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2013 Blue D w e i v e r P l l a b t o o F

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U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C

The Following Sponsors Would Like To Wish The Blue Devils Good Luck This Season!


Page 2-C • A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C The

Erwin Record

SEASON PREVIEW

218 Gay Street, Erwin, TN 37650 423-743-4112 Keith Whitson Publisher Donna Rea Advertising Manager Brenda Sparks Circulation Manager Damaris Higgins Marketing Services Director David Sheets Graphic Design

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey

The Unicoi County High School football team and cheerleaders open the 2013 season on Aug. 23 at Hampton High School.

Keeli Parkey News Editor/ Graphic Design

Devils plan to build on last season

Curtis Carden Sports Writer

By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

Adam Campbel Sports Photography Photography: Keith Whitson, Keeli Parkey and Adam Campbell

siness All Bu Blue Devil 2013 iew Football Prev

On the Cover: Eight seniors hope to lead the Blue Devils back to the playoffs this season. Pictured, from left, Cody Harris, Thomas Tipton, Richie Farmer, Keith Arrowood, Lucas Hensley, Bodhi Bradford, Hunter Burnett and Trevor Berry. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

A taste of success has the Unicoi County High School football program hungry for more. The Blue Devil football program will start the 2013 regular season on a high note after clinching the school’s first playoff bid in over a decade during last season’s campaign. While history was made last season, this year’s team isn’t dwelling on the past, according head coach Jerad Huskins. Presented by: “We’ve put that behind us now,” Huskins said. “It was a big accomplishment for the program but we’re not going to settle with that. We were oneand-done and we’re looking to improve on that and we feel we have the weapons and the kids to get the job done.” The squad graduated a handful of seniors last year and are looking to be led on offense this season by senior signal caller Lucas Hensley. Hensley missed the first five games last year after suffering a finger injury before the season opener against South Greene. He finished the final five games of the year with 273 passing yards and threw three touchdown passes. Quaterback Cody Jack Rogers also returns for his junior campaign. The quarterback started the first five games of the year for the Blue Devils and finished the season with over 500 yards

ing players on the corners for through the air. “(Lucas) has really been the passing attack. Leading the throwing the ball well,” receiving core is senior ThomHuskins said. “He’s got the ve- as Tipton. Tipton led the squad locity on the ball and has come in receptions with 18 catches along nicely during the summer. for 245 yards. Another senior is We’ve got the experience this Keith Arrowood, who amassed year with two starters from last 100 yards receiving last year, year, Cody Jack Rogers started but will be sidelined in the early the first five games while Lucas duration of this season due to was out. We’re really comfort- a Jones fracture suffered in a able with the progression made summer seven-on-seven camp by all our quarterbacks during hosted at Science Hill. The squad will the offseaalso utilize son.” sophomore The squad Eli Gillis and graduated senior Richie last seaFarmer in son’s leadthe passing ing rusher game. Hunter Ab“We’re bott (851 excited to yards), but see what return juour receivnior Luke ers can do Fronckoski, this season,” who will go Huskins into the seasaid. son as the “Thomsquad’s top as Tipton rusher. Along with -Head Coach Jerad Huskins had a great summer in Fronckoski, the passsenior Cody Harris will share some of the ing camps and we return Keith payload in the backfield at tail- (Arrowood). Eli Gillis started back. The team’s fullback posi- some last year as a freshman tion will have a youthful look and played well,” he continued. with sophomore Leon Dover “Richie (Farmer) came out this year to play. We like what we’ve handling the duties. “Luke really came in during seen out of him. He’s a tall, fast the season as a sophomore and kid and people will hear his gave us some quality playing name during the season.” At the tight end position jutime,” Huskins said. “He was a big threat for us in the special nior Will Shelton will look to teams and has gotten better as carry the load. Shelton could also see time as a receiver, aca runner.” The Blue Devils’ pro-style of- cording to Huskins. Dover will fense will have a host of return- also see some time at the tight

“It was a big accomplishment for the program but we’re not going to settle with that ... we’re looking to improve on that and we feel we have the weapons and the kids to get the job done.”

end position. The skill players are out and about for the Blue Devils but one key component for the team on offense is the offensive line. Around 1,200 pounds of experience will look to aid the Blue Devils’ passing attack and run game, according to Huskins. The senior core of Hunter Burnett and Trevor Berry will be the starting guards, while senior Bodhi Bradford will bump out to one of the tackle spots. Joining the seniors on the line are junior Eric Arnett at tackle and sophomore Justin Nelson at center. Nelson is no slouch, Huskins added, with the sophomore coming off a successful freshman campaign, emerging as one of the team's top defensive tackles last season and started nine games. Defensively, the experience on the line has brought forth a new defensive scheme for the squad. A 4-3 will be implemented, Huskins said, to use the size and experience as an advantage. “We have a lot of big bodies and experience up front,” Huskins said. “Our line will be our backbone this season.” The defensive front will see Burnett, Will Shelton and Bradford stationed at the ends, while Nelson and Berry will hold steady at defensive tackle. The linebackers for the Blue Devils are led by Harris, who has been a two-year starting LB for the squad. He’ll control the core, who’ll have some young guys step in,” Huskins said. “Cody has been a great leader Please see DEVILS, Page 7-C

The Following Sponsors Would Like To Wish The Blue Devils Good Luck This Season!

