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Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Hoops Night Out

The North Sports Report enjoyed a fabulous mid-week hoops experience at Glencliff this week as the Colts hosted the Hillwood Hilltoppers. The gym and new floor design at Glencliff are gorgeous. The floor was recently dedicated to Coach Glenn Falls, Glencliff’s longtime great basketball and volleyball coach. The North Sports Report had the honor of watching the games, played on Glenn Falls Court, sitting next to Glenn Falls. He spoke glowingly about the past and present Glencliff players with stories of outstanding defensive performances in state tournament games of the past to the college and career plans of present players. That was a treat! By the way, the hot dogs at the Glencliff concessions stand were out of this world! You should go to a game this week, catch-up with old friends, enjoy a good dog, and support our student-athletes.

Also spotted in the crowd was Hillwood Football Coach Bubba Spears cheering on the Hilltopper hoopsters.

Glenn Falls Court at Glencliff High School
Glenn Falls Court at Glencliff High School

Bowling State Tournament…Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’

The State Bowling Championship Tournament starts Thursday January 24 and runs through Saturday at the Smyrna Bowling Center. The schedule and brackets are available at www.tssaa.org.

MNPS student-athletes qualifying for the boys’ state tournament (along with their season average) are:

Matt Holland, McGavock (196.06); Aaron Ruiz, Cane Ridge (244.33-the top qualifier in the state); Andre Rucker, MLK (188.0); Steven Smith, Hillsboro (180.58); Jonathon Davis, East Nashville (202.60); Louis Dunn, Hillsboro (178.22);

MNPS student-athletes qualifying for the girls’ state tournament (along with their season average) are: Kaitlin Cashion, MLK (156.0); Summer Earnest, Hume-Fogg (139.86); Reanna Evans, Hunters Lane (119.0); Eunicia Turner, East Nashville (127.29); Kelsie Holland, McGavock (125.70);

Congratulations on a great season and good luck in Smyrna this week!

Hancock-Nipper Award Winner

Congratulations to Cane Ridge Ravens’ Raymond Caruthers who earned a prestigious Hancock-Nipper Award. Presented by the Nashville Civitan Club, the Hancock-Nipper Awards are presented to football players who “displayed outstanding sportsmanship for Nashville teams that won region or state championships” according to the venerable sportswriter Harold Huggins of The Nashville City Paper.

Congratulations to Raymond and all our MNPS student-athletes.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Outstanding Sportsmanship


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Hoopin’ Old School…aka…The New Old Fashioned Way

What are you doing Friday January 4 and Saturday January 5? The North Sports Report will join The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools, high school basketball fans, alumni, celebrities, and (hopefully) you at The FANS Retro Classic high school basketball extravaganza at the historic and freshly renovated Isaac Litton High Gymnasium. The high school teams will be wearing throwback uniforms to honor bygone high schools. That’s right! The high school teams of today will don the uniforms of schools that no longer exist as high schools. Don’t worry…no short shorts or belts or silky pants…just a little something to recognize and appreciate history.

The teams playing the games include: Hume-Fogg; Maplewood; McGavock; Stratford; Glencliff; and Hunters Lane. They will be wearing game uniforms to honor Madison High; Litton High; DuPont High; and Cameron High. So far, the thought of replicating Madison high’s polka dot design has generated the most attention with a photo and story (written by DuPont High alumnus and sportswriter extraordinaire Mike Organ) in Sunday’s Tennessean and inquiries from ESPN.com. Say what? That’s right, I said polka dots and I said national attention from ESPN.com.

Historic Isaac Litton Gymnasium

Historic Isaac Litton Gymnasium

Bottom line – if high school student-athletes are willing to wear polka dots to honor historic schools, we should be there to support them! Tickets will be available at the door and admission is $6 each night. Proceeds go to The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools for the benefit of athletic programs in Nashville’s public schools.


  • Friday January 4: First game tips at 5:00pm

  • Maplewood girls vs. Hume-Fogg girls

  • Maplewood boys vs. Hume-Fogg boys

  • Saturday January 5: First game tips at 5:00pm

  • Stratford boys vs. McGavock boys

  • Glencliff boys vs. Hunters Lane boys

So, I’ll ask again. What are you doing Friday January 4 and Saturday January 5? That’s what I thought. I’ll see you there.

The FANS Retro Classic Banner

Be a fan. Go watch some basketball.

Honors and Awards


Hume-Fogg’s Sarah Morris was named 1st Team All-State by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.

The Tennessean named McGavock’s Hanna Gundinge to the All-Midstate Team.


Two-time State Champion, MLK’s Sam Klockenkemper was named 1st Team All-Midstate by the Tennessean.

Cane Ridge’s sophomore sensation Bailee Dean also earned a spot on the Tennessean’s 1st Team All-Midstate.


The Tennessean’s All-Midstate Football Team included several MNPS student-athletes:

  • Maplewood’s Damario Lewis (1st Team), Ronald Wilbert, and Cortez Adams;

  • Hillsboro’s Joseph Occhipinti;

  • Antioch’s Moses Cornelius;

  • Cane Ridge’s Jeremy Greer and Jeremy Bolden; and

  • Whites Creek’s Michael Cain.

Congratulations to all our MNPS student-athletes.

Alumni Alert

2012 McGavock graduate Caleb Azubike helped lead the Vanderbilt defensive effort in a New Year’s Eve triumph at the Music City Bowl. Caleb had three tackles and recovered a fumble in a dominant Commodore victory.


In 2013…Resolve to be a fan of a high school and middle school near you. Support the student-athletes, attend the games, encourage the students and coaches…In short, and it bears repeating, BE A FAN!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Fans


Retro Classic bannerLooking back to help the future: Six high school basketball teams are taking part in The FANS Retro Classic this weekend that benefits The FANS, Inc., a foundation raising money for Metro Schools athletic programs.

So what makes these games so special? Teams will be wearing old school uniforms to honor high school teams of the past!

Hume-Fogg and Hunters Lane will wear Madison High polka dots, Maplewood and Stratford will wear uniforms to honor Isaac Litton High, McGavock will honor DuPont High, and Glencliff will honor Cameron High.

Will the uniforms look exactly like you remember them? Of course not, but that's not really the point, is it?

The point is that schools of today are willing to honor the past, and together we can build a bright future. Here are the details:

Friday, January 4, 5:00 p.m.

Hume-Fogg vs. Maplewood (Girls)

Hume-Fogg vs. Maplewood (Boys)

Saturday, January 5

McGavock vs. Stratford (Boys)

Hunters Lane vs. Glencliff (Boys)

Historic Location

The historic Isaac Litton High School Gym.


Tickets are $6 each night and are available at the door. This event might sell out, so get there early.


Please park at Litton Middle School, 4601 Hedgewood Drive (turn on Richmond from Gallatin Road).


Proceeds from The FANS Retro Classic go to The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools, Inc. for the benefit of athletic programs in Nashville's public schools.

If you are unable to attend but want to help, you may donate online at
www.thefansinc.com or send a check The FANS, 1215 Gallatin Pike, S., Madison, TN 37115.


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

I Saw the Light

Friday was one of those days…the horrific tragedy in Connecticut …unspeakable terror…dominated the news, monopolized our thought, exponentially multiplied our fears, and left each of us searching for elusive answers. Social media constantly reiterated the questions – Where did we go so wrong? Why would someone inflict such horror? What in his background would make him act in such a way? How can such evil exist? Why?


With that backdrop, I planned to attend a high school basketball game as I do every Friday evening. This week, I was heading to Green Hills for the Hillsboro Burros’ showdown with the Hunters Lane Warriors. It would be my first chance to see Burros star Jamonte Davis, a 6-7 (or 6-8 depending on which recruiting service you subscribe to) forward whose complete game, including mastery of the lost art of the mid-range jump shot, has catapulted him to national recognition as a college prospect. I knew he would be tested by Hunters Lane’s scrappy, tenacious zone defense.

My daughter, home from college, accompanied me to the game, an unexpected and particularly heartwarming treat considering the events of the day. She warned that she might not pay too much attention to the game because she concentrates on and enjoys the spectacle that surrounds the actual game. True enough…and I responded that I try to notice things other people overlook and provide a different perspective through the North Sports Report. Sitting together, we watched the game in our own ways, occasionally sharing our unique commentary.

During a break in the action, late in the game, the Hillsboro cheerleaders tossed souvenirs into the crowd. You know the routine…cheerleaders throwing little basketballs and rubber bracelets all along the sideline, and every fan standing, hoping to catch a keepsake. Just like every fan at a baseball game wants to catch a foul ball, everyone in the gym wants to catch some cheerleader-thrown gift. Did I stand and wave, encouraging a toss toward me? Of course I did. Did any souvenirs land within my reach? Of course not. So, we sat back down as action resumed on the court.

Then it happened.

A Hillsboro student, sitting three people down from me, leaned over and tapped my arm. As I turned, she handed me a rubber Hillsboro souvenir bracelet the cheerleaders had thrown into the crowd. What? I had never met the young lady, and she didn’t know me from the man in the moon. What makes a high school student give a gift to a stranger? Why so nice to me? How can such grace and beauty exist? Who gets the credit…her parents? …a teacher? Where did we go so right?

I have no answers, but the cynical veil of despair was lifted. A bright light… I swear I saw a bright light…shone down on that child like a spotlight. Or, was it shining up, emanating from her kind heart? Looking around the gym, I saw light shining on everyone. I could actually see the beauty and grace in every spectator, shining through like a beacon of hope to the world. Was her light of kindness contagious, or were my eyes simply opened to the light of kindness that shines from all those around me?

I still have no answers, and that light doesn’t change the past or hide the horrors of tragedy. It does, however, expose the hope for healing and for the future.

As the New Year approaches, may we open our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us; and more importantly, shine our own light of grace, beauty and kindness in whatever small way we can.

Oh, and Go to a Game!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Hope for the Future


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Hume Award Luncheon

Overton’s Brandon Orr joined a long list of distinguished Hume Award winners, the most prestigious scholar-athlete award given to high school football players, at the 69th Annual Hume Award Luncheon hosted by The Economic Club of Nashville at Bridgestone Arena. Other finalists at the luncheon were Antioch’s Christian Molina, East Nashville’s Michael Collins, Hillsboro’s Joseph Occhipinti, and McGavock’s Tracey Bowler. The ceremony at the luncheon includes a brief statement by the head football coach of each finalist, describing the leadership and scholastic achievements as well as the football accomplishments of these fine young men. It is always a highlight of the year for the North Sports Report. 


 The Hume Award

The Hume Award

Other Hume Award Nominees this year included:

  • Noble Wolugbums – Cane Ridge

  • Anton Arnold – Hillwood

  • Justin Lang – Hunters Lane

  • Wayne Williams – Maplewood

  • Jeremy Ward – Pearl-Cohn

  • Erick Davidson – Whites Creek

Congratulations to all our scholar-athletes.

Hume Award History…Cool Stuff for the Old Timers

The Hume Award was first presented during World War II, in the 1944-45 school year. Nashville City School Board Chair William Hume and School Superintendent W.A. Bass established the award for football players in Nashville’s public schools to recognize “sportsmanship, scholarship, and football ability.” A trophy with the names of each recipient travels to the school of the winner each year.

Although it is the 69th annual award, there have been 72 Hume Award recipients (two winners were named in 1987-88, 1994-95, and 1995-96). 13 Hume Award winners attended Overton, including this year’s recipient; six attended Hunters Lane; five attended Maplewood, including two of the last four; five attended East; five attended Hillwood; three attended Antioch, Glencliff and Stratford respectively; two attended McGavock, Pearl-Cohn, and Hillsboro respectively; and Whites Creek’s one Hume Award winner was the great Jamie Graham in 2006-07. 22 of the Hume Award recipients attended schools that no longer serve as high schools, including Cohn, West, Howard, North, Madison, Litton, and Goodlettsville.

