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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.

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.

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.

Superstar is an Understatement

Lorenzo Butler, mild mannered McKissack Middle School seventh grader, transformed into a true life superhero at the Little League World Series last week. If you missed his game-ending double play (tag ‘em out, throw ‘em out) or his diving stop and throw from his back for the out, or his record breaking three three-run homers in the U.S. Championship game, or his towering home run in the World Series Championship…wait – if you missed all that, you need to come out from under your rock and notice that an international baseball sensation is among us.

Lorenzo was even trending on Twitter. Do you know what that means? Me neither… but apparently, he is one of the most popular athletes in America. It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s our own McKissack Middle School student-athlete Lorenzo Butler! Seriously, his play last week might be the most clutch performance of any athlete, in any sport, at any level this year.

Big Foot Sighting… Kickin’ Like a Burro

The Nashville City Paper, in a piece by famed sports writer Harold Huggins, noticed Hillsboro’s place kicker and punter Joseph Occhipinti:
Joseph Occhipinti had another excellent night. Occhipinti kicked a 29-yard field goal, went 2-of-2 on extra points, had 48 and 45-yard punts. All five of his kickoffs went for touchbacks… So far this season, he is 10-of-10 on kickoffs for touchbacks and in the season opener… two of his five kicks went completely out of the end zone.
Now, that’s called having a leg up on the competition.


Girls Soccer season is in full swing. The North Sports Report stopped by the fields at MetroCenter this week to catch the East Nashville vs. Hume-Fogg game. The teamwork, precision and athleticism of high school soccer is fantastic. Go see a game soon!

Friday Night Football Action

The North Sports Report enjoyed the festive atmosphere at Buster Boguskie Field on the campus of Stratford High School last week. A great crowd grooved with two terrific marching bands and witnessed a tense, nail-biting, two point margin game that wasn’t decided until a last second field goal sailed just wide of the left upright. Congratulations to Whites Creek Cobras and Stratford Spartans on a great game.

Buster Boguskie Field 
Home of the Stratford Spartans

Football Friday – August 31

This week’s North Sports Report Game of the Week sees the Antioch Bears travel across town to visit the Hillwood Hilltoppers in an early-season District 12 match-up.

In other action:

  • Cane Ridge Ravens battle at Hunters Lane Warriors’ Jerry Pigue Stadium;

  • East Nashville Eagles host Lipscomb;

  • Nick Coutras Stadium will host the home-standing Overton Bobcats vs. Glencliff Colts;

  • Hillsboro Burros host Ravenwood;

  • Whites Creek Cobras visit Maplewood Panthers; and

  • Pearl-Cohn Firebirds welcome Stratford Spartans.

The MNPS home games are at Hillwood; at Hunters Lane; at East Nashville (played at TPS campus); at Overton; at Hillsboro; at Maplewood; and at Pearl-Cohn. There is certainly a game near you. Enjoy the beauty of Friday night high school football – it’s a great family night out, and the students would love to see you there.

-- Mark North

MNPS: The First Choice for World Class Clutch Performances


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


    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


    Mark North

    Board Member &

    Sports Fan Mark North

    Study History…Learn about MNPS Sports Stars of the Past

    Mike Organ, Tennessean sportswriter and DuPont High School alumnus, is the mastermind behind www.highschoolglorydays.com, a website dedicated to historic photos and newspaper clippings of high school sports in Middle Tennessee. If you are nostalgic or want to study the history of sports at your school, this website is a pretty good place to start. You can locate your school (remember…some of the middle schools were once high schools and have rich and storied sports traditions), and study about some of the great sports heroes, coaches, school leaders, civic giants (including at least two Mayors of Nashville), and maybe even a North Sports Reporter. By the way, the glory days for MNPS athletics include today and tomorrow!

    MNPS Alumni Trivia

    The North Sports Report visited with state champion football coach and ACT prep tutor Maurice Fitzgerald recently. Of course, Coach Fitzgerald’s Pearl-Cohn team won a state championship, but do you know at which MNPS high school Coach Fitzgerald starred as a student before a stellar football career at Tennessee State? This week’s trivia question is: Where did Coach Maurice Fitzgerald attend high school? The answer is at the bottom of this post.

    Spring Sports – Meteorological Mayhem aka Rain Delays

    Springtime in Nashville necessarily involves afternoon showers that inevitably douse tennis matches, soccer matches, baseball and softball games, and track meets. Rain will mess up your schedule? Last week, the North Sports Report witnessed the world’s longest soccer game (or at least it seemed like the longest since lightening flashed with 26:51 left in the first half, delaying the game for what seemed like decades). Somehow, the storm ended in time to resume the game before curfew, and enough fans remained on site to provide ample excitement. The evening reminded me that:

    1. time flies when an exciting game is being played;

    2. time crawls when you are sitting in a car in the rain wishing for an exciting game; and

    3. it is worth sitting through a rain delay to watch great high school sports.

    Softball Season

    The North Sports Report talked strategy with famed Cane Ridge Ravens Softball Coach Lance Lott during a summit at Pearl-Cohn High School. It should be a great season for all the MNPS Softball diamond girls.

    While at the same summit, Pearl-Cohn’s Principal Dr. Milton Threadcraft showed me the Firebird’s softball schedule and promotional poster featuring Deidra Truitt, Brittany Grayson, Adrienne Lavender, Savannah Miller, and June Jackson. Awesome!

    Pearl-Cohn Softball Team

    Alumni Trivia Answer

    Where did Coach Maurice Fitzgerald attend high school? Answer: Hume Fogg!

    -- Mark North

    MNPS: The First Choice for Storied Sports Traditions


    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

    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

    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

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