“We can make it a reality!”


A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 • Page 3-C

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C

1

Leon Dover

6

Keith Arrowood

10

Kendrick Williams

14

Brandon Caldwell

6’, 200 Sophomore

6’, 175 Senior

5’9, 140 Freshman

5’11, 155 Sophomore

2

Eli Gillis

7

Lucas Hensley

11

C.J. Wells

15

Tyler Whitson

5’10, 150 Sophomore

6’1, 175 Senior

5’10, 135 Junior

5’7, 130 Freshman

3

Hunter Hensley

8

Thomas Tipton

12

Derek Berry

16

Dayton Clark

5’10, 155 Sophomore

5’11, 160 Senior

5’8, 145 Sophomore

6’, 155 Sophomore

4

Nick Fender

9

Richie Farmer

13

Cody Jack Rogers

17

Michael Howell

5’9, 150 Freshman

6’1, 155 Senior

6’1, 170 Junior

5’7, 125 Freshman

The Following Sponsors Would Like To Wish The Blue Devils Good Luck This Season! Have A Great Season Blue Devils! Good Luck Blue Devils! 100 Unicoi Rd. Unicoi, TN 37692 Exit 32 (423) 743-4442 Bart & Kim Ray

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Page 4-C • A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C

19

Brett Lemmon

25

Hunter Duncan

35

Noah Higgins

45

Jacob Smith

5’11, 160 Freshman

5’10, 145 Freshman

5’8, 145 Freshman

6’2, 180 Freshman

21

Cody Harris

32

Justin Laughren

42

Cameron Higgins

50

Chris Johnson

5’9, 180 Senior

5’9, 165 Freshman

6’, 180 Freshman

5’9, 240 Junior

22

Luke Fronckoski

33

Warren Shelton

43

Drew Shelton

54

John Singleton

5’11, 180 Junior

5’10, 165 Sophomore

5’9, 150 Sophomore

5’9, 220 Junior

23

Dylan Burgess

34

John Burnett

44

Brandon Spencer

55

Jacob Edwards

5’8, 150 Freshman

5’10, 170 Sophomore

5’10, 145 Freshman

5’8, 160 Freshman

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A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 • Page 5-C

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C

59

Brent Smith

66

Hunter Burnett

75

Remington Effler

80

Ethan Smith

5’10, 275 Sophomore

6’, 260 Senior

5’10, 190 Freshman

5’10, 145 Freshman

60

Trent Treadway

72

Kyle Edwards

76

Hunter Wright

88

Will Shelton

Jerad Huskins

6’4, 205 Junior

Head Coach

5’7, 195 Freshman

5’11, 220 Sophomore

6’, 205 Sophomore

63

Dawson Hensley

73

Trevor Berry

77

Justin Nelson

5’11, 180 Freshman

5’9, 220 Senior

6’1, 260 Sophomore

64

Ian Peterson

74

Bodhi Bradford

78

Eric Arnett

5’11, 225 Freshman

6’2, 240 Senior

6’1, 255 Junior

Erwin Record Staff Photos by Keeli Parkey

The Following Sponsors Would Like To Wish The Blue Devils Good Luck This Season! Have A Great Season Blue Devils!

Unicoi Hospital for Animals

Have A Great Season!

(423) 743-9172 2210 N. Main Ave, Erwin, TN 37650

We Support The UCHS Blue Devils!

Good Luck Blue Devils!

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1414 North Main Avenue · Erwin, Tennessee


Page 6-C • A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C SENIORS

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey

The senior members of the football team and cheerleading squad provide valuable leadership to their respective programs. The 2013 seniors are, back row, from left, Hannah Nelson, Sydni Jeno, Hunter Burnett, Richie Farmer, Lucas Hensley, Thomas Tipton, Bodhi Bradford, Hannah Holden and Brooke Strother; front row, Chasity Miller, Kiana Watson, Cody Harris, Keith Arrowood, Trevor Berry and Michaela Jones.