Names you might recognize from the list of Hume Award winners include Eddie and Billy Lawrence from West (1944-45 and 1946-47); Odell Binkley from North (1950-51); Cohn great Thomas E. Wells (1956-57); Maplewood’s E.J. Junior (1976-77); Hunters Lane’s Reginald Grimes (1994-95) who played quarterback at Hunters Lane and starred as a defensive tackle at Alabama; Maurice Fitzgerald of Pearl-Cohn (1996-97); Brenard Wilson II of Hunters Lane (2004-05); and James R. Stone of Maplewood (2009-10). The list is long and impressive.

Alumni Alert – Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

The North Sports Report attended the Tennessee Titans game at LP Field Sunday versus the league leading Houston Texans. In looking for a silver lining during the game, I found myself repeating “He is a Glencliff graduate” every time Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins made a good play. The former Glencliff Colt made so many great plays, including an interception and fumble recovery, those sitting near me grew exceedingly weary of my Glencliff Colt pride. Although the home team had a disappointing day, one linebacker from Glencliff put on a rousing homecoming performance.

Don’t Miss the Hoops

Nothing compares to the sweet sounds of a high school gym on game night. The ball bouncing on the hardwood, the buzz of the crowd, the cheerleaders, the joyful conversations of students and fans sitting nearby … it is magical. The thrilling games at Maplewood last Friday even exceeded the North Sports Report’s expectations. The girls’ game included an overtime session after Maplewood scored at the final horn to tie the game.

The boys’ game was a thrill a second slam fest to the very end. East Nashville jumped out to an early lead scoring 22 points in the first four minutes. Let’s put that in perspective… they were on pace to score 176 points. It was high-flying, slam dunking, jump shot swishing, fast paced hoops. How did Maplewood respond? They turned up the defense, scrapped and scraped and took the lead going into the fourth quarter. With 1.2 seconds remaining and the game on the line, Maplewood would inbound the ball near mid-court trailing by 2. Somehow, the Panthers managed to get off a three-point shot before the horn, and it headed straight for the goal as if in slow motion. If it goes in, Maplewood wins…if not, East Nashville wins. The shot hit the rim, rattled, rolled, bounced, spun, and …. The game ended.

So, did it go in or not? Who won the game? Let me just say… “You should have been there!” GO TO A GAME! You will love it!

After the game, exhausted from the excitement, the North Sports Report paused by the new waterfall/fountain in front of Maplewood High, constructed with the help of Maplewood students, to relax and unwind. Beautiful!

 Maplewood Fountain

A nice place to relax after intense Maplewood basketball games.

Hoops This Week – Friday December 7

Here is your chance to see a game near you:

  • Antioch Bears host Hillwood Hilltoppers;

  • Cane Ridge Ravens travel to Overton Bobcats;

  • Whites Creek Cobras welcome Maplewood Panthers;

  • Stratford Spartans visit MLK Royals;

  • Glencliff Colts host Hunters Lane Warriors;

  • East Nashville Eagles play at home against CPA;

  • Hume-Fogg Blue Knights host Ezell Harding; and

  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds travel to Lipscomb

The MNPS home games are at: Antioch; Overton; Whites Creek; MLK; Glencliff; East Nashville; and Hume-Fogg (played at NSA).

Go to a game!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Prestigious Scholar-Athletes


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Hume Award – Spotlight on Scholar-Athletes

The Hume Award, one of the oldest and most prestigious awards any student-athlete can receive, will be awarded next week to a scholar-athlete/football player “on the basis of scholarship, sportsmanship, individual performance and value to the team.” The Hume Award, named for local civic leader, attorney and Chair of the Nashville City Board of Education William Hume, was first awarded in 1944 to Eddie Lawrence of West High School. Last year’s winner was Maplewood Panther Dustin Binkley.

This year’s five Hume Award finalists are: Christian Molina, Antioch; Michael Collins, East Nashville; Joseph Occhipinti, Hillsboro; Tracey Bowler, McGavock; and Brandon Orr, Overton. Congratulations to all our scholar-athletes.

Hume Award Trivia

Which High School Principal’s stellar athletic and academic career made him a Hume Award finalist? Answer: Overton’s Dr. Andrew Shuler Pelham.

All-Star Game Features MNPS Gridders

The Toyota East/West All-Star Football game will be played Saturday December 8 at 1:00pm on the campus of Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. Rosters for this game may be updated to add players, but my last check of the roster shows that the West team includes DeAnthony Patrick and DeQuan Mays of McGavock; and Michael Cain of Whites Creek. The game will be televised across the state on local PBS stations.

Grapple with This – Pre-season Recognition

The Tennessean’s high school wrestling preview highlighted Glencliff Colts wrestler Garang Madut as one of the mid-state’s “Wrestlers to Watch” this season. Good luck to all our wrestlers who will go to the mat for their schools this season!

Hoop Dreams

High school basketball games are scheduled several nights every week, and you should check the paper each week for a game near you. The North Sports Report will keep you abreast of the games scheduled on Fridays.

Basketball Games November 30, 2012

This week’s North Sports Report Game of the week has the high flying East Nashville Eagles visiting the mighty Maplewood Panthers. Tip-off at 6:30.

In other action:

  • Whites Creek Cobras travel to nearby rival Hunters Lane Warriors;

  • Hillwood Hilltoppers host Glencliff Colts;

  • Hillsboro Burros host Mt. Juliet;

  • McGavock Raiders welcome visiting Cane Ridge Ravens;

  • MLK Royals travel down the road to Pearl-Cohn Firebirds;

  • Overton Bobcats host Brentwood;

  • Hume-Fogg Blue Knights visit CPA; and

  • Stratford Spartans hit the home hardwood against Lipscomb.

The MNPS home games this Friday are: at Maplewood; at Hunters Lane; at Hillwood; at Hillsboro; at McGavock; at Pearl-Cohn; at Overton; and at Stratford. Oh, and Antioch Bears play at home on Thursday night November 29. There is a game near you – go support the schools and students this week!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the Incomparable Flair of School Spirit


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Middle School Athletics

Middle school sports provide great after-school opportunities for students. It keeps them busy; teaches them discipline, sacrifice, teamwork, and structure; and promotes school spirit.

Congratulations to the Middle School City Champions for the fall sports:

  • Volleyball – JT Moore Middle

  • Girls’ Soccer – Meigs Middle

  • Football – Smithson-Craighead Middle

Congratulations to all our middle school student-athletes!

Middle School Pep Rally … Putting the Pep in the Rally

Last week’s pep rally at Head Middle School featured TSU’s marching band. The Aristocrat of Bands made its annual visit to Head and added its incomparable flair to the school’s pep rally extravaganza. The band at TSU is a great community partner and a source of pride for all Nashville.

News from the TSSAA…Award Winning Administrators

The TSSAA awarded Athletic Director of the Year for the Middle Tennessee Region to Chip Sullivan of Hunters Lane and the Principal of the Year to Hillwood’s Dr. Steve Chauncy. Congratulations!

News from the TSSAA…District Realignment

The TSSAA changes the districts every four years and have announced the proposed changes to the Districts for 2013-2017. The biggest news is that Hillsboro will join District 12AAA.

District 12AAA will feature:

  • Antioch Bears

  • Cane Ridge Ravens

  • Glencliff Colts

  • Hillsboro Burros

  • Hillwood Hilltoppers

  • Hunters Lane Warriors

  • McGavock Raiders

  • Overton Bobcats

In the football playoffs, Glencliff, Hillsboro and Hillwood will compete in the 5A classification while the other District 12AAA teams will compete in 6A.

District 10AA will feature:

  • East Nashville Eagles

  • Hume-Fogg Blue Knights

  • Lipscomb

  • Maplewood Panthers

  • MLK Royals

  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds

  • Stratford Spartans

  • Whites Creek Cobras

In the football playoffs, East and Stratford will compete for the 3A championship; while Maplewood, Pearl-Cohn, and Whites Creek will compete for the 4A championship.

The realignment will be approved within the next week or so, and the new districts begin play in the fall of 2013.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the Incomparable Flair of School Spirit


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Cross-Country Excellence

MLK’s Sam Klockenkemper’s second consecutive state championship capped a great Cross-Country season for MNPS runners. That’s right, Klockenkemper reigns as state champion two years in a row. The MLK boys’ team finished second in the state and Hume-Fogg’s boys’ team finished fourth in the state.

Cane Ridge Sophomore Bailee Dean finished runner-up in the state in her first year of competition. Future is bright for that runnin’ Raven.

A Lesson from History …aka…Annual End of Season Waxing

In sports with a playoff system, most teams end their season with a disappointing loss. That’s just the nature of the beast. About this time every year, the North Sports Report contemplates the end of the season that comes so quickly in the playoffs. Although consoling disappointment with historical quotes might not be recommended therapy, the lesson from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote applies to all of us no matter our venture, and bears repeating again this year.
“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 timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt
Congratulations and all due credit to our students, coaches, teachers, staff, parents and administrators who strive valiantly, dare greatly, and know the great enthusiasms and great devotions of a worthy cause.

Alumni Alert – James Stone

The North Sports Report visited Neyland Stadium in Knoxville this week and witnessed an outstanding offensive line performance, anchored by 2010 Maplewood graduate James Stone, the starting center for the Tennessee Vols. Every offensive play begins in the hands of the former Panther. Outstanding!

Football Playoffs – Second Round: November 9, 2012

MNPS has three football teams in the second round and all playing nearby this Friday night. In the Class 4A playoffs, the Maplewood Panthers travel north to face White House. In the Class 5A playoffs, the Hillsboro Burros head to Sumner County to square off with Beech. And, the Overton Bobcats travel just down the road to Brentwood High in the Class 6A playoffs.

This is a great week to show your support and go to a game.

Hoops Time!

The 22nd Annual Metro Basketball Jamboree – or as the North Sports Report calls it, Hoops-apallooza – tips off the basketball season this week.

On Thursday November 8 at Antioch – Glencliff Colts play East Nashville Eagles starting at 5:00pm; McGavock Raiders play Pearl-Cohn Firebirds at 6:30pm; and host Antioch Bears play CPA at 8:00pm.

On November 9 at Hillwood – Hillsboro Burros play Whites Creek Cobras starting at 5:00pm; Hume-Fogg Lady Blue Knights play Harpeth Hall at 6:30pm; Hume-Fogg Blue Knights play Nashville Christian at 7:15pm; and host Hillwood Hilltoppers play MLK Royals starting at 8:00pm.

On November 10 at Maplewood – Stratford Spartans play Cane Ridge Ravens starting at 5:00pm; Hunters Lane Warriors play Lipscomb starting at 6:30pm; and host Maplewood Panthers play Overton Bobcats starting at 8:00pm.

This is your chance to get the first glimpse of the MNPS Super-Hoopsters! Go to a game!

-- Mark North

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


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Who Says Nobody’s Perfect? News from the Alley

Cane Ridge Super-Bowler Aaron Ruiz had the state’s highest per game average last season, and he added to his accomplishments this week with a perfect 300 game. What? Are you kidding me? Seriously…strike after strike after strike after…well, you get the idea. We have a legend of the alley at Cane Ridge. Roll on, Ravens!

Cross-Country: Region Champs…Taking on the State

The North Sports Report was eavesdropping on a conversation at a football game recently and overheard several coaches and administrators describing a young cross country star from Cane Ridge High School: “She finishes her race, goes to visit with her family and friends, gets out a snack, sits down, and then the second place runner comes into view.” Exaggeration? Nope! Unbelievable? Believe it! Cane Ridge Sophomore Bailee Dean won the Region Championship by over 53 seconds. I would say the competition was eating dust, but she was so far in front, the dust settled before second place could dine on it.

In Boys’ individual competition, MLK’s Sam Klockenkemper (the defending state champion) won the Region championship.

