Smyrna High School (Tennessee)

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Smyrna High School
Smyrna, Tennessee
United States
Type public school
Motto Striving for Excellence
Established 1911
School district Rutherford County Schools (Tennessee)
Head teacher Rick Powell, Principal
Number of students 2100
Color(s) purple & gold
Mascot Bulldog

Smyrna High School is a high school, in the Rutherford County School system, located in Smyrna, Tennessee United States.


Smyrna High was founded in 1911. In 1988 was split into the current LaVergne and Smyrna High Schools in order to provide adequate room for the student enrollment. In 2000 Smyrna went through yet another split with the building of Blackman High School. The current Smyrna Middle School building was the previous home of Smyrna High. In June 2011, Robert Raikes retired as principal of Smyrna High School after 37 years at the position and over 50 years of being with the school. His replacement was named a month later when Mr. Rick Powell, a longtime assistant principal at Smyrna, was promoted to head principal.


Smyrna ball titles (1961 and 1982). Both the Baseball team and Girls' Basketball team appeared in the State Tournament for the first time in over 20 years (2007 and 2008, respectively). Smyrna is also the defending AAA State Softball Champions, winning their first title in program history in 2013.


Smyrna has won four State Championships in Bowling (2005, 2006, 2009, 2011). The program has also produced two Mr. Bowling Awards (Kyle Barnes - 2005, 2006).


The football team plays in Robert L. Raikes Stadium (named for former head football coach and longtime principal of Smyrna) and has enjoyed great success. Smyrna High School has won two TSSAA Class 5A State Championships in football in 2006, 2007 and a quarterfinal appearance In 2008, before switching to Class 6A in 2009. The 2010 State Runner-up team was the first time the school played in the championship 6A Series. Smyrna High football has produced two Mr. Football Award (Adam Smotherman in 2005 and Rod Wilks in 2007) and a Mr. Football Finalist (Deon Meadows 2010) . Smyrna high also recognizes its first and only NFL player Luke Powell, who played with the Arizona Cardinals for a small stint, by retiring his jersey Number #1.

2006 Football championship season[edit]

Prior to the 2006 season, the Smyrna Bulldogs had never been to the BlueCross Bowl (the State Championship game). As the season got underway, Smyrna got off to a fast start, winning their first five games. However, a crushing 49-0 loss to Riverdale at home, which is still the most lopsided loss in program history, eliminated any chance of Smyrna winning the Region. Despite the disastrous loss, Smyrna finished the season 8-2 and easily qualified for the playoffs.

In the first playoff round, Smyrna quickly dispatched Coffee County at home 47-21.

The following week, in their second straight home playoff game, Smyrna shut out LaVergne 24-0. This victory advanced Smyrna to the State Quarterfinals for the first time since 2000 and for only the 3rd time in school history.

In the Quarterfinals at Riverdale, Smyrna finally defeated the Warriors in a stunning upset for the first time in 18 attempts (starting in 1976) 9-7. This game was notable for Coach Shadowens' pre-game speech consisting of only two words: "I Believe." This instantly became the rally cry for the Bulldogs and their fans over the next few years. With the win, Smyrna advanced to the State Semifinals for the first time since 1995 (their only other appearance).

In the Semifinals, Smyrna pulled off another upset by defeating the (previously) undefeated Ooltewah Owls 28-25 at home, giving Coach Shadowens his 100th career victory, and giving Smyrna their first ever State Championship game berth.

In the BlueCross Bowl at MTSU, they faced Ravenwood, the defending State Champions, who also accounted for Smyrna's only other loss that year. Ravenwood took the lead early but a Rod Wilks kickoff return for a touchdown helped tie the game at 14. This key play stemmed the tide and Smyrna never trailed again. Smyrna would go on to win their first State Championship in football 35-14 with a couple of late rushing touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Rod Wilks and Josh Day were named Offensive and Defensive MVP, respectively, of the BlueCross Bowl.

2007 Football championship season[edit]

The Bulldogs made history in 2007, becoming just the second team in 5A history to repeat and the first public school ever to do so. They finished 7-3, riding a 4-game winning streak mid-season and clinching a playoff berth in the final week against Wilson Central.

