Team 116 Continues Clarksville High’s Winning Tradition
CLARKSVILLE, TN — The Wildcats entered the 2022 football season with a lot of high expectations, but after a shaky start the Wildcats had to dig deep to answer some questions about who they wanted to be. Clarksville High would ultimately silence the doubters and earn them a spot in the state’s top 16 of Class 6A for the second straight season.
“That group badly wanted to raise the bar somehow,” said Isaac Shelby, CHS Head Football Coach. “They wanted to win a home playoff game and they accomplished that it was really fun.”
It did not look that way though after the first two weeks of the season after the ‘Cats were stunned at home by McGavock in Week 1 and shut out by Springfield on the road in Week 2. Week 3 would be a must win for the Wildcats not only to salvage the season, but also to gain an advantage in region play. The ‘Cats opponents in Week 3 would be their rivals from Exit 8, the Rossview Hawks. Clarksville High would dominate the Hawks to pick up their first win in 2022 and claim the Warfield Shield for the fifth straight season.
“It’s Rossview so that is always important but considering the circumstances at that time it was critical,” said Shelby
Most importantly the Wildcats found their rhythm in the backfield with Garinger and Carnell. After Garinger missed the 2021 campaign with a shoulder injury, the senior would rejoin fellow classmate Jamar Carnell and pose a major threat to all opposing defenses that the ‘Cats would face.
About Garinger and Carnell in the same backfield, Shelby Said, “anytime you have two seniors that have a good relationship with each other touching the ball you are going to give yourself a chance to win.”
After drawing even at 2-2 following a win against Dickson County, the Wildcats would look for revenge against one of the top teams in Class 6A, the Beech Buccaneers. Beech would prove to be too much for the Wildcats, but it would have to be a quick turnaround for CHS with Hendersonville coming in to town two weeks later. CHS would use a dominating 47-point first half performance to beat Northeast and prepare for a revenge game against Hendersonville in Week 7. The Wildcats would be up for the task this week and beat the Commandos 56-36 to claim their first victory against a Sumner County school since joining them in Region 5, Class 6A.
“I do not think it was revenge but it showed how far we have come in a year,” said Shelby, “because the year before they absolutely dominated us in every phase of the game.”
The Wildcats used that victory to propel them into three more victories to end the season. This included wins against West Creek, Maplewood, and Gallatin to end the season. The win against Gallatin made the Wildcats 2-1 against Sumner County schools and 4-1 in Region 5-6A.
“It was a big turnaround,” said Shelby. “I think the first year playing all three of those games on the road in those environments was really difficult. I do not think the kids handled that well.”
The Wildcats would take their five-game winning streak to the playoffs and a chance to host a first round playoff game for the first time since the 2018 season. The Wildcats lost the 2018 game in overtime, but this year’s team had other plans. The ‘Cats would face off against Overton in the 2022 playoffs and CHS would do something that they had not done since 2007, which was winning a home playoff game. CHS defeated Overton, 47-14, to punch their ticket to their 6th consecutive second round playoff spot.
“[Hosting/Winning was] very important it was their goal all year. It was fun to watch those guys accomplish it,” said Shelby.
The Wildcats would see their season come to an end on the road in the second round as they fell prey to Cane Ridge. In a rematch of the 2021 opening round game it would be Cane Ridge exacting revenge against the Wildcats which ended their 2022 campaign with an overall record of 8-4. The Wildcats would also have six players named all-region players. Five seniors (Mason Buck, Jamar Carnell, Davin Garinger, Caden Seubert, and Riley Seubert) and one junior (Laney Best) would make up the Wildcats’ post season award winners. Garinger (APSU) and Jamar Carnell (Tennessee Tech) would be joined by fellow senior Robert Riley (Wilmington College) as the three students who signed to play in college from this years’ team.
“They raised the bar again a home playoff win has not happened here since 2007, I believe. The seniors job is to raise the expectation level of the program every year,” said Shelby.