The State Championship Meet is Saturday November 4 at the Percy Warner Park Steeplechase course here in Nashville. MLK’s Boys and Girls teams and Hume-Fogg’s Boys and Girls teams qualified for the state. Glencliff’s Dag Bahiru and Hillsboro’s Gabriela Herrera also qualified for the state meet.

Good luck to all the runners!

Football Friday Night…It’s Playoff Time

The regular season ended for the North Sports Report in grand style. While at Cane Ridge for the rivalry game with Antioch, I visited dignitaries like school board chair Cheryl Mayes, benefited from the hospitality of Principal Wall, and rocked to the halftime show provided by the greatest college marching band on the planet, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands! Oh, and it was a great football game too.

TSU Band at Cane Ridge Game
TSU’s Aristocrat of bands prepares to take the field at Cane Ridge High School

This week begins the Road to Cookeville. I40 East? No, the TSSAA State Football Playoffs, and MNPS has six teams looking to advance.

Have you seen Antioch stars Raekwon Hosey, Moses Cornelius, and Tyler Bumbalough, or Hillsboro tailback Robert Kelley and kicker/punter Joseph Occhipinti? The first round of the playoffs is your chance as the Antioch Bears host the Hillsboro Burros in the only playoff game with two MNPS teams facing each other.

In other playoff action:

  • Maplewood Panthers host Crockett County;

  • District Champion Cane Ridge Ravens host Riverdale;

  • McGavock Raiders travel to Dickson County; and

  • Overton Bobcats travel to Arlington.

The MNPS home playoff games are at Antioch; at Maplewood; and at Cane Ridge. Support a team this week!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Perfection


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Mascots are Super Cool …or…What’s in a Name?

The North Sports Report has always secretly wanted to be a team mascot. (Oops, not a secret anymore). Anyway, I really enjoyed the antics of the Overton Bobcat Friday night. Decked out in his Breast Cancer Awareness pink shirt, the Bobcat was the ultimate embodiment of school spirit. After several inquiries, I discovered the Bobcat does not yet have an official name, and Principal Pelham is considering assigning that question to Overton students during basketball season. When presented with my two suggested names (Johhny O’Cat; or Robert), Principal Pelham displayed the patience and understanding of a hall of fame school administrator, and replied: “I think we’ll let the students decide.” Wise decision Dr. Pelham.

Overton Bobcat

Freshman Football Championship

Congratulations to the Pearl-Cohn Freshman football team who prevailed in a hard fought championship game against the runner-up Antioch Bears. I have a feeling the next few years will see many North Sports Reports about these two teams. Congratulations to all our freshmen who participated in fall sports!

Football Friday…Regular Season Finale October 26, 2012

It does not get any bigger than this week’s North Sports Report Game of the Week. The biggest game of the year, bar none, will be played in southeast Davidson County when the Antioch Bears take the short jaunt down the road to face the home-standing Cane Ridge Ravens for the District 12AAA championship. Let’s check the Big Game Checklist for confirmation… Rivalry…check; schools are nearby neighbors…check; Playoff position on the line…check; championship on the line…check; two hungry teams…check. Don’t miss this one!

In other action:

  • McGavock Raiders travel to Hillwood Hilltoppers with both teams having a shot at the playoffs;

  • East Nashville Eagles host Whites Creek Cobras;

  • Hunters Lane Warriors travel to Glencliff Colts;

  • Hillsboro Burros play at home against Centennial;

  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds host CPA; and

  • Stratford Spartans travel to Lipscomb.

Overton Bobcats and Maplewood Panthers have completed the regular season and hope to play in the playoffs next week.

The MNPS home games are at Cane Ridge; at Hillwood; at East Nashville (played at TPS); at Glencliff; at Hillsboro; and at Pearl-Cohn. Go to a game!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the Ultimate Embodiment of School Spirit


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

It’s the Time of the Season for…Playoffs and Championships

Pressure packed games with the end of the season hanging in the balance… in a flash your season and high school career could be …done. All the years of hard work and sacrifice culminate in this moment when student-athletes compete with it all on the line. It’s playoff time.

Championship Game: Freshman Football – the Pearl-Cohn Firebirds visit the Antioch Bears with the Ninth Grade City Championship on the line today at 4:00pm.

Championship Game: Girls Soccer – Hume-Fogg Lady Blue Knights play CPA for the District 9AA Championship tonight at 6:00pm.

Championship Game: Girls Soccer – Antioch Lady Bears and the McGavock Lady Raiders play tonight for the District 12AAA Championship.

Sectionals: Volleyball – Hume-Fogg Lady Blue Knights have reached the Sweet Sixteen in the state and visit Page tonight at 7:00pm with the chance to qualify for the State Championship tournament.

Shout Out on National TV from an NFL Star

Two weeks in a row, Glencliff graduate Tim Dobbins played on national television – Monday Night Football on ESPN one week and Sunday night on NBC the next week. On Sunday, each member of the starting defense introduced himself, and the starting linebacker for the Houston Texans said: “Tim Dobbins…Linebacker… Glencliff High School” Whoop Whoop for the Glencliff Colts!

TSSAA Reclassification

The TSSAA examines enrollment every four years and realigns its member schools into six classifications for football and three classifications for the other sports. The TSSAA announced this week the new classifications for every school in the state and will align the various districts next week. It is possible that MNPS schools will change districts, and that rivalries will be disturbed or created by the realignment. Frankly, the North Sports Report does not expect much change, but will examine the districts after the TSSAA makes the final decisions. Stay tuned…

Football Friday: October 19, 2012

This week’s North Sports Report Game of the Week pits two teams on a roll after notching impressive victories last week – the East Nashville Eagles travel to Nick Coutras Stadium to face the Overton Bobcats.

In other action:

  • Both teams are playing for playoff position when the Hillwood Hilltoppers visit Cane Ridge Ravens;

  • Hillsboro Burros travel east of the river to Buster Boguskie Field to play the red hot Stratford Spartans;

  • Maplewood Panthers travel over Monteagle (a beautiful drive this time of year) to Chattanooga to play Boyd-Buchanan;

  • Antioch Bears host Columbia; and

  • McGavock Raiders host Goodpasture.

Glencliff Colts, Hunters Lane Warriors, Pearl-Cohn Firebirds, and Whites Creek Cobras will rest up during their bye week and prepare for next week’s regular season finale.

The MNPS home games are at Overton; at Cane Ridge; at Stratford; at Antioch; and at McGavock.

All games start at 7:00pm except Maplewood’s game which starts at 6:30pm central time (7:30pm local Chattanooga time).

Enjoy a game this week!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Competing When It’s All on the Line


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Hillsboro Hoopster Commits to Big Blue Tigers

Talk about a bright college future…Hillsboro’s Jamontae Davis has committed to continue his studies and play his college basketball locally at Tennessee State. Looking forward to watching his senior season with the Burros, and then next year, you can check out his show at the Gentry Center.

Alumni Alert – Maplewood Graduate Earns OVC Special Honors

According to the Tennessee Tech website, Tennessee Tech Freshman and 2012 Maplewood graduate Ladarius Vanlier was named Ohio Valley Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after a tremendous performance against Murray State. Ladarius “had 291 all-purpose yards, the fourth-most in school history…returned an OVC-record 11 kickoffs (just one off the NCAA record) for 237 yards (13 yards shy of the OVC record) including a 94-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It marked the sixth-longest return in school history and the ninth-longest kickoff return in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) so far this season. Vanlier also returned one punt for 30 yards and caught four passes for a total of 24 yards.”

Football Time

Last week’s Pearl-Cohn vs. Maplewood game reminded me to always stay to the end. The last two minutes of that game defies description and ended with a game-tying field goal attempt falling just short. Maplewood Principal Ron Woodard and the Panther staff were great hosts as always; the two marching bands electrified the crowd with a battle of the bands halftime show that kept everyone rocking; and the ending of the game …well, “defies description” is the only way to describe it. An awesome night at Maplewood!

Football Thursday October 4, 2012

This week is one of my favorites as we double the fun with games on Thursday and Friday. The North Sports Report has two…count them two…games of the week.

For Thursday’s Game of the Week the North Sports Report will head to McGavock to see the Overton Bobcats visit the McGavock Raiders in a big District 12AAA showdown.

In other action on Thursday:

  • Stratford Spartans travel to East Nashville Eagles in the Pride of the Eastside Throwdown;

  • Hillwood Hilltoppers host Glencliff Colts; and

  • Maplewood Panthers travel to CPA.

MNPS home games on Thursday are at McGavock; at Hillwood; and at East Nashville (played on the TPS campus). Go to a game Thursday night!

Football Friday October 5, 2012

Need more? Of course, you do. The North Sports Reports Friday Night Game of the Week sees the Whites Creek Cobras face the home-standing Pearl-Cohn Firebirds.

In other action on Friday:

  • Antioch Bears take their balanced and powerful running attack to face the Hunters Lane Warriors;

  • Hillsboro Burros host Brentwood; and

  • Cane Ridge Ravens travel to Centennial.

MNPS home games on Friday night are at Pearl-Cohn; at Hunters Lane; and at Hillsboro. Go to a game near you!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Bright College Futures


Much to the delight of hundreds of 7th and 8th graders, Tennessee Titans tight end #89 Jared Cook made a surprise appearance at Madison Middle School today! The pro athlete made the trip on behalf of the NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign, sponsored by SUDIA and the American Heart Association. Cook talked about the importance of studying hard, persevering, eating healthy, and getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.

The special visit came right in time to celebrate Child Health Week. This year marks the 84th anniversary of Child Health Day, originally started by President Calvin Coolidge. Check out the video. 


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Bowling Season: Set ‘Em Up…Knock ‘Em Down

The time has come for MNPS student-athletes to hang out in the alley…bowling alley that is. Bowling is an exciting combination of an individual and team sport. Did you know that the bowler with last year’s highest per game average in the state resumes his state title hopes for the Cane Ridge Ravens. That’s right, Aaron Ruiz, the best high school bowler in Tennessee, and all other MNPS bowlers are heading down the lane toward a successful bowling season.

Alumni Alert – Volunteer to Save the Day

How about Hillsboro graduate Eric Gordon’s performance Saturday for the Tennessee Volunteers? Eric helped lead the Vols to victory at Neyland Stadium with four tackles and a crucial interception.

Soccer Season Version of Magnet Madness

The North Sports Report attended the girls’ soccer match between the Lady Blue Knights of Hume-Fogg and the Lady Royals of MLK this week. While the action on the field was exciting, the North Sports Report was most impressed with the true school spirit of the fans. The students, body-painted in school colors, brought the stands to life as they banged a drum, encouraged both teams, and all cheered the effort at the end. MNPS students are FANtastic!

Football Friday September 28, 2012

The North Sports Report enjoyed the breezy homecoming night at Antioch last week. It was a beautiful night for football.

Antioch High School Football Team
The Antioch Bears take the field.
Antioch High School Concession Stand
The Wizard of AHS - The Antioch High School concession stand brings the refreshment.

This week’s North Sports Report Game of the Week is the match-up we have all anticipated as the Pearl-Cohn Firebirds visit the Maplewood Panthers in the game each team hopes will catapult it toward a district title. It promises to be one of the best match-ups of the year! I’ll see you there.

In other action:

  • Glencliff Colts host Cane Ridge Ravens;

  • East Nashville Eagles travel to CPA;

  • Hillsboro Burros travel to Independence;

  • Overton Bobcats welcome Hillwood Hilltoppers;

  • Hunters Lane Warriors cross the river to face McGavock Raiders; and

  • Whites Creek Cobras host Lipscomb.

Antioch Bears and Stratford Spartans do not play this week.

The MNPS home games are at Maplewood; at Glencliff; at Overton; at McGavock; and at Whites Creek. The students would love to see you at a game this week!

