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Ensworth, Maryville hope to scrimmage in football at Tennessee Tech

12:00 AM, Jan. 17, 2013 EST

Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers during the first half against Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tenn., Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. (JAE S. LEE / THE TENNESSEAN)

Ensworth and Maryville are trying to schedule a football scrimmage on Aug. 8 at Tennessee Tech, but haven't received permission to use Tucker Stadium yet.

Ensworth has won the past three Division II-AA titles, and Maryville has won a record 13 state championships.

"We've just got to make sure the venue is right and all that stuff," Ensworth coach Ricky Bowers said. "We may end up moving it to another day or something. We haven't got anything confirmed yet."

Ben Shannon, Tennessee Tech's director of athletic facilities and events, said holding the scrimmage is a possibility.

"I would think Coach (Watson) Brown would be willing to work to have those schools on our campus," Shannon said. "I think even if we're in practice, I think we'd be willing to work with them (regarding dates)."

Ensworth has signed a two-year contract with Giles County, but the Tigers still have three openings on their 2013 schedule.

"We try to play the best every year," Bowers said. "We get the same response (from Maryville for a 2013 game) that we get from everybody else -- that they're full."

Maryville will play Alcoa, Knoxville Webb and Sevier County in its non-District 4-AAA schedule this season.

"If we can play teams that aren't three and a half hours away like Ensworth is then we're going to keep doing that," Maryville coach George Quarles said. "But we may get to the point that you can't get teams to play you, and you may have to play an Ensworth or somebody like that."

Overcoming loss of star: Mt. Pleasant (13-1) won its first 13 games despite the loss of its top player from last season.

Center Princeton Harlan isn't playing after being charged with rape of a child in October.

His settlement date is March 4 at Maury County Circuit Court in Columbia. Harlan will have the option to enter a plea. If he doesn't, the case will be set up for trial.

Harlan has been recruited by SEC schools for football.

Richland rallied from an 18-point deficit, and Carson Edwards hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to hand Mt. Pleasant its first defeat 55-53 last week. The Tigers are ranked fourth in the Class A poll.

Mt. Pleasant point guard Toby Frierson is averaging 18.4 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 steals and 4.5 rebounds.

"To me, he's one of the best players in the state," Tigers coach Derek Boyd said. "He is quick as can be, and he puts up some good numbers for us. He's everywhere."

Only unbeaten: Blackman (17-0, 3-0 7-AAA) enters tonight's game with Riverdale as the state's only unbeaten boys team.

"We like to hang our hat on being a team that rebounds and defends," Blaze coach Barry Wortman said. "We just try to be very solid in the half-court man-to-man defense. Nothing tricky."

Point guard Darius Thompson, a 6-foot-4 senior, is leading the way. He's averaging 14.4 points and 7.1 assists.

Thompson has 14 offers, including Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee State. His father is Cumberland coach Lonnie Thompson.

"He's a coach's son, and he has a great feel for the game," Wortman said. "He plays at a real nice pace, and I think (the college coaches) see a kid that's going to keep getting better."

Lighting it up: Page guard Hunter Bennefield has emerged as one of the area's top scorers, averaging 24.1 points for the Patriots (7-10.)

"He's definitely our go-to guy," Page coach Ralph Ringstaff said. "He's our scorer. Hunter has a nice pull-up jump shot, and he's got a little spin move. It's tough to guard him."

The small-college prospect broke a school record with 45 points in last week's 91-53 win over East Hickman. Bennefield, a 5-11 senior, was 18-for-27 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the foul line.

"He was on that night," Ringstaff said. "Plus, our defense was really aggressive. We got a lot of steals, and he benefited from being the lead person on our half-court trap. So they kicked the ball to him a lot of times on our fast break."

Veteran official retires: Wayne Clendenen, 67, of Brentwood is retiring from his on-field duties after 42 years as a high school football official in Middle Tennessee.

His final game was Beech's 56-35 win over Columbia in the Class 5A final at Tennessee Tech on Nov. 30.

"It's time to go," Clendenen said. "I got to go out on top. I called the state championship as my last game. We graded out as the top crew in the championships, so that's the time to go."

Clendenen said the toughest part of the job was keeping up with the kids on the field.

He said Red Bank's 27-7 win over Riverdale in the 2000 5A final at Middle Tennessee State was the most memorable game he worked.

"It was the only snow game in the history of the state championships," Clendenen said. "The flakes were as big around as silver dollars, and they covered the field. It snowed the whole game. My head linesman was going down the field on a run, and the kid scored. The linesman stopped on the 5-yard line, turned sideways and slid to the goal line. And just as the kid crossed the goal line he put his arms up while he was sliding on the top of the snow."



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