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A2 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

2013 Pigskin Preview The Herald-Citizen Sports Staff

2012 Upper Cumberland Statistical Leaders Returnees in BOLD

Rushing Rusher Kaelin Cason, GHS Creed Hayes, LA Payton Watson, GHS Ty. Huddleston, York Blake Bowman, JC Jalen Manning, SC Sam Moore, York Kayne Tollison, WC Alex Sklavenitis, CHS Jesse Puckett, MHS Br. McNellis, York Brock McCoin, LA Connor York, UHS Lucas Phillips, DC Jayar Fraga, Clay Chris Chapman, DC Austin Gregory, SC Dylan Linder, LA Billy Newton, GHS Des. Pincheon, CHS Isaiah Walker, MHS Devonta Milan, DC Logan Jones, MHS Dalton Gore, PC

G 14 13 14 11 11 9 11 11 11 11 11 12 7 12 9 12 10 13 14 11 11 10 11 10

No. 235 244 173 157 135 139 115 201 177 169 148 110 119 95 83 92 75 72 42 79 75 49 93 82

Yds. 2009 1878 1435 1426 1185 1126 1041 1002 963 887 849 820 810 744 625 523 512 499 491 490 480 456 412 400

Yds./C 8.5 7.7 8.3 9.1 8.8 8.1 9.1 5.0 5.4 5.2 5.7 7.5 6.8 7.8 7.5 5.7 6.8 6.9 11.7 6.2 6.4 9.3 4.4 4.9

TD 28 24 19 19 18 18 12 9 14 16 14 14 7 6 4 8 7 6 9 4 5 3 8 3

Att. 259 105 144 200 140 191 101 120 121 94 89

Int. 6 2 13 17 12 7 10 8 5 6 7

Yds. 2690 1536 1394 1376 1257 971 847 796 739 714 643

TD 43 17 14 10 18 7 8 4 6 4 4

Passing Quarterback Comp. Lucas Phillips, DC 162 Brock McCoin, LA 64 Nick Givens, SC 76 Aaron Reagan, PC 97 Connor York, UHS 73 Jarred Medlin, JC 102 Payton Watson, GHS 42 Jake Young, WC 48 Ryan Eberle, CHS 52 Alex McLerran, Clay 42 Br. McNellis, York 32

Receiving Receiver Will Molander, DC Jared Case, UHS Sonni Fullilove, DC Anthony Porter, SC Peter Hollars, LA Mark Winningham, LA Robert Masiongale, PC Kaleb Bush, GHS Jeremy White, PC Cody Puckett, DC Drew Scott, JC Jeff Reidel, CHS Josh Mee, JC Jay Stevenson, SC Sam Moore, York Alex Sauceman, UHS Tommy Odom, WC Josh Rhoton, MHS Dakota Tompkins, PC Chris Nagy, Clay

Rec. 53 54 40 29 19 26 17 14 25 25 23 16 35 17 16 19 13 15 18 13

Yds. 1042 886 710 616 528 519 424 403 370 348 343 299 291 285 273 268 261 258 253 250

TD 15 9 14 8 4 9 5 3 4 3 2 3 1 3 2 5 1 1 2 3

Sports Editor CRAIG DELK (right) and assistant sports editor THOMAS CORHERN (left)

CREDITS Cover design — Thomas Corhern Cover photos — Craig Delk, Thomas Corhern Writing and editorial — Craig Delk, Thomas Corhern Photos — Craig Delk, Thomas Corhern, Ty Kernea, Tony Marable, Denise Hackett, Associated Press Layout and design — Craig Delk, Thomas Corhern Photo production — Jody Webb

Interceptions Defender Mark Winningham, LA Ramon Gonzalez, SC Michael Sain, WC Kade Howard, WC Tyler Huddleston, York Sam Moore, York Drew Scott, JC Jacob Looper, GHS

Int. 6 5 5 4 4 4 3 3

Tackles Defender Lukas Reagan, LA Andrew Goolsby, SC Drew Scott, JC Jared Atkinson, York Dustin Sapp, SC River Boruff, WC Brandon McCoy, GHS Nolan Spivey, JC Joey Creekbaum, LA Blake Lynn, WC Zachary Bowman, JC Tyler Coen, GHS Tyler Barnes, LA Josh Blodgett, LA Matt Williams, York Ronnie Linder, LA Peyton Wade, JC

Total 136 131 116 116 109 102 99 93 93 91 90 85 84 74 73 71 65

ON THE COVER From left, Upperman senior Matthew Collier, Cookeville senior Joe Spiecker and Monterey junior Peyton Norrod are some of the key linemen for Putnam County’s teams as they build their foundation for success up front.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Contents/Stats 2 District 6-AAA 4 Cookeville 5 White County 6 District 8-AA 8 Upperman 9 Livingston Academy 11 Smith County 12 York Institute 13 DeKalb County 14 District 7-A 15 Monterey 16 Jackson County 18 Clay County 19 Pickett County 20 Gordonsville 21 Cookeville freshmen 22 Avery Trace 23 Burks 24 Cornerstone 25 Prescott South 26 Algood 27 Tennessee Tech 29 Tennessee Titans 31

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A3


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A4 —HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

District 6-AAA

Tougher test in road to 6-AAA title

District 6-AAA


While Cookeville may still be the predicted team to beat in District 6-AAA, the road to a district title is becoming increasingly tougher. The Cavaliers had to fend off a feisty effort from White County to win 21-14 last year in what turned out to be the title decider. The Warriors have a lot of starters returning on both sides of the ball, and joining them in the quest are some new faces — Rhea County and Stone Memorial — who could make a run of their own. Rhea County is coached this year by Mark Pemberton, who has molded several programs into winners, while Stone Memorial comes to 6-AAA from the brutal District 4AA, which has produced the last four 3A state champions in Christian Academy of Knoxville and Alcoa (Alcoa also won the previous five 2A titles from 2004-08). On top of RCHS and SMHS, Warren County and Cumberland County have lots of returning starters as they try to make their way up the district ranks. “I think it’ll be a great year in this district, and I think there will be a lot of balance,” Cavs coach Jimmy Maynord said. “I know every night, we’re gonna have to be prepared to go out and play.” Following the Cavaliers in the annual coaches poll are Rhea County, White County, Warren County, Stone Memorial and Cumberland County. “I think it’s gonna be a very competitive district,” Pemberton said. “I think it’s up for grabs, I really do. I think there’s teams in here that are gonna battle it out for the top spot. I told one of the coaches the other day, I don’t know how they picked us up (in the poll) when we’ve been 3-17 the last two years. But that says a lot about Rhea County’s tradition in the past. … We’ll see what happens.” Rhea County Pemberton — in his first year with the Eagles — said they have a lot of work ahead of them to get back to their past winning ways. An impressive artificial turf facility and new school could help them start in the right direction. “I really feel like everything is lined up at Rhea County High School to get headed in the right direction,” Pemberton said. “With that being said, they’ve been 3-17 the last two years. There’s a lot of work ahead of us to get back to that. It’s a tradition-rich program, but it’s not to that point right now. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.” What also should help them is a wealth of returning experience, with seven starters back on offense and six on defense. Among those are fourth-year starting senior wing

Predicted order of finish 1. Cookeville 2. Rhea County 3. White County 4. Warren County 5. Stone Memorial 6. Cumberland County

Cookeville senior running back DESMOND PINCHEON back Dimitrious Patterson and third-year starting senior wing back Joby Berry, and third-year starting senior tight end Taylor Jenkins. Jenkins is also a fourth-year starter at defensive end. On the line, third-year starting senior tackle Chad Arnold is the most experienced of the group, which is back in its entirety. Senior second-year starting quarterback Austin Dotson also returns to his spot behind center. Patterson is in his fourth year starting at safety, and senior end Daniel Cochron and junior tackle Jacob Williams are both in their third year of starting experience on defense. Warren County A better effort in the weight room has the Pioneers looking to translate that into more wins on the field, where they went 3-7 last year after coming off an 0-10 season the year before. “We have made huge strides in the weight

room,” WCHS coach Tommy Johnson said. “We went from having two guys on our entire football team that could bench over 200 pounds to having over eight guys that are repping 225 pounds 10, 15, 20 times now. I’m pretty proud of that and their effort in that aspect.” Warren County will lean a lot on senior quarterback Hunter Mullican and senior running back Cameron Lusk. “We look for Hunter to have an outstanding year for us. He’s made huge strides for us under (assistant coach Chris) McEwen’s tutelage. Lusk could be a big weapon, running a 4.64 40-yard dash at 6-1, 235 pounds. “He’s a big running back, and we hope he can run big,” Johnson said. “… We’re hoping he can get downhill a little bit and run behind his pads.” Johnson – in his fourth year as Pioneers head coach – believes the tide is turning as far as expectations go.

“They’re not expecting to lose,” he said. “They’re expecting to win, and they’re expecting to compete. That’s a big thing for us.” Stone Memorial The Panthers will be a very young group. Of the 60 players on the roster, 43 are freshmen and sophomores. Six are juniors and 11 are seniors. “It’s gonna be a different kind of year,” coach Mark Wattenbarger said. “We’ve gotta learn every game and hopefully progress and understand that we’re not coaching a veteran-laden team. We’ve gotta continuously teach and encourage, and hopefully we’ll keep these guys mentally in the game for 10 games because it’s gonna be a different experience for them.” The Panthers have just three returning starters on both sides of the ball. On offense, those include senior quarterback Brady Wattenbarger, senior receiver Brian Frye and offensive lineman Nick Bohannon. Returnees on defense include Bohannon on the line, Frye at cornerback and senior Jonathan Goldberg. Wattenbarger hopes the transition from their former district home, 4-AA, will be a positive. “That’s a really, really tough district, and no offense to (the other District 6-AAA coaches), but I’m glad to be rid of CAK and Alcoa. We competed against CAK and played them close, but Alcoa, when they got off the bus it was over.” Cumberland County Though the Jets are in the midst of a 17game losing streak, second-year coach Ted McCaslin believes his team is showing signs that they are committed to getting on a winning track. On top of that, CCHS has nine returning starters on offense and six on defense, including four out of the five offensive linemen from last year and five out of the six skill positions. Junior quarterback Jordan Buckner is among the returnees, and he has plenty of experienced weapons around him with senior running backs Dorian Holt and Eric Telles, and senior receivers A.J. Dick and Colton Dykes.

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A5


Maynord era begins at CHS CRAIG DELK

2013 Cavaliers schedule


COOKEVILLE — The Jimmy Maynord era is about to begin at Cookeville High School. For 14 years, Maynord helped turn Smith County into one of stronger Class 3A programs in the state. Now he hopes to replicate that success with the Cavaliers on the 6A level, and he’s glad he got a jump on the work it will take to get them there after being hired in January to replace Scott Cook. “I’m thankful that I was able to start the work in January and be in the weight room with our guys and be able to go through spring practice,” Maynord said. “I can’t imagine just getting here right now and trying to sort through who can play, who can’t play. I think we’re getting close at positions and trying to develop depth at those positions.” The Cavalier players are also adapting to the coaching change. “He’s a great coach, and he’s shown us how to execute things,” senior running back Desmond Pincheon said. “I feel comfortable with him being here.” The Cavaliers are a mix of returning experience and youth, with five starters back on offense and four back on defense. Despite having some inexperience in some spots, Maynord has been happy with their effort as they get up to speed. “Our kids have been great. I can’t ask for them to be any better,” he said. “They’ve come out every day ready to work, and every time that I’ve felt like we weren’t as good as we should have been and I’ve challenged them, the next day or the next event, they’ve always stepped up a little bit. I’m proud to see that.” The Cavaliers have some exciting possibilities on offense, with several capable playmakers and depth at the skill positions. Seniors Cameron Germenis (5-10, 175) and Desmond Pincheon (5-9, 165) give them a sort of thunder/lightning combination at running back, though both are plenty fast. Germenis ran for 379 yards and four scores as a junior, while Pincheon ran for 490 yards and four TDs. In the receiving game, senior Chase Mabey (6-2, 170) is a great athlete who qualified for the Class AAA state high-jump competition last year. He also caught 15 passes for 231 yards and two TDs as a junior. Pincheon feels good about the Cavs’ array

Aug. 23 Monterey Aug. 30 Cleveland Sept. 6 at Warren County Sept. 13 at Smith County Sept. 20 Stone Memorial Sept. 27 at Lebanon Oct. 4 Rhea County Oct. 18 at Cumberland County Oct. 25 LaVergne Nov. 1 at White County BOLD denotes District 6-AAA games

Quick Facts District: 6-AAA (6A playoffs) Head coach: Jimmy Maynord Career record: 179-81 (34th year) Record at school: 0-0 (1st year) Asisstant coaches: Chuck Gentry (offensive coordinator), David Foster (defensive coordinator), Noah Repasky (RB/OLB), Jim Ledford (OL), John Ledford (RB/ILB), Brian Chambers (WR), Steve Medlin (freshman team) Returning lettermen: 25 Returning starters, offense: 5 Returning starters, defense: 4 2012: 5-6 overall, 4-0 District 6-AAA (1st) Last playoff appearance: 2012, lost to Blackman in first round

of playmakers. “It’s great, because it lets me know that they’re gonna do what they’ve gotta do,” he said. “If everybody does their job and can execute it great, we won’t have any worries.” Senior Joe Spiecker (6-2, 255) was a fullback last year, and this year moves to the line at tackle. Fellow senior Ledgend Darty (6-3, 270) is back on the line, where he is the other tackle. Cookeville’s quarterback situation hasn’t been completely hashed out, as Maynord lists junior Jacob Edgington (6-6, 235) and senior Nick Nash (6-2, 185) as starting possibilities. Edgington has taken most of the first-team reps during the preseason and possesses great size and a strong arm. Nash has taken mostly second-team reps and could provide quickness and athleticism. He performed well in the Cavs’ jamboree last Saturday after Edgington was held out for precautionary reasons with an ankle ailment. See CHS, Page 6

