for your middle school’s pep rally? It happened last week at Head Middle School when The Aristocrat of Bands from Tennessee State University performed, adding ample pep to the rally. Seriously… you can’t beat that.

Bowling – News from the Alley

I spent Monday afternoon at Madison Bowl with student athletes from ten high school bowling teams – boys and girls teams from East Lit Eagles, Hunters Lane Warriors, Maplewood Panthers (Alleycats), Stratford Spartans, and Whites Creek Cobras. Bowling does not receive much media attention, but I noticed that high school bowling has great coaches, intense head to head competition, pressure packed performances, team spirit and sportsmanship – all while staying out of the gutter.

How to read the box score (or things that fascinate only me):
The Tennessean prints the bowling results on its sports page, but the box score always confused me more than anything. With the help of Maplewood Coach Mark Hayes, I now understand how to read the scores and will try to explain it for you. Each team has six players who each compete against an individual player from the other school. The team receives one point for each player that wins their respective head to head game for a total of six points. Also, the team that has the highest total score (total number of pins in the six games) receives two points for a total of eight available points. The teams repeat the same formula for two more games so that each player plays a total of three games. At the end of the three games, the team with the highest total pin count receives an additional three points. So… the total number of team points in a high school bowling match is 27.

In addition to the final team score, the box score in the newspaper includes the total pins for each team from the 18 games of the match and the name of the player with the highest single game score. For example, here is the box score from Tuesday morning’s Tennessean for the boys match between Maplewood and East Lit:

Maplewood 21, East Literature 6
Total Pins – Maplewood 2,701, East Literature 2,463
High Pinfall – Owen (M) 208
Now you know.

Football Playoffs

Maplewood cruised to a 31-0 shutout victory in the state quarterfinals last Friday. The Panthers dominated despite a first quarter injury to leading rusher Ladarius Vanlier. Denzel Jones rushed for 116 yards and defensive back Kenny Robertson had two interceptions, leading Maplewood to the state semifinals.

Coach Arcentae Broome has the team primed for a semifinal showdown against Covington on the day after Thanksgiving at Maplewood. This Friday, everyone is a Panther fan, so come out to Maplewood and work off that excess turkey by cheering the team to a berth in the state championship game. I’ll see you Friday night at 7:00pm.

Congratulations to the Pearl-Cohn Firebirds on a great season and a long run to the state quarterfinals.

Alumni News

Burro Bob (the Hillsboro mascot) was smiling proudly Saturday night when Hillsboro alumnus (and current Tennessee Volunteer) Eric Gordon stepped up and volunteered at the most critical time, intercepted a pass and took it ninety yards for the game winning overtime touchdown. No matter your collegiate allegiance, we are always proud of our MNPS success. Congratulations!

Go see a game . . . you’ll love it.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Clutch Performances

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