Since the inception of the Journal West 10 Media Power 10 championship in 2017, the title has resided in Germantown, Tenn.
The newly crowned back-to-back Power 10 Champions earned the title with identical undefeated seasons. But Germantown Head Coach Chris Smith will quickly tell you the paths were totally different.
In 2017, nearly 40 seniors helped restore the Red Devil Football program back to glory, pulling off numerous upsets. Germantown went from preseason No. 10 ranking all the way to No. 1.
Fast forward to 2018, the Red Devils entered the season with high expectations featuring a new group of 38 seniors. No longer the hunters, the Red Devils navigated a tough schedule, beating three eventual Region champions to go 10-0 again.
“There’s no easy road, especially in 6A,” Smith said. “I think our kids achieved the max of potential with what they had. This year they were able to duplicate a lot of what they did last year.
“I think we actually had a tougher schedule than we did last year,” he added. “The teams were a lot better this year than we ended up playing last year. Houston, obviously, was a much improved football team.”
Germantown racked up more than 480 points offensively while holding opponents to an average 12 points. The Red Devils beat eventual championship teams like Millington, Houston and Henry County.
“Henry County, that is a special environment for high school football,” Smith said. “That is not an easy place to win. A lot of people don’t make it out of there to tell about a win. They tested us physically. They helped show us what we needed to do to be champions. We had to elevate our physicality and aggression.”
After beating the Patriots 31-21, the Red Devils jumped into Region play, taking down the likes of Memphis Central and White Station.
That set up a showdown for the Region 8-6A championship against the Whitehaven Tigers in the final week of the regular season.
“Then we played Whitehaven for the Region title,” Smith said. “Our kids were fired up to try to repeat and try to leave their legacy on the program at Germantown High School. We’re big about leaving a tradition, leaving your mark, leaving your legacy.
“They have their Class of ’18 up on the scoreboard,” he continued. “They will have their ’18 up in the weight room and in the other facilities. They will be remembered. They knew there was a lot on the line and they played well. They really overachieved.”
The 37-19 victory over the Tigers secured the championship, banner and Journal West 10 Media Power 10 plaque.
“For 12 weeks we could have easily been one of the best, if not, the best team,” Smith declared. “It only takes one week in high school football to have a letdown. We got beat in the Quarterfinals.
“With that, that shows the kind of consistency, hard work, the depth you have to develop to continue to play that way at a high level for two straight years,” he added. “To go 23-2, to me is pretty incredible.”
Now the Germantown program has to bid farewell to 38 more seniors. But the program will remember those players forever with a pair of Region titles, undefeated regular seasons and Power 10 titles.
Smith said he hopes all the winning, few setbacks and coaching will help his young men in the game of life.
“These guys had a great football experience,” he said. “They will always remember the stuff they did at Germantown High School as a football player. That’s the main goal at the end of the day that they carry on some life lessons. “The understanding of sacrifice,” Smith concluded, “they’re going to understand hard work. They’re going to have more gas in the tank in life than a lot of other people.”