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THE GREENEVILLE SUN’S 2020 PIGSKIN PREVIEW

SUPER 8 Matthew Palazzo Looks To Quarterback Chuckey-Doak To Another Region Title, PAGE 2

ALSO INSIDE • Greeneville Season Preview, PAGE 5 • North Greene Season Preview, PAGE 8 • South Greene Season Preview, PAGE 10 • West Greene Season Preview, PAGE 12 • Composite High School, Middle School Schedules, PAGES 14/15 SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL


Page 2 • Thursday, August 20, 2020

PIGSKIN PREVIEW

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CHUCKEY-DOAK BLACK KNIGHTS

SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL

2020 CHUCKEY-DOAK BLACK KNIGHTS

Confident Knights Aiming For Another Region Title BY TATE RUSSELL ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR Chuckey-Doak is coming off of its first region championship in 27 years. With some key pieces back, the Black Knights could be poised to repeat as Region 1-3A champions. With so much uncertainty swirling around the sports world, the Black Knights are not taking anything for granted in 2020. They know they play in a balanced league, and they know nothing is guaranteed during the era of athletics during a pandemic. So the goal for the Black Knights this season is simple – win each day. “We have to take everything day by day,” Chuckey-Doak coach Ben Murphy said. “With everything going on around us we are on a day-by-day timeline. These boys are very confident, but last year was last year. We know that 2020 is a very strange year. We

SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL

Chuckey-Doak’s Evan Murvin runs the ball during practice on Aug. 3.

could play 10 games, do great and make the playoffs. We could play five games and have everything shut down. “Our old motto has been go 1-0 each week. I think now we are trying to win Tuesday, then win Wednes-

day, and then win Thursday, and then Friday will take care of itself.” The Black Knights like what they have back this season and that starts with some key senior leaders. First among them is quarterback Matthew Palazzo,

who is a four-year starter coming off a season in which he threw for 1,331 yards and 15 touchdowns. He completed 64 percent of his passes and ran for another 441 yards. “Matthew is a tireless worker,” Murphy said.

with good leadership. You always have a couple of guys that pull them along, and we have that right now.” Chuckey-Doak fans have seen Murvin break plenty of big plays the past two seasons, but now he will “He’s constantly coming to become the feature back me and telling me things he for the Knights. He has has watched on film that he improved his body over thinks we can do, or somethe offseason and at 190 thing we can exploit. He is pounds looks the part of a real student of the game. someone who can carry the He has taken a leadership load for four quarters. role with our receivers. We “Evan is a big strong kid have talent there, but we who is hard to bring down,” don’t have game reps, and Murphy said. “He uses his Matthew is working hard legs well. He is really startwith them.” ing to understand what we In addition to Palazzo, the are asking of him. He has Knights return senior runhad a great fall camp.” ning backs Evan Murvin, Joining Murvin in the Adrian Groberg and backfield will be slot backs Colin West, senior linemen Groberg and West. Groberg Hayden Brown, Couper is a guy that has great speed Dunbar, Eli Beddingfield and will try to use it to and Jacob Cutler and senior blow by defenses. West is tight-end Matt Buch. a smaller back that knows “We have had some good how to find an opening and senior leadership this year,” SEE KNIGHTS ON PAGE 4 Murphy said. “Good teams


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KNIGHTS

2020 CHUCKEY-DOAK BLACK KNIGHTS

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2

can be trusted with the ball in his hands. Jaylen Willett is a junior who will also be in the mix for carries. Behind Palazzo on the quarterback depth chart is sophomore Cayden Tullock, whom Murphy describes as a “pleasant surprise.” Murphy trusts him to run the offense and to get the ball where it needs to go. Whoever is under center will be throwing to a receiving corps that has seen very little varsity action, but that does not mean they don’t have potential. Sophomore Austin Morris has spent most of his summer PHOTO BY MATT LAWS/CARTER COUNTY SPORTS working closely with Palazzo in Chuckey-Doak’s defense swarms a Happy Valley ball carrier last season. their free time to build a rapport. Junior Conner Lamons is a speedster Chuckey-Doak hopes it employed last season. It’s a CHUCKEYcan take the top off the defense. scheme the coaching staff thinks Kendall Barner is a senior who can cause a lot of problems for DOAK FB SKED/ despite being listed at 5-8, 145 opposing offenses. RESULTS pounds is a guy that Murphy “Coach (Kyle) Donahue and 2020 Schedule thinks can be dangerous in space. coach (Chris) Slone really like Aug. 21 at Knoxville Catholic Murphy also mentioned freshthat,” Murphy said. “They like Sept. 4 at Johnson County men Brock Rush, a receiver, and the flexibility it gives us. We don’t Sept. 11 SULLIVAN NORTH Braysen Murvin, a running back, always have the biggest linemen, Sept. 18 NORTH GREENE have shown they can add quality but this defense allows us to get Sept. 25 at South Greene depth to this year’s squad. some fast kids running around. Oct. 2 at Unicoi County The Black Knights feel like their It makes the offense think, and Oct. 9 at Grainger biggest strength might be on the if you can get a high school kid Oct. 16 CLAIBORNE offensive line. They return plenty thinking you can cause some Oct. 30 WEST GREENE of experience and ability, and that trouble.” 2019 Results starts with a pair of big senior Many of the guys on the at Knoxville Catholic L 0-48 tackles in Brown (6-2, 305) and offensive line will also anchor at Happy Valley L 6-14 Cutler (6-3, 275). Chuckey-Doak’s defensive front. JOHNSON COUNTY W Eli Beddingfield has moved Dunbar and Beddingfield and 14-10 from tight end to guard as a Kellen Capps will be in the mix at at Sullivan North W 34-7 senior and Murphy has been defensive end. Brown, Cutler and at North Greene W 53-18 impressed with how he’s hanDimas will rotate at nose tackle. SOUTH GREENE L 33-38 UNICOI COUNTY W 36dled that move. Carlos Dimas as One wrinkle the Knights have 34 a junior is a returning starter at mixed in is lining up Evan Murvin GRAINGER L 6-43 guard. Couper Dunbar is another at the nose. On passing downs, at CLAIBORNE W 62-16 senior that brings some veteran Murvin obviously can get off the at West Greene W 8-6 experience and sophomore Dillon ball faster than anyone lining up Shelton returns after starting the across from him, and in practice Playoffs final two games of 2019 at center. he has been causing a lot of probKINGSTON L 6-28 At tight end, the Knights will lems for Chuckey-Doak’s line. • BOLD — HOME GAMES rely on Buch and junior Hayden Murphy is excited to get NaAnderson. thaniel Love back at linebacker. Defensively, Chuckey-Doak The senior missed last season come back stronger and will hold will stay with the 3-5-3 defense with a shoulder injury, but he has down the middle spot. Murvin,