107 W. Commercial Ave. Monterey (931)584-042 2527B Hwy 111 N. Algood 854-9180 1165 South Willow Ave. 432-1571 410 East Veterans Drive 528-1571

A6 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cookeville / White County

Houser looks to change culture of Warriors program CRAIG DELK HERALD-CITIZEN Sports Editor

SPARTA — White County football coach Matthan Houser is in the midst of trying to change the culture in the Warriors program. Stability has been hard to come by in years past, but Houser believes this year’s team could be a part of building a tradition for the future. The Warriors have 17 seniors, and they’ve got six starters returning on offense and seven on defense. “They have a desire to kind of change the culture at White County, which is a big deal,” said Houser, who is entering his second year with the program after finishing 4-7 in 2012. “We were looking at records (recently), and since 1979, we’ve won 32 percent of our games, which is not a

great number. “There’s a lot of different factors that go into that,” Houser continued. “We’ve been in a tough district before, they’ve had injuries and coaching changes, whatever it may be. But we’re still trying to change that culture that ‘You can win. It is possible to win games against these larger schools that maybe you haven’t won against in the past.’” Helping WCHS get the ball rolling in the right direction on offense is a strong returning backfield and veteran pass-catching options, as five of their returning starters reside there. Senior quarterback Jake Young (6-2, 2-5) gained lots of experience behind center last year after original starter Devon Davidson was lost to a broken leg. He finished 48of-120 passing for 796 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. Houser is looking for consistent play from Young, but says

he has grown into a leadership role since he was thrust into the starting lineup. “His leadership has changed dramatically from last year to this year,” Houser said. “Last year, he didn’t expect to start. He was going into the year as the No. 2. Our quarterback goes down at Smith County in Week 0, and he comes in during that game. By Week 3, he’s the full-time starter after Devon breaks his leg. His leadership has changed on and off the field.” Young will have a familiar backfield around him, as senior Blake Lynn (5-10, 190) is back at tailback and senior River Boruff (6-1, 210) returns to block at fullback. Lynn ran for 356 yards and four scores in 2012. Both are also standouts on defense. See WCHS, Page 7

CHS: Has experience at secondary, skill positions

From Page 5 Edgington and Nash both saw limited action at quarterback last year behind District 6-AAA MVP Ryan Eberle. Also in the backfield, candidates for carries at running back are junior Billy Joe Dunham (5-8, 155) and sophomore Ty Hammons (59, 165), while opposite Mabey at receiver is sure-handed senior Bud Julian (6-2, 175). Another possibility to get receptions is sophomore Zack Poston (5-10, 155). Joining Darty and Spiecker as starting candidates on the line are junior tackle Adam Haney (6-4, 275), senior guards Zack Rathunde (6-0, 245) and Ryan Copeland (60, 270), and sophomore center Drew Gates (6-2, 230). Maynord lists Gates, Hammons and Poston as impact newcomers. On the other side of the ball, numerous players are listed for playing time. Darty and Spiecker are back at their tackle spots, while Germenis is back at cornerback and Mabey returns to free safety. The secondary is a strong one, also including senior corner Anthony Brusaw (5-8, 155), and juniors Dunham and Will Edgington (5-11, 170) splitting reps at strong safety. Four players are listed for duty at the ends, including senior Sami Alouani (6-1, 165) and juniors Kumunti Jordan (6-1, 180), Trent Cumby (6-1, 210) and Daniel Jones (6-0, 165). In addition to Spiecker and Darty, sophomores Tim Bungart (6-2, 210) and James Massengille (6-1, 225) could see playing time at the defensive tackles. Massengille is named as another impact newcomer. Senior Chase Scott (6-0, 200) and Josue Perez (5-10, 230) will share time at nose guard. The linebackers are senior Tyler Pike (59, 185) and junior Adam Throgmorton (59, 175). Junior Spencer Wright (6-1, 170) is pen-

Cookeville senior wide receiver BUD JULIAN

Cookeville head coach JIMMY MAYNORD ciled in at punter and could also see time at placekicker. Maynord has three juniors listed there, including Nick Zalewski (5-10, 160) and Tom Lamb (5-9, 150). Poston and Mabey are the punt returners, and Pincheon and Hammons are the kick returners. The starting lineup isn’t the only part of the Cavaliers’ program that has a new look

in various spots. After having one of the most-brutal schedules in the state — Beech, Mt. Juliet, Brentwood, Riverdale and Tullahoma finished a combined 54-13 in 2012 — the Cavs have a revamped schedule that now includes Monterey, Cleveland, Smith County and LaVergne as new non-district foes. District 6-AAA also dropped Coffee County, and added Rhea County and Stone

Memorial. The changes are significant, but Maynord isn’t worried about comparing the two schedules or what it means for the Cavaliers’ chances of success. “To be honest with you, I don’t worry about that,” he said. “I worry about us trying to take it week by week. I worry about our football team trying to get better. That’s what I look at instead of who our opposition is. Because you really don’t know from year to year — their schedule, no doubt, was a tough schedule, but this is a new year and you don’t know what everybody’s gonna have. “You can’t really say much about it until you play it, but last year’s schedule with the way it turned out was definitely a tough schedule.”

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A7

White County

WCHS: Players acclimated to Houser’s system From Page 6 Returning receivers include senior tight end Hunter Cantrell (6-2, 210) and senior wide receiver Tommy Odom (6-0, 160). Odom was the Warriors’ leading receiver last year with 13 catches for 261 yards and a TD. Senior Michael Harris (5-8, 150) will play opposite Odom. Others who are penciled in for duty at the skill positions are seniors Jacob Winton (510, 150) and Skylar Delaney (5-7, 155). Both are listed as impact newcomers. The line, meanwhile, has just one returning starter, senior tackle Caleb Cravens (62, 270). Sophomore Ethan Farley (6-2, 285) joins him at the other tackle, while juniors Dylan Roberts (5-9, 195) and Jo-Jo Matlock (6-1, 210) are the guards. Senior Chris Foster (6-2, 295) is the center. Houser has a strong core of starters back on defense, including Cantrell at end; senior Blake Newman (5-11, 265) and sophomore Ethan Maggart (5-10, 205) at the tackles; Boruff, Lynn and junior Seth Davis (5-10, 175) at linebacker; and Odom and junior Perry Clayton (5-7, 160) at the corners. Boruff was the team’s leading tackler last year with 102, while Lynn was close behind with 91. Newcomers to the defense include Matlock at end, Winton at strong safety and Delaney at free safety. Houser says there are a couple areas of focus he wants to solidify. “We have very little experience in the secondary and on the offensive line,” he said. “Those are two keys that we’ve worked hard at in the offseason to try to shore up and make sure that those guys are getting plenty of looks and are ready to go once the season starts.” The Warriors have a weapon at punter in Cantrell (40.2 ypp in 2012), who is a preseason Class 5A all-state honoree by one publication. “He kind of helped us change the momentum of the game several times with his 40yard average,” Houser said. “It’s always good to have those guys.” Odom and Clayton will split duties as punt returners, while Clayton and sophomore Josh Rowan (5-6, 140) are slated for kickoff returns. Junior Luke Cantrell (5-10, 140) is the placekicker. One aspect that could be a key for the Warriors this year is familiarity with the coaching staff and Houser’s expectations. “It makes it a lot easier,” Houser said. “Last year, it wasn’t just the players, but all the coaches on the staff were trying to figure out what I expected. They were kind of feeling me out, I was feeling them out and we were all feeling the players out and trying figure out what they could do and couldn’t do.

White County head coach MATTHAN HOUSER 2013 Warriors schedule Aug. 23 at York Institute Aug. 30 Livingston Academy Sept. 6 at Rhea County Sept. 13 at DeKalb County Sept. 20 at Warren County Sept. 27 Chattanooga Christian Oct. 4 Cumberland County Oct. 11 at Sequoyah Oct. 25 Stone Memorial Nov. 1 Cookeville BOLD denotes District 6-AAA games

Quick Facts District: 6-AAA (5A playoffs) Head coach: Matthan Houser Career record: 4-7 (2nd year) Record at school: 4-7 (2nd year) Assistant coaches: Jeremy McDonald (offensive coordinator/OL), Mark Houser (special teams coordinator/RB/DB), Josh Hackett (defensive coordinator/LB), Montuka Murray (freshman and JV head coach/DL), Mike Harris (TE), Brent Farley (strength & conditioning) Returning lettermen: 25 Returning starters, offense: 6 Returning starters, defense: 7 2012: 4-7 overall, 3-1 District 6-AAA (2nd) Last playoff appearance: 2012, lost to Tullahoma in first round

“It took us several games into the year last year to make sure we were comfortable with where they were playing,” Houser continued. “… It’s gotten a little bit better off the field and on the field. It’s to the point now where we’ve just gotta translate it to Friday night.”

White County senior quarterback JAKE YOUNG

A8 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

District 8-AA

New faces all over District 8-AA THOMAS CORHERN

District 8-AA

HERALD-CITIZEN Assistant Sports Editor

UPPER CUMBERLAND — If there’s one common theme across the District 8AA teams, it’s that there will be a lot of new faces, whether it’s a new player, a new head coach, or even a new team. For most fans in District 8-AA, they may not be able to tell who’s who without a roster. Almost every team in the district — save Upperman, who was predicted to finish second behind Livingston Academy in the preseason coaches’ poll — is having to fill in a lot of spots because of graduation. “I believe it’s that way for everybody in the district except Upperman,” said LA coach Bruce Lamb. They have everyone back and everyone else has lost a bunch. It’s going to be interesting. We don’t know what everyone else is going to do right now. It’s all question marks. It will definitely be interesting to see what happens this year.” New Smith County head coach Mike Dickerson, who took over after Jimmy Maynord departed to become the head coach at Cookeville High, added, “It’s like that all over the district — except for Upperman. They have just about everybody back. I assume they’re the favorite to win the district. It’s Livingston, Upperman, DeKalb County, York Institute, Macon County — they’re all high-quality teams. You’re going to have to bring your best every week. There are no gimmes. We know going in, being so young and inexperienced, we’re going to have to play well.” In the case of York head coach Dickie Brown, the Dragons were hit a lot harder as they’ll be looking at freshmen and sophomores to fill spots. “I’m not so sure how far down everybody else is,” Brown said. “I don’t think graduation hit everybody else as hard as it hit me. (Livingston) lost a few, but he has a few more upperclassmen he can fill in with. We’re having to fill in with ninth- and 10thgraders.” Upperman head coach Ben Herron isn’t fooled though. He expects every team in the district to continue bringing their best. “It really could be anybody’s race,” Herron said. “I know DeKalb County still has a couple of guys who had some playing time, so they should still be pretty good. They have a very good quarterback. Livingston has some really good players. We’ve just got so many great coaches and players in the Upper Cumberland. It’s always tough. It doesn’t matter where you’re at.” Also new to District 8-AA is the addition of Macon County.

Predicted order of finish 1. Livingston Academy 2. Upperman 3. Smith County 4. DeKalb County t5. Macon County t5. York Institute 7. Cannon County

to rebound from an 0-10 season with a new head coach in T.J. Daniel, who will be coaching his younger brothers — senior linebacker B.J. Daniel and quarterback A.J. Daniel, who previously played wide receiver for the Lions. T.J. Daniel was an assistant coach for the Lions last season. Offense was a strugle as CCHS couldn’t break into double-digits until the final four games of the season, scoring a season-high 22 points in a 44-22 loss to Upperman. The Lions were also outscored 376-81. The Lions do return running back/linebacker Hawk Love, which should give them a reliable offensive weapon, and Love will be moving to the secondary on defense, giving CCHS a threat in pass protection.

Livingston Academy junior quarterback KALEB QUALLS “It changes the district around a little bit, but we’re used to playing them,” Lamb said. “They have a new coach up there and he’s done an excellent job in the middle school ranks, so we’re looking for a good Macon County team that could present a challenge.” Herron added, “It adds a new wrinkle and

I don’t know a whole lot about them. (MCHS head coach) Nathan (Wilson) is a buddy of mine, and I know a little about what he likes to do. He’ll have that team ready to play, and they’ll be better as the year goes on.” Cannon County The Lions enter the 2013 season looking

Macon County The Tigers join the District 8-AA football lineup this season and could present a formidible foe for the rest of the district. Nathan Wilson takes over as the head coach for Macon County, as the Tigers look to rebound from a rough 0-10 record in 2012, including an 0-5 finish in their previous district alignment in 9-AA, a league that included Goodpasture, Sycamore, Greenbrier, White House and Westmoreland. MCHS struggled against District 8-AA foes DeKalb County (L, 45-7) and Livingston Academy (L, 38-7), but it’s hard to even compare last year to this year, especially considering the change of personnel. Still, just like a lot of other teams in the district, the Tigers are a little green — not in years as there are several seniors among the projected lineup, but very few of them have game experience. But Macon County does return three offensive starters, including senior all-district fullback K.J. Kitchens, junior guard Gage Carr and senior guard Tyler Wilson. On defense, the Tigers bring five returning starters, including senior all-district end and punter Brandon Harris, sophomore linebacker Tanner Lowhorn and Kitchens at linebacker.