Go to a game!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the the True School Spirit of the Fans


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

It’s the People that You Meet

The best part about attending MNPS sporting events … great people! Hoping for some wisdom to rub off, the North Sports Report visited with three of MNPS’s great all-time leaders Friday night. Coach Jerry Pigue, the first football coach in the history of Hunters Lane High School (even the field is named “Jerry Pigue Field”); Coach Carlton Collier, the first basketball coach in the history of Hunters Lane; and Colonel Barry Sprouse, longtime Hunters Lane Army ROTC teacher, all attended Friday night’s game at Hunters Lane. In my brief conversations with each, I couldn’t help but appreciate their years of service and the influence each of these great men had on me over the years. Their collective impact on the lives of MNPS students and the city of Nashville is immeasurable. Go to a game…you’ll love it!

Middle School Venue – Isaac Litton Middle

How about a Middle School game? You can’t beat the atmosphere at Isaac Litton Middle School when the Donelson Middle Jets visited the Litton Middle Lions. The newly renovated middle school building in the background combined with the historic feel of the football field and old gym creates a remarkable ambience. And, the scoreboard looks great. By the way, both Donelson and Litton have top-notch cheerleading squads.

Litton Football Score Board

Alumni Alert – Recent Grads…Off to a Great Start

Did you see 2012 McGavock graduate and Vanderbilt freshman Caleb Azubike block a punt in Vandy’s win Saturday? The North Sports Report shouted: “Hey, I know him!”

How about 2012 Maplewood graduate and Tennessee Tech speedster Ladarius Vanlier returning kicks against the number four team in the country? That’s cool!

Football Friday September 21, 2012

Where will the North Sports Report be this week? My guess is… headed southeast to the home of the Antioch Bears as they try to corral the Glencliff Colts. I’ll see you there!

In other action:

  • Cane Ridge Ravens visit McGavock Raiders in the ever popular Wall Bowl! Cane Ridge Principal Michel Wall looks to avenge McGavock’s late game (some would say miraculous) victory in last season’s Wall Bowl that has kept McGavock Principal Robbin Wall bragging throughout the year. Bragging rights take on a whole new meaning when the Principals of each school are married to each other. I want to say it’s just a game, but I know better.

  • East Nashville Eagles will be among the maple trees to face Maplewood Panthers;

  • Whites Creek Cobras host Hillsboro Burros;

  • Hillwood Hilltoppers welcome visiting Station Camp;

  • Hunters Lane Warriors head over to face Overton Bobcats;

  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds take the short trip to MBA; and

  • Stratford Spartans travel to Lawrence County.

The MNPS home games are at Antioch; at McGavock; at Maplewood; at Whites Creek; at Overton; and at Hillwood.

Go to a game!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the Wisdom of Great Leaders


Friday, Sept. 21, McGavock High School and Cane Ridge football teams will battle it out in the 2012 Wall Ball - an intense rivalry given the respective principals are husband and wife! McGavock Principal Robin Wall will root for his Raiders while Cane Ridge Principal Michel Wall pulls for her Ravens.


Tennessee Titan Sen'Derrick Marks made a surprise appearance at DuPont Tyler Middle School this week for the team's first official Titans Tuesday! The defensive tackle talked to the students about the importance of getting an education and setting goals.

 Marks at DuPont Tyler - Tennessee Titan defensive tackle surprises students at DuPont Tyler Marks at DuPont Tyler - Tennessee Titan defensive tackle surprises students at DuPont Tyler 


Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Middle School Sports – Game Time

Middle School Fall Sports start this week. The North Sports Report Middle School game of the week is Haynes Middle Design Center at Bailey STEM Magnet Middle football game. Middle school student-athletes today = MNPS high school stars of the future. I’ll see you there.

Volleyball – These Girls Got Hops…or The Sky’s the Limit

The North Sports Report was amazed at the astonishing skill and leaping ability of the volleyball student-athletes as I cheered on the Overton and Cane Ridge volleyball teams. When you go to a volleyball game, be sure you arrive early enough to see the warm-ups. Amazing! The precision and teamwork of the digs and sets along with the grace and power of the high-flying monster spikes underscore the tremendous athletic ability of MNPS student-athletes. Volleyball – Can you dig it?

Alumni Alert

The North Sports Report bumped into Madison High fullback Greg Morgan Friday night. Greg serves as a TSSAA official and was the referee for the Hillwood vs. Antioch game last Friday. Greg famously scored a touchdown in Madison High’s 1979 Tobacco Bowl victory over Cumberland County. By famously, I mean… the North Sports Report vaguely remembers hearing about it.

Football Friday Night…Last Week’s Game

The North Sports Report is on a roll when it comes to picking the game of the week. Hillwood High School’s stadium, the fans, cheerleaders and band provided a great atmosphere to watch football, and the game went right down to the wire – another barn-burner for the game of the week. Antioch Bears quarterback Raekwon Hosey had a spectacular performance with 209 yards rushing including touchdown runs of 63, 58 and 15 yards plus a touchdown pass of 33 yards. Here’s an understatement…high school football is great family entertainment.

Hillwood High School football pregame - the National Anthem at Sunset
A beautiful pre-game National Anthem at Hillwood High School.

Friday Night’s Game of the Week – September 7, 2012

This week’s Game of the Week has the North Sports Report heading to Green Hills to witness the East Nashville Eagles visit the Hillsboro Burros in this week’s only game pitting two MNPS teams. It promises to be a tough battle to the very end.

In other action:

  • Antioch Bears travel to Centennial;

  • Cane Ridge Ravens head to Ravenwood;

  • Glencliff Colts welcome Lebanon;

  • Hillwood Hilltoppers host Father Ryan;

  • Hunters Lane Warriors travel south to Brentwood;

  • Maplewood Panthers go to Riverdale;

  • McGavock Raiders are at home against Franklin;

  • Overton Bobcats take a short trek over to Lipscomb;

  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds travel to BGA;

  • Stratford Spartans play at Brentwood Academy; and

  • Whites Creek Cobras host Davidson Academy.

The MNPS home games are at Hillsboro; at Glencliff; at Hillwood; at McGavock; and at Whites Creek. Games start at 7:00pm. Enjoy a game near you!

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for High-Flying Monster Spikes


Lorenzo Butler Allstar - a photo of Lorenzo Butler playing in 2012 Little League World Series

His name made it’s way from Goodlettsville clear through Davidson County and even became a trending topic in the Twittersphere. If you haven’t guessed yet, it’s McKissack Middle School student Lorenzo Butler who played in the Little League World Series this past weekend. The 12-year-old standout had a great weekend hitting a total of four homeruns with 10 RBIs.

"It feels really good and it was really great," Butler said simply about his hitting exploits. He said his three homers Saturday were the longest he had hit all season.

Mark North, former Board member and writer of the North Sports Report, with the full story:

Lorenzo Butler, defensive standout in Wednesday's game against Texas when he ended the game with a thrilling double play, turned slugger Saturday in a record breaking performance. His three 3-run home runs and 9 RBI's are Little League World Series records and helped lead his team to the U.S. World Series Championship. They play Japan on Sunday afternoon.

Young Mr. Butler is a seventh grader at McKissack Middle School, and his mother attended Stratford. He is trending on twitter and is named in a headline in the Sports Illustrated online article.

It is probably the greatest hitting performance in the history of the Little League World Series.

Lorenzo will be at Hartman Park on Wednesday, August 29, at 6 p.m., to sign autographs.



Mark North

Mark North, Sports Fan & President of

The Fans, Inc.

Well-Deserved Publicity on the Way to State Championships

Did you catch The Tennessean’s High School Sports primer this week? The North Sports Report noticed the daily’s shout out to defending Cross Country State Champion Sam Klockenkemper from MLK as a “Top Runner” who is looking to repeat. Also, Hume- Fogg’s Boys team is mentioned as a state contender, and MLK’s and Hume-Fogg’s Girls teams are state contenders. Put it on your calendar…November 3 at the Steeplechase course…MNPS bringing home the Cross Country championships!

Can you dig it? Hume-Fogg’s Volleyball team is also a state contender according to The Tennessean.

MNPS has several other teams in all fall sports that are flying under the radar toward state championships. Stay tuned as the season progresses.

North Sports Report Game of the Week August 24, 2012

The North Sports Report will head to Buster Boguskie Stadium, the home of the Stratford Spartans to witness the clash of the Spartans and the Whites Creek Cobras. This early season showdown of legendary programs will set the tone of the season for both teams. I will see you there.

Other games this week:

  • Antioch Bears head north to face Station Camp;

  • Cane Ridge Ravens look to keep the momentum as they travel to Father Ryan;

  • East Nashville Eagles soar to JPII;

  • Glencliff Colts hit the road to Westmoreland;

  • Hillsboro Burros take their undefeated record to FRA;

  • Hillwood Hilltoppers travel to Nashville Christian;

  • Hunter Lane Warriors host Oakland;

  • Maplewood Panthers travel to Brentwood Academy;

  • McGavock Raiders head east to face Mt. Juliet;

  • Overton Bobcats’ home opener includes a visit from Centennial; and

  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds go to Rutherford County to play Blackman.

The MNPS home games are at Stratford; at Hunters Lane; and at Overton. Go to a game this week. The incomparable excitement of Friday Night Football is ageless and timeless. Enjoy a family night out at your local school.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the Incomparable Excitement of High School Sports


Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Alumni Alert – USA Olympic Basketball Coach

Did you know that Hillsboro High School graduate Marynell Meadors is an assistant coach for the 2012 US Olympic Women’s Basketball Team? That’s right, the gold medal winning US team – perhaps the best women’s basketball team ever assembled – benefited from the leadership of an MNPS legend. Coach Meadors is also the General Manager and Head Coach of the Atlanta Storm of the WNBA. Burro Bob is beside himself with pride. Congratulations to Olympic Champion Coach Meadors!

Sparkle Cats – Unique Student-Athletes Help Fans Get with the Program

No need for the North Sports Report to search far for inspiration, it met me at the gate, selling programs for the game. As I entered Nick Coutras Stadium at Overton High School Saturday night, I was greeted by The Sparkle Cats selling the game program with the roster of all four teams playing in that night’s jamboree. The Sparkle Cats is a pep squad of special needs students who train and perform with the Overton Cheerleaders. Principal Shuler Pelham and Cheerleading sponsor Donna Merchant explained that the Sparkle Cats go to cheerleading camp, perform at pep rallies, and help the cheerleaders with selected cheers at the games.

Every now and then, we need a reminder of the beauty and grace of public education and the true meaning of school spirit. Also, sometimes we need a game program with the teams’ rosters. The Sparkle Cats was just what the North Sports Report needed.

History…Isaac Litton High School

Isaac Litton High School closed forty years ago, but its history of athletic excellence is deep and rich. From Bonnie Sloan, the first deaf player in the NFL, to Bobby Hillman, a major league catcher who caught two no-hitters in his career, to the famous Marching 100+ marching band that performed in the 1964 Tournament of Roses Parade, to John Gordy, Detroit Lions great – the feats of Litton students are legendary. Litton alumnus and war hero Kenneth Duke played college football at SMU, left SMU to join the Navy, and was killed in Korea. The bridge on Briley Parkway over the Cumberland River near Litton is named in his honor. Friends and alumni gathered last week to dedicate the renovated gymnasium and alumni area. If you have any interest in the history of Nashville, Nashville schools, or high school athletics, you must visit the Litton alumni room.

Litton High Band Uniform & Tournament of Roses Pictures
The Isaac Litton Alumni room (The Lion’s Den) includes memorabilia from the marching band’s appearance at The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California in 1964.
Litton High Football Jersey - #33 Kenneth Duke
Reflecting on the past: The Litton football jersey of war hero Kenneth Duke hangs in the Lion’s Den at the newly renovated Litton Gymnasium.

Football Starts this Friday…They call it Week Zero

The jamborees packed all thirteen MNPS football teams into three nights at three locations. The North Sports Report enjoyed the hospitality, excitement and great football at Maplewood, Cane Ridge, and Overton last week.