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Nathaniel Love Adrian Groberg Rio Little Kendall Barner Matthew Palazzo Angelo Sobrero Conner Lamons Evan Murvin Matt Buch Matt Foshie Wesley Bowers Tom Hickman Ethan Wagers Colin West Jaylen Willett Cayden Tullock Josh Guy Cole Lamons Will Garber Braysen Murvin Nicholas Palazzo Gavin Haire Isaiah Treadway Austin Haire Cayden Wilhoit Jackson Southard Richard Sasala Austin Smith Bryson Lamb Carlos Dimas Couper Dunbar Sam Hopson Dillon Shelton Kellen Capps Zac Ball Andrew Monk Eli Beddingfield Jacob Ferguson Cayden Masters Leiland Hensley Bryson Thompson Thomas Smith Braedan Carter Rance Tipton Hayden Brown Nathan Norton Isaac Waycaster Jacob Cutler Colton Gaskins Austin Morris Hayden Anderson Brock Rush Braedan Tolliver Braden White Miguel Bobadilla Tyson Williams Marco Rojas

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Buch, Groberg, West will also be flying all over the field from those linebacker positions. In the secondary, Willett will start at safety while Barner and Lamons will work at the corners.

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Freshman Marco Rojas will handle the kicking duties. Murphy claims he has range from beyond 35 yards on field goals. Palazzo will handle the punting duties.


PIGSKIN PREVIEW

GreenevilleSun.com

Thursday, August 20, 2020 • Page 5

GREENEVILLE GREENE DEVILS

Greene Devils Focusing On What They Can Control Team Has Been Dealing With Coaching Change, COVID-19 EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the Greeneville football team had not taken a team photo by press time.

BY SAM BUNDY SPORTS EDITOR Without a doubt, this has been one of the craziest football seasons Greeneville High School has ever had. And the Greene Devils haven’t even played a game yet. The first week in June, Dan Hammonds stepped down as coach after just one season at the helm. On the last day of June, Eddie Spradlen was named Greeneville’s coach after 13 seasons as an assistant with the Greene Devils. And as if a coaching change in the middle of the summer wasn’t crazy enough, the Greene Devils shut down practice for a week on Aug. 4 and canceled their Aug. 21 season opener against Powell due to a COVID-19 outbreak among students. “When I was deciding if I wanted to be a head coach or not, the time was going to have to be right with my kids, my family,” Spradlen said. “This year, the time was right with all that. But I could have never imagined in a hundred years that it would be this type situation. “Sometimes I sit back and look, like when we’re in the weight room, and everybody has masks on. I mean, is it real that we’re really living

this? It’s just such unusual times. Hard to even explain.” Despite the bumps in the road to their season, Spradlen says the Greene Devils have done a good job staying the course. “We had a setback, but stuff like that is going to happen,” he said. “I just told the players you’re going to have setbacks in life, but keep going, keep focusing on what we can control. And whenever we get to play, we’ll make the most of that opportunity.” To make up for the lost Powell game, the Greene Devils have been trying to find an opponent to play Sept. 25 in what is scheduled to be their open week. Greeneville is now slated to open the season on Aug. 28 at home against Daniel Boone. The Greene Devils are coming off a 10-3 season in which they lost to eventual Class 4A state champion Elizabethton in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. Greeneville has added former Cherokee High coach Cody Baugh to run the Greene Devils’ offense with David Crawford. Baugh will coordinate the passing game,

while Crawford will coordinate the running game. In four seasons at Cherokee, Baugh coached the Chiefs to an 18-24 record and Region 1-5A playoff appearances in 2016 and 2019. Baugh is a 2003 Greeneville grad who was a baseball and football standout for the Greene Devils. He earned district pitcher of the year honors and was a Mr. Football finalist. Baugh played football with Spradlen at Tusculum University. After Tusculum, Baugh coached with Spradlen on Greeneville’s football staff, including a stint as offensive coordinator. PHOTO SPECIAL TO THE SUN BY THE COURIER-NEWS

SEE DEVILS ON PAGE 6

Greeneville running back Mason Gudger (25) rushed for 1,253 yards and 17 touchdowns on 132 carries as a sophomore last season – all team-highs.