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A9


Upperman head coach BEN HERRON

Bees excited about 2013 campaign THOMAS CORHERN HERALD-CITIZEN Assistant Sports Editor

BAXTER — An experienced team and talent throughout the roster — this could be the season Upperman fans have been waiting for since the Bees last made the TSSAA playoffs in the 2006 campaign. “I’m excited,” said third-year UHS head coach Ben Herron. “We have 23 seniors. Twenty-three veteran leaders out here and we’re expecting a lot out of them. We have a lot of depth and a lot of young kids stepping up, juniors and sophomores even contributing. We feel good about this lineup, and if we can stay healthy, we’ll see.” Looking to build off of a 1-4 finish in District 8-AA and a 4-6 run that saw UHS fall just short of a playoff berth, the Bees see eight offensive starters return and nine back on the defensive side of the ball. “I think we do have the most returning starters from any team in the district,” Herron said. “But you know, we still have to learn how to win. That’s still our M.O. We’ve been in a lot of tight games. We’ve won a few, and we’ve lost a few. To be able to take that next step, we’ve got to be able to use that leadership we’ve got to take ad-

vantage of those opportunities.” And Upperman’s experience is very visible with a veteran offensive and defensive line, a seasoned secondary unit and one of the Upper Cumberland’s top quarterbacks. It’s hard not to see the impact that senior quarterback Connor York has had on the Bees in his time behind center. York has a chance to make a run at the numbers set by previous UHS QB Ty Fields. York passed for 1,257 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, averaging 179.6 yards per game. A versatile threat, York can run the ball just as well as pass. York rushed for 810 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 115.7 yards on the ground per game. York will also see time as the Bees’ punt returner, and possibly even the kick returner as well, sharing duties with Robert Stephenson. Also on the ground, Austin Butler and Gabe Luna will be expected to carry a considerable load. Butler rushed for 218 yards and a touchdown, while Luna rushed for three touchdowns and 213 yards. But if York has to pass the ball, he’s got six See UHS, Page 10

A10 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013


UHS: Bees will be tested early in 2013 campaign From Page 9 guys who can make reliable targets, including Tuck Stanton, Jason Jones, Stephenson, Bailey Phillips, Todd Stanton and Dylan Hedgecoth. Hedgecoth and Jones both caught TDs from York last year as Hedgecoth had 14 catches for 205 yards and five scores, while Jones had 180 yards and two touchdowns on 14 catches. Up front, the Bees have experience on the line with Matthew Collier at right tackle, Byran Cochran at right guard, Cody Mann at center, Logan Key at left guard and Daniel Withers at left tackle. “We feel like we have some really good weapons on offense,” Herron said. “If we can execute and get the ball to them ... if we can execute on what the defense gives us, if we’re smart and get it out to the right place, we’ll be fine.” Moving to the defensive side of the ball, the duo of Peyton Land and Patrick Ely are at defensive end, while Jonathan Franklin, Brett Nash and Ben Winfree are in place at tackle. The Bees may not have a lot of depth at linebacker, but the starters are very capable, with Nick Baker, Joey Butler, Dakota Dilldine and Stephenson in place. Jones, Hedgecoth, Phillips and Jacob Smith will be back in the secondary providing pass coverage. “One of our biggest goals in the spring was to improve on defense,” Herron said. “We really wanted to improve our run defense. I don’t know if we did that (last Friday in the jamboree against White County), but in our previous scrimmages, we did. We’ll get to work in this final week of preseason practice and see what we can do.” Land and Jones are expected to kick for the Bees, while Butler is listed as UHS’ punter. And Upperman will be tested right off the bat. UHS hosts defending Class 1A state champion Gordonsville on Friday night, then continues its homestand with the annual meeting with in-county rival Monterey, then opens district play on Sept. 6 with a visit from Smith County. On Sept. 13, UHS travels to Clay County, has its open date on Sept. 20, then hosts Jackson County on Sept. 27 to wrap up the non-district slate. On Oct. 4, the Bees travel to York Institute, host District 8-AA newcomer Macon County on Oct. 11, travels to Livingston Academy on Oct. 18, hosts DeKalb County on Oct. 25, then travels to Cannon County on Nov. 1 for the final game of the regular season. “It’s a tough three games to start off,” Herron said. “Right now, we’re focused on Gordonsville, but we have Monterey and Smith County right behind them, but we’re

2013 Bees schedule Aug. 23 Gordonsville Aug. 30 Monterey Sept. 6 Smith County Sept. 13 at Clay County Sept. 27 Jackson County Oct. 4 at York Institute Oct. 11 Macon County Oct. 18 at Livingston Academy Oct. 25 DeKalb County Nov. 1 at Cannon County BOLD denotes District 8-AA games

Quick Facts District: 8-AA (3A playoffs) Head coach: Ben Herron Career record: 9-12 (3rd year) Record at school: 9-12 (3rd year) Assistant coaches: Brian Johnson (DE/WR), David Oaks (strength & conditioning), Justin Qualls (OL/DL), Derik Samber (offensive coordinator/DB), Jason Stanton (junior varsity), Dustin Williams (defensive coordinator/WR) Returning lettermen: 23 Returning starters, offense: 8 Returning starters, defense: 9 2012: 4-6 overall, 1-4 District 8-AA (5th) Last playoff appearance: 2006, lost to Boyd-Buchanan in first round

Upperman senior wide receiver DYLAN HEDGECOTH not going to worry about them until after (this week).”

Upperman senior quarterback CONNOR YORK

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A11

Livingston Academy

Wildcats feature a lot of new names THOMAS CORHERN

2013 Wildcats schedule

HERALD-CITIZEN Assistant Sports Editor

LIVINGSTON — There’s no question 2012 was one of the best seasons in Livingston Academy history — a District 8AA championship and a deep TSSAA Class 4A playoff run were just icing on the cake. Now, a year later, and it’s almost a different story. Where the Wildcats were loaded with experience last season, 2013 sees a Livingston team that only returns two offensive starters and five on defense. “We’ve got a big turnaround,” said LA coach Bruce Lamb. “Our kids are playing hard, and we want to be able to go out there and compete with everybody. So far, we’ve had a good start.” Instead of loaded with experience, it’s trying to make do with some older players who just haven’t had the chance to make a name for themselves. They will now. “There are a lot of new names,” Lamb said. “We have two starters back on offense and five on defense. The kids that are playing now have played behind some of these other guys for a couple of years. It’s their turn now, and I hope they show it.” And it will be tough filling in the shoes of those departed seniors, most notably Brock McCoin and Creed Hayes. “It is going to be tough,” Lamb said, “but these kids have been working their tails off this summer. These kids have played some, but they’ve never played a whole game. That will be hard for them to overcome, but we have a bunch of kids who play hard. I really think they’re up for the challenge.” Returning on offense are junior wide receiver Wade Eldridge (6-4, 215) and junior offensive guard Hunter McDonald (6-0, 240). And that’s it. Still, the offense has a lot of upperclassmen — 10 juniors and four seniors. At quarterback, junior Kaleb Qualls (510, 160) will take over, throwing to Eldridge, sophomore Logan Clark (5-9, 180), junior Gage Vaughn (6-0, 155) and junior Darian Davis (5-10, 165) at wide receiver, and junior Josh Blodgett (6-1, 185) and Jacob Masters (6-1, 215) at tight end. Missing all-district running back Peter Hollars to an injury in the offseason, the Wildcats will have to rely on junior Jordan Savage (5-9, 175), junior Daniel Flatt (5-10, 175), freshman Logan Watson (58, 160) and junior James Owens (5-8, 185) to run the ball. But they’re still a step behind past LA squads.

Aug. 23 at Stone Memorial Aug. 30 at White County Sept. 6 at DeKalb County Sept. 20 at Macon County Sept. 27 Hixson Oct. 4 Smith County Oct. 11 at Cannon County Oct. 18 Upperman Oct. 25 at Christian Acad. of Knoxville Nov. 1 York Institute BOLD denotes District 8-AA games

Quick Facts District: 8-AA (4A playoffs) Head coach: Bruce Lamb Career record: 43-46 (9th year) Record at school: 35-23 (6th year) Assistant coaches: Shane Qualls (offensive coordinator), Jim Nelson (TE/DL), Curtis Beaty (OL/DL), Derek Bush (WR/DB), Darian Barlow (administrative assistant) Returning lettermen: 39 Returning starters, offense: 2 Returning starters, defense: 5 2012: 11-2 overall, 5-0 District 8-AA (1st) Last playoff appearance: 2012, lost to Fulton in quarterfinals

“That is a weakness,” Lamb said. “We don’t have the kind of speed we have been used to the last few years. There are a lot of potential playmakers on the Livingston roster. “One game it could be one guy,” Lamb said, “and the next game, it could be another. We really don’t know who’s going to be a superstar player. We have a good corps. We’re just looking to see who’s going to step up each game.” The strength for this year’s Wildcat team will be at linebacker and in the team’s kicking game. Flatt, Blodgett, senior Joey Creekbaum (6-0, 220) and Eldridge all started for LA last season in the linebacker corps and will be back again this season to anchor the Wildcat defense. Eli Sadler, a two-time District 8-AA kicker of the year and a preseason all-state selection, returns for his senior campaign and has been a reliable foot for the Wildcats and will be expected to have an even better season in 2013. Of course, one of the biggest weapons Livingston has in its arsenal is its tradition. “It is,” Lamb said. “It is definitely a pride thing. These guys love playing for Livingston Academy. We’ve got a good thing going right now, and I think we’ll keep it going.”

Livingston Academy head coach BRUCE LAMB

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A12 —HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

Smith County

Dickerson to lead Owls in new direction THOMAS CORHERN

2013 Owls schedule

HERALD-CITIZEN Assistant Sports Editor

CARTHAGE — It will be a completely different look for the Smith County Owls this season in Carthage. After the departure of longtime coach Jimmy Maynord to take over the Cookeville Cavalier football program, Mike Dickerson, starting his 19th year on the SCHS coaching staff, takes over as the Owls’ new head coach. “There’s no manual that comes with this,” Dickerson said, “I’m still learning day-to-day, but when you get out on the field, in between those lines, it’s just like it always is. It’s the other administrative parts that are different.” Still, Dickerson has an incredible challenge ahead of him as the Owls return five offensive starters and one defensive starter. The experience level is also a struggle as SCHS graduated 18 players last season, leaving a young Owls squad in its wake. “We have a young team,” Dickerson said. “We have a lot of sophomores playing. We have some seniors that don’t have experience. They’re getting better every week and we’re progressing. We’re hoping to get out there and be competitive every week.” But there is one major offensive player who returns for the 2013 campaign as Jalen Manning comes back for his senior season, leading the Owls’ rushing attack, along with classmates Austin Gregory and Grant Williams. The strength of the backfield should give SCHS an advantage in several contests. “Jalen will be a workhorse,” Dickerson said. “We actually have three senior running backs — Jalen Manning, Grant Williams and Austin Gregory. They all complement each other, so Jalen won’t be carrying the whole load by himself. Those other two guys have stepped up and can help him. I think he will be even more productive because of those guys since he won’t have to do it all. Jalen is the highest profile guy we’ve got., but Austin and Grant are two solid backs who can carry

Aug. 23 Alcoa Aug. 30 at Gordonsville Sept. 6 at Upperman Sept. 13 Cookeville Sept. 20 at York Institute Oct. 4 at Livingston Academy Oct. 11 at Warren County Oct. 18 Cannon County Oct. 25 Macon County Nov. 1 DeKalb County BOLD denotes District 8-AA games

Quick Facts District: 8-AA (3A playoffs) Head coach: Mike Dickerson Career record: 0-0 (1st) Record at school: 0-0 (1st) Assistant coaches: Brad Tackett (offensive coordinator), Jason Harville (defensive coordinator), Steven Clemons (DL), Brett Hackett (QB), Randall Smith (RB) Returning lettermen: N/A Returning starters, offense: 5 Returning starters, defense: 1 2012: 8-3 overall, 3-2 District 8-AA (3rd) Last playoff appearance: 2012, lost to Fairview in first round

the ball themselves.” Luke Washer and Mason Dillon could serve as quarterbacks for Smith County, and they’ll throw to Brad Rankin, Kaleb Young and Bailey Kemp. “Luke has been behind some pretty good quarterbacks in the past, and, of course, Mason is a junior now,” Dickerson said. “They’re both neck and neck and they’re both getting better. They both will have chances to step in and play. We’re running the option this year, so we’ve got to have two quarterbacks when you’re doing that. We’ve told them that even if they aren’t in there, they better be ready to go in because quarterbacks take shots in our offense.” Up front, Ethan Profitt and Lane Stack will play as tackles, Marquises King and

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Smith County senior running back JALEN MANNING (left) and head coach MIKE DICKERSON (right) Justin Frazier will play guard and Jackson Oldham will be at center. On the defensive front, Austin Enoch and Ethan Denton will be ends, while King and Frazier are at tackle and Profitt will be at nose guard. Playing linebacker will be Williams, Matthew Rutherford and John Michael Donnell, while Rankin, Young and Kemp will provide secondary efforts. “We’ve got two sophomores starting in the secondary, two seniors starting at cor-

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ner that don’t have very much experience,” Dickerson said. “We’ve got a whole defensive front of guys who haven’t started. We’re still learning. But they’re guys who are hungry and are anxious to go out there and play. We’re going to make our mistakes, but we’re going to get better as the season goes along.” Denton will be the punter, while Ryder Denney will kick. Kemp and Young will return punts, while Manning will be the Owls’ kick returner.

