In 1996 and 1997, Pearl-Cohn was one of the most dominant teams in the state. Sporting future collegiate stars Santonio Beard and John Henderson along with one of the best coaches in the Metro area, Maurice Fitzgerald, the Firebirds gave many teams nightmares and cold sweats.
Fast forward 22 years and the Firebirds have a chance to hold that state championship trophy once again along with finishing the season undefeated this Saturday as they take on the Alcoa Tornadoes. For assistant head coach Damien Harris, it’s a chance to do a few different things, starting with winning a state title at his alma mater.
“That’s always been the goal ever since I got back to Pearl-Cohn. To bring that trophy back to Pearl-Cohn. There aren’t a lot of people who can say they won the state as a player and a coach.”
Harris was a member of the Pearl-Cohn team that won state titles. Those young men played with swagger, hungry for success and they were undaunted in the task at hand. Winning! Along with that, they had fun playing the game they loved.
“These guys deserve it. They have to deal with a lot on and off the field. To be able to win state and make history by going undefeated would be an honor.”
Winning a state title with these young men would be great, but Harris is definitely aware of the competition he and the Firebirds face.
“It’s going to be a tough task taking on an elite team like Alcoa. They have championship experience but, our team has worked hard and we’re prepared. I think it will be a great game.”
Along with potentially making history by winning a state title at Pearl-Cohn as a player and a coach, Harris also envisions this as a moment to lift up the city and neighborhood.
“It’s time for this neighborhood and this city as a whole to have something positive to talk about since so much negativity surrounds the 37208 area.”
This Friday, Pearl-Cohn head coach Tony Brunetti and Harris have a chance to bring the state title to Nashville once again. And for Damien, this is a chance for him to bring back not only a title, but some positive energy to his hometown.
The game starts at 3:00 pm, this Friday, December 6, at Tennessee Tech University’s Tucker Stadium.