Seniors ready to lead Blue Devils By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

An uphill battle ended with a nice pit stop for the 2012 season, but the Blue Devils aren't happy. With over 40 football players on the Unicoi County High School roster this season, the team’s eight seniors are ready to build on the playoff season from the past year. "We've got a real good balance on offense this season," senior wideout Thomas Tipton said. "I think we've got a good chance to move on and grow from last season. The playoff berth was big and made us hungry to move on. “We've not worried about any predictions or anything like that. We have been focusing on ourselves to get us ready for the first game of the season. Quarterback Lucas Hensley is the captain on offense and is looking to build on a season that was cut in half due to an injury prior to the first game of the year against South Greene. "My finger is not hurting at all," he said about last year’s injury. "It's still a little hard to bend, but I can throw the ball good with it." Progress is being made by all the classes, Hensley said, including the underclassmen. "They've all come to practice and

"I think we've got a good chance to move on and grow from last season. The playoff berth was big and made us hungry to move on.” ~ Thomas Tipton wanted to get better," he said. "Our quarterbacks have really grown. I feel good about the depth at quarterback position. If something were to happen to me, I know the other quarterbacks could step right in and run the offense. It's big for the future." The seniors have their vocal leader in lineman Hunter Burnett, Hensley said. In addition to getting the team fired up, Burnett will be one of the anchors of an experienced offensive line "We've got a lot of guys on the line with experience," Burnett said. "Trevor (Berry) and Eric (Arnett) have a couple years of starting under his belt and Bodhi (Bradford) is a three-year starter. Justin Nelson is a sophomore, but he's a real physical lineman and had a good season last year." While serving on both fronts on offense and defense, Burnett also shows his versatility on special teams, serving as the Blue Devils’ field goal specialist and kick off man. "We had a good season on special

teams last year," Burnett said. "We returned a lot of touchdowns back." Bradford was quick to mention the progress made in the summer. "We had a real good offseason," Bradford said. "We are wanting to improve off last year." Berry seconded his teammate's sentiments. "Our younger guys are looking good," Berry added. "We're just working on getting better as a team." With the mention of underclassmen, one position group with a group of potential sophomore starters is at linebacker. Senior Cody Harris, a two-year starter, has been a bruiser on defense and said he liked what the other linebackers have brought to the table. "They've kept getting better," he said. "I like their effort and they should be fine. Last year was big for us, so we've just worked on building from that." Wide receiver Keith Arrowood is in his senior season and is going into his

second year with the Blue Devils. The playmaker, who is currently sidelined with a Jones fracture, praised the progress made by the rest of the receivers. "We've got a lot of talent there," Arrowood said. "Eli Gillis has a phenomenal work ethic as a sophomore. Thomas (Tipton) has been great in the summer and is a big leader for us. “Another senior is Richie Farmer and even though it's his first year, he's grown as a receiver and will be good this year." Farmer, who is currently recordholder as a UCHS track member, has embraced his role with the program. "I've just been trying to get better and give my all to the team," Farmer said. "It's been a fun experience working with the team." The senior has also emerged as a leader for the squad and likes what he has seen out of the upcoming group. "We've really gotten better since the offseason," Farmer said. "It's been great working with the guys." While the seniors have been working together to aid the program's revival in Unicoi County, the team will be in good hands in the future, according to Arrowood. "They're how we get better," he said. "They line up on the scout team defense and offense and push us. They've all continued to get better and have great potential for the years to come."

The Following Sponsors Would Like To Wish The Blue Devils Good Luck This Season! The Erwin Record takes great pride in covering local sporting events. Our award winning writers and photographers make sure you don’t miss any of the action because every point, goal and run matters.

218 Gay Street, Erwin, Tennessee • 423.743.4112 www.erwinrecord.net


A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 • Page 7-C

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C FIELD CAPTAINS

THREE RIVERS CONFERENCE

Coach: Team has depth at quarterback spot By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

When it comes to the gunslingers behind center, Paul Shelton is one happy coach. The Blue Devils quarterbacks coach sees a level of progress at the position not seen in Erwin in quite awhile. "It's the most depth we have had at quarterback that I can remember," Shelton said. "We're excited at the depth of the position from varsity to junior varsity." The Blue Devils practically return two starters at quarterback: Cody Jack Rogers led the squad during the first five games and Lucas Hensley, who finished off the remainder of the season after recovering from a finger injury, goes into his senior season as the team’s top signalcaller. "Lucas is our starter going into the season and he's had a tremendous offseason," Shelton said. "He's grown exponentially and turned it up a notch in the past six months. “He's had a great work ethic and has become a vital leader for the team," Shelton also said. The growth of Hensley has allowed more freedom for offensive play calling, Shelton explained. "We're still the same prostyle offense as before, but we've been adding wrinkles to the offense because

Fans should expect close race for title By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey

According to assistant coach Paul Shelton, four talented quarterbacks are part of the 2013 Blue Devil program. Pictured, from left, Kendrick Williams, Lucas Hensley, coach Paul Shelton, Cody Jack Rogers and Hunter Hensley. of the depth at the skill positions and quarterback," he added. "Lucas will have some more freedom behind center. We trust his instincts as a quarterback and his decision-making has grown from last year to now." Last year's “Cody Jack air attack” has not overinflated the ego of the junior, Shelton said. "Everybody knows Cody Jack Rogers," Shelton said. "He was a celebrity in the community to start the season and for good reason. He's right

there with Lucas. He's continued to grow as a passer and if the situation arises, we feel like Cody can pick up where he left off last season." Down the line, the next quarterback on the depth chart is Hunter Hensley. "Hunter has great mechanics and is a real sound quarterback," Shelton said. "He's put on six or seven inches since last year. He's a real strong passer for his size and we trust him with the offense." The new guy on the block for the quarterbacks

is freshman Kendrick Williams and the underclassman has a high ceiling, Shelton said. "Kendrick is a great athlete," Shelton said. "He has a lot of raw talent coming up from the middle school level. “He's got growing to do and is still getting used to our offensive schemes compared to the middle school's play calling,” Shelton continued. “He's got a great upside and could possibly be the most athletic out of the quarterbacks.”

