Blount Press Row

View From Above

Monday Film Study: Shadowens takes unique approach to ensure Governor win

William Blount quarterback Trey Clemmer punches in from the 1 against McMinn County on Friday at Mike White Field. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Editor
Blount Press Row

Philip Shadowens can coach.

That statement has nothing to do with the two state championships the Governor skipper won while head coach at Smyrna. It has nothing to do with building Murfreesboro’s Blackmon High School into one of the state’s elite teams before arriving at William Blount.

With the Governors facing a must-win game with visiting McMinn County on Friday, Shadowens did something we’ve never seen from a high school or college football coach, at least not for the reasons Shadowens chose.

He wasn’t recovering from any medical procedure that we know. He’s as hands-on as any coach we’ve ever met. What coach isn’t? Yet, Shadowens felt he could best help the Governors by directing his team from the pressbox, high above the playing surface at Mike White Field.

It worked, too.

“I just thought maybe I could help on both sides of the ball up there,” he said.

The Governors were explosive, perhaps like never this season, in stopping the Cherokees, 38-31, in a key Region 2-6A game.

Don’t be misled by the final margin.

The Governors left three scores on the field.

Sophomore quarterback Trey Clemmer unleashed a barrage of highlight throws en route to 200 yards passing and touchdowns to Jordan Tarver and Wyatt Rutgerson of 30 and 36 yards, respectively. Clemmer also ran for scores of 1 and 9 yards.

Halfback Michael Harris carved 78 tough yards from McMinn County’s defense, adding a 4-yard score. The Governors turned repeatedly to Harris in the second half, his 24 clock-killing carries going a long way to ensure William Blount’s eventual victory.

The Governors turned to running back Michael Harris in the second half to kill some clock.

“We knew it would be that physical,” Harris said. “We want to go to the playoffs; I was ready to go.

“I want to do all I can for my team. We knew if we didn’t win, we’re out.”

A Job Matossian second-quarter, 22-yard field goal rounded out William Blount’s scoring.

Beginning with a second-quarter burst to reduce a once 17-0 Governor lead to 17-15 at the half, McMinn County rallied. William Blount thrice threatened to blow it open in the second half. Each time, the Cherokees pulled close again, forcing the Governors to recover not one, but two onsides kicks in the closing seconds.

As the game wore on and the tension mounted, we kept our head on a swivel. Surely, soon, Shadowens wouldn’t be able to take it anymore. He’d have to come down there. He didn’t, which is the reasoning behind this column’s opening statement.

These guys really got it done for the Governors.

Yes, the wireless communication high school coaches have at their disposal mitigates the approach Shadowens took. If he wasn’t happy with something, his assistant coaches probably didn’t have to wait until halftime or postgame to hear about it. He’s not THAT hands-off.

That said, the element of trust Shadowens placed with his assistant coaches had a telling and noticeable effect: They were focused; the team was focused.

William Blount looked like a machine out there at times!

Athletics director Scott Cupp just lost it when Clemmer connected with Rutgerson for a three-touchdown advantage late in the second half.

(Editor: See video.)

A head coach is the very soul of his football team. Friday, with so much on the line, Shadowens relinquished much of the control to his players and assistant coaches, its beating heart.

Bravo, coach!

P.S. Tell Laura thanks for the words of encouragement. We’ll get there.

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