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HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A13

York Institute


Dragons rebuilding in 2013 2013 Dragons schedule


JAMESTOWN — Rebuilding is definitely a common theme in District 8-AA, and in Jamestown, York Institute wasn’t immune either. “I graduated 10 starters on both sides of the ball basically,” said YAI head coach Dickie Brown. “I’ve got 58 kids on the roster, 32 of them have never played before, and I have 16 or 17 juniors and seniors out of 58. I have 41 that are freshmen or sophomores and most have them have never played before. “It’s definitely a learning experience. It’s going to one of those years where we try to do the best we can to coach them up, but their best football is going to be in front of them.” The Dragons enter the 2013 campaign with just one offensive starter returning from a year ago — senior wide receiver Trey Moody (5-11, 180). It isn’t much better on the defensive side of the ball either as senior end Matt Williams (6-1, 185), senior tackle Lance Crockett (60, 240), junior linebacker E.J. Wright (5-10, 190) and senior linebacker Zack Reed (5-10, 190) return to action this season. In all, the Dragons return just 22 letterman from a year ago. And that will mean Brown’s work is cut out for him. On the bright side, all of York’s projected starters are pretty much upperclassmen, meaning it’s not going to be freshmen and sophomores thrown out there to try to compete for the District 8-AA title, but there just isn’t a lot of game experience. At quarterback, freshman Mason Cravens is penciled in as the starter. “I’ve only got 10 seniors, so we’re going to be starting a freshman quarterback at this point,” Brown said. “I may start one, maybe two freshmen on the line. Mason’s an athletic freshman. He has his moments, but he also has some freshman moments. There is definitely a learning curve. It takes some time to catch on. Brannon McNellis took a couple of years before he really got smooth with the ball and made good things happen for us.

Go Cavs!

Aug. 23 White County Aug. 30 at Oliver Springs Sept. 6 Macon County Sept. 13 at Bledsoe County Sept. 20 Smith County Sept. 27 Cumberland County Oct. 4 Upperman Oct. 11 at DeKalb County Oct. 25 at Cannon County Nov. 1 at Livingston Academy BOLD denotes District 8-AA games

Quick Facts District: 8-AA (3A playoffs) Head coach: Dickie Brown Career record: 128-127 (24th year) Record at school: 23-22 (5th) Assistant coaches: James Akers, Bruce Brown, Russell Tays, Vic Wheaton (defensive coordinator) Returning lettermen: 22 Returning starters, offense: 1 Returning starters, defense: 4 2012: 7-4 overall, 2-3 District 8-AA (4th) Last playoff appearance: 2012, lost to Westmoreland in first round

Mason’s a great athlete and he’s just got to learn. He’s going to get better as the year goes on.” In the backfield, junior Brian Crabtree (59, 160), junior Caleb Probst (5-10, 170) and senior Ty Bingham (5-11, 180) provide the ground attack. In addition to Moody, Cravens will also have Williams and sophomore Austin Bertram (6-2, 220) at tight end, as well as sophomore Dylan Cravens (5-9, 150) and junior Steadman Rudd (6-1, 170) to throw the ball to. The line has always been a York staple, and while the offensive line doesn’t have a large amount of experience, they do have some players who could become standouts. Juniors Gaitlyn Davis (6-2, 280) and Dalton Pittman (6-3, 290) stand at tackle, while seniors Crockett and Jeremiah Lee (6-0,

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York Institute senior tight end/defensive end MATT WILLIAMS (left) and head coach DICKIE BROWN (right) 220) are at guard. Wright is at center. “They’re big, but there’s just not a lot of experience there,” Brown said. “There also isn’t a whole lot of depth either. I have a couple of freshmen that have come in and they haven’t been afraid. I started one in our last scrimmage and I may have one or two of them in the lineup this week for the first game.” On the defensive line, Williams and Crockett return to their end and tackle spots from a year ago, while Bertram is at end, Davis is at tackle and Pittman is at nose guard. Wright and Reed return at linebacker, while junior Vincent Lotempeo (5-9, 15), Crabtree and senior Nate Malone play defensive back

and Moody and Probst are at safety. Crabtree will be the Dragon’s punt returner, while Lotempeo will be the kick returner. Bertram will kick for YAI, while Reed will punt. “I’ve been coaching 34 years,” Brown said. “I’m getting ready to start my 24th year as a head coach, and it’s as good of a group and young leaders as I’ve ever been around. I have absolutely no problems with this group. It’s all, ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No, sir,’ they’re always smiling, they’re always cutting up. They’re just fun to be around. I can live with that. I have had talented teams where I’ve dreaded to go look at them in the morning because of their problems. This group right here has been a lot of fun.”


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A14 —HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

DeKalb County

Tigers like potential of 2013 team THOMAS CORHERN HERALD-CITIZEN Assistant Sports Editor

SMITHVILLE — After making a run at the District 8-AA championship last year before seeing their undefeated streak come to an end to eventual champion Livingston Academy in Week 10, one would expect DeKalb County ready to make another run at the title in 2013. There’s just one problem: The Tigers return just one offensive starter and three on defense. It leaves ninth-year head coach Steve Trapp in an interesting dilemma as DCHS will definitely have to rely on some youth. “There’s a lot of new names out there for the Tigers this year,” said Trapp. “We graduated a lot of guys that have been playing football here for quite a few years. I’m very excited about the opportunity and the potential with all the new names this year.” On offense, junior right guard Cameron Rhea is the only returning starter. “It’s certainly not a glamour position,” Trapp said. “He had his first start as a freshman in the playoffs and has ever since, so he knows what’s expected on that side of the ball. The rest of the O-line are all juniors that had a lot of playing time for us last year. I think we have a shot to be just as good if not better up front than we were last year. But the skill positions, there are definitely a lot of new names out there.” Junior running back Devonta Milan is one of those names who could be recognizable pretty quickly. “We didn’t get to use Devonta as much as I would have liked last year,” Trapp said. “He had some injury concerns early on in the year with his ankle, and I still don’t think he ever got over it to 100 percent last year. We had a lot of gameplan stuff for him last year, but we just weren’t able to use it. He’s looked really good so far this spring. As long as we can keep him healthy, I think he’ll have a big year for us. He’ll be backed up by Luke Boss, another junior running back who missed all of last year with a dislocated elbow. He’s anxious to get back on the field, and I’m expecting big things from him on the defensive side as well. “I really like our running back crew. I think with those two guys back there, we can do something really special.” At quarterback, the Tigers will start freshman Steven Jennings, who will have a couple of older guys to throw the ball to, including juniors Lane Ball, Aaron Patterson and Dustin Warner as well as sophomore A.J. Mooneyham. “I’m very excited about our potential at quarterback,” Trapp said. “You look at Jennings when he walks out on the field and he

2013 Tigers schedule Aug. 23 at Warren County Aug. 30 at Stone Memorial Sept. 6 Livingston Academy Sept. 13 White County Sept. 20 Cannon County Oct. 4 Trousdale County Oct. 11 York Institute Oct. 18 at Macon County Oct. 25 at Upperman Nov. 1 at Smith County BOLD denotes District 8-AA games

Quick Facts District: 8-AA (4A playoffs) Head coach: Steve Trapp Career record: 40-47 (9th) Record at school: 40-47 (9th) Assistant coaches: Michael Shaw (defensive coordinator, LB, WR), Clarence Trapp (OL, DL), Bruce Parsley (WR, DB), Kevin Young (OL, DL) Returning lettermen: N/A Returning starters, offense: 1 Returning starters, defense: 3 2012: 10-2 overall, 4-1 District 8-AA (2nd) Last playoff appearance: 2012, lost to Livingston Academy in second round

doesn’t look like a freshman. When you see him throw the football, it even surprised me. I watched him play in middle school and knew he could throw the football, but his composure and poise. ... He is still just a freshman, so there is a developmental phase and we’ll be doing that for the next four years, but he can really throw the football. He’s a smart, smart kid. That’s just a bonus for me. If he makes a mistake — and it will happen and it has happened — he learns from it. You coach him up one time and he’s got it.” Up front, juniors Josh Stone and Austin Ellis are at tackle, while juniors Jacob Hale and Rhea are at guard, while John Bradford is at center. Defense is where the Tigers see a little more age and experience. Boss and Stone at end, and senior Eli Gill and Rhea at tackle help anchor the defensive line, while junior Lance Ball, senior Patrick Spare and Lane Ball serve as linebackers. Warner and freshman Drew Castorena are at defensive back, while Patterson and Mooneyham are at safety. Matthew Poss, a freshman, will be the Tigers’ kicker and punter, while Milan and Warner will split return duties. “We don’t talk about the past a whole lot,” Trapp said, “but I said the ’08 team was special and last year’s team was special.

DeKalb County junior running back DEVONTA MILAN They had to have a down year to understand what it takes and I don’t want this group to go through it. The biggest difference was when those guys took over, we pretty much had to play with a JV team with freshmen and sophomores. It’s different this year because while we do only have three seniors, we have a big junior class. We have a lot of upperclassmen on the field. We also have some really talented young guys. We have three freshmen starting for us with Jennings, Drew Castorena and our kicker, Matthew Poss. I just really like the mixture of what we’ve got. We’re almost going to have the same identical team for the next two years. It’s going to bode well for us.” DCHS will play a tough schedule as well as the Tigers travel to Warren County this week, then to Stone Memorial on Week 1. DCHS will then play all five of its home games in a six-week stretch as it hosts Livingston Academy (Sept. 6) in a championship rematch, White County (Sept. 13), Cannon County (Sept. 20), Trousdale County (Oct. 4) and York Institute (Oct. 11). The Tigers wrap up their season with three straight road games, traveling to Macon County on Oct. 18, Upperman on Oct. 25 and Smith County on Nov. 1.

DeKalb County head coach STEVE TRAPP

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A15

District 7-A

7-A teams get breathing room after split District 7-A


UPPER CUMBERLAND — If there appears to be a collective smile across the faces of the coaches of District 7-A, there is a reason. For years, they were locked into a brutal Region 4A schedule that allowed for just two non-region games, and included perennial powerhouses Trousdale County, Gordonsville and Friendship Christian, as well as a typically strong program in Watertown. When the TSSAA broke up the region last November, it allowed the 7-A schools — Monterey, Jackson County, Clay County and Pickett County — more wiggle room in scheduling a more diverse range of schools. “We still have to go through Jackson County, Clay County and Pickett County,” Monterey coach Billy Heady said, “but it’s still not like have to go through Jackson County, Clay County, Pickett County, Gordonsville, Watertown, Friendship and Watertown. So as long as we do our job in our district, we should make the playoffs. “That’s what’s been so tough the last few years,” he continued. “You could have a really good team and be knocked out of the playoffs and be 5-5 or 4-6. It looks like you’ve had a bad year, but it’s actually been a pretty good year considering the region we were in.”

Predicted order of finish 1. Monterey 2. Jackson County 3. Clay County 4. Pickett County Monterey won the District 7-A side last year on its way to a playoff berth, and it’s the Wildcats who are favored by the district’s coaches to win the standalone district this year. Jackson County is predicted to finish second, followed by Clay County and Pickett County. Though every 7-A team’s schedule looks a lot different than last year, Heady said the focus is the same. “The only difference now for us is it lets us have a little bit of a breather in the way we get to the playoffs,” he said. “We’re excited about the new district. I think it’s gonna be competitive and it’s gonna be fun, so it’s gonna make those games pretty interesting.” And just because the Wildcats’ schedule has changed drastically — they’ve added Cookeville, Community, Wartburg, Sale Creek and Oliver Springs — that doesn’t mean it’s an easy schedule. “I’ve still got a very tough schedule,” Heady said. See 7-A, Page 16

Monterey senior running back/linebacker ALAZ LOOPER

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A16 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

Monterey / District 7-A 7-A: Split from Region 4-A means revamped schedules

Monterey head coach BILLY HEADY

Experienced core group has Wildcats aiming high CRAIG DELK HERALD-CITIZEN Sports Editor

MONTEREY — If Monterey can keep away from the injury bug, it has a chance for a special year. The last couple of years, injuries have snake-bitten the Wildcats before the season could even get rolling. In 2011, it was a knee injury to quarterback Logan Jones in the jamboree. And last year, it was a knee injury to Alaz Looper in their regular-season opener. What makes Monterey so hopeful this year is it has Looper back healthy at running back and linebacker for his senior season, and eight total starters are back on offense and seven return on defense. “We’re excited about that,” Wildcats coach Billy Heady said. “Of course, getting Alaz back is big. But we’ve got a lot of really good kids back. It’s just our depth is an issue. We’ve got a lot of returning players, but we get pretty young after that group. Looper is certainly glad to be back on the field. “I’ve been waiting for this ever since I tore my ACL on Aug. 17 (of 2012),” he said. “I couldn’t wait to be back on the field. I love it.” Heady is trying to make sure all of his gridders are ready to contribute should injuries rear their head again. “Like I said in the spring, our big task for all of us as coaches and for our team in general is to get that younger group of kids ready to go,” he said. “At some point this season, they’re gonna have to play. They’ve just gotta be ready to step in and play when we call on them.” The starting wave of Wildcats looks to be a strong one, as the lone newcomer is soph-

2013 Wildcats schedule Aug. 23 at Cookeville Aug. 30 at Upperman Sept. 6 Clay County Sept. 13 at Gordonsville Sept. 20 at Pickett County Sept. 26 Community Oct. 4 at Jackson County Oct. 11 Wartburg Oct. 24 Sale Creek Nov. 1 Oliver Springs BOLD denotes District 7-A games

Quick Facts District: 7-A (1A playoffs) Head coach: Billy Heady Career record: 45-50 (10th year) Record at school: 45-50 (10th year) Assistant coaches: Scott Hughes (offensive coordinator), Lewey Clouse (defensive coordinator), John Looper (special teams), Brad Swafford, Tommy Raines, Mike Staup Returning lettermen: 12 Returning starters, offense: 8 Returning starters, defense: 7 2012: 5-6 overall, 4-4 Region 4-A (5th) Last playoff appearance: 2012, lost to Eagleville in first round

omore quarterback Corey Heiderich. And though the Wildcats’ single-wing offense will be geared toward the run, senior center Caleb Sampley says they’ll be able to throw if needed. “One thing we can’t underestimate is See MHS, Page 17

From Page 15 “We scheduled some very tough teams in Cookeville and Upperman both, and Gordonsville so we’ve got a defending state champion on there.” The district has one new coach coming into the fold, Clay County’s Chad Barger. Barger previously coached at Sequatchie County, but is familiar with most of the district landscape from a previous coaching stop at Cannon County and his high school days at Bledsoe County. “I know Coach Heady, and he does a great job at Monterey,” Barger said. (Jackson County) Coach (Sean) Loftis, I actually played high school ball against him a little bit — he was a couple years behind me, but he played against me when he was the quarterback at Jackson (County). We’ve had a good relationship; I knew him when he was an assistant at Jackson and I was the head coach at Cannon, so we’re familiar with each other. I don’t know a whole lot about Pickett, but I’m sure those guys are improving year to year.”