DEVILS Continued from Page 2-C

for the guys and is an anchor at linebacker,” he added. “We have some sophomores coming up the ranks who we will need to play.” Dover will see time on the outside, with the likes of John Burnett and Warren Shelton. In the secondary, Fronckoski and Tipton will hold down the safety spots with Rogers and Hensley rotating in with the duo. At the cornerback spot, Gillis, Farmer, Arrowood and Dayton Clark were a few names tossed around in the starting mix. It’s a mixed bag of tricks for this year’s team, and the team has a high ceiling, Huskins explained. On special teams, Burnett will handle the kicking duties for field goals and kickoffs and Tipton will be the punter. In the kicking mix is junior C.J. Wells and a host of other Blue Devil skill players will see time on punt and kick returns.

“They’ve really come to practice hungry during the offseason,” Huskins said of his team’s mindset. “We’re not satisfied with being a one-and-done team in the playoffs and from our seniors down, they’ve been putting in the work.” Some of the key changes to this season’s landscape were created at the end of last season, due to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) realigning districts across the state. The Blue Devils are now classified as a 4A team within the Three Rivers Conference. UCHS, Elizabethton, Sullivan East and Sullivan South, the conference’s newest team, will represent that classification within the league. Happy Valley, Johnson County and Sullivan North will remain at the 3A level. The addition of the Rebels adds more parity to an improving league, Huskins explained. “Anytime you get a school like

Sullivan South, with the teams they have had over the years, to enter your league ... it only makes things better,” he added. “They’re coming down from playing schools like Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett, so they have that excitement there. With the teams improving in our league, and South in there, it’ll only make things better in the future.” Blue Nation will see their squad open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 23, on the road against Hampton High. The home opener for the team is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 30, against David Crockett. All games are set with a 7:30 p.m. start time. The UCHS junior varsity team will see their season commence on Monday, Aug. 26, at Gentry Stadium against Hampton. This junior varsity game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Northeast Tennessee will see their “Three Rivers” fork in seven different directions to start the fall sports seasons. Last year’s ruling by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association in their reclassification meeting moved Sullivan South down to the Three Rivers Conference after the school’s enrollment numbers fell just a little bit shy of remaining within the Big Eight Conference. The move now has the previous six schools, with South being number seven, competing at the Class AA level in athletics, except for football. When it comes to the gridiron, it’s nearly 50/50 on the league separation. Sullivan East was the conference’s lone 4A school in the past, but after the TSSAA ruling South, Elizabethton and Unicoi County will join them at that plateau. Johnson County, Sullivan North and Happy Valley will remain at the 3A level. The 4A and 3A rulings only impact postseason alignment. Elizabethton will look to continue its reign in the TRC as the top dog and they’ve got weapons available to do so. Caleb Bailey returns as the signal caller off last year’s state semifinals’ squad. The backfield will have junior Ethan Thomas spearheading the run game. The Cyclone offense graduated a portion of the line, but will look to have a solid defensive line. Elizabethton will also have Phillip Franklin, a Unicoi County High School transfer, in their core of linebackers. Sullivan South enters the league and there are those who are predicting a Rebels’ conference crown in 2013. The Rebels finished 5-6 last season in the Big Eight Conference. The team comes in as an

overwhelming favorite, returning some starters from last season, including the likes of Evan Hendrick, Austin Ecker and Jacob Sticker. Kyle Bond anchors the Rebels’ defense at linebacker. Sullivan North graduated multiple kids off last season’s playoff squad. This season the team will be led in the backfield by running back Jacob Jasper. Johnson County scraped by on the edge of their teeth last season during the playoff selection ceremony. The team finished 4-6 but proved to be a solid competitor within the conference. The team escaped with a close win on the road against Unicoi County and nearly pulled the upset on the road in Kingsport against Sullivan North. The team loses some of their key receivers in Chase Kleine and River Cazire but return quarterback Warren Kerley, who enters his junior season after finishing last year as one of the top passers in the Three Rivers Conference. One of the dark horses floating under the radar this season looks to be the Happy Valley Warriors. Head coach Larry Shively saw his team get off to a rocky start to begin the 2012 campaign, but ultimately picked things up toward the end and nearly came away with a playoff bid for the 3A postseason. HVHS had a pair of athletes transfer from Science Hill. The key piece to their offensive puzzle looks to be tailback Phillip Garland. Garland shared time in the backfield last season and recently had a fivetouchdown performance in a scrimmage against South Greene. Sullivan East is coming off a winless campaign last season and will continue to rebuild, having over 20-plus Patriots at the freshmen level on the varsity team.