The regular season starts this Friday, August 17 at 7:00pm:

  • Hunters Lane Warriors travel to the neighboring Maplewood Panthers in what they call the Dickerson Road Bowl;

  • Cane Ridge Ravens host Pearl-Cohn Firebirds;

  • Hillwood Hilltoppers travel to face Hillsboro Burros to see which of the Hills is king of the mountain;

  • Antioch Bears host LaVergne;

  • Glencliff Colts welcome Sycamore;

  • McGavock Raiders travel to Tullahoma;

  • Overton Bobcats head down the road to take on Father Ryan;

  • Stratford Spartans head to Sumner County to challenge JPII; and

  • Whites Creek Cobras drive up I 24 to Clarksville to face Rossview

The MNPS home games are: at Maplewood; at Cane Ridge; at Hillsboro; at Antioch; and at Glencliff. It is a great time to start a Friday night tradition. Take your family to a game! It is a great family night, for the great families of Nashville.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for the Beauty and Grace of Public Education


Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

London Calling… Glencliff Grad Goes Global

Only one American will referee Women’s basketball during the Olympic Games in London. Glencliff graduate Felicia Grinter is in London as one of the world’s elite basketball referees. That is too cool!

Olympian Alumni Alert

Speaking of world class performances, 2009 Pearl-Cohn graduate Michael Murray is headed to London to compete in the 2012 Paralympics, representing the United States of America! The crowd will be chanting U-S-A as he walks into the stadium for the opening ceremonies and as he takes the track to compete with the world’s best (correction: as one of the world’s best) in the 1500 meters. Below is an email forwarded to The North Sports Report. Every time I read this email, I get chills!

Michael Murray, 2009 Pearl-Cohn graduate and the son of two metro school employees (Kathryn Murray-Mays-teacher at the Academy @ Hickory Hollow and Michael Mays-maintenance dept-painter) is headed to London!!!

Michael Murray has made history by becoming the first American runner, with an intellectual disability, to go to the Olympics!!! Michael is a member the USA Paralympics team and will be running the 1500m in London in September. This is the first time, in over a decade, the Olympic committee has allowed T-20 athletes to compete.

Michael competed at the trials in Indianapolis in early July. He was selected to be a member of the 2012 Paralympics team to compete in London!!!!! Currently he is in San Diego (Chula Vista) training at the Olympic training facility. Michael will return home August 10th and leaves for London August 17th. He will actually compete September 3rd(10:31am) and 4th(7:19pm) all London times. London times are 6 hours ahead of us. His race can be viewed on http://www.paralympic.org/MediaCentre.

Note: Michael is on several websites. Athletes Without Limits (www.athleteswithoutlimits.org) ,Running Journal:(http://Running.Net), USA Paralympics (http://www2.teamusa.org/Athletes/MU/Michael-Murray.aspx), Nashville Illusions Track Club (http://nashvilleillusionstrack.com/runners.html)
Congratulations to Michael and his parents, and good luck in London! U-S-A…U-S-A!

Historic Visit... Cohn

The North Sports Report is visiting alumni rooms in the never ending quest to know more about the history of our schools. Recently, Cohn High School great Farrell Owens gave a tour of the Cohn Alumni area at the Cohn School. Did you know that Cohn was named for Corinne L. Cohn, the “only lady on the school board” at the time? She brought the idea of junior high schools and a three tier grade configuration that remained in place in Nashville’s schools for many years. Did you know Cohn’s football field, Sykes Field, was located where Cockrill Elementary school is now, and the Cohn Marching Band would parade several blocks to the games on Friday nights? By the way, Sykes Field was probably misspelled since it was named after Jonas H. Sikes, Cohn’s first principal.

Cohn's Hume Award Winners
Honoring Cohn's Hume Award Winners
Sykes Field Plaque
“It was on this turf, nourished by their blood, sweat and tears, that boys learned lifetime values of hard work, discipline, and teamwork. They were molded into young men who represented themselves and their school in frequent victory and rare defeat with honor and pride”

The more you learn…the more you know!

Jam Jam Jamboree, a.k.a. Footballapalloosa

The MNPS Football Jamborees start August 9 and will feature all 13 MNPS high school football teams. Go support your favorite team.
August 9, 2012 7:00pm at Maplewood

Maplewood Panthers vs. Hillwood Hilltoppers

Pearl-Cohn Firebirds vs. Hunters Lane Warriors

August 10, 2012 6:00pm at Cane Ridge

Cane Ridge Ravens vs. DCA

McGavock Raiders vs. Stratford Spartans

Whites Creek Cobras vs. Antioch Bears

August 11, 2012 7:00pm at Overton

Overton Bobcats vs. Hillsboro Burros

East Nashville Eagles vs. Glencliff Colts

Still deciding which team to follow this season? Go all three nights and pick your favorite.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for lifetime values of hard work, discipline, and teamwork


Mark North

Board Member &

Sports Fan Mark North

Tennis anyone? …Or … Does love mean nothing to you?

The national story of the summer in the tennis world has been the incredible rise of Hillwood Alum Brian Baker who earned his way through qualifiers to play at The French Open and at Wimbeldon. The former Hilltopper played his way to the round of 16 at Wimbeldon. Next stop for Brian is the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York.

Alumni Alert – It’s the Principal

The new Principal at Gower Elementary School is one of the all-time greatest athletes in MNPS history. Barbara Frazier was a member of the first 5 on 5 Girls basketball state championship team at Pearl High; a state champion in several events in track and field; the first MNPS alum to be a member of the world famous Tigerbelles track team at Tennessee State; a member of the Tennessee State University Athletic Hall of Fame; and a member of the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame. Oh … and a Superstar Principal!

Fall Sports …Get the Party Started

Even before school starts, practice for the fall sports is in full swing. Last year, MNPS teams and athletes made runs at state championships, and this year is shaping up to be even better. If you have a school nearby, make sure you go to the competitions. If you aren’t affiliated with any particular school, pick a school and follow it. Fall sports include: Girls Soccer, Volleyball, Golf, Football, Cheerleading, and Cross Country. Not only will you enjoy the competition, your presence and support benefits the student-athletes in ways and to an extent that are immeasurable. Go to a game!

NIL Reunion Picnic

Like an alumni association/historical society of legendary athletes, coaches, and fans, the Nashville Interscholastic League held its annual reunion picnic this week to celebrate the governing body for high school sports in Nashville until the mid-1980’s. The North Sports Report attended and rubbed elbows with the greats: Farrell Owens of Cohn; DuPont’s Bobby Gaines; McGavock’s John Griffith; and legendary Coaches Ken Redmond, Jerry Pigue, Wes Elrod, Tommy Frensley, Tommy Griffith, and Charlie Anderson. The highlight for the North Sports Report was visiting with Hillsboro football great Donny Sherman, Stratford basketball star Mike Jackson, and the incomparable Charles Davis of McGavock. Wow… great memories of the sports heroes of bygone days. If you don’t recognize these names and want to know more about the history of high school sports in Nashville, do a little research at www.highschoolglorydays.com.

The Future of the North Sports Report

Will the North Sports Report be back for the 2012-13 school year? Answer: Ohhhh Yeeeeessss! And you can follow MNPS related Sports Reports on Twitter @TheFansInc.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for Legendary Athletes, Coaches and Fans


    From 1933 until 1986, Nashville area high schools went head-to-head in major sports as part of the Nashville Interscholastic Sports League. To remember those glory days, alumni of Nashville high school sports will gather for a reunion this Wednesday.

    Come take part - bring sports memorabilia from your school, reconnect with old team mates, and relive the past glories of Nashville scholastic sports.

    Sports radio superstar George Plaster will even broadcast his show live from the reunion!

    Wednesday, July 25

    2:00 p.m. until "as long as folks keep coming"

    Freeland Work Truck Superstore

    504 Collins Park Drive in the Antioch/Hickory Hollow area


    Glencliff High School has named two new basketball coaches. John Filson has been named the new head girls basketball coach and Doug Kiel has been named the new head boys basketball coach.

    Filson worked as a teacher and assistant basketball coach at Glencliff High before assuming his new position. Before coming to Metro Schools, Filson worked at LaVergne Middle School, Hunters Lane and Holloway High Schools. He also serves in the Tennessee Army National Guard. Filson is a graduate of Belmont University.

    Kiel recently served as a mathematics teacher and boys assistant basketball coach at Mt. Juliet High School. He also worked for Lebanon and Warren County High Schools, where he was a teacher and head boys’ basketball coach. His coaching expertise has led 97% student-athletes to college, and he attended five region and three region semi-finals games. Kiel has a bachelor’s from Western Kentucky University and master’s from Tennessee Technological University.


    Mark North

    Board Member &

    Sports Fan Mark North

    State Champions Galore – MNPS Total Track Domination

    In all, MNPS finished the track and field season with one team state championship, 7 relay state championships, 4 individual girls state champions, and 4 individual boys state champions. MNPS was on the fast track. Here are the details.

    MLK’s Girls Track Team won its third straight state championship last week. Their performance in the A/AA State Track Meet can only be described as dominating. MLK finished with 105 points, and no other team earned more than 61.

    East Lit (5th) and Stratford (10th) both finished in the top 10 in A/AA.

    In the AAA Girls track meet, Hillsboro finished 3rd and Antioch placed 4th in the state.

    MNPS particularly dominated the Girls’ relay events, displaying the teamwork, precision and speed of champions.


    • 4x100 – MLK, State Champion

    • 4x200 – MLK, State Champion; Stratford, 2nd place

    • 4x400 – MLK, State Champion; Hume-Fogg, 3rd place

    • 4x800 – MLK, 3rd place.


    • 4x100 – Antioch State Champion

    • 4x200 – Antioch State Champion

    • 4x400 – Antioch State Champion

    The Girls’ individual results reveal several state champions:


    • 100 – Berryhill, MLK, 3rd place

    • 400 – Owens , MLK, 2nd place; Rucker, East Lit, 3rd place

    • 100 Hurdles – Hagans, Maplewood, State Champion

    • 300 Hurdles – Cunningham, MLK, 3rd place

    • Long Jump – Curbeam, East Lit, State Champion

    • Triple Jump – Curbeam, East Lit, 2nd place; Butler, MLK, 3rd place

    • Discuss – Jones, Stratford, 2nd place


    • 100 – Pate, Hillsboro, State Champion

    • 200 – Pate, Hillsboro, State Champion; Jackson, Cane Ridge, 3rd place

    • 400 – Johnson, Antioch, 2nd place

    • 100 Hurdles – Eady, Hillsboro, 3rd place

    • Long Jump – Johnson, McGavock, 3rd place

    The Boys state track meet was another great performance by MNPS. MLK’s boys track team placed runner-up (by less than one point), and Maplewood finished 6th.

    The Boys’ individual and relay results reveal several state champions:

    • 4x100 Relay – Maplewood, State Champion

    • 4x200 – Maplewood, 3rd place

    • 4x400 – MLK, 2nd place


    • 100 – Scruggs, Stratford, 3rd place

    • 200 – Scruggs , Stratford, 3rd place

    • 800 – Klockenkemper, MLK, 2nd place; McCutcheon, Hume-Fogg, 3rd place

    • 1600 – Klockenkemper, MLK, State Champion

    • 3200 – Klockenkemper, MLK, 3rd place

    • 300 Hurdles –Wooten, MLK, State Champion

    • High Jump – Nightinggale, East Lit, State Champion

    • LongJump – Harris, Pearl-Cohn, 3rd place

    • Shot Put – Cain, Whites Creek, 3rd place


    • 800 – Prince, Antioch, State Champion

    • 110 Hurdles – Collins, Cane Ridge, 3rd place

    • Long Jump – Burns, Hillsboro, 3rd place

    Congratulations to all MNPS Track & Field student-athletes.

    Point Guard Signings

    The North Sports Report received word that two MNPS superstar point guards will take their hoops talents to the next level. Hunters Lane point guard Billy Hughes signed with Chattanooga State and Hume-Fogg’s Will Harris signed with Maryville. Remember the point guard credo – handle it…dish it…score when you need to.