Like Monterey, Clay County has a mix of bigger schools in its revamped schedule. In addition to non-district games against Red Boiling Springs, East Robertson, Whitwell and Clinton County (Ky.), the Bulldogs are playing what could be a strong 3A team in Upperman, what could be a tough private school matchup against Lancaster Christian, and a game against 4A Macon County. Jackson County has kept two of the tough former Region 4-A teams — Gordonsville and Watertown — and like Monterey is playing Upperman and Oliver Springs, as well as another 3A team in Cannon County and a private school in Grace Baptist Academy. Pickett County — looking to snap a 38game losing streak — has a better chance to get into the win column after adding several smaller schools including Clinton County (Ky.), Oakdale, Jellico and Mt. Juliet Christian. But the Bobcats aren’t immune to difficult challenges — they’re playing 5A Stone Memorial as well as Lancaster Christian.



HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A17


MHS: Improving defense a focus for Wildcats From Page 16 we’ve got a pretty good quarterback in Corey Heiderich,” he said. “We can throw it some. We have a good starting lineup, I feel, but we could get a little bit better depth.” The backfield is a strong one that does have lots of depth and experience, including Looper (624 rushing yards, 11 TDs as a sophomore in 2011), senior Isaiah Walker (480 rushing yards, 5 TDs in 2012) and junior Dalton Phillips. Heady says having such a deep backfield can hurt individual numbers, but it keeps the team chemistry strong and it means everyone is prepared. “When it comes the end of the year with the Upper Cumberland awards and those kind of things, a lot of times our kids don’t get recognized because we’ll have four or five kids with about the same kind of numbers,” Heady explained. “But as far as the team is concerned, I think it makes for a happy team because everybody is getting to do something. They’re getting to do their part to help us win. I like that. I would rather have a lot more depth in those situations so if someone goes down, another person can step in.” Up front for the Wildcats will be senior Casey Wright and junior Peyton Norrod at the tackles, sophomore Bradley Tayes at one guard and either twin brother Braxton Tayes or freshman Spencer Norrod at the other, and Sampley at center. When Monterey goes to the air, the targets will likely be junior Logan Henderson and senior Corey Goolsby, with sophomores Noah Mason and Caleb Phillips also candidates to catch passes. All of the defensive starters will be playing ironman football. Peyton Norrod and Walker are the ends, Wright and Spencer Norrod are the tackles and Sampley is the nose guard. Looper, Braxton Tayes and Dalton Phillips are the linebackers, while Bradley Tayes could also see time there. Henderson and Mason are the cornerbacks, and Caleb Phillips is the safety. “We take pride in playing on both sides, and being good at both sides,” Sampley said. “We want to play our positions well.” Junior Pascuel Ordonez will handle placekicking assignments, and classmate Dillon

Stults will be the punter. Henderson will be the punt returner, while Caleb Phillips will be the kick returner. Heady is glad to have a strong core group of veterans that will be tested right off the bat when they travel to 6A Putnam County foe Cookeville on Friday in the Wildcats’ season opener. “When you start looking at our team as a whole, our starting 11 has got a lot of people who have played a lot of football,” he said. “We’re excited about that, having people who have been in the battles before and have played state champions and have played in big games. “I don’t think they’re gonna be awestruck when we step on the Cavaliers’ football field,” he continued. “They’ve been there, they’ve done that, so they’re not gonna be in awe. Now some of our younger kids might get bug-eyed a little bit, but (the veterans) are not going to.” Looper says Monterey’s defense has been a strength in the preseason. “Our defense looks pretty mean right now,” he said. “Our offense is still pretty young, but it won’t be bad. But our defense should be pretty good.” Defense has been a focus for Heady, after the unit was hit hard by injuries last year and gave up 34.5 points per game, albeit against some very tough competition in the old Region 4-A. On the flip side, last year’s offense was potent, averaging 31.5 points per game. “Last year was probably one of our better offensive years we’ve ever had, but we weren’t as good defensively,” Heady said. “We’ve really been spending a lot of time making sure the kids understand the concept of our defense and where we want them to be. “We’ve done a lot of teaching in that, so we’re hoping to be better on that side of the football because I believe — in single-A football especially — if you can run the football and play good defense, you’ve got a good chance to win.” With the returning experience and overall talent the Wildcats have, they’re shooting for a clear goal. “We want to have a good record, but we also want to be the first (Monterey) team to win a playoff game,” Looper said. “That’s pretty much the main goal — win a playoff game, and who knows what will happen after that.”

Monterey junior defensive back/wide receiver LOGAN HENDERSON

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A18 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jackson County

New alignment could make things interesting for JCHS THOMAS CORHERN HERALD-CITIZEN Assistant Sports Editor

GAINESBORO — For Jackson County football, 2013 could be a really good year. With a readjusted district lineup now consisting of the Blue Devils, Monterey, Clay County and Pickett County, JCHS no longer has to contend with the likes of Trousdale County, Friendship Christian or Watertown to try to claim a playoff berth. Then, on top of that, the Blue Devils have a bit of experience on the squad as JCHS returns seven starters on both offense and defense. “I feel like we have some really high expectations,” JCHS coach Sean Loftis said. “We have a lot of kids back on both sides of the ball. We’re going to rely heavily on our offensive line. We’re one of the few teams in the Upper Cumberland that has a starting quarterback coming back. I feel like we just have to continue to work and get better each day.” And with three years of playoff experience under their belts, 2013 is primed to be the year Jackson County makes the next step. “We’re no longer just happy to be there,” Loftis said. “We’ve gotten a taste — and we actually still have a nasty taste in our mouths from last year’s playoff experience. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that we aren’t thinking about our 20-19 loss (to Trousdale County). We just have to continue to get better.” Among the seven returning offensive starters are five seniors — all of whom played a big role in 2012, including quarterback Jarred Medlin, running back Cameron Dukes, tight end Josh Dailey, guard Jesse Henson and center T.J. Dennis. Also returning as a starter is junior tackle Dillon Maynard and junior wide receiver Josh Mee. Henson was an all-District 7-A selection and an honorable mention on the HERALD-CITIZEN’s All-Upper Cumberland team. Medlin and Dailey were both all-district honorable mentions. “Senior leadership is definitely a strength,” Loftis said. “We have a lot of them back who have played. Our offensive line, I feel like we can play a lot of guys up front and that’s something we haven’t been able to say in a long time. Those things, especially early on in the season, are something we’ll have to rely on.” On defense, a lot of those same names take up some important spots to bolster an experienced unit. Henson stands at end, while sen-

2013 Blue Devils schedule Aug. 23 Red Boiling Springs Aug. 30 at Cannon County Sept. 6 Pickett County Sept. 13 at Oliver Springs Sept. 20 Clay County Sept. 27 at Upperman Oct. 4 Monterey Oct. 11 at Gordonsville Oct. 25 at Grace Baptist Academy Nov. 1 Watertown BOLD denotes District 7-A games

Quick Facts District: 7-A (2A playoffs) Head coach: Sean Loftis Career record: 22-22 (5th year) Record at school: 22-22 (5th year) Assistant coaches: Brandon Chaffin (defensive coordinator/LB), Bruce Heady (OL/DE), Kevin King (RB/DT), Davis Maxwell (WR/DE) Returning lettermen: N/A Returning starters, offense: 7 Returning starters, defense: 7 2012: 5-6 overall, 3-5 Region 4-A (6th) Last playoff appearance: 2012, lost to Trousdale County in first round

ior Kyle Lynn returns at tackle. Dukes, Dailey and Maynard bring some seasoned veterans at linebacker, while Joseph Walton (also a running back) leads the defensive backs. The secondary, however, could be a concern. Walton is the only returning starter there, but the Blue Devils have some older guys, such as Mee and senior Corey Pippin who are going to try to shore up the JCHS pass protection unit, along with Tyler Boiling, Bradley Murphy, Evan Richardson, Dustin Smith and Zac Davidson. It’s a good mix of experienced and young players, and the numbers continue to rise for the Blue Devils. “We’ve got a couple of new faces that are older and played a couple of years ago that we got out,” Loftis. “We have a high number of juniors and seniors and we’ve never had 40 kids at this point and time. They’ve stuck with it. They’ve been here all winter long and gotten in the weight room, and now it’s time for them to show it.” With a transition from a super-region last season to this season’s four-team district with Jackson County, Monterey, Pickett County

Jackson County junior defensive back/running back JOSEPH WALTON and Clay County, it could be an interesting race. “It changes things, but when you play Monterey, Pickett County and Clay County,” Loftis said, “we’ve been rivals with Clay County for a lot of years, then Monterey has become a good rivalry as well. Pickett County has improved a lot over the last two years. It’s anybody’s ball game. We just cannot take off a play, or we’re going to get beat.” The four-team district also allows Jackson County some flexibility in the schedule, which allows the Blue Devils to challenge themselves with some other teams, with contests at Upperman and Gordonsville among several others on the slate. “We’re not going to play cupcakes or try to get easy wins,” Loftis said. “We want to make sure if we’re going to play well, I want to play good teams. That’s going to make us better each and every week. I want to make sure by the time playoff time comes around, we are ready to go.”

Jackson County head coach SEAN LOFTIS

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A19

Clay County

Bulldogs hope Barger can continue turnaround trend CRAIG DELK HERALD-CITIZEN Sports Editor

CELINA — The last time Clay County made the playoffs, former head coach Dickie Brown was at the helm of the Bulldogs. That year, in 2008, they continued what was a steady climb back to what had been a winning tradition and finished 7-4. This year, the Bulldogs hope a former player of Brown’s can help them get back to those winning ways. Chad Barger, who prepped for Brown at Bledsoe County in the 1990s, comes to Celina after coaching the last five years at Sequatchie County, where he had winning records in four of those years and has shown a penchant for rebuilding programs on hard times. Before Barger came to Sequatchie County, the Indians had gone 1-19 in their two previous seasons. He also oversaw a similar rebuilding project with Cannon County. The Bulldogs went 2-8 last season, but Barger sees a lot of promise as soon as the foundation can be laid. “I’ve been in this situation before,” he said. “When we were at Cannon County, we went so far as to actually have to line down

and work stance, which you really shouldn’t have to in high school as much. But we’re gonna try to get some things rolling, and we’re gonna be a much better football team at the end of the year if we stay healthy than we are at the beginning.” Staying healthy will be key, because the Bulldogs have just 25 players on the roster. That means many of them may have to play ironman football — nine starters are slated to play on offense and defense. “We’ve gotta work with what we’ve got,” senior guard/linebacker Tyler Strong said. “We do have small numbers, but most of our players are pretty good.” Barger says there is one advantage of having smaller numbers — developing players to be able to throw them into the mix if needed. “It’s one of those things that you actually get to look at everyone when you have that small a number,” he said, “because you’re working your first team against the scout team and those new kids can actually show themselves a little bit on the scout team.” Barger said technique and football IQ are areas he is focusing on improving, but is looking at the good in the situation. “We’ve got a good core group of kids,” he

said. “They’re young — even the older kids are young. We have 10 seniors, and only five of them were on the team last year. I have a lot of new faces, so we’re pretty raw when it comes to technique and that kind of thing. That can be good and bad, because you’ve got some kids coming in that you don’t have to break bad habits with and you can kind of start from scratch.” One aspect that could allow the Bulldogs grow into a better team is their overhauled schedule. No longer in the mighty Region 4-A and now a part of the four-team District 7-A (including Jackson County, Monterey and Pickett County), they have seven games to work with and will see a lot of new faces. New teams on the schedule are 2A East Robertson, 3A Upperman, 1A Whitwell, non-TSSAA schools Lancaster Christian and Clinton County (Ky.), and 4A Macon County. “I think it’s gonna be more competition now,” senior quarterback/defensive back Chris Nagy said. “I feel like we’ll be able to play with a lot more people, and it’ll be better games overall.” Barger says replacing Friendship ChrisSee CLAY, Page 20

Clay County head coach CHAD BARGER

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A20 —HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