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Page 8-C • A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C IN THE TRENCHES

Linemen expected to anchor Devils

By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwirnecord.net

With a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball, the Blue Devil linemen are expected to be the centerpiece of the Unicoi County High School football team this season. Coach Drew Rice has assumed the duties as the linemen coach. He said the experience of the players will be key. "It's big for us, absolutely," he said of the experience. "This is a great, deep group of linemen. We return three or four starters on the offensive and defensive lines." Offensively, the key core of "big uglies" has allowed some tweaking of the Blue Nation play calling. "We implemented a zone scheme on offense last season and our guys were adjusting to that as the season went along," Rice explained. "They've got a year of that under their belts, so we're able to work a little more on the play calling. They've put a big focus on their technique, understanding the scheme and really concentrate on their blocking assignments to help set up our play makers." The offensive line is comprised of three seniors: Hunter Burnett, Bodhi Bradford and Trevor Berry. Junior Eric Arnett and sophomore Justin Nelson round out the starters. The players on the offensive line will also play on the defensive line, with the potential that other Blue Devils will enter the fray, Rice said. "I feel like our defensive line is our deepest position on the field," Rice added. "We could have seven to eight guys put into the rotation to see time on the line.” The use of the big fellas on defense has allowed the team to shift their defense to a 4-3, a defensive scheme the Blue Devils will embrace, assistant defensive line coach Julian Allen said. "I feel like the move to a 4-3 will benefit our team tremendously," Allen added. "The conference is real run-orientated and we feel like our guys can put up a good front to shut down some runners in the league.” Arnett, Burnett, Bradford, Nelson and Berry, are in the mix on the line and at the defensive end position. Junior Will Shelton will also see some time at end. Along with the experienced members, the underclassmen have shown they can hang around with the competition, Allen said. “Our defensive line will be crucial and our backbone,” Allen said. “We’ve got kids there like Hunter (Burnett) and Bodhi (Bradford), but there’s a good group of young guys coming up through the ranks.” Rice noted a pair of underclassmen who are making a push for playing time. “Ian (Peterson) and Jacob (Smith) have really pushed themselves and we’re excited about what we saw out of them,” Rice said. “They have loads of potential.” The battle up front will be one of the deciding factors on how the team fares this season, Rice said. “We’ve just kept focusing on getting better on both sides of the ball,” he added. “Blocking assignments, crashing down on defense ... Drawing that double team on defense, holding your block, it’s those small things we look at and the guys have really been pushing themselves to be better at it.”

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey

The Blue Devil defensive line, pictured, back row, from left, coach Drew Rice, Hunter Burnett, Hunter Wright, Jacob Smith, Will Shelton, Bodhi Bradford, Eric Arnett, Justin Nelson and coach Julian Allen; front row, Kyle Edwards, Ian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Remington Effler, Dawson Hensley, Brett Lemmon, Brent Smith, Trevor Berry and Trent Treadway.

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keith Whitson

The Blue Devil offensive line, pictured, back row, from left, Kyle Edwards, Hunter Wright, Hunter Burnett, Bodhi Bradford, Eric Arnett, Justin Nelson, Ian Peterson and coach Drew Rice; front row, Chris Johnson, Remington Effler, Dawson Hensley, Jacob Edwards, Trent Treadway, John Singleton, Brent Smith and Trevor Berry.

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A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 • Page 9-C

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C HARD HITTERS

Devils are young, but talented in backfield By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey

The Blue Devil halfbacks, pictured, back row, from left, John Burnett, Cameron Higgins, Warren Shelton and coach Julian Allen; front row, Justin Laughren, Dylan Burgess and Drew Shelton.

The Blue Devil tailbacks, pictured, back row, from left, Dayton Clark, Cody Harris, head coach Jerad Huskins, Luke Fronckoski and Brandon Caldwell; front row, Noah Higgins, Nick Fender and Derek Berry. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

The backfield at Gentry Stadium may be young at the halfback spot, but coach Julian Allen sees a silver lining. "Our H-backs this year are young, but I see a lot of potential," he said. "They've been great to work with and people can look to see a lot out of them as the season goes along." With Jacob Sawyer graduated from the spot, the Blue Devil looking to fill the void early is sophomore Leon Dover. "Leon is a great kid and has gotten better in the summer," Allen said. "He's just a sophomore, but has really taken to the role. He could step in for us at the varsity level at fullback. He's a real versatile weapon for us. Leon could be a split receiver, or tight end." Along with Dover, Warren Shelton, Drew Shelton, John Burnett, Cameron Higgins, Justin Laughren and Dylan Burgess are among the group of sophomores and freshmen who are currently listed as fullbacks on the roster. Head coach Jerad Huskins handles the duties as the running backs coach. This season the backfield will be led by junior tailback Luke Fronckoski. "We've got a good group of backs who are ready to learn," Huskins said. "Luke is our No. 1 guy. Cody Harris can also see some time. We have also had some younger guys step up, like Brandon Caldwell and Nick Fender." The Blue Devils lost Hunter Abbott, their leading rusher from last season, but won't see a drop off, according to coach Paul Shelton, who is the team's offensive coordinator. "Luke is a great runner for us," Shelton said. "Teams in the league might think we lost a lot because of Hunter (Abbott) graduating, but Luke is one of the most hard nosed, physical runners I've seen. He's got great speed and is a true northsouth runner. “Cody (Harris) will be more of a goal line back for us and he just punishes people. He's got a great mind set and looks for the tacklers.”