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DEVILS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5

“Cody is a big pickup for us,” Spradlen said. “We coached about nine or 10 years together before and we always talked about wanting to work together again. When I got this job, he said he was interested in coming back. “He’s a Greeneville guy. Football means something to him. He has a great offensive mind. He brings a lot to our staff in the passing game. He and Coach Crawford will work hand-in-hand in calling the offensive game.”

OFFENSE When the Greene Devils finally kick off their season, they’ll do so with seven starters returning on offense. Perhaps the biggest weapon Greeneville returns is junior running back Mason Gudger, who ran for 1,253 yards and 17 touchdowns on 132 carries last season – all team bests. A splendid open-field runner, the 5-foot10, 170-pound Gudger has been even faster during preseason workouts. He’s also added muscle, which should allow him to not only sidestep would-be tacklers, but run through them as well this season. “I bet Mason weighed 150 pounds last year. He’s 170 pounds now. He’s strong and he’s running good,” Spradlen said. “When he touches the football, he just needs a little crease and something special is going to happen. “He’s faster than he was, he’s heavier than he was. His legs never stop pumping. Super excited about him this year.” Spradlen says Gudger is morphing into a leadership role as well. “Mason is not only a great football player, but he’s a great person,” he said. “He’s someone who’s fun to be around. He’ll talk to anybody. He’s becoming another one of our team leaders. I know he’s just a junior, but he’s a leader. If he says something, the other kids are going to respond.” Senior Drew Gregg (6-2, 185) returns at quarterback after dealing with an early-season knee injury and splitting time with

PIGSKIN PREVIEW the graduated Blayne Ferguson in his first season at Greeneville a year ago. Gregg, who transferred to Greeneville from Knox Catholic last year, completed 69 of 115 passes for 881 yards and 11 touchdowns with five interceptions last season. He also ran for 491 yards and nine TDs on 84 carries. “The thing about Drew is he’s a guy who works hard. You can see he’s confident out there. He’s a true team leader. He’s exciting,” Spradlen said. “He’s gained 15 pounds from what he played at last year, if not more. He’s a solid 185 pounds now. He’s worked hard in the weight room and has thrown up some big weight. “Drew can run the football, too, so he’s a two-dimensional guy back there. I think he’s faster than he was last year. I’m excited to see what he can do for this offense this year.” Replacing all-everything Ty Youngblood, who’s now playing at Furman University, in the backfield with Gudger will be juniors Isaac Brown (5-11, 200) and Keelen Lester (5-10, 185), and sophomore Damien Short (5-10, 175). “Isaac has had a good summer. He’s a big, strong kid, and we’re really looking at him to be a leader for us,” Spradlen said. “We’re not going to have that kid that’s 210-215 pounds like Ty was, but we’re going to have a lot of speed back there.” No matter who gets the ball for the Greene Devils, they should find plenty of holes made by a big, veteran offensive line. Senior Sam Allen (6-2, 265) returns at right tackle, junior Mikael Pillar (6-1, 265) returns at left guard and junior Terry Grove (6-5, 205) returns at left tackle. Senior Clay Odom (6-2, 295), the son of Tusculum University coach Jerry Odom, will be at center after missing all last season with an injury. Spradlen said the starting right guard has yet to be determined. Senior Nick Iezzi (6-foot, 195 pounds) returns at receiver after leading Greeneville in catches (36), receiving yards (449) and TD receptions (5) a year ago.

GREENEVILLE FB SKED/ RESULTS 2020 Schedule Aug. 28 DANIEL BOONE Sept. 4 at Union County Sept. 11 SCIENCE HILL Sept. 18 at Austin-East Oct. 2 SULLIVAN CENTRAL Oct. 9 at Sullivan South Oct. 16 ELIZABETHTON Oct. 23 at Grainger Oct. 30 SULLIVAN EAST 2019 Results at Powell L 17-19 at Danile Boone W 31-14 UNION COUNTY W 56-0 at Science Hill W 33-24 AUSTIN-EAST W 49-22 at Sullivan Central W 70-6 SULLIVAN SOUTH W 49-0 at Elizabethton L 21-24 GRAINGER W 49-8 at Sullivan East W 55-14 Playoffs HOWARD W 45-0 at Anderson County W 24-7 at Elizabethton L 13-24 • BOLD — HOME GAMES

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Nick Iezzi Mason Gudger Jaden Stevenson Izaiah Hall Adjatay Dabbs Jayquan Price Jakobi Gillespie Jackson Tillery Mason Laws Corbin Cannon Brady Quillen Jon Konieczny Brock Moore Tristian Morelock Damien Short Drew Gregg Steven Myers Grayson Hite Isaac Brown Keelen Lester Amanuel Dickson Jacob Harmon Bryson Myers Spencer Roths Braxton Shipley Zac Chrisman Dillon Brooks Dawson McGill Trey Mayes Sam Allen John Bowman Tyler Officer Angus Wirt Gibson Boswell Terry Grove Jaylin Durbin Ty Williams Clay Odom Avery Harris Kameron Lester Misael Arellanes Dawson Peake Bryson Bird Rashard Claridy Jalen Short Austin Whitson Mikael Pillar Jake Hartman Austin Cole Cooper Graham Todd Wallin

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Thursday, August 20, 2020 • Page 7

defense,” Spradlen said. “As the defensive coordinator, it’s my job to figure out who CONTINUED FROM PAGE 6 that’s going to be. Both of those guys might not be as physical as Ty, but they get to the “You look at Nick. He’s a dang grown football good and tackle good.” man,” Spradlen said. “I watched him play Like the offensive line, Greeneville defensome baseball this summer and he just sive front will be beefy. Allen and senior Trey stands out physically among his peers. You Mayes (5-11, 250) will be the defensive ends, see him with his shirt off. He’s muscled up. while junior Rashard Claridy (6-1, 255) and “He runs such such good routes. He’s 195 Odom will be the defensive tackles. pounds, he’s physical, he runs well. I don’t “The defensive line looks really good,” care who you are, he’s going to be tough to Spradlen said. “When those four guys are in cover.” there, that’s at least 260 pounds across the Junior Jaden Stevenson will be another board. I’m excited about that.” receiver after catching nine passes for 133 Damien Short and junior Grayson Hite (6yards and a TD last season. 1, 165) are competing for the rover spot. Junior Jakobi Gillespie, a basketball “Some younger guys will get a chance to standout who didn’t play football last season, play there as well,” Spradlen said. “There’s a will also see time at receiver as will sopholot of competition there.” more Adjatay Dabbs, junior Jackson Tillery, The same players who are at receiver on senior Steven Myers, sophomore Jayquan offense will make up the Greene Devils’ Price, junior Brock Moore and sophomore defensive backfield. Mason Laws. Iezzi and Myers will be at safety, while Ste“Jaden has world-class speed,” Spradlen venson will be at a corner. Gillespie, Dabbs PHOTO SPECIAL TO THE SUN BY DR. JOHN CLEMENT said. “We’ve been blessed to have some and Price are competing for the other corner really good receivers in my time here, but spot, while Tillery, Myers and Laws are vying Greeneville’s Nick Iezzi (1) runs with the ball during a 24-21 regular season loss at Elizabethton in 2019. we’re going to have speed at receiver like we for time at safety. haven’t had in a long time.” “We don’t have as much experience back there as we’ve had, but I’m excited to coach the speed that these guys have,” Spradlen DEFENSE With five starters returning on defense, said. “With that world class speed, if Jaden the Greene Devils have more questions to messes up, he can adjust real quick. A lot of answer on that side of the ball with the bigpeople can’t do that.” gest being who can fill the void left behind by Youngblood at middle linebacker. SPECIAL TEAMS With the graduation of kicker/punter Not only was Youngblood Greeneville’s top CeJ Jones, who’s now playing at Mars Hill tackler by far with 83, including 19 for loss, and 49 assists, he was like another coach on University, the kicking game is another big question mark for Greeneville. the field. Sophomore Cooper Graham and freshman Brown and Lester will be the middle lineQuinton Brandon are competing for the backers in Greeneville’s hybrid 4-4, 4-2-5 kicking duties, while Iezzi and sophomore scheme this season. Brady Quillen will be the punters. “I’m hoping Isaac Brown or Keelen Iezzi might also handle kickoffs. Lester can be that guy to take control of the

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NORTH GREENE HUSKIES

Huskies Looking To Grind Out Yards, Wins BY TATE RUSSELL ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR This offseason has been an unusual one to say the least, but at North Greene the Huskies have taken every bump in the road in stride while continuing to work to get better. First the COVID-19 pandemic took away spring practice, then it dramatically changed summer workouts and next it took away scrimmages. Now it has taken North Greene’s first game of the season. But through everything the Huskies have kept working and will be ready to take the field when they can. “I can’t be more proud of how these kids have handled this whole offseason,” North Greene coach Andrew Murray said. “Especially because we have so many underclassmen. I have to give a lot of credit to our seniors for the leadership they have shown.” North Greene was originally scheduled to play Unaka week one and Hancock County week two, but both teams’ schools systems have shut down those program because of concerns with the coronavirus and forced both of those games to be canceled. The Huskies will now open their season at Cosby on Aug. 28. That has not dampened the spirits on Old Baileyton Road, and that is largely due to a group of seniors who have stepped up to carry the program through the offseason. “Eventually the coach’s

SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL

2020 NORTH GREENE HUSKIES

the guy he can trust to run the offense. “Josh Huerto is going to play quarterback for us. He has been all over the field in his time at North Greene, but he played quarterback for me in middle school with Northside,” Murray voice has to get lower and said. “He has done a really the seniors’ voices have to good job of leading the get louder,” Murray said. offense and is a really good “We need those seniors vocal leader. I’m really to hold their teammates excited to see what Josh can accountable. We have had some of that in the past, but do. No one deserves to have success more than him.” these seniors are starting In the backfield, North to show a new standard. I Greene will plan on using hope those underclassmen see that and we continue to a deep rotation of ball carriers. At the fullback build on that.” Offensively, North Greene or B-back spot, two of the Huskies top returning dewill look a lot different this fenders, Tyler Sanches and season. Last year, it relied on Brayden Garber to sling Jon Harrison, will play a bigger role on the offensive the ball all over the field. side of the ball. Both are Now the Huskies plan on tough guys who Murray using an athletic quarterdescribes as angry runners. back, a stable of running Tanner Sexton and Jonah backs and a tough as nails Dunbar will add depth to offensive line to pound the the B-back spot. rock. At the wings or A-back, Josh Huerto, a senior, will be taking over under center. the Huskies will count on one of their top athletes, He has bounced around Micah Jones, to pick up all over the field during his a lot of yards this season. time at North Greene, but Senior Deacon Jones and in his final campaign Murjunior Zach Johnson will ray has tabbed Huerto as

also be in the mix for carries from the perimeter. With so many guys that he is confident in in the backfield, Murray feels he can keep guys fresh throughout games. “It’s great as a coach to have that many guys,” Murray said. “Those guys can all

play and it builds competition for carries. Those guys get after it in practice. A lot of times our skill guys have had to play both ways and play a lot of snaps. I feel like we have the depth now to rest guys when we need to.” The Huskies do not return much experience at

receiver, but they do have a deep unit that Murray feels can develop into a quality group. Junior’s Chase Massey and Dakota Kreel and freshmen Nicholas Mitchell, Mason Smith and Glenn SEE HUSKIES ON PAGE 9

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HUSKIES

NORTH GREENE FB SKED/ RESULTS

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8

Swatzell will all be in the mix for reps. A-backs Johsnon and Micah Jones will also be key parts of the Huskies’ passing game. At tight end, North Greene will rotate between junior Brady Harkleroad and freshmen Don Stansfield and Colton Robbins. Murray thinks that because of their ability as blockers and pass catchers he can use multiple tight end sets often. North Greene’s oensive line will not overwhelm anyone with its size, but the group has impressed Murray with how they have developed in the weight room and how they improved their technique since last year. Leading the group is junior tackle Eli Reaves, a three-year starter. At the other tackle will be Josiah Dunbar. Alex Jones and Josiah Church will hold down the guard spots. At center, the Huskies will put a lot of trust in freshman Carson Culp. Murray thinks he could be one of the best to ever come through North Greene. “It says a lot about him to start as a freshman,â€? Murray said. “You hesitate to play freshmen anyway, but especially at center and quarterback. I think it’s a credit to him. He does everything we want, and he puts in a lot of work.â€? Cody Reaves is a guy who will provide depth at all five line spots while sophomores Walker Hayes and Corbin Hayes can fill in at guard or tackle. On defense, the Huskies are switching from a

2020 Schedule Aug. 28 at Cosby Sept. 4 at Unicoi County Sept. 11 at Sullivan South Sept. 18 at Chuckey-Doak Sept. 25 JELLICO Oct. 2 WEST GREENE Oct. 9 SOUTH GREENE Oct. 16 at Johnson County Oct. 30 CLAIBORNE

SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL

North Greene’s Tyler Sanches (43) runs upďŹ eld during a 3220 win over Unaka last season.

five-man front to a more traditional 4-3. Along the defensive line, senior Joseph Antonelli and Eli Reaves will lead the way at the end spots with freshmen Stansfield and Robbins adding depth. At defensive tackle, Church is the most experienced lineman returning. While he is undersized he has shown he knows how to get in the backfield with 11 tackles for loss and four sacks in just six games last season. Alex Jones, Cody Reaves, Dominic Thornburg and Walker Hayes will also be in the mix for tackle reps. At linebacker, Sanches and Harrsion were two of the Huskies most productive defenders last year and they are back to lead that group this season. Joining them will be Dunbar and Corbin Hayes. In the secondary, Micah Jones will drop from linebacker where he played last year to strong safety.

Zach Johnson and Grayson Collins will play corner and Deacon Jones will play the other safety. Sophomore Matthew Collins will handle the kicking and punting duties for the Huskies.

2019 Results UNAKA W 32-20 at Hancock County L 8-42 UNICOI COUNTY L 6-65 TWIN SPRINGS (Va.) L 12-48 CHUCKEY-DOAK L 18-53 at Jellico W 20-14 at West Greene L 0-49 at South Greene L 13-56 JOHNSON COUNTY L 22-45 at Claiborne L 0-37 • BOLD — HOME GAMES

Thursday, August 20, 2020 • Page 9

2020 NORTH GREENE HUSKIES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 41 43 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 79

Dakota Creel Zach Johnson Deacon Jones Nicholas Mitchell Chase Massey Adam Weir Joshua Huerto Micah Jones Casey Cox Glenn Swatzell Grayson Collins Chance Campbell Joe Antonelli Colton Robbins Don StansďŹ eld Jon Harrison Tanner Sexton Mason Smith Brady Harkleroad Isaiah Norton Tyler Sanches Carson Culp Kyle Scott Lewis Murray-Pletsch Josiah Church Corbin Hayes Jonah Dunbar Hunter Haynes Eli Reaves Dominic Thornburg Ben Rowe Cody Reaves Clinton Reaves Matthew Collins Alex Jones Walker Hayes

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Page 10 • Thursday, August 20, 2020

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SOUTH GREENE REBELS

SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL

2020 SOUTH GREENE REBELS

Young Rebels Hope To Continue Winning Ways BY WAYNE PHILLIPS SPORTS EDITOR EMERITUS In this strangest of football preseasons, things are progressing at South Greene High School with hopes of starting a new prep campaign, but it’s obviously not a normal preseason. The Rebels have a new head coach this year, which with all the uncertainty and confusion caused by the virus would normally make it extra tough to get a season off and running. But the Rebs’ “new” head coach is Shawn Jones, who has roamed the hallways at South Greene for 24 years, and was a head coach at the school for 10 years previously. Jones stayed on as an assistant coach after stepping

SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL

South Greene’s Mark Crum (20) reaches to stiff arm North Greene’s Casey Cox (35) in the Andrew Johnson Bank Kickoff Classic last season.

down from the head man’s job a few years back, but af-

ter Scotty Verran departed Rebel Hill for The Range at

West Greene after the 2019 season, Jones is back as the

chief. With the virus forcing cancellation of spring football practice, and with no 7-on-7 for summer drills allowed because of the virus, Jones agrees with most of his coaching peers that there will probably be some ugly football on the high school fields this fall. “Everything is so unpredictable right now,” Jones said. “We don’t know for sure what’s going to happen. But we are trying to get

ready. I’ve told our players that they should feel safe here at school, at practice; it’s what they do when they are away from here that will determine if we actually have a season this year.” The Rebels are coming off two great seasons of football: finishing 8-5 in 2018 and advancing to the state quarterfinals, becoming the first county team to accomplish that feat; and finishing 10-2 in 2019 before losing in the second round of the playoffs. Graduation losses were heavy, especially along the offensive line, where a mammoth group of seniors often manhandled their opposition. But despite having only five seniors this year, SEE REBELS ON PAGE 11


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REBELS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10

Jones feels this team can be just as successful. “We had a great quarterback in Levi Myers, and losing those big linemen is huge,” the coach said. “Those boys were big and could scare some people. This year’s line is smaller, but just as athletic, and they are quicker.” Levi Myers was a fouryear starter at quarterback. “We don’t keep the stats out here like we should, but I would say that Levi won more games at quarterback at South Greene than anybody,” Jones noted. “He started as a freshman. But we’ve got his brother Luke, and he’s played enough back there at quarterback to know what’s going on.” Luke Myers, now a junior, was forced to step up several times to spell his brother at the signal-calling post last year, the most recent time in the Rockwood playoff game. He got the job done. Now the team will be relying on him much more. “Luke has sort of come out of his shell,” the coach noted. “He’s always been the quiet type. But he’s becoming more vocal now with his teammates and he has become the leader we need. He worked hard on his own during the summer to get quicker and stronger.” The Rebels showed last year that they could run the ball behind their mammoth line. Veteran backs Corey Houser and Mark Crum, both seniors, return, and Jaylen Ingram, a junior, is also back. The team might be forced to throw the ball more this year, and if that’s

SOUTH GREENE FB SKED/ RESULTS 2020 Schedule Aug. 21 at Unicoi County Aug. 28 at Lakeway Christian Sept. 3 COCKE COUNTY Sept. 11 at West Greene Sept. 18 SULLIVAN NORTH Sept. 25 CHUCKEY-DOAK Oct. 2 at Cosby Oct. 9 at North Greene Oct. 16 HAMPTON Oct. 30 at Happy Valley 2019 Results UNICOI COUNTY W 28-7 at Cloudland W 41-22 at Cocke County W 51-27 WEST GREENE W 34-0 at Sullivan North W 22-0 at Chuckey-Doak W 38-33 COSBY W 50-8 NORTH GREENE W 56-13 at Hampton L 0-30 HAPPY VALLEY W 25-6 Playoffs ROCKWOOD W 20-7 at Meigs County L 7-39 • BOLD — HOME GAMES the case, Jones has junior wideout Chandler Fillers, along with senior Preston Bailey and sophomore Cody Rambo to help. Plus, tight end Caleb Robinson can be a threat in the passing attack. “We’re not changing much about our offense,” Coach Jones said. “Coaches (Marc) Wright and (Joel) Burns called a lot of the SEE REBELS ON PAGE 15

2020 SOUTH GREENE REBELS 1 2 3 5 8 9 10 11 12 14 20 21 22 24 29 31 33 34 39 41 43 44 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 59 60 61 63 67 69 70 71 72 74 76 80 81 82 86

Luke Myers JR Chandler Filler JR Preston Bailey SR Caleb Robinson JR Cody Rambo SO Roman Buss JR Conner Race FR Isiah Ealey SO Presley Gilliam SR Jay Higgins SR Mark Crum SR Jaylen Ingram JR Dion Blair FR Corey Houser SR Austin Luttrell FR Hunter Burkey SO Brian Smith JR Derek Miller SO Levi Treadway FR Grant Freeark JR Phillip Blair SO Christian White FR Isaac Collins JR Trevor Heater SO Bryson Banks SO Trenton Salisbury JR Logan Wagner JR Dakota Seaton SR Noah Robinson FR Alex May JR Matt Mancil JR Caleb Mitchell SR Josh Kirby SO Garrett Jennings SO Dawson Ottinger SO Jacob Warren FR Jake Wheel SO Jacob Lusk SO Aiden Bailey SO Zander Thompson SO Logan Angel SO Patrick Boles FR Chase Casteel FR Skyler Casteel SO TJ Buckner SO

Coach: Shawn Jones Assistants: Marc Wright, Joe Case, Joel Burns, Alex Arwood Trainer: Callen Hardin