Clay County / Pickett County


New schedule gives Bobcats hope CRAIG DELK HERALD-CITIZEN Sports Editor

BYRDSTOWN — Perhaps no team in the new football District 7-A was affected as positively by the new scheduling as Pickett County was. The Bobcats — who have lost 38 consecutive games — were locked in a Region 4A schedule that allowed them only two non-region games while having to play every year against powerhouses Friendship Christian, Gordonsville, Trousdale County and the like. But now, PCHS is in a four-team district that includes Clay County, Jackson County and Monterey, giving it newfound freedom to add seven non-district games. That freedom — along with nine returning starters on both sides of the ball — makes the Bobcats very hopeful success is just around the corner. “My big thing is we’ve got at least half our schedule competitive, at the very least,” Bobcats coach O.B. Caudle said. “That’s the biggest thing. And really, I think all of our schedule we can be competitive with the bunch I’ve got this year. I’m pretty happy.” Having a lot of players who have seen the

Pickett County senior quarterback/defensive back AARON REAGAN field gives Caudle a different feeling about 2013. “I think they realize what we’ve got on

this team, and they really know that if they buckle down and decide to step up, they’ll win some ball games this year,” he said. The Bobcat players share that enthusiasm. “I think we’ll have more heart and desire this year than we’ve had in previous years,” senior offensive/defensive tackle Maverick Melton said. “We’ve got an older team, a more mature team. I won’t say we have more talent, but we’ve got more people who are dedicated to the program this year.” Despite having lots of returning starters, one big weakness the Bobcats will battle is lack of depth. They have 13-15 players, leaving them no wiggle room for injuries. But that doesn’t dampen Caudle’s enthusiasm. “This is the best football team we’ve had, period, talent-wise,” he said. “I can put 11 good football players out there — not bodies, football players on the field. I’m excited, they’re excited, and I don’t have to play a bunch of freshmen. For once, I can start eight seniors and juniors. “Of course, everybody’s gonna play because that’s just the way it is here,” Caudle continued. “But I’m very, very optimistic,

2013 Bobcats schedule Aug. 23 at Clinton County (Ky.) Aug. 30 Oakdale Sept. 6 at Jackson County Sept. 13 at Stone Memorial Sept. 20 Monterey Sept. 27 at Jellico Oct. 4 at Clay County Oct. 11 Mt. Juliet Christian Oct. 25 at Red Boiling Springs Nov. 1 Lancaster Christian BOLD denotes District 7-A games

Quick Facts

District: 7-A (1A playoffs) Head coach: O.B. Caudle Career record: 0-20 (3rd year) Record at school: 0-20 (3rd year) Assistant coaches: Jeff Holt (assistant head coach), David Reagan, Justin Sensabaugh Returning lettermen: 12 Returning starters, offense: 9 Returning starters, defense: 9 2012: 0-10 overall, 0-8 Region 4-A (9th) See PCHS, Page 21 Last playoff appearance: N/A

CLAY: Could be dark horse in ’13 if it stays healthy From Page 19 tian, Gordonsville, Trousdale County, Watertown, DeKalb County and Silverdale Baptist Academy — who went a combined 61-16 — doesn’t mean the schedule will be easy. “Looking down our schedule, we have some teams that are improving and are doing a lot better than they were, so we’re gonna be in a dogfight every week,” he said. Joining Nagy (6-0, 170 pounds) — last year’s leading receiver with 13 catches for 250 yards and three touchdowns — in the backfield will be seniors Jayar Fraga (5-9, 170) and Harley Smith (5-10, 160), and junior Matt Fraga (5-7, 150) at running back. Junior Mitchell Short (6-1, 170) could also see some time in the backfield. Jayar Fraga was the team’s leading returning rusher in 2012, as he totaled 83 carries for 625 yards and four scores. He is also the team’s leading returning tackler, with 55 last year. They will be flanked by sophomores Wyatt Mabry (6-5, 200) and Clay Copass (6-1, 180) at the wideouts. Blocking up front for the Bulldogs will be senior Sloane Tiernan (6-3, 270) and sophomore Tyson Flemming (5-9, 190) at the

Clay County senior guard/linebacker TYLER STRONG tackles, seniors Taylor Strong (6-2, 265) and Tyler Strong (6-1, 190) at the guards and junior Jordan Collins (5-11, 260) at center.

On defense, seniors Carl Ledbetter (6-1, 225) and Brandon Owens (6-1, 190) are the ends, Taylor Strong will be at tackle and Flemming is penciled in as the nose guard. The linebacking corps includes both Fragas and Tyler Strong, while Copass and Smith are the defensive backs. Mabry is slated to be the safety, while Nagy could also see time in the secondary. The special teams group includes freshman Balthazar Sebastian (5-10, 180) at placekicker, Ledbetter at punter, and Jayar Fraga as kick and punt returner. If the Bulldogs can pull everything together, they have high hopes for the season. “Hopefully we’ll win a bunch more ball games than we have the last few years — at least a winning season,” Matt Fraga said. Tyler Strong added, “I want to at least win the district and go to the playoffs, because we haven’t been to the playoffs in a long time.” Barger says Clay County’s hopes will rely on staying healthy. “I think we’ve got a chance to compete with some people and surprise some folks if we stay healthy,” he said. CCHS opens Aug. 30 by hosting East Robertson at 7:30 p.m.

2013 Bulldogs schedule Aug. 30 East Robertson Sept. 6 at Monterey Sept. 13 Upperman Sept. 20 at Jackson County Sept. 27 Red Boiling Springs Oct. 4 Pickett County Oct. 11 at Whitwell Oct. 18 at Lancaster Christian Oct. 25 Clinton County (Ky.) Nov. 1 Macon County BOLD denotes District 7-A games

Quick Facts District: 7-A (1A playoffs) Head coach: Chad Barger Career record: 40-46 (9th year) Record at school: 0-0 (1st year) Assistant coaches: Daniel Strong (defensive coordinator), Mike Head (OL/LB) Returning lettermen: 14 Returning starters, offense: 5 Returning starters, defense: 5 2012: 2-8 overall, 2-6 Region 4-A (7th) Last playoff appearance: 2008, lost to South Pittsburg in first round

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A21


Tigers aim to prove doubters wrong after title run CRAIG DELK HERALD-CITIZEN Sports Editor

GORDONSVILLE — Gordonsville reached the pinnacle of the high school football experience in 2012, winning the Class 1A state title in a thrilling finish over Huntingdon. After losing a large and talented senior class, the Tigers are out to prove that this year’s group is just as capable. Though they have just one starter back on offense and two on defense, coach Ron “Moose” Marshall points out an important fact. “I tell our kids all the time, the kids we’ve got starting right now went against our starters last year all year long,” he said. “I said, ‘You went against the best in the state every day,’ and that’s the kind of mold that I’ve tried to fit into them, that they are as good as they want to be. Hopefully they’ll be able to respond to that.” The cupboard certainly isn’t bare. Senior Kaelin Cason, the team’s leading rusher last year with 2,009 yards and 28 touchdowns, is back along with junior Billy Newton (491 rushing yards, 9 TDs) and sophomore Dusten Holder (254 rushing yards, 4 TDs), giving the Tigers a potent ground game.

“Billy and Dusten both are really good running backs, too,” Marshall said. “With that tandem of those three, it takes a little bit of the load off of Cason. Cason can wind up carrying the ball as much as we need him to, but we always have somebody else. Anytime any one of those three touch the ball, they can go all the way with it.” The Gordonsville senior class is highly motivated to continue the success of last year’s group. “Ever since we were in junior high, we were behind that class,” senior tight end/defensive end Parrish Little said. “After they finally won it, we can get out of their shadow. We realize it’s our time to try to accomplish it. But it’s a lot of motivation knowing that it’s possible.” The seniors also have perhaps a chip on their shoulder, wanting to prove doubters wrong. “People don’t think we can do it because we’re new and we lost everybody,” senior wide receiver/cornerback Cody Bane said. “We’re just all ready. All the seniors, me included, we’re ready to make our own stand and show that just because we lost everybody, we still have a good team.” A new quarterback will be calling signals,

junior Noah Smotherman. In addition to the backfield group, he’ll have Bane and fellow seniors Zac Jackson and Austin Vaden to throw to. Other potential pass-catching candidates are senior Joey Phillips and sophomore Johnny Oberle, as well as junior tight end Kyle Ragsdale. The offensive line will have a lot of new faces, and there are some positions still up for grabs. The starting tackles will be senior Dalton Stogsdill and junior Keigen Daniels, while juniors Cody Quarles, Colby Edwards and Ralph Salisbury are vying for the guard positions. Senior Trevor Glover and Ragsdale could see time at center. The defensive side of the ball also has several positions up for grabs. Little is the strong side end and Ragsdale is the weak side end. Quarles and Edwards are battling for weak side tackle duties, while Stogsdill and Salisbury and doing the same at the strong side tackle. Daniels and Glover are vying for nose guard duties. The linebackers will include junior Taylor Hunt, Newton and Cason, while possibilities at cornerback include Bane, Jackson See GHS, Page 22

Gordonsville senior running back/linebacker KAELIN CASON

PCHS: With limited numbers, all will play ironman football From Page 20

more so than I’ve ever been in seven years.” One of the veterans PCHS has is four-year starting quarterback senior Aaron Reagan (6-0, 175). Reagan passed for 1,376 yards and 10 touchdowns with 17 interceptions last year while finishing 97-of-200 through the air. He is joined in the backfield by juniors Dalton Gore (6-0, 190) and Andrew Conner (5-11, 190), and sophomore Ben Neal (510, 170) at running back. Gore ran for 400 yards and three scores on 82 carries last year. Sophomore Dakota Tompkins (5-10, 175) and senior Jeremy White (6-1, 220) are the wideouts, though the Bobcats will spread the ball around a lot in the passing game, including to the running backs. White is the team’s leading returning receiver (25 rec., 370 yards, 4 TDs), while Tompkins (18 rec., 253 yards, 2 TDs) Gore (19 rec., 166 yards) and Conner (17 rec., 159 yards) also got into the mix last year. Sophomore Noah King (5-11, 175) and freshman Joseph Conner (5-9, 160) are other possible candidates to catch passes

for the Bobcats. Melton and junior Caleb Bilbrey (6-1, 250) are the offensive tackles, while senior Cody Sherrill (5-10, 225) and freshman Isaak Koger (5-10, 200) are the guards. Sophomore Kord Blackmon (6-0, 220) is the center. All of those players will see time on defense. White and Andrew Conner are the ends, Blackmon and Melton — the team’s leading returning tackler with 63 — are the tackles, and Sherrill is the nose guard. Gore, Koger and Neal are the linebackers, Reagan (two interceptions in 2012) and Joseph Conner are the defensive backs and Tompkins is the safety. The special teams crew includes Andrew Conner at kicker, White at punter and Tompkins as the primary returner. The Bobcats are highly motivated to put their losing streak behind them. “We have big expectations, from where we’ve switched schedules especially,” Reagan said. “I don’t want to say we blame the reason we weren’t winning on the schedule and how it was tougher competition. “But now we don’t have an excuse. We have to go out there and win.”

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A22 —HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gordonsville / Cookeville Freshmen 2013 Tigers schedule Aug. 23 at Upperman Aug. 30 Smith County Sept. 6 Red Boiling Springs Sept. 13 Monterey Sept. 20 at Lancaster Christian Sept. 27 at Westmoreland Oct. 4 at Watertown Oct. 11 Jackson County Oct. 18 at Trousdale County Nov. 1 Goodpasture BOLD denotes District 8-A games

Quick Facts District: 8-A (1A playoffs) Head coach: Ron “Moose” Marshall Career record: N/A (10th year) Record at school: 43-17 (6th year) Assistant coaches: Scott Clemons (offensive coordinator/DL), Jonathon Bush (QB/DE), Justin Haley (RB/DB), Gary Glover (WR/LB), Russel Bennett (TE/DE), Jason Stewart (OL/DL), Michael King (special assistant coach) Returning lettermen: 30 Returning starters, offense: 1 Returning starters, defense: 2 2012: 13-1 overall, 8-0 Region 4-A (1st) Last playoff appearance: 2012, won state title over Huntingdon

GHS: Hopes title run pays dividends in ’13

From Page 21 and Oberle. Other players who could end up in the secondary at the safety positions include Vaden, Holder and Phillips. Sophomore Tyler Prevek will handle placekicking assignments, while the punting duties could end up with either Vaden or senior Kie Blackburn. Another key special-teams player will be Glover at long snapper. Though there is a lot of talent to replace from last year’s team, Marshall believes this year’s group learned some lessons from the 2012 team. “Our kids understand what it takes to get there,” he said. “They’ve been there, and once you’ve been there it’s a big difference between never having been there and knowing what it takes and having what it takes. “We lost a lot of linemen from last year, and we’ve gotta rebuild the line,” he continued. “With time and experience, we think we’re gonna be OK there. Hopefully our kids will respond to the challenge that’s been put forth to them, and they’ll be able to get ready to go.”