    Alumni Alert

    Hillwood Hilltopper tennis alumnus Brian Baker made his French Open debut with a victory on the red clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris. Let me repeat that to be sure you get it. Former Hillwood tennis ace Brian Baker is playing tennis this week in the French Open! That is grand-slam-diggity!

    Cap and Gown

    It was with pride that the North Sports Report witnessed several great MNPS student-athletes cross the graduation stage and turn the page to their future. We are proud of your accomplishments, and we have enjoyed watching you grow, learn and excel. The North Sports Report looks forward to including news about you in the alumni alerts.

    Next Season is Upon Us

    Fall sports season starts in just a few short months. Go ahead and mark your calendar to attend MNPS athletic events next year. It is a great evening of athletic entertainment, and the students will love to see you there. MNPS has the finest student-athletes in the country, and they deserve the support of great sports fans. You can make a real difference simply by being a fan.

    For returning student-athletes – don’t waste your time this summer. Show up in shape and dominate the state.

    -- Mark North

    MNPS: The First Choice for the Finest Student-Athletes


      The Stratford STEM Magnet High School baseball team played ball for the first time on its new baseball field Monday. The new field was made possible by Michael Holt, a volunteer in the Inglewood community who gave a generous donation to the school’s athletic department to renovate the baseball field. Now that it's updated the field is one of the nicest in Inglewood. To thank Holt for his contributions, the team invited him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the team’s last home game.

      Great team effort in the Stratford High community!

      Stratford's Baseball Team




      Mark North

      Board Member &

      Sports Fan Mark North

      Tee Time in Elementary School –K through Fore

      The North Sports Report peeked in on the PE class at Sylvan Park Paideia Design Center last week to witness the First Tee golf curriculum in action. MNPS youngsters are starting early and receiving lessons in a sport to enjoy for a lifetime. For interscholastic high school golf … I saw the future, and it looked a lot like total golf world domination for MNPS! Easy as 1…2…3…Fore!

      Moss-Oliver Award

      Hume Fogg hoops star Sam Smith took home the coveted Moss-Oliver Award for excellence on and off the court. Other MNPS finalists included Nick Drake from East Literature and Kovona Harris from Hunters Lane.

      Sam will be taking his talents to the blustery shores of Lake Michigan in the fall to attend Northwestern University. According to Principal Dr. Paul Fleming, Sam is the first Hume Fogg student to receive the Moss Oliver Award since before the turn of the century.

      Congratulations to all MNPS student-athletes who excel in the classroom!

      Soccer Superstar

      Did you catch the article in Wednesday’s Tennessean about Overton Bobcat soccer sensation Shpend Rexpehi? His all-around game has earned the respect of coaches around Middle Tennessee and the attention of sports writer Chip Cirillo. Shpend’s quiet leadership skills motivate the Bobcats toward another trip to the state tournament.

      In one week, the pressure packed soccer district tournaments begin. They’ll be kickin’ it!

      Senior Nights – Spring Season

      Senior Nights have an extra sense of finality in Spring. It’s not just the end of a sport season and high school career…it’s THE end. The North Sports Report attended a Senior Night this week, and came away with an even deeper appreciation for the camaraderie that develops among the parents through a season. I’ll stop there … the North Sports Report refuses to get teary-eyed before graduation.

      -- Mark North

      MNPS: The First Choice for Excellence On and Off the Court


      Mayor's Field DayMayor Karl Dean has been working to make Nashville a more healthy city all year - walking 100 miles and hosting a 5K. Now he's truly taking it to another place entirely by taking over LP Field for a city-wide Field Day!

      It's on Saturday, May 5, and you can expect the usual round-up of field day events, along with plenty of games, fun, and friends. It's geared toward Nashville's kids (or the kids in all of us), teaching young people great ways to stay active in a more creative and fun way.

      From the Mayor's Field Day Website:

      Tennessee has the nation’s fourth-highest childhood obesity rate. The numbers are equally distressing in Nashville where 38.1 percent of our youth are either obese or overweight. On May 5, 2012, the journey to a healthier Nashville will continue with the first-ever “Mayor’s Field Day with the Tennessee Titans” at LP Field.

      This event will engage families of diverse fitness levels in a relaxed, tournament-type field day designed around learning new, fun, kid-friendly ways to be active. Attendees will enjoy creative games, a fitness fair, a Celebration Awards Ceremony highlighting the day’s events and live entertainment.

      In an effort to get our youngest Nashvillians and their families excited about moving and being active, the Mayor’s Field Day experience is open to the public free of charge.

      You read that right. It's 100% free for everyone!

      There will be plenty of special guests, giving you and your children the chance to compete against Tennessee Titans and some of Metro Schools' own champion athletes.

      There's much more information in the flyer below, as well as on the Mayor's Field Day website. A lot of us will be there and we expect to see a lot of you there, too!

      Mayor's Field Day



      Mark North

      Board Member &

      Sports Fan Mark North

      All Mid-State Teams Announced – Basketball and Wrestling

      McGavock senior Wrestler Carlos Garcia was named First Team All-Midstate by The Tennessean after posting an astonishing 48-4 record. Garang Madut, a Glencliff junior, pinned down second team honors.

      Hunters Lane basketball star DeAndrea Sawyers scored 18.5 points per game on her way to being named to the All-Midstate Girls Basketball second team, and Maplewood junior Jason Stone garnered second team All-Midstate Basketball honors for his efforts this season.

      Congratulations to all the MNPS Winter sports student-athletes!

      Sports Celebrity Shout-out – Tribute to MNPS

      Early this week, sportscaster Grant Boone appeared on talk radio describing his experience in the broadcast of this year’s Final Four (he teamed with Shaq to call a legend’s game) and The Masters golf tournament (a tradition like no other). He pointed out that the stage was set for success by his MNPS days at “Neely’s Bend Junior High [now middle school], Madison High School and as a member of the first class of Hunters Lane.” Heard the shout-out…Woop Woop!

      MNPS Sports Hall of Fame Luncheon

      Congratulations again to Maplewood’s Avion Black and Donna Vaughn Howell, Madison’s Chuck Boyd, Pearl’s James Douglas and Fred Sumrall, Cohn’s Tom Wells and Coach Charlie Anderson, and McGavock’s Reggie Whittemore who were all inducted into the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame during a lovely luncheon April 10 at LP Field. Several media outlets ran excellent articles on the event and inductees, including The Tennessean (headlining Avion Black), The Nashville City Paper (featuring James Douglas) and www.sportsnashville.net (featuring outstanding photographs of the event). Honoring sports legends makes me smile…I can’t help it.

      Scholar-Athletes – The FANS Award

      Also in attendance at the Hall of Fame luncheon were the inaugural recipients of The Foundation for Athletics in Nashville Schools (FANS) Award given to a female senior scholar-athlete who best exemplifies scholarship, sportsmanship, leadership, individual performance and value to the team. The recipients were:

      • Eboni Curtis – Antioch;

      • Jasmine Rucker – Cane Ridge;

      • Vivian Aluoch – East Lit.;

      • Carol Tran – Glencliff;

      • LaSabre Reynolds – Hillsboro;

      • Jackie James – Hillwood;

      • Kolby Forbes – Hume Fogg;

      • Rontavia Hayes – Hunters Lane;

      • Roneisha Crawford – Maplewood;

      • Jasmine Owens – MLK;

      • Eva Burelos – McGavock;

      • Rashida Ademosu – Overton;

      • June Jackson – Pearl-Cohn;

      • Antonia Harris – Stratford; and

      • DeShawn Woodruff – Whites Creek.

      If you are looking for greatness, just read that list again. Greatness!

      Oops…I Seemed to Have Dropped Some Names

      It has been a great week for celebrity sightings for the North Sports Report. In the past few days, I had lunch or dinner – or just ran into – the following sports celebrities: former Titan Neil O’Donnell; the original owner of the Nashville Sounds, Larry Schmittou; one of the greatest all-time women’s basketball players Pam Chambers; Lipscomb University Athletic Director Phillip Hutcheson; Howard School football alumni (and Metro Trustee) Charlie Cardwell; Pearl High great (and Criminal Court Clerk) Howard Gentry; the very first Hunters Lane basketball star (class of 1987) Ivy Dobson; the ESPN brain trust –Vin Cannamela and Jeremy Shaap; Glencliff great (presently directing MNPS Athletics Department) Roosevelt Sanders; Hume Fogg basketball great from the class of 2006 Kirtiss Brown; Maplewood/Alabama Crimson Tide/NFL legend E.J. Junior; Litton/Austin Peay/NFL great Bonnie Sloan; and others.

      Although the North Sports Report calls that “hanging out with sports legends,” others might call it stalking. It was a good week!

      -- Mark North

      MNPS: The First Choice for Setting the Stage for Success


      Hillwood High School is hosting the 3rd Annual Topper Football Golf Tournament. And yes, you read that right. It's a golf tournament benefiting the school's football program. Saturday, April 28, you can play with a team or solo at McCabe Golf Course. The shotgun start is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Numerous awards will be given out, including 1st and 2nd place prizes, the longest drive, and closest to the pin. The deadline to register is April 20. Check out the flyer below for more information.

      3rd Annual Topper Football Golf Tournament Flyer


      The Blue Knights baseball team at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High won the city's top title this week! The team is currently featured in the Tennessean for winning the Best of Metro title.

      Check them out here!


      There's a new Burro in town, and he has quite a list of credits!
      Craig Clayton has been named the new leader of Hillsboro High School’s football team. He will join the faculty for the 2012-2013 school year and assume the head coaching position of the Burros. Clayton brings 28 years of head coaching experience, with 26 winning seasons.

      Clayton joins the Hillsboro Football Program with a coaching career that started as an assistant coach in Christian County High School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Coach Clayton rose quickly through the coaching ranks serving as an offensive coordinator at both Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky and at Madisonville High School in Madisonville, Kent. Clayton’s first head coaching job was with Todd County High School in Elkton, Kent., followed by a long and successful stay at Hopkinsville High School in Hopkinsville, Kent. Clayton’s most recent coaching assignment was as Franklin High School Head Football Coach in Franklin, Tenn., where he served from 2005-2011.

      “I am extremely excited about the opportunity to get the program back to the place it was just a few years ago,” says Coach Clayton. “I feel that everyone in the school wants to work together to make the Hillsboro football program a success.”

      Dr. Terry Shrader, principal of Hillsboro is excited to have Coach Clayton joining the Burros and hopes the new leader will help propel the Burros back to the top. Hillsboro won State Championship titles twice in the past decade, in 2005 and 2008.

      “It is great to find a coach with Coach Clayton’s level of experience and success,” says Shrader. “We had more than 70 applicants and feel sure that Craig Clayton will move our football team back to the top.”

      Clayton’s teams have an overall record of 230-114. Clayton’s teams have made the playoffs for 21 straight years. In 28 seasons as a head coach, Clayton’s teams have had 26 winning seasons. Coach Clayton’s teams finished as state runner-ups in 1996, 1997, and 2008. His teams made it to their respective state semifinals in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004. Clayton placed teams in the state quarter-finals in 1995, 2003, 2007, and 2009.

      As a player Craig Clayton was selected to the 2nd team Associated Press Kentucky All State Team. He was also Honorable Mention All Ohio Valley Conference in 1972 and the Western Kentucky University Best Blocker in 1972.


      Mark North

      Board Member &

      Sports Fan Mark North

      Antioch Lady Bears – Region 6-AAA Champs

      The Lady Bears from Antioch High School took home the championship trophy in Region 6-AAA with an impressive run through the bracket. I like to say they “Bear-ly” won the tournament. The North Sports Report dictionary of sports terms defines Bear-ly in this context as: “in a bear-like manner; totally dominating; awesome. See Antioch Lady Bears’ performance in the 2012 Region 6-AAA championship game.” Congratulations to Coach White and the Antioch Lady Bears!