In the first playoff round, Smyrna defeated Cookeville at home, winning 27-10.

In the second round, Smyrna cruised to an easy win over Lincoln County on the road 43-16.

When Wilson Central upset Riverdale in the second round, Smyrna faced a rematch of the season finale at home in the State Quarterfinals. Smyrna ended Wilson Central's title hopes with a late field goal, winning 17-7.

Against Bearden at home, Smyrna once again won another tight Semifinal game against a superior team 17-14 to advance to their second consecutive BlueCross Bowl.

Smyrna went on to defeat Independence in the BlueCross Bowl 46-20 in convincing fashion behind Jeremiah Bryson's 4 rushing touchdowns and Rod Wilks' Defensive MVP performance.

This victory marked the end of an era for Smyrna. Coach Shadowens left his head coaching position at Smyrna after two straight State Championships and accepted the same position at Middle Tennessee Christian School, where his two daughters attended, After a season, he took the head coaching position at Blackman, where he is today. Rodriguez Wilks and Sonny Gray also left, having graduated that spring. Rodriguez went on to play college football at the University of Tennessee and Sonny attended Vanderbilt University under a baseball scholarship. He was later drafted 18th overall by the Oakland Athletics and made his MLB debut on July 10, 2013.

2010 Football season[edit]

The Bulldogs returned to the State Championship game after a disappointing season in 2009.

They began their season in dominating fashion, starting 5-0. In the process, they posted an opening day shutout at Beech, blew out district rivals Blackman and Siegel, and humiliated Centennial in their homecoming game, 55-7. However, they hit a wall in the 6th game of the year, losing to eventual Division II-AA state champion Ensworth 30-14. They rebounded to win two crucial district games in dominating fashion against LaVergne and Riverdale, beating Riverdale for only the third time in history.

After shutting out Ravenwood at home, the stage was set for a district championship against Oakland at home the last week of the regular season. In a very competitive district that included 4 of the top teams in state, the Bulldogs only needed to win to secure their first district championship. The game was a defensive struggle, coming down to the final play of regulation. Smyrna led 7-0, but Oakland drove down the field to tie the game with almost no time left. In overtime, Oakland fumbled the ball near their own goal line, setting the stage for a quick touchdown by Smyrna to seal the district championship, 13-7.

Smyrna would host the first three rounds of the playoffs. They blew out Brentwood 38-16 in the playoff opener and ran away late against Mt. Juliet 37-20. The next week was a highly anticipated matchup against Blackman and their former coach, Philip Shadowens. The game was nearly oversold and many fans arrived 3 hours in advance. The game turned out to be somewhat one-sided, with a slight push by Blackman near the end of the game. The Bulldogs led big at the half and won 20-14, advancing to the State Semifinals.

Whitehaven was hosting and playing in their first state semifinal game in school history. Smyrna won a hard-fought, physical game that featured 2 Whitehaven ejections. The Bulldogs trailed at halftime, but rallied to take the lead in the 3rd quarter and won 10-7. This win sealed the trip to Cookeville for the 6A State Championship game against Maryville.

In the state championship game, Smyrna scored first and held two separate leads on Maryville early, but things fell apart late in the 2nd quarter and in the 3rd quarter. A costly interception in their own territory set up a touchdown for the Rebels, while a safety in the 3rd quarter would turn out to be the difference in the game. Smyrna rallied to make it a 2 point game and drove down the field in the final minutes of regulation. However, when attempting a go-ahead field goal, a bobbled snap effectively ended the Bulldogs' hopes of winning. Maryville ran out the clock and won 23-21. It was the most competitive and anticipated game of the championship weekend, which featured almost entirely blowouts.

Smyrna/La Vergne Rivalry[edit]

For the past 28 years, Smyrna has been beating La Vergne 27 times, but La Vergne had only 1 win in 1999.


The Smyrna High School Swim Team, coached by Tony Trumphour, held the county championship for seven years in a row, the streak beginning in 2004 and ending in 2010.

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]