The Following Sponsors Would Like To Wish The Blue Devils Good Luck This Season!

The Following Sponsors Would Like To Wish The Blue Devils Good Luck This Season! Best of Luck in the 2013 Season!

(423) 743-4312 • 115 North Main Avenue, Erwin, TN 37650

224 N. Main Ave., Erwin, TN 37650 • 423-735-0229


Page 10-C • A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C CORNER THREATS

Players bring versatility to receiver, tight end By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

Unicoi County has been a pipeline for tight ends to move on to the next level over the years. The Blue Devils have sent tight ends to the collegiate level recently, including Zach Beard to Tusculum and Jordan Berry to Emory & Henry, and coach Mason Howell expects no drop off at the position. “We’ve got a great group of guys at the tight end position this year,” Howell said. “Junior Will Shelton and sophomore Leon Dover have been big at the spot so far. We’ve got some freshmen that we’re also excited about in Brett Lemmon, Jacob Smith and Brandon Spencer. We’re looking for them all to do big things for us.” The position has some versatility, Howell said. “We’re going to be pretty balanced on offense,” he added. “They have been working on staying fundamentally sound. They’re big, strong kids and have impressed us so far.” While the big guys have proved their worth, the wideouts for the Blue Devils are also looking to continue their rise from the previous season, according to coach Brian Milan. “Last year, our receivers really started to click midseason and started to understand what it took to be a vi-

able receiver,” Milan said. The receivers are going to be led by “Mr. Consistency,” Thomas Tipton, Milan said. “We’re excited about what TT will bring to the table,” Milan said of his senior wideout. “He’s an explosive receiver, has great hands and has really become one of the faces of our program.” Keith Arrowood will be another key wideout when he returns from injury, Milan said. The coach also mentioned sophomore Eli Gillis as a threat on the corner. “Eli has a lot of potential,” Milan said. “He got his feet wet last season as a freshman and we expect some big things out of him. I ride Eli the most during practice just because of the talent he has and what type of receiver he can become.” Senior Richie Farmer may be a first-year player, but expectations are high as a wide receiver, Milan said. “He’s really caught on quick,” Milan said. “He was a big part of the school’s track team and he can run. He’s one of those kids I wished I could have coached as a freshmen to now, he’s such a great athlete.” At the junior varsity level, Milan noted that Michael Howell has come on as a suitable passing target. Hunter Duncan, Ethan Smith and C.J. Wells are some of the other junior varsity Blue Devils who have impressed the coaching staff, Milan said.

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey

The Blue Devil tight ends, pictured, back row, from left, Jacob Smith, Will Shelton and coach Mason Howell; front row, Leon Dover, Brett Lemmon and Brandon Spencer.

The Blue Devil wide receivers, back row, from left, Eli Gillis, Thomas Tipton, coach Brian Milan, Keith Arrowood and Richie Farmer; front row, Tyler Whitson, Michael Howell, C.J. Wells, Hunter Duncan and Ethan Smith. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)

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A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 • Page 11-C

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C BALL HAWKS

Experience will help Devils in secondary By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