      Antioch Principal Brian Mast has called a Code Blue for the Lady Bears’ Sub-state game Saturday night March 3 at 7:00pm at the Antioch High School gymnasium. Be there dressed in blue.

      Hunters Lane Warriors – Advance to the Sub-State Round

      The Hunters Lane Warriors are primed and ready for a sub-state match-up with Clarksville High School on Monday night March 5 in Clarksville. The highly ranked Warriors –led by Coach Anthony Sewell and point guard Billy Hughes – put together one of the best seasons in school history and are one win away from a trip to the state tournament. Everybody’s a Warrior fan Monday night!

      Regional Tournament Hosts – Stratford and Hillwood Representin’

      Photo Credit: Mike Straginger

      Hosting a Regional Tournament requires the coordinated efforts of coaches, administrators, teachers, staff and students. Hillwood welcomed the 16 participating teams in Region 6-AAA, and Stratford hosted Region 5-AA. Fans of high school basketball from across the mid-state enjoyed the hospitality and great environment provided by their MNPS hosts. Congratulations to the Principals – Dr. Chauncy of Hillwood and Mr. Steele of Stratford – and everyone who worked on the tournaments for a job well done. The photo shows the Hilltopper ambassadors who helped me find my seat.

      Middle School Basketball Champions

      MNPS crowned the Middle School boys and girls basketball champions last week at Pearl-Cohn High Schools’ gym. Congratulations for a great season to Smithson-Craighead boys basketball team (Eastern Division Champions and City Champions), McKissack Middle School boys basketball team (Western Division Champions), Kennedy Middle School girls basketball team (Western Division Champions and City Champions) and Haynes Middle Design Center girls basketball team (Eastern Division Champions).

      Brush with Fame

      The North Sports Report rubbed shoulders with some of the greatest athletes and coaches in MNPS history this week at basketball tournaments. Stratford basketball great Ray Maddox was back in his old stomping grounds at the Region 5-AA tournament at Stratford. In the Hillwood gym on the same night were: Pearl High great and MNPS Sports Hall of Fame member Walter Overton (he was officiating the game); Glencliff High hoopster and leader of Metro Schools’ athletic department Roosevelt Sanders; Donelson High star Mike Tribue; Madison High baseball legend (also the most popular player in Nashville Sounds’ history) Gene Menees; MNPS Sports Hall of Famer Joanne Arnold Tribue (Antioch High school legend and presently the Coach of the Cane Ridge Lady Ravens); and last but not least Coach Carlton Collier, longtime Madison High and Hunters Lane basketball and softball coach. Wow… that is a lot of fame in one gym.

      Vanderbilt Sports Medicine – Athletic Trainers…keeping it healthy

      I witnessed an extraordinary burst of quickness from Hunters Lane Athletic Trainer Emily Carter when a Warrior hoopster took a tremendous fall last week. Emily was on the court, providing care almost instantly and showed exemplary skill and compassion in her treatment of the injured player and his family. MNPS student-athletes have the best athletic trainers in the country on the sideline for every game. A big healthy thank you to Vanderbilt Sports Medicine for providing the athletic trainers and for the care each provides our students.


      MNPS: The First Choice for Extraordinary Bursts of Quickness


      Mark North

      Board Member &

      Sports Fan Mark North

      Fast Times at Stratford – Nationally Ranked Sprinter

      Stratford Spartan sprinter Justin Scruggs is currently ranked second in the nation in the 60 meters.  That’s right, I said in the nation…the USA.  Justin ran the 60 meters in 6.82 seconds, earning an invitation to the 2012 New Balance Indoor Track Invitational in New York City next month.  More powerful than a locomotive, rumor has it he is also able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  SuperSpartan!

      High School Wrestling – State Championships

      McGavock grappler Carlos Garcia earned his way to the finals in the state championships in Franklin last week, taking home the silver medal, the best finish of any McGavock wrestler in over 15 years.  Other top finishers in the grueling state wrestling championships were Trevion James (Antioch) and Trenton Bell (Hunters Lane).

      Middle School Wrestling

      Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School Bulldogs are Wrestling City Champions.  Congratulations to Itae Barretero, Anthony Bassham, Montez Booker, Troy Clay, Eric Foster, James Hughes, Latraus Perry, Darius Roberts, Gregory Smith, Dandre Whitley, Jondae Williams and Coach Gardner – the grapplin’ Bulldogs!

      Watching Hoops with Dignitaries

      Football coaches are a veritable fountain of knowledge and wisdom as I learned watching high school and middle school basketball games this week with Hillwood High School football coach Bubba Spears and Goodlettsville Middle School football coach David Brooks.   I even spent time in the stands visiting with some of Tennessee’s top Principals including Antioch’s Brian Mast, Hunters Lane’s Susan Kessler, Glencliff’s Clint Wilson, Hillwood’s Steve Chauncy, Overton’s Shuler Pelham, and Stratford’s Michael Steele.  Needless to say, the North Sports Report tried to be on its best behavior.

      Brush with Fame

      The North Sports Report ran into Whites Creek and Vanderbilt football and basketball great Jamie Graham at a basketball tournament game this week at Antioch.  After graduating from Vanderbilt, Jamie is working toward an advanced degree and playing defensive back at UCLA.   

      Principal with his Grill On

      When the North Sports Report saw Stratford Principal Michael Steele cooking the concessions stand cheeseburgers as Stratford hosted tournament games this week, I immediately ordered The Principal Combo…cheeseburger, chips, and a Diet Coke.  Just so you know – that is the North Sports Report’s idea of fine dining.

      District Champs…Hoops

      Congratulations to District Champions Hunters Lane Warriors, Overton Lady Bobcats and Hillsboro Lady Burros!

      Advancing to represent MNPS in the regional tournaments in Girls’ Basketball are: MLK Lady Royals; Hume Fogg Lady Blue Knights; Overton Lady Bobcats; Hillsboro Lady Burros; Hunters Lane Lady Warriors; Antioch Lady Bears; and Cane Ridge Lady Ravens.

      In Boys Basketball, those teams advancing are: Hunters Lane Warriors; East Literature Eagles; Antioch Bears; Hillsboro Burros; Maplewood Panthers; McGavock Raiders; and Cane Ridge Ravens. 

      Field of Dreams

      Stratford’s football field was featured on a recent episode of “The Bachelor” as one of the reality show’s contestants impressed everyone with her relation (granddaughter) to the field’s namesake – MNPS Sports Hall of Fame member and local sports legend Harold “Buster” Boguskie.  Even during tournament time, the North Sports Report is never too busy to catch an episode of “The Bachelor.”   What?...

      MNPS: The First Choice for Local Sports Legends


      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

      Athletics at its Finest

      Nothing compares to middle school wrestling. The North Sports Report was in attendance when the Head Magnet Middle School Tigers grappled with the Thurgood Marshall Middle School Mariners. Have you been to a middle school wrestling match lately? It is a beautiful sporting event. Seriously, it might be the essence of athletic competition. Observation: If you sit near the mother of a middle school wrestler during her son’s match, you will be witness to the most fervent sports fan on Earth. I’m just saying…

      AP Rankings Include MNPS

      According to www.sportsnashville.net, the Hunters Lane Warriors (8th in AAA) and East Lit Eagles (7th in AA) boys basketball teams both appear in this week’s top ten in Tennessee.

      Weather Delayed Rivalry

      As the weather turns bitterly cold, the hoops heats up. The much anticipated battle between the girls hoopsters from neighborhood rivals Cane Ridge and Antioch – both undefeated in the district and playing for first place – postponed because of Friday’s weather-related school closings, did not disappoint Tuesday night and resulted in a barn-burning hoop-a-rific prelude to tournament time.

      Brush with Fame…aka Dining with Old Timers

      The North Sports Report lunched this week with MNPS sports legends Junior Ward (East High); Walter Overton (Pearl High and 2011 inductee to the MNPS Sports Hall of Fame); Mike Tribue (Donelson High); and Jerry Pigue (Central High and longtime MNPS football coach).

      Save the Date x 2

      The Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame will honor several MNPS student-athletes, former coaches and alumni at its annual awards banquet March 5, 2012 at the Airport Marriott.

      Also, the Metro Nashville Public Schools Sports Hall of Fame will induct another group of all-time greats at the 8th annual induction ceremony and luncheon at LP Field on April 10, 2012.

      -- Mark North

      MNPS: The First Choice for the Essence of Athletic Competition



      Two Rivers Middle School CheerleadersTeam of the Week: Two Rivers Middle School Cheerleading

      At halftime of a great middle school basketball game last week, the cheerleading squad for Two Rivers Middle School took the court for their “Victory” halftime cheer. A couple of the team members are accomplished gymnasts and flipped their back handsprings while others ran on the court waving pom-poms to announce their arrival as the halftime performance. Amanda Cooper, an eighth grader in her second year on the squad, took her place in the formation alongside her teammates and helped the team to an extraordinary performance. I couldn’t help but notice that Amanda has cerebral palsy, is in a wheelchair, and is rolled into formation. Undaunted, Amanda and the squad perform flawlessly.

      Amanda, Two Rivers Middle CheerleaderThe most unique thing about this team of extraordinary athletes … no one seemed to consider it the least bit unusual. The team members, the opposing team, the coaches, and even the fans recognized the squad for what it is – a great cheerleading team. Period.

      Middle school students are fantastic, and middle school athletics exemplify the beauty of public education, teamwork and school pride and spirit. Thank you and congratulations to Principal Bill Moody, Coaches Anna Bateman and Ana Del Rio, parent volunteer Jennifer Morrison, and the Two Rivers Middle School Cheerleaders for a job well done.

      Mark North

      Board Member &

      Sports Fan Mark North

      Update from the Alley

      MNPS bowlers are working the lanes toward the State Bowling Championships on January 26-28 in Smyrna. According to the TSSAA website, Hunters Lane’s girls took home the team district title while East Lit. and Hume Fogg girls bowled to a second place finish in their respective districts. Maplewood, Overton, and MLK boys bowling teams each finished as runner-up in their respective districts.

      Encounter with a Champion

      On a recent visit to Stratford High School, I met senior Spartan Tyesha Jones, track and field superstar in the Discus. The two-time defending state champion is gearing up to toss that disk toward a threepeat. She can throw a discus farther than you can throw a frisbee.

      That brief visit has me looking forward to Spring and continued domination of the track by MNPS. Reminder: MNPS has the defending team track and field state champions in both girls track (MLK) and boys track (Stratford).

      See pictures of Tyesha and Stratford's State Championship Track & Field Team

      Middle School Wrestling – Save the Date

      It looks like MNPS middle school grapplers will go to the mat for the City Championship Wrestling Tournament on Saturday February 4 beginning at 9:00am at East Literature. Come out and catch the action.

      -- Mark North

      MNPS: The First Choice for Flawless Performances



      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


      Mark North

      Board Member &

      Sports Fan Mark North

      Wrestling Roundup

      McGavock’s 39th annual invitational wrestling tournament featured a star studded field from across the state. McGavock’s team finished third, and MNPS grapplers took home several individual honors.

      Garang Madut (Glencliff), Carlos Garcia (McGavock), Ronquai Love (MLK), Jamal Donoso (Glencliff), and Nolan Sexton (McGavock) each won the tournament championship in their respective weight classes.

      Gerald Hold (Hillsboro), M. Johnson (Cane Ridge), Carlos Harrison (McGavock), Trevion Jones (Antioch), and Jordan Bradley (Hunters Lane) each placed second.

      Danny Erazo (Glencliff), Clarence Mathis (Antioch), Brayan Garcia (Hillsboro), Justin Holland (Hunters Lane), Jahmare Anthony (Hillwood), and Keith Harris (MLK) each finished third.

      Congratulations to all our MNPS grapplers!

      All Star Game Honors

      Caleb Azubike of McGavock (a Vanderbilt commitment) was named the Defensive MVP of The Toyota All Star Classic while leading the West All-Stars to victory in the annual match-up of top-level high school gridders from across the state. Another MNPS student-athlete, Ladarius Vanlier of Maplewood, was the leading rusher for the West squad.