Medlin looks to mold freshmen into future Cavalier contributors CRAIG DELK HERALD-CITIZEN Sports Editor

COOKEVILLE — The No. 1 job of a freshman team coach is to get players acclimated to the high school game and ready to contribute for the remainder of their prep careers. Cookeville freshman coach Steve Medlin is doing just that for the Cavaliers, and he’s got some youngsters who could be difference-makers for the team not only this year but years to come. “We’ve got a good bunch of kids who get out there and practice and are coming together,” said Medlin, a longtime Cavalier assistant who is back with the staff after a five-year hiatus. “It’s taken awhile because you’ve got three feeder schools (Algood, Avery Trace and Prescott South), and those boys played against each other last year and it’s taken them a while to come together. We don’t have a lot of depth; we’ve just gotta keep everybody healthy and in the right spots, and I think we’ll be OK.” Medlin is looking to develop as many players as possible at different positions so they’ll be able to help the varsity Cavaliers in a variety of ways in the future. “We’re using three quarterbacks and two or three tailbacks,” Medlin said. “We’re not just locked in on a certain kid; we’re giving everybody a chance to see if that’s the position that fits them. We’re thinking about what the varsity has got in the next few years, what they’re graduating and what kind of holes we’ll need to fill. We’re looking down the road with these freshmen, and that means a lot to me — giving them chances.” On offense, Cody Hutcherson (6-0, 147) is penciled in as the starting quarterback. But Medlin is also looking at Samuel Aranda (5-10, 160) at time there — Aranda was unable to play in last week’s jamboree because of a leg injury. Medlin could also work in starting tailback Blake Ashburn (5-4, 130) behind center. “Blake Ashburn is a quality football player who is getting some looks at running back and quarterback, and the defensive secondary,” Medlin said. “We’re just trying to feel him out and see what all he can do for our team.” Brandon Dobson (5-6, 134) and Deion Vinson (5-5, 139) are slated to see time at fullback. “Brandon Dobson runs hard and does a good job blocking,” Medlin said. “And Deion Vinson, he’s a little runner that is a good cutter; he cuts hard and runs to the

Cookeville freshman running back BLAKE ASHBURN 2013 Cavaliers schedule Aug. 22 Aug. 29 Sept. 5 Sept. 19 Sept. 26 Sept. 30 Oct. 7

Livingston Academy at Franklin County at Coffee County at Upperman Stone Memorial Smith County Rhea County

Quick Facts Head coach: Steve Medlin Years at school: 16 Assistant coaches: Brad Eich, Deke Waters, Beau Wynn 2012: 6-2

Cookeville freshmen head coach STEVE MEDLIN daylight. He does a good job with that.” The passing targets include tight end Winston Nelson (6-0, 140), split end Harmon Wattenbarger (6-1, 185) and flanker Chance Bartlett (5-5, 160). Offensive line is an area Medlin doesn’t have a lot of depth, and Medlin is looking to address that. Ben Pridemore (5-8, 212) and Allen Richardson (5-8, 201) are slated to be the tackles, Conner McKenzie (5-9, 164) and Justin Light (5-8, 177) are the guards

and Peyton Rodgers (5-8, 174) is the center. “We’re not real heavy on the offensive line; we’re trying to develop some offensive linemen,” Medlin said. “I wish we had a few more, but we’re just gonna have to see how that goes.” Several of those same players will start on the defensive side as well. Pridemore, Light and Jesus Torres (5-6, 167) make up the line, while Perry Sullivan (5-9, 171), Dobson, Nabil Alouani (5-10, 127) and Wattenbarger are the linebackers. Kobe Bryant (5-4, 134) and Bartlett are the corners, and Ashburn and Hutcherson are the safeties.

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A23

Avery Trace

ATMS looks to learn from last season THOMAS CORHERN HERALD-CITIZEN Assistant Sports Editor

COOKEVILLE — The easiest way to describe Avery Trace’s 2012 season, the first for head coach Kyle Rivers, was a learning experience. The Raiders went 1-7 in the 2012 campaign in a tough transition year. Now, the numbers are up as ATMS touts 37 players on the 2013 roster and looks ready to make some noise in an increasingly challenging middle school scene in Putnam County. “I’m very excited about this team,” Rivers said. “We have a lot of numbers out here. The guys have stuck it out through the conditioning we’ve done and the new playbook that we have. Just the boys who have come out here who have improved from last year and the new boys I have, I’m very confident about this new year.” And 2012 was a learning experience for just about everyone involved. “Yes, it was,” Rivers said. “Being my first year as a head coach, getting everything organized, only having 18 players — it was a learning experience, but it really set the tone for being organized this year and coming together as a team and as a unit that can last the whole season.” Rivers is excited for the roster the Raiders have this season. “We have 37 players, 37 strong players who will fight to the end,” Rivers said. “We have some big boys on the line, and we have an outstanding backfield. I think on the line and backfield, we’re going to pound a lot of running, then incorporate the passing game into it.” The coach also sees several key players as the Raiders try to have a more successful 2013 campaign. “Our players to watch would be (offensive and defensive lineman) Caleb Smith, (offensive and defensive lineman) Conner Wright, (running back and linebacker) Thomas Hammons, (running back and linebacker) Sam Oldham, (running back and defensive back) Tyler Fletcher, (wide receiver and defensive back) Harley Key and my tight end Tyler Milligan (who will also play linebacker on defense),” Rivers said. “Those are the guys I really think could stand out this year.” It’s still hard to tell just what weaknesses the team has early in the season, but there are things Rivers would like to see improved. “We still need to work on our conditioning,” Rivers said. “Strength-wise, we have that and we have the numbers. But weaknesses, we won’t really know until we get a

2013 Raiders schedule Aug. 15 Aug. 22 Aug. 29 Sept. 5 Sept. 12 Sept. 19 Sept. 26 Oct. 3

Fentress County at Red Boiling Springs at Burks Cornerstone Overton County Algood at Prescott South at Celina

Quick Facts Head coach: Kyle Rivers Career record: 1-7 (2nd year) Record at school: 1-7 (2nd year) Assistant coaches: Greg Shope (OL/DL), Beau Debord (OL/LB), Michael Lamb (WR/LB), Jon Clouse (RB/DL) Returning lettermen: N/A Returning starters, offense: N/A Returning starters, defense: N/A 2012: 1-7

Avery Trace head coach KYLE RIVERS game under our belts.” Still, Rivers has a lot of confidence in his eighth-grade group. “The eighth-grade guys are a bunch of studs that want to be out there and be team leaders,” Rivers said. “They will be the ones setting the example on the field.” With as strong as the Putnam County teams are starting to become, the schedule certainly doesn’t do any favors for anyone. “It’s definitely a tough middle school schedule,” Rivers said. “We play just about everyone around here, and it’s all divided up pretty well. There’s a lot of great competition for the boys, so they can see they’re not going to dominate anybody, but nothing’s gonna come easy either. They’re gonna have to fight for every touchdown.”

A24 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013


Panthers short on experience, but not on their expectations CRAIG DELK HERALD-CITIZEN Sports Editor

MONTEREY — Burks Middle School has very little experience returning from last year’s squad that finished 7-2. But the Panthers still have the talent to have a strong year, and they have expectations to replicate their 2012 success. “The talent is there,” Burks coach Kyle Childress said. “It’s just unproven right now, and it’s inexperienced. As the season goes we’ll start learning that, ‘Hey, we can play and just because the guys from last year aren’t there, we can pick up the slack.’ “We’ve got guys that have been there. They’ve just not had their time,” Childress continued. “It’s finally their time, and they have a chance to kind of pick up where we left off last year.” To help the Panthers reach their goals, Childress has tried to help them get as many reps as possible. “It’s one of those (years) where we’re really raw and we’re really inexperienced,” he said. “We don’t really have a lot of games under our belt or live action under our belt. So we definitely hit a lot in the spring, and we did a jamboree in the spring to let everybody get some live reps coming into fall camp.” Burks has just one returning starter on both sides of the ball combined, eighth-grade safety Cody Charlton. Charlton will also see double duty as a starting running back. Despite the lack of experience, nearly every starter on the both sides of the ball is an eighth-grader. Hunter Davis is the quarterback, while Tommy Wilkinson joins Charlton to share running back duties. Davis’ targets in the passing game will be Wade Cooper and Brannon Buckner. On the offensive line, Burks has some great size to turn to, including right tackle Austin Martin (6-0, 300) and center Dalton Coleman (6-2, 230). Both are newcomers to the Panthers, as Martin did not play last year and Coleman comes to the program from Algood. Coleman has been out with a hand injury, but will return soon. In the meantime, Trent Finney will handle duties at center. Joining them on the line will be left tackle Gage Delape, left guard Logan Reed and seventh-grade right guard Logan Phillips. Childress lists Phillips as another impact newcomer along with Martin and Coleman. On the other side of the ball, Delape and

2013 Panthers schedule Aug. 8 Aug. 15 Aug. 22 Aug. 29 Sept. 5 Sept. 12 Sept. 19 Oct. 3

at Stone Elementary at Algood at Cornerstone at Avery Trace at Jackson County vs. Red Boiling Springs (at Prescott South) at Prescott South at Algood (Burks homecoming)

Quick Facts Head coach: Kyle Childress Career record: 23-18 (6th year) Record at school: 23-18 (6th year) Assistant coaches: Jody Hoover (defensive coordinator), Matt Duff (offensive coordinator), Steve Charlton Returning lettermen: 6 Returning starters, offense: 0 Returning starters, defense: 1 2012: 7-2

Coleman are the ends, Reed and Ledbetter are the tackles, and Martin and Finney will share time at nose guard. The linebackers include Devan Hyso and Michael Puckett, another impact newcomer who did not play last year. Wilkinson and Cooper are the defensive backs, and Charlton is the safety. Roni Miguel is slated to handle kicking duties and Puckett is the punter. Wilkinson will see time as punt returner and kick returner, and Puckett will join Wilkinson at kick returner. One thing the Panthers will have to overcome this year is a schedule that consists entirely of road games. Burks played its home games on the old Monterey High School field before the school was torn down. Childress said he’s thankful for the efforts of Algood coach Gavin Moore and Prescott South coach Michael McCarver, who are letting the Panthers have a home game on their fields. “Algood is gonna let us have our homecoming at their field this year, and they’re gonna let the second game that we play with them be a home game for us at their field. … It will be treated as a home game for Burks,” Childress said. “Coach Moore and his staff and the administration at Algood have been very helpful to us since we do not have a field to play on. And so has coach McCarver from Prescott.”

Burks running back TOMMY WILKINSON

Burks head coach KYLE CHILDRESS

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A25


New leadership, new faces for CMS THOMAS CORHERN

2013 Yellow Jackets schedule

HERALD-CITIZEN Assistant Sports Editor

BAXTER — There will be a lot of new faces at Cornerstone Middle School, but there will be one familiar face taking on a new role. Greg Phillips, who had spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach for the Yellow Jackets, enters the 2013 season as the new CMS football head coach, and will try to lead the team to an improvement over last year’s 1-7 record and sixth-place finish. “It’s definitely different,” Phillips said. “It’s a totally different role. All eyes are on you. Everything falls to you. It’s all on you now, so you have to take the responsibility. You can’t sit behind and let someone else take the blame. You have to step up and it’s all on me now.” The Yellow Jackets bring back five lettermen from 2012 on a team that touts 42 players. But there are a lot of young athletes who could make an impact, including quarterback/defensive back Sidney Brewington, wide receiver/kick returner Austin Nichols, wide reciver Robert Gist, offensive guard Jacob Brooks and defensive end Tristan AlCOUPON Carryout Special

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Aug. 13 Aug. 19 Aug. 22 Aug. 29 Sept. 5 Sept. 12 Sept. 19 Sept. 26

Gordonsville at Algood Burks Overton County at Avery Trace Prescott South at Fentress County at DeKalb County

Quick Facts Head coach: Greg Phillips Career record: 0-0 (1st year) Record at school: 0-0 (1st year) Assistant coaches: Steven Webb (backs/LB), Will Harvick (WR/DB), Kris Fields (OL/DL), J.T. Flowers (OL/DL), Brandon Wheeler (OL/DL) Cornerstone head coach GREG PHILLIPS Returning lettermen: 5 lison. once we can get them out here and put them Returning starters, offense: 2 “We’ve got a lot of athletes,” Phillips said. in the right positions, I think we’ve got a Returning starters, defense: 1 “But we’re still trying to figure out where pretty talented, pretty athletic bunch. The 2012: 1-7 we’re going to put some of them. Overall, See CMS, Page 26

A26 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cornerstone / Prescott South CMS: Jackets feel like they have something to prove in 2013

Backfield, line strengths for ‘ironman’ Bulldogs CRAIG DELK

From Page 25 only concern is coming out and letting other teams punch us in the mouth. We’ve got to be physical at the point of attack.” Phillips feels like there are several players to watch in this upcoming season. “I feel like Sidney Brewington is really going to make an impact,” Phillips said. “He’s just a seventh-grader right now, but he’s a pretty special player. Jordan Whitehead and Tristan Jared are two players who really run the ball hard with Clay Mahan. We’ve got some pretty talented wideouts — Eli Butler and Austin Nichols, they can do multiple things, catch, run, they can do it all. We’ve got some pretty good players on defense as well. Andrew Warren has played some quarterback for us, but he’s playing linebacker now. He’ll come up and hit you.” Still after a tough 1-7 record last season, the Jackets feel like they have something to prove. “We’ve talked a lot about last year and how last year went,” Phillips said. “We still have days where we can’t go outside and do stuff, we’ll stay inside and watch film, break it down and talk about why last year was the way it was. We’re still looking back to last year and are trying to fix things. I know you usually want to put things like that in the past, but it happened for a reason, but you have to correct it.” But the schedule certainly isn’t easy with a pretty tough Putnam County slate ahead. “I’m expecting a pretty tough bunch,” Phillips said. “Prescott South is athletics. Burks is a very improved team and had a big win the other night against Stone. Algood’s always well-coached and very organized. Avery Trace, you never know what to expect from them. Everybody’s competition, so we’ve got to get ready for them.”