The ball hawks are ready to take flight for the 2013 season. The Blue Devils will see a wealth of experience at the safety position and it will pay dividends as the season goes along, according to coach Brian Milan. “We’ve got the experience in the secondary,” Milan said. “Thomas Tipton will be our strong safety and he is really our quarterback on defense. He’s a second-year starter and communicates well with our guys. Luke Fronckoski will also be our free safety. He has great ball skills and is a real physical player.” Cody Jack Rogers and Lucas Hensley will see some time in the starting rotation, Milan added. “We’ve got some younger guys we’re also excited Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey about at that spot,” Milan explained. “Dayton Clark is a sophomore but has been one of our hardest workThe Blue Devil corners, pictured, back row, from left, coach Mason Howell, Eli Gillis, Hunter Hensley, Keith Arers during the summer. He’s a great kid and could rowood, Brandon Caldwell, Richie Farmer and coach Paul Shelton; front row, Nick Fender, Michael Howell, Tyler see some varsity time. C.J. Wells has been a real solid Whitson, Noah Higgins and Derek Berry. player as a junior.” An upcoming freshman has also caught the eye of the safeties coach. “Kendrick Williams is a freshman and is not afraid to put a hit on the ball,” Milan said. “He has developed well since coming up from the middle school.” The cornerback spot has some inexperience, but coach Mason Howell, who coaches the corners with Paul Shelton, sees a high ceiling for the core. “They’re young, but they are capable,” he said. “It’s their time to step in and we expect them to get better.” Sophomore Eli Gillis is one of the players who will see time at the position. Another sophomore to see some time is Brandon Caldwell. Senior Richie Farmer could also be inserted into the rotation, according to Shelton. “We’re building a cohesive unit out of the group,” Shelton said. “Keith (Arrowood) is on the shelf for us so it’s time for some of the younger guys to elevate their game and step in. “We see a lot of potential out of the group,” Shelton added. “Our job as coaches is to continue to work with them. We tell them at practice that we want them to be the most physical secErwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey ondary, be ball hawks and The Blue Devil safeties, pictured, back row, from left, Luke Fronckoski, Cody Jack Rogers, Lucas Hensley, Thomas Tipton and coach Brian to keep making plays on the ball.” Milan; front row, Kendrick Williams, C.J. Wells, Ethan Smith, Hunter Duncan and Dayton Clark.

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Page 12-C • A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C TACKLERS

Senior leads young core of linebackers By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

A youth revolution is on tap for the Blue Devil linebacking core. The seasoned core from a year ago now has a pair of sophomores looking to make their names on the field. Led by senior Cody Harris, the group has high expectations. "We've got a group of fine young men playing at linebacker this season," linebackers coach Jerad Huskins said. "Cody Harris is the leader of the group. He's one of our quarterbacks on defense and has really worked with the group of guys.” After Harris is the sophomore class for linebackers and John Burnett, Leon Dover and Warren Shelton are names floating around to assume the starting

spots. "They're getting thrown to the wolves this year," Huskins said. "We've got some young guys at that position and we'll look for them to grow as the season goes along." Coach Huskins has a laundry list of duties to oversee along with the rest of the coaching staff. Along with head coach duties, he serves as the linebacker coach, running backs coach and defensive coordinator. The defensive schemes will also allow the linebackers to grow as the season progresses, Huskins said. "We're young at linebacker, but our line should help open things up," Huskins said. "They can control the line of scrimmage, and it'll make things easier for some of the younger guys to swarm in and make plays on the ball.”

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey

The Blue Devil linebackers, pictured, back row, from left, Drew Shelton, John Burnett, Cody Harris, head coach Jerad Huskins, Warren Shelton, Leon Dover and John Singleton; front row, Cameron Higgins, Jacob Edwards, Dylan Burgess, Justin Laughren and Brandon Spencer.

SPECIAL TEAMS

THREE RIVERS CONFERENCE JAMBOREE

Burnett, Tipton slated for kicking duties

Coach: It’s full steam ahead for Devils

By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

In a game of inches, the Blue Devil special teams know how to take it the extra mile. The team is looking to build on last year, coach Brian Milan, who serves as the defensive strategist for the special teams, said. "We want to beat teams in all aspects of the game," Milan added. “Offense, defense and special teams. It’s something we spend a lot of time on during practice. There were times last season that some plays made by the specials teams that were make or break for us and that we were able to take advantage of.” Hunter Burnett is looking to be the top candidate as the Blue Devils kickoff specialist and field goal kicker. Joining Burnett is newcomer, C.J. Wells. The junior’s name has been in the discussion for some kicking duties this season. On the punt team, Thomas Tipton current-

ly holds the title as the team’s punter. Tipton and Keith Arrowood shared duties last season, but an injury to Arrowood has Thomas set as the team’s punter when the season begins. “We’ve been keeping the guys on their toes,” coach Drew Rice said. “We were able to take a few kickoffs and punt returns back for touchdowns.” There are a host of Blue Devils who are in the running to show off their wheels as returners. Senior Keith Arrowood and junior Luke Fronckoski are two names tossed around, while some freshmen who have been working their way into the mix, according to coach Milan. “Cameron Higgins and Nick Fender better be ready, because they can definitely see some time,” Milan added. “They’ve put in the work during practice. “We’ve always told the guys at practice that if you work for the spot, it’s yours.”

By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

Above, Will Shelton avoids being tackled by a Cyclone defender. At left, Luke Fronckoski scampers through a gap in the Elizabethton defense during Friday’s Three Rivers Conference Jamboree. (Erwin Record Staff Photos by Adam Campbell)

The Unicoi County High School Blue Devil football team claimed a 14-0 victory over Elizabethton on Friday, Aug. 16, during the fourth quarter of Three Rivers Conference jamboree. “They played a lot of their younger guys,” Huskins said of Elizabethton during the jamboree. “You won’t have to worry about the mind set of this team, we’re not satifisied. We won’t get the big head from this. The regular season is where it matters, it’s full steam ahead for Hampton now.” Tailback Luke Fronckoski put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard during their opening drive with a 2-yard scamper for a 7-0 lead. Linebacker Cody Harris caused a Cyclones turnover after snagging a pass for an interception. On the second series, the UCHS second team showed their worth with quarterback Cody Jack Rogers connecting with wideout Richie Farmer on a 28-yard strike to give the Blue Nation the 14-0 score.