Thursday, August 20, 2020 • Page 11

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WEST GREENE BUFFALOES

New Coach Brings New Offense To West Greene BY WAYNE PHILLIPS SPORTS EDITOR EMERITUS Any time a school welcomes a new head coach, it can be very challenging, not only for the coach but the players as well. Then along comes the crazy year of 2020 where nothing seems to be as it used to be, and imagine how Coach Scotty Verran at West Greene feel. “We’re still trying to learn everybody’s name, much less what position they can play or where they can best serve this football team,” said the new West Greene mentor, who made the move from across the Nolichucky River at South Greene to accept the position with the Buffaloes. “It’s like a yo-yo,” Verran said with a smile. “The summer was basically of no benefit to us as a football team. I guess what we’ve learned the most is how to be flexible. It’s up and down …. You can practice now, you can’t practice now …. We’ve just got to be flexible and do what we can to get through this virus.” A saving grace for Verran is the fact that all the assistant coaches who have been at the school for a few years are back, and they have been an enormous help in welcoming the new head man. “They’ve got my back, and they’ve given me pointers on who can play where and what the strengths and weaknesses are,” he said. “Plus we do have some seniors who are providing leadership, making sure their teammates are doing what they should

SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL

2020 WEST GREENE BUFFALOES

be doing and keeping them posted. It’s huge to have those assistants back who know the kids.” The uncertainty caused by the virus has left a lot of questions about how things will progress when the season begins, and Verran feels there will be some “sloppy football” played at times. “I can see where there might be a lot of delay penalties as coaches can’t get kids in the game in

certain situations,” he said. “We have to look at all our personnel and try to get as many people ready as we can, especially this year. Because if a key player gets sick, or you have to put some in quarantine, there needs to be some others ready to go. It’s a different situation we’re in, but all teams are in the same boat.” The Buffs are coming off a season where they went 5-5 in the regular season before losing at Alcoa in the first round of the playoffs. There were some key losses, but several players are back and looking forward to making a run in Region 1-3A. “Our motto for the year is ‘three points,’” Verran said. “We were three points away from two big conference wins

last year, losing by a point to Johnson County (21-22) and two points to Chuckey-Doak (6-8). The team was close to a higher finish in the league last year.” The Buffs return 11 seniors to the 2020 squad, and the new coach brings with him a change in the offensive system. “We are changing our offense to more of what I’ve been used to doing, and the kids seem to be picking up on it well,” he said. “It’s a good group of seniors. They are working hard. We’ll change some things on defense, too, but primarily on offense. There’s not been too many mistakes in practice, which is surprising and a credit to their hard work.” Verran has a veteran quar-

terback with which to work in Allen Vaughn, who is now a senior and has shared signal-calling duties in the past. He will be expected to lead the offense, along with senior back Kenton Cobble and senior lineman Eli Lawson. “Vaughn is a good athlete who has some experience,” Verran said. “Cobble and Lawson are both experienced and they have worked hard, both in the weight room and on the field.” Another key returnee is Damien Budriss, a junior who was one of the team’s top backs last year. Budriss has put on the pounds since last year, the coach said. Lawson, who is 6-3 and weighs in at 300 lbs., will anchor both sides of the West Greene line.

Another key lineman is RJ Ferguson, a junior who is 6-5 and weighs 260. Junior Aaron Waddell is another lineman who Verran expects to be a big part of the offense. Ethan Turner is a sophomore skill position player on offense and a linebacker on defense who will be counted on. Junior Tristin Kelly will play different roles on the team. The Buffs have a weapon returning in kicker Blair Shelton, now a junior. “He can change a game with his leg,” Verran said. “He will handle all our kicking and punting duties this year. He’s pretty consistent with his kickoffs to the end zone, and that’s such a huge advantage in high school. In punting he can flip the field with a kick.” Other seniors are Dalton Arwood, Chris Botlon, Damon Gladson, Ethan Jones, Casey Pitts, Darian Rasnick, Chris Starnes and Dacota Wood. Verran said he has about 50 kids to place on the roster this year, including a good crop of freshmen. He said if school was in session he could see picking up some more. “But that’s hard because those new kids don’t know me, I don’t know them, and some of them have a hard time getting to practice,” the coach noted. “We’ve got two freshmen who walk to practice every day, and that’s impressive.” While the offensive game SEE BUFFS ON PAGE 13


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BUFFS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12

plan might look dierent, there will be lots of similarities at West Greene from last year. “Coach Haun and myself will handle the oense, and Coach (Mark) Greenlee will continue to be our defensive coordinator,â€? Verran said. “Coach (Jay) Earley will continue as our special teams coach.â€? As for the conference race, Verran said that Unicoi County and Chuckey-Doak look to be the two teams to beat for the league championship in 2020. “We would love to have one scrimmage before the season starts, but that’s not going to happen,â€? the coach said. “We’re just hoping the numbers (virus cases) go down and we get to play.â€?