Cornerstone quarterback SIDNEY BREWINGTON


COOKEVILLE — With the large class of eighth-graders that Prescott South Middle School lost from last year’s successful season, coach Michael McCarver is harkening back to his high school days for inspiration to give his team. The Bulldogs have some talented players, but they’re also short on depth, meaning many of his players will have to play on both sides of the ball. “The biggest thing will be staying in shape and being ready to go, playing ironman football like we used to do back at South Pittsburg,” McCarver said, recalling the way the 1A powerhouse played. “That’s gonna be our toughest battle — within ourselves. If we can stay away from injuries, I think we’ll be all right.” McCarver has taken over the program after the program’s first coach, Lewey Clouse, went back to his alma mater to be an assistant coach at Monterey High School. And McCarver is leaning on what appears to be a solid backfield that includes tailback Jarquzes Hicks, halfback Davin Dyal and fullback Michael Scavo, all eighth-graders. “I think our backfield is gonna be a strong point for us,” he said. “It was last year as well. I feel like I’ve got three good running backs who can carry the load, and that’s probably gonna be our deepest position. I’ve also got a good group of linemen. My first group of linemen is pretty big. … They play smart, and they’ve got good heads on their shoulders. I think that’s a strength for us, too.” The earth-movers up front will include eighth-grader Braxton Green and seventh-grader Matthew Erickson at the tackles, eighth-graders Jack Wiggins and Carl Baraclough at the guards and eighthgrader Chance Parker at center. Seventh-grader Blaine Espinosa will be the Bulldogs’ quarterback, and when they go to the air Espinosa will throw to eighth-graders Rocky Szmydt, Christian Guinn and Noah Hilliker. Nine of those players will be pulling double duty, including Parker at defensive end; Green and Erickson at defensive tackle; Scavo, Dyal and Wiggins at See PSMS, Page 27

Prescott South fullback MICHAEL SCAVO 2013 Bulldogs schedule

Quick Facts

Aug. 15

Overton County

Aug. 22

Fentress County

Aug. 29

at Algood

Sept. 5

Walter J. Baird

Sept. 12

at Cornerstone

Sept. 19


Sept. 26

Avery Trace

Head coach: Michael McCarver Career record: 0-0 (1st year) Record at school: 0-0 (1st year) Assistant coaches: Steve Pierce (defensive coordinator/line), Derrick Springs (DE/RB), Nathan Strong (DL/special teams), Spencer Perrin (DB/WR) Returning lettermen: N/A Returning starters, offense: 3 Returning starters, defense: 5 2012: 6-2

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A27

Prescott South / Algood

Redskins look to their veterans 2013 Redskins schedule


Aug. 15 Aug. 19 Aug. 29 Sept. 5 Sept. 12 Sept. 17 Sept. 19 Sept. 26 Oct. 3

Burks Cornerstone Prescott South at Winfree Bryant Celina at Jackson County at Avery Trace at Albany (Ky.) Burks

Quick Facts Head coach: Gavin Moore Career record: 18-8 (4th year) Record at school: 18-8 (4th year) Assistant coaches: Justin Brown (defensive coordinator/WR/DB), Austin Norton (OL/LB), Jake Libbey (OL/DL), Andrew Bilbrey (WR/DB) Returning lettermen: N/A Returning starters, offense: 4 Returning starters, defense: 5 2012: 4-4

ALGOOD — Middle school football could be aptly described as peaks and valleys. One year, a program can be eighth-grade dominated and have more size, while another year it could be a lot younger with less size. This year, Algood coach Gavin Moore may have one of those “peak” type of teams. A year after battling to a 4-4 record with a slew of younger players, Moore’s starting lineup on both sides of the ball is slated to be an entirely eighth-grade group, giving him hope for a successful year. “We had a good crop of seventh-graders last season that got some valuable minutes and we’re bringing them back,” Moore said. “(We

have) four starters back on the offensive side and five on the defensive side, so that’s a good foundation for us. “Plus, we have a fair amount of players that are returning that didn’t play a lot last year, but because of what they know are gonna prove themselves an asset to the team,” Moore continued. “Then, we’ve got a strong group of eighth-graders that wasn’t on the team last year that just decided to come out. That could be our X-factor.” Starters returning on both sides of the ball include running back/linebacker Jerry Hammons, running back/linebacker Jacob Libbey, tight end/linebacker Cade Smith and offensive/defensive tackle Devin Parker. In addition, deSee ALGOOD, Page 28

PSMS: Lost large class of eighth-graders from last year From Page 26 linebacker; Hilliker at cornerback; Hicks at rover; and Szmydt at free safety. Others slated for starting time on defense are a pair of eighth-graders: Landon Engle at the other end and Shaun Dexter at the other cornerback. Baraclough will handle both kicking and punting duties, while Dyal and Hicks will serve as the punt and kick returners. McCarver said staying healthy may be the biggest key for the Bulldogs. “I think we lost 26 eighth-graders from last year, so we’re pretty low as far as (number of players),” he said. “We have about 27 players. I think we have only eight or nine eighth-graders this year. We’re in a rebuilding year. “We’ve got some good players and some good talent, but our depth is pretty low this year. Our first bunch that we have should be a pretty good group if they can just jell together and stay in shape.”

Prescott South head coach MICHAEL McCARVER

Algood running back/linebacker JERRY HAMMONS

A28 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013


ALGOOD: Experience could prove to be important From Page 27 fensive end Dylan Sparks will return to his starting spot. Coming off their 9-0 season from 2011, the Redskins went through some growing pains in 2012, getting routed a couple times as the youngsters grew into their roles. But they also pulled out two wins by a touchdown or less early on, as well as a pair of double-digit victories later in the season. “We were able to pull out a couple of really close wins. I think that experience may prove itself to be pretty important this season,” Moore said. “We also got blown out a couple times, and they didn’t like it. I think this season, in those sorts of games, we’ll be able to close the gap a little bit.” Something that will also help is lots of experience in the backfield — in addition to Hammons and Libbey toting the ball, Logan Anderson and Hunter Harcum are slated for starting time at running back. Parker Klein will be the quarterback. Klein and Anderson are listed by Moore as impact newcomers. “I think the caliber of backfield that we

have, coupled with some pretty decent size on the offensive line — which we didn’t have last year — I’ve got some pretty high expectations for our running game as compared to last season,” Moore said. When the Redskins go to the air, Moore will turn to Will Arnett, Luke Hayslette, Jeff Enochs and Austin Molnar. The versatile Smith is slated for starting duty at tight end along with Reece Jones. Protecting those players will be Parker and Ross Denton at the tackles, Conner Bostion and Wes Brady at the guards and Garrett Siedlecki at center. With a large returning group of experienced players, not as many will have to put in double duty on the defensive side. Joining Sparks at end will be Parker Payne, another player Moore says is an impact newcomer. Morgan McAbee and Parker are the tackles, and the linebacking corps consists of Cole Gray, Libbey, Hammons and Smith. J.P. Bush and Jathan Gentry are the defensive backs, while Anderson is penciled in at safety. Hammons will handle kicking duties.

Algood head coach GAVIN MOORE

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A29

Tennessee Tech

Tech tries to rebound from disappointing 2012 2013 Golden Eagles schedule


COOKEVILLE — If you were to ask anyone on the Tennessee Tech football team about the 2012 season, there would probably be one word that would repeat a lot. Disappointing. After winning the Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2011 and having a large group of returnees, then the last-minute addition of former Tennessee wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers to the mix, the Golden Eagles were on cloud nine as the season started, primed to repeat as league champs. But that was before the injuries set in. From Week 3’s trip to Football Bowl Subdivision foe Oregon and onward into the OVC slate, the injured list grew longer and longer, reaching as many as 57 names — from something as trivial as a twisted ankle to as major as needing surgery — during the team’s open date last season. As Tech won just one OVC game last season, a thrilling win over UT Martin at home, it was no surprise to see the Golden Eagles picked sixth in the preseason poll. Not that head coach Watson Brown was concerned either. “When we won the thing, we were picked seventh,” Brown joked. “It’s like I always say, I don’t know who I picked. If you aksed me who I picked 1, 2, 3, I couldn’t tell you. It means nothing. We never talk about it. We didn’t the year we won it and we won’t this year. I don’t care where we were picked. We’ve still got to line up and play them all for three hours, and in that time, someone’s going to win and someone’s going to lose.” Still, it’s not like what happened in 2012 is too far out of their minds. “We’re excited about this year,” Brown said. “Last year was not fun for us at all. We’re glad to get that taste out of our mouths a bit. But last year set this year up to be a better year than we ever imagined. I thought last year’s team had a great chance to win. I thought if there was going to be a falloff, it would have been this year’s team, then we’d come back the next year. But because of those injuries. ... We have a lot of people back because of injuries.

Aug. 29 Cumberland Sept. 7 at Wisconsin Sept. 14 at Hampton Sept. 21 Tennessee State Sept. 28 Indiana State Oct. 5 at Murray State Oct. 10 UT Martin Oct. 19 at Eastern Kentucky Oct. 26 Jacksonville State Nov. 2 at Eastern Illinois Nov. 9 at Southeast Missouri Nov. 23 Austin Peay BOLD denotes OVC games

Quick Facts

Tennessee Tech junior quarterback Darian Stone “Our style of play needs depth. We need to play a lot of players and that’s the number one thing we’ve got right now.” With so much turnover because of those injuries, the Golden Eagles have a lot of weapons that many people across the league won’t be familar with. “They saw a lot of the young guys last year,” Brown said. “They didn’t see these guys. Marty Jones didn’t play in a conference game. Zack Ziegler didn’t play in a conference game. They know them both from years past, but it’s been two years with Marty. I think we have a lot of kids they don’t know. We have some redshirt kids they don’t know that will be factors on this team. Matt Martin, William Chapman, Terrell Rollins, Harrison Reid, Kryon Hart — there are some guys on this team that our guys know are really good football players and the rest of the league hasn’t seen them yet.” Of course, the preseason saw its own changes.

Defensive coordinator Billy Taylor left the Golden Eagles to take the same position with his alma mater, East Tennessee State, as they try to rebuild their program with a 2015 start date. In his place, former Eastern Kentucky and Purdue coach Donn Landholm will take his place, bringing with him the same knowledge that helped him guide the Colonels’ defense to one of the best in the Football Championship Subdivision when he was the defensive coordinator there. “I just feel like he’s the guy,” Brown said. “He knows our system. He was here in the spring, so we don’t have to change anything in the system, and we’re already tweaking things from our system anyway. I feel very strong that we won’t miss a beat here and

Conference: Ohio Valley (FCS playoffs) Head coach: Watson Brown Career record: 122-190 (29th year) Record at school: 28-39 (7th year) Assistant coaches: Dewayne Alexander (assistant head coach offense), Sam Williamson (assistant head coach defense), Steven Brown (offensive coordinator), Donn Landholm (defensive coordinator), Chris Grimes (DB), Tre Lamb (QB), Sidney Powell (DB), Lee Sweeney (WR), Orlandus Kirby (TE) Returning lettermen: N/A Returning starters, offense: N/A Returning starters, defense: N/A 2012: 3-8 overall, 1-7 OVC (9th) Last playoff appearance: 2011, lost in first round to Central Arkansas

Donn will do a great job.” One of the biggest bonuses that may not be a factor this year, but has already made an impact is the 2013 signing class that includes not one, not two, but three TSSAA Mr. Football winners including GorSee TECH, Page 30

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A30 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tennessee Tech

TECH: Has special-teams weapon in punter Zinchini From Page 29 donsville’s Tyler Coen, CAK’s Charlie High, who transferred in after being a preferred walk-on at the University of Tennessee; and Farragut’s Jonathan King. What has developed in that class so far is a potential clash down the road between High and Livingston Academy product Brock McCoin for the quarterback spot, but that is still a couple of years down the road, because the QB job is firmly entrenched with junior Darian Stone. Stone started the final four games of 2012 after Tre Lamb went down with a shoulder injury and put up solid numbers, passing for 786 yards and 10 touchdowns, then running for another 553 yards and a score. “He’s the man,” Brown said. “They’re all fighting for No. 2 from there, as far as I’m concerned. He made a lot of big plays at the end of last year, but he was a bit inconsistent. In the spring, the consistency piece came with it. I think he threw one interception through all of the spring (and did not throw a pick in either fall scrimmage). His poise was so much improved. I’m really expecting big things out of him.” Stone will have a lot of great targets to

Tennessee Tech head coach WATSON BROWN throw to, including sophomore Steve Wilson, who has been a spring and summer highlight reel with some big catches; sophomore Jordan Smith, junior Cody

Matthews, sophomore Eric Belew, sophomore Krys Cates, redshirt senior Zack Ziegler, who is returning for a fifth year; sophomore Josh Smith, redshirt junior Price Patrick and sophomore Neil Gannaway. “I thought (last Saturday’s Gathering of Eagles scrimmage) was a very good taste of this wide receiver corps,” Brown said. “We have a lot of people who can catch the ball and make plays. A lot of them did. It wasn’t just one guy here or there. That looked good to me.” Tech can also run the ball. In addition to Stone’s mobility, sophomore Ladarius Vanlier, redshirt junior Cody Forbes, senior Bud Golden, junior Stephen Bush, freshman Trey Burks, sophomore Radir Annoor, redshirt freshman Isaiah McKinney and redshirt freshman Dorian Eskridge should provide the Golden Eagles with some skilled hands and blast through the defensive line. Defensively, the Golden Eagles look to improve on last year’s efforts, especially in the secondary. Making a return is senior free safety Marty Jones, who was also granted a fifth year. “We have six guys in the secondary now

that have starting experience,” Jones said. