Over the last five seasons Hendersonville has been the second winningest program in Sumner County, winning 41 games while making it to the playoffs four out of five seasons.
Second year head coach James Beasley hopes that trend will continue in 2019.
The Commandos lost a ton of talent off last year’s team that went 8-4 and the second round of the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean the black and gold are expected to take a step back.
Instead it means new players are expected to step up to make the plays while the few returning players from last year’s team are expected to be leaders on the field.
That being said, the summer months have gone well for Hendersonville as the players are continuing to work hard and buy into what coach Beasley and his staff are selling.
“I think our kids are working really hard and trying to do the things we ask them to do,” he said. “Hopefully we have progressed enough to field a competitive team on August 23 when the season opens.”
The Commandos could not have chosen a tougher opponent to open the 2019 season as defending Class 6A champion Oakland comes to town looking to show the state they are once again title contenders in 2019.
“We started the previous two seasons with Blackman but that just didn’t work out this year,” Beasley said of the matchup. “We wanted a quality 6A opponent early to let us know where we are and where we need to improve and I think Oakland will give us that.”
In the trenches is where the games will be won and lost this year for Hendersonville, and they are tasked with replacing a ton of talent from last year.
Right now, only JD Jordan and Trevor Thorneberry are slated to start up front for the Commandos while the other three spots are open.
“The trenches is where it all starts,” Beasley added. “It’s all about how we perform up front. That group dictates how your season goes. We lost a lot of talent up front but we are expecting our kids to step up and replace them.”
Quarterback Drew Hohenbrink returns to lead the offense for his senior season while Logan Spurrier, Brent Rowe, Ellis Ellis and Isaiah Chandler all look to make plays out of the backfield.
Jacob Newton will also get carries from the split end position.
Defensively the line of scrimmage and linebackers are still open competition as Landon Wortham, Jalen House, Bryce Carrol, Stevie Mack, Helton Porter and Gunnel Marroquin all try and fill the holes left behind from last season.
Special team members include Andrew Martin and Bates Malovski.
“I think it is safe to say that offensive line, defensive line and linebackers are the areas with the most to prove,” Beasley said. “We have a lot of open spots from last year’s team.”
Following their matchup with the Patriots in week one the Commandos hit the road at Giles County before heading into region play at Station Camp.
“Anytime you start the season your expectation is to win every football game you play in,” Beasley said. “We have a really good team that is hungry and that works hard and competes every week.
“A region championship is your goal every year,” he continued. “Those region games are critical and it gives you the ability to play in the post season. We start off region play with a tough, quality opponent but we are hoping our first two games prepare us for that.”
Head coach: James Beasley, 2nd season, 8-4
Karl Wenzel - RB/DE
Anthony Lake - QB/DB
Jeff Balitsos - SE/DB
Mitch Hendley - OL/DL
Donny LaFleur - LB/TE
Jack Littlejohn - OL/DL
Russ Plummer - K
Drew Hohenbrink (QB)
Logan Spurrier (FS/RB)
Brent Rowe (SS/RB)
Ellis Ellis (S/RB)
Isaiah Chandler (ATH)
Will Batson (DE/TE)
Jacob Newton (WR/SE/CB)
Trevor Throneberry (OL/DL)
JD Jordan (LB/OL)
Jamison Barksdale (DL)