      Hoops Weekend

      Go see the great match-ups this weekend on the hardwood:

      Friday December 16:

      • East Lit Eagles travel to MLK Royals;

      • Glencliff Colts go to Father Ryan;

      • Hunters Lane Warriors host Hillsboro Burros;

      • Hillwood Hilltoppers head over to West End to play MBA (boys game only);

      • Hume Fogg Knights travel to Whites Creek Cobras;

      • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds host Maplewood Panthers;

      • Stratford Spartans travel to CPA;

      • And in the battle of the Overtons: Memphis Overton (or as we call them, Overton the Less) visits MNPS to play the real Overton Bobcats.

      MNPS home games are at MLK, Hunters Lane, Whites Creek, Pearl-Cohn, and Overton.

      Friday and Saturday:

      • Antioch Bears will play out in Wilson County in the Mt. Juliet Classic tournament; and

      • Cane Ridge Ravens travel to Sumner County for the Hendersonville Christmas tournament.

      Saturday December 17:

      • Hillwood Hilltoppers travel to Nashville Christian; and

      • Hillsboro Burros (boys’ team) will play in the Independence Classic tournament in Williamson County

      Pick some games and enjoy the hoops.

      Exam Week Advice (or I heard this from a Coach)

      Show your poise and composure; be prepared; always improve; and never give up.

      Good luck on exams and have a safe and happy holiday break.

      -- Mark North

      MNPS: The First Choice for Perseverance


      Belmont University has extended a gracious offer to MNPS students and staff. The university is offering discounted pricing at several December games, and free admission to see the Lady Bruins take on Texas State, Wednesday, Dec. 21. Just show your ID card and gain free admission.

      You can also get discounted tickets for the Men's Dec. 15 game against Troy State, the Lady's Dec. 18 game against Austin Peay, and the Men's Dec. 29 game against Marshall. Tickets for these games are $5 for adults, $1 youth for the men's games; $3 for adult, $1 youth for the women's games. For more information, call the Curb Event Center Box Office at 460-BALL.


      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


      2011 Hume Award Winner Re

      Dustin Binkley of Maplewood High School is this year’s Hume Award recipient! In a special ceremony, Metro Schools recognized the brightest and best football players off the 2011 season. Binkley impressed both on and off the field with stellar game stats and grades. He has been accepted to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Austin Peay State University, but has not made his final decision.

      The Hume Award began in 1944 and is given to a football player who has exemplified outstanding sportsmanship athletically and academically. These student-athletes are chosen by their principals and coaches based on scholarship, sportsmanship, individual performance 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


      Mark North

      Board Member &
      Sports Fan Mark North

      Middle School Sports

      Middle School athletics provide after-school opportunities to exercise; hone skills; and build characteristics of teamwork, sacrifice, dedication and perseverance – not to mention a sense of pride, appreciation, and enthusiasm for your school and your classmates.

      Fall Sports: Middle school soccer coaching legend David Allen led Meigs to its seventh straight Girls Soccer City Championship. Coach Allen also coaches Hume-Fogg’s Boys Soccer team and was named high school Coach of the Year by The Tennessean a couple of years ago. Congratulations to Coach Allen and the Meigs girls soccer team.

      In the other fall sports, Smithson-Craighead enjoyed an undefeated season on its way to the City Championship in Football. Meigs spiked its way to reign as Volleyball City Champions – Can you dig it?

      Congratulations to all students, parents and coaches for another successful fall sports season.

      Basketball and Wrestling: Winter Sports start next week. You can find a middle school basketball game almost every Tuesday and Thursday until February. I will gather some Wrestling schedules and provide an update next week.

      Cheerleading: The next time you attend a middle school sporting event, make sure you notice the athleticism, coordination, and teamwork of some of the hardest working teams in sports – the cheerleaders.

      High School Basketball

      Last Thursday’s Metro Basketball Jamboree at Hunters Lane reminded me that nothing compares to the sound of a high school gymnasium during basketball season – the buzz of the crowd, the cheerleaders, the ball bouncing on the hardwood …. Walking into a gym on game night just makes me smile. I can’t help it.

      Brush with Fame: I recognized one of the basketball referees as former professional wrestler George Gulas, son of famed promoter Nick Gulas and longtime tag team partner of legendary wrestler Tojo Yamamoto. That took me back to my childhood.

      Football Playoffs

      Pearl-Cohn Firebirds scored on a kickoff return and defeated Harpeth to advance to the state quarterfinals this Friday. The Firebirds travel to CPA for a rematch of a late season barnburner. Go Firebirds!!!

      Maplewood Panthers sealed a victory over Liberty Tech with a late-game interception return for a touchdown. The Panthers host White House Friday night in quarterfinal action “amongst the maple trees.”

      Pick a team and follow it.

      -- Mark North

      MNPS: The First Choice for Teamwork


      Mark North

      Board Member &
      Sports Fan Mark North

      Cross Country – State Champion

      MNPS has its first State Champion of the school year – Sam Klockenkemper of MLK won the State A/AA Cross-Country individual championship with a dominating performance at the Steeplechase course here in Nashville.

      MNPS had several runners competing and earning medals before a spirited pro-MNPS crowd.

      In team competition, Hume-Fogg’s Boys finished third in the state.

      Congratulations to all the runners and coaches.


      Last week’s North Sports Report Game of the Week – Maplewood Principal Ron Woodard played the gracious host for the first round playoff game. The Maplewood Panthers football team was not as hospitable to the visitors as MNPS leading rusher and Mr. Football finalist Ladarius Vanlier carried the ball for 316 yards and four touchdowns … he had two more touchdowns called back because of penalties. Awesome!

      Different perspectives appreciate different things: Several television photojournalists at the game noticed and commented about the improved lighting from the new stadium lights. That brightened everyone’s night.

      Brush with fame – two Campbells: I enjoyed visiting and watching the game with math teacher extraordinaire and former Hunters Lane football coach Richard Campbell and Stratford Spartan legend running back Joe Campbell – two great men who have had great careers following their playing days at Stratford.

      Maplewood hosts Liberty this Friday night at 7:00pm. Everyone come out and cheer for the Panthers.

      In other action, Pearl-Cohn Firebirds defeated top seeded Smith County and will continue on the road toward the championship next week at Harpeth. It looks like Pearl-Cohn will play away games all the way to Cookeville for the Championship game. Go Firebirds!

      Congratulations to Antioch Bears, Glencliff Colts and Overton Bobcats on great seasons, and good luck to all the seniors who played their last high school game Friday night.

      MNPS Statistical Leaders – Regular Season Final Stats
      Rushing Ladarius Vanlier, Maplewood 1,590 yards 17 touchdowns
      Passing Presley Gamble, McGavock 1,374 yards 14 touchdowns
      Receiving Tony Mason, McGavock 523 yards 6 touchdowns
      Tackles Jahmare Anthony, Hillwood
      Rick Thomas, Overton
      115 tackles
      115 tackles
      Interceptions Tyler Bumbalough, Antioch
      Anthony Johnson, Hillwood

      5 interceptions
      5 interceptions


      It is hoops time! The MNPS Basketball Jamboree begins Thursday night November 10 at Hunters Lane where the girls and boys teams from Whites Creek Cobras, McGavock Raiders, Maplewood Panthers and host Hunters Lane Warriors will compete against Harpeth Hall, Nashville Christian and CPA.

      On Friday night November 11, Stratford Spartans, Hillsboro Burros, MLK Royals, Hume-Fogg Blue Knights, Hillwood Hilltoppers and host Glencliff Colts will play at Glencliff.

      Saturday night is all right for hoops at Cane Ridge High School where the jamboree will feature Overton Bobcats, Pearl-Cohn Firebirds, Antioch Bears, East Lit Eagles, and host Cane Ridge Ravens.

      The Jamborees tip-off at 5:00pm each night. Get your first glimpse of the MNPS hoopsters as they put the jam in jamboree.

      Pick a team and follow it.

      -- Mark North

      MNPS: The First Choice for the Competitive Spirit


      Mark North

      Board Member &

      Sports Fan Mark North

      It's postseason time as our MNPS teams look to advance and win championships. As the careers of seniors wind down, the excitement mounts and they compete for championships in all fall sports.

      Football -- 1st Round

      • District Champion Antioch Bears host Station Camp and look to avenge an early season loss to the Sumner County school.

      • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds travel to face Smith County in a first round matchup of these two teams for the third year in a row.

      • Overton Bobcats host Siegel from Rutherford County.

      • District Champion Maplewood Panthers host Creek Wood.

      • Glencliff Colts travel north to face Gallatin.

      MNPS home games start at 7pm on Friday at Maplewood, Antioch and Overton.

      Pick a game and enjoy.

      Girls' Soccer

      The Hume-Fogg Lady Blue Knights completed a thrilling ride to the state quarterfinals in Chattanooga this week with a hard fought 3-1 loss to nationally ranked CAK. With 11 seniors, Hume-Fogg allowed only 2 goals in regular season district play, won the district tournament championship and out scored perennial power Page in a pressure packed shootout to advance to the state. Congratulations to Coach McClain, Coach Edwards and all the girls on a great season.

      Cross Country

      The state girls and boys cross country meet is this weekend. We have several runners competing from MNPS schools, and I will update the results next week.

      Good luck to everyone.

      -- Mark North

      MNPS: The First Choice for Student-Athlete Competition


      With less than a mile separating Antioch and Cane Ridge high schools, a strong rivalry was inevitable from the start. This Friday night, the football teams will rumble in the aptly named "37013 Bowl". Winner takes home a special trophy and will keep it until next year's rematch.

      The game starts at 7 p.m., at Antioch High School.


      Maplewood High School Head Football Coach Arcentae Broom is feeling the love as he heads into this week's Friday night game. Coach Broom was named this week's Titans High School Football Coach of the Week. The full release is below.


      NFL Grassroots ProgramWe're deep into the football season, and several Metro schools will enjoy it even more thanks to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of field and stadium improvements. The money comes from the people who know fields and stadiums best - the Tennessee Titans and the National Football League. 

      Some $200,000 were spent on upgrading the bleachers, fences, scoreboards, goal posts and more at Bailey, Neely's Bend, Joelton and Apollo Middle Schools. Cane Ridge High School received enough money for new sod on the field and new lighting.

      The money is part of a grant from the NGL Grassroots Program, which brings together the league's Youth Football Fund with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. More information is available on the Youth Football Fund website.


      Monday night, 2011 graduate of Overton HIgh School Mookie Betts signed with the Boston Red Sox!

      “Mookie has worked very hard to get to this position in his baseball career,” said Head Baseball Coach Mike Morrison. “He is very deserving of this incredible opportunity and we are very happy for him.


      Monday Aug. 1  and Tuesday Aug. 2, Coach Angie Venable, volleyball coach at Head Middle Magnet School, held a volleyball skills camp for the fifth through eighth grade girls. Twenty-eight new, current and past HMMS students participated in the inaugural summer volleyball camp. Camp was open to young ladies of all skill levels from never having played to current players on middle school teams. Coach Venable’s instruction covered the fundamentals of passing, setting, serving and hitting, as well as fine tuning technique with the more advanced player. But the best part was, they had a blast!


      According to sources at Antioch, Jeremy Buchannan, an Antioch graduate in 2007, has been picked up by the Houston Texans! And like any pro would do, he has been spotted working out at Antioch High during the lock out. Congratulations and good luck Jeremy!


      Metro Schools’ student-athletes are setting records and taking top places in Track & Field competition.


      Overton High School Class of 2011 graduate Markus "Mookie" Betts has big plans in his near future. The short stop was the 5th round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox!


      Mookie Betts, a current 12th grader at Overton High School, signed his official letter of intent to play baseball for the University of Tennessee for 2011-2012. Congratulations!

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