WEST GREENE FB SKED/ RESULTS 2020 Schedule Aug. 21 at Northview Academy Sept. 4 CLAIBORNE Sept. 11 SOUTH GREENE Sept. 18 at Johnson County Sept. 25 at Cosby Oct. 2 at North Greene Oct. 9 KNOXVILLE CATHOLIC Oct. 16 UNICOI COUNTY Oct. 23 HANCOCK COUNTY Oct. 30 at Chuckey-Doak

2019 Results NORTHVIEW ACADEMY W 27-13 at Claiborne W 31-28 at South Greene L 0-34 JOHNSON COUNTY L 21-22 COSBY W 49-21 NORTH GREENE W 49-0 at Knoxville Catholic L 7-49 at Unicoi County L 34-53 at Hancock County W 35-18 CHUCKEY-DOAK L 6-8 Playos at Alcoa L 6-56 • BOLD — HOME GAMES

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High School Football Composite Schedule August 21 Chuckey-Doak at Knoxville Catholic South Greene at Unicoi County West Greene at Northview Academy August 28 Daniel Boone at Greeneville South Greene at Lakeway Christian September 3 Cocke County at South Greene September 4 Greeneville at Union County Chuckey-Doak at Johnson County North Greene at Unicoi County Claiborne at West Greene September 11 Science Hill at Greeneville Sullivan North at Chuckey-Doak North Greene at Sullivan South South Greene at West Greene September 18 Greeneville at Austin-East North Greene at Chuckey-Doak Sullivan North at South Greene West Greene at Johnson County September 25 Chuckey-Doak at South Greene

Jellico at North Greene West Greene at Cosby October 2 Sullivan Central at Greeneville Chuckey-Doak at Unicoi County West Greene at North Greene South Greene at Cosby October 9 Greeneville at Sullivan South Chuckey-Doak at Grainger South Greene at North Greene Knoxville Catholic at West Greene October 16 Elizabethton at Greeneville Claiborne at Chuckey-Doak North Greene at Johnson County Hampton at South Greene Unicoi county at West Greene October 23 Greeneville at Grainger Hancock County at West Greene October 30 Sullivan East at Greeneville West Greene at Chuckey-Doak Claiborne at North Greene South Greene at Happy Valley

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Thursday, August 20, 2020 • Page 15

Middle School Football Composite Schedule

SUN PHOTO BY TATE RUSSELL

South Greene’s offensive line celebrates Devin Dye’s (71) two-point conversion run against West Greene last season.

REBELS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11

plays last year. They will handle that duty. Coach (Joe) Case will handle the defense.” Coach Case moved to South Greene as an assistant when Coach Verran went to West Greene as head coach. Jones said Case has been a welcome addition to the Rebel staff. “He knows football, and he brings with him the 3-4 defense, which is what we run here,” Jones said. Logan Seaton is the only returning senior lineman at right tackle, but junior Logan Wagner at the left tackle, junior Trevor Heater

at left guard, and junior Alex May at right guard have some experience. Isaac Collins, another junior, will be at center. “Plus we’ve got some others that will get plenty of time on the line,” Jones said. “Trenton Salisbury (junior) and Zander Thompson (soph.) – we feel comfortable with them in there.” Presley Gilliam, a senior linebacker, will anchor a defense that should be very good, the coach said. “I think that’s one of the strengths of the team,” the coach added. “We’ve got nine people on the defensive side that started at some point last year.” Gilliam will be the middle

linebacker, while Mark Crum and Corey Houser will be on the outside. Robinson, Derek Miller, Grant Freeark and Phillip Blair will help at that position. The defensive line will consist of Heater and Seaton at tackles and Alex May at nose. Wagner and Salisbury will be in there and several others are waiting in the wings to get their chance. The secondary will start Luke Myers, Chandler Fillers and Preston Bailey. Jay Higgins is a senior kicker who Jones talked into playing midseason after the Rebels struggled in kickoffs early last year. “Our team was letting people start at the 50 all

the time because we just couldn’t kick it deep,” he said. “Jay really helped us. He’s a soccer player and he can kick it where it needs to be placed, and that’s huge.” Luke Myers will handle the punting duties. The uncertainty of this season was felt early on when the Rebels lost their home opener in what would have been their second contest of the year. Their season opener is Aug. 21 at Unicoi County. Cloudland, South Greene’s week 2 opponent, canceled their first two games due to a shutdown in practice time brought on by the virus in Carter County. Jones said he is looking for a replacement game.

September 3 Ross Robinson at Greeneville September 10 North Greene at West Greene Greeneville at David Crockett September 17 Church Hill at Chuckey-Doak West Greene at Rogersville Middle Rogersville City at North Greene Greeneville at Daniel Boone September 21 South Greene at Sullivan East September 24 Chuckey-Doak at West Greene North Greene at Surgoinsville Rogersville Middle at South Greene Greeneville at Vance October 1 Rogersville Middle at Chuckey-Doak Bulls Gap at North

Greene Church Hill at South Greene Liberty Bell at Greeneville October 8 South Greene at Chuckey-Doak West Greene at Church Hill North Greene at Rogersville City John Sevier at Greeneville October 15 South Greene at West Greene Greeneville at T.A. Dugger October 22 West Greene at Chuckey-Doak Surgoinsville at North Greene Unicoi at South Greene October 27 Chuckey-Doak at South Greene Bulls Gap at North Greene October 29 Greeneville vs. T.A. Dugger


Page 16 • Thursday, August 20, 2020

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Pigskin Preview 2020  

This 16-page section of The Greeneville Sun spotlights football program at Chuckey-Doak, Greeneville, North Greene, South Greene and West Gr...

Pigskin Preview 2020  

This 16-page section of The Greeneville Sun spotlights football program at Chuckey-Doak, Greeneville, North Greene, South Greene and West Gr...

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