Of course everyone loves flying that championship flag. Chest sticks out a little further and there is a little more glide to the giddyup. Question is…How do you handle the challenge of being the champs when it’s time to defend your title?
Winning is absolutely nothing new to Oakland high school football coach Kevin Creasy. Coming to this Murfreesboro powerhouse after winning three state titles in seven years as head coach at Trousdale County, he has kept similar philosophies in place and netted similar results. Since taking over the Patriot program in 2016, Creasy has added two state championship trophies (2018, 2020) and one runner-up (2016) to the Oakland hardware case. But alas a new season dawns and as the defending class 6A king he understands remaining on the throne is no simple task.
“I don’t think we are going to sneak up on anybody”, smiles Creasy. “As a staff we understand the challenges we will face because everyone wants to knock us off. Every week we will get our opponents best and we have to use that to make ourselves better. I hope some of our younger kids understand the challenges we are going to face. It’s never easy getting here and even harder to stay.”
One of the things Creasy will be counting on is a talented crop of returning players. Having made the title trek with lots of game experience, kids like running back Jordan James and wide receiver Isaiah Horton can certainly help lead the way.
“We have a lot of returning players that have been through the peaks and valleys a high school football season offers”, says Creasy. “These guys understand the journey and if you want to be playing after Thanksgiving you have to be ready week in and week out.”
With the explosive running of James and the big play threat of Horton, the Oakland offense again promises to be powerful. However, it may be the other side of the ball that precipitates another Patriot parade through the post season. A trio of talented seniors on the defensive line will be counted on to anchor a unit that has featured lots of speed in the past. Ethan McLaurin, Theron Gaines, and Caleb Cole have all caught the eye of their crafty head coach.
“Our guys up front will be a huge key for us”, says Creasy. “I think not only are they perhaps the best in this highly competitive County, but maybe the best in the state. We are trying to get a lot of kids experience on the defensive side of the ball so we can stay fresh for four quarters. If our line can control the line of scrimmage it helps our playmakers make plays on that side of the ball.”
Oakland begins their title defense on August 20 when they travel to Hendersonville. Creasy will be trying to join Smyrna’s Philip Shadowens (2006, 2007) as the only Rutherford County coach to win back to back state titles. As a guy who has been there, the Patriot leader welcomes the challenge of trying to stay at the top.
“I enjoy the buzz around the Oakland community for sure”, says Creasy. “Our first home game is not until week four and I hope all of our supporters come out. The expectations are high around here and now its up to us to get things going and keep it headed in the right direction.”