Tight end Will Shelton also had a pair of grabs. Unicoi County’s Hunter Burnett connected on both pointafter attempts. The fourth quarter turned into underclassmen heavy tussle after the scoring drives. The Blue Devils saw Hunter Hensley take some snaps as a quarterback and defensive end Jacob Smith roped up four tackles on defense. The jamboree, added on with a scrimmage on Tuesday, Aug. 13 against North Buncombe, N.C., has the Blue Devils in the right mind set heading into their Week Zero contest this week in Carter County, according to Huskins “We really responded in our scrimmage Tuesday and won against a good team from North Buncombe,” Huskins said. “Our guys knew that wasn’t our type of ball we played against West Greene. We have 47 kids on this roster that keep working hard to continue to improve ... and they have the ability to be a real special group for us.” UCHS will open the regular season on Friday, Aug. 23, against Hampton at J.C. Campbell Field. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

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Page 13-C • A Special Supplement to The Erwin Record • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

U U C GRIDIRON PREVIEW C CHEERLEADERS

Squad ready to cheer on Devils By Curtis Carden Sports Writer

ccarden@erwinrecord.net

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keith Whitson

The varsity cheerleaders, back row, from left, Chandra Edney, Brooke Strother, Hannah Holden, Sydni Jeno, Hannah Nelson and Delanie Bailey; middle row, Kiana Watson, Ashley Whitaker, Laiken Deyton, Teah Sifferd and Emily White; front row, Michaela Jones, Cheyenne Hahn and Chasity Miller.

Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keith Whitson

The junior varsity cheerleaders, back row, from left, Brooklyn Knight, Alix Bennett, Jessica Sullins, Lindsay White and Madison Willis; middle row, Rebecca Hopson, Kimberly Dulaney, Adia Blackman, Caitee Bryant and Caitlyn Ebernickel; front row, Lexi Jade Silvers and Emily Williams.

The Unicoi County High School cheerleaders are coming off a busy summer under the guidance of head coach Teresa Parkey and the 14 varsity members of the cheer squad are ready to get the season underway. "We have 14 cheerleaders and seven are seniors," Parkey said. "The leadership from the girls has been big. All the girls have really excelled during the summer." Kiana Watson is the cheer captain for the 2013-2014 season. Hannah Holden and Michaela Jones will serve as co-captains. The captains were selected through a rigorous process, Parkey explained. "We attend a camp led by East Tennessee State University and their coach, Tammy Bartow (wife of mens' basketball coach Murry Bartow), was in charge of the event. Mrs. Bartow selected the captains after the camp was over with." The ETSU camp was one of the biggest factors in the progression of the squad during the summer, Parkey added. "All of the camps we participated in helped us tremendously, but we took a lot out of the ETSU camp," she said. "They taught us some new cheers and helped us improve on some of our older ones." The 2013-2014 cheerleaders are comprised of Holden, Jones, Watson, Brooke Strother, Sydni Jeno, Chasity Miller, Hannah Nelson, Cheyenne Haun, Delanie Bailey, Ashley Whitaker, Emily White, Teah Sifferd, Chandra Edney and Laiken Dayton. The team has formed a sisterly-bond, Parkey said. "We have four sophomores who are completely new and our seniors have really taken them under their wings," she added. "Brooke (Strother) is a first-year member but has played volleyball and softball – she's very athletic and has the potential to be great. “I've had no problems out of the girls, they've really gotten along well with each other and have been great role models for our school. Whether it's on the road or at home, the girls know they represent Unicoi County High School.” Parkey's daughter, Kari, will serve as the varsity assistant. Kari cheered at ETSU and currently serves as the Buccaneer dance team coach. There's a new face at the junior varsity level with Michelle Durham coaching 14 underclassmen. Durham joins the UCHS team after serving as the eighth grade Science Hill cheer coach. "The junior varsity have 14 cheerleaders comprised of 10 freshmen and four sophomores," Parkey said. "Some of the girls have never cheered before, but they've all grown since the summer. I've watched them during practice and I've seen a lot of progress being made." The Lady Devils at the high school level aren't the only ones to see the high school football scene. "Our campers from our youth camp during the summer will be performing for our first home game on Aug. 30," Parkey said. "I'll meet with the girls on Thursday, Aug. 29, to give them their uniforms and pom-poms. They'll be in the parade before the game and perform during the game against David Crockett.” The UCHS cheerleaders will also participate in a pink out game to be held in October.

The Following Sponsors Would Like To Wish The Blue Devils Good Luck This Season!

May 2013 Be Your ‘Premier’ Season!

Good Luck Blue Devils!

“Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else.” - Vince Lombardi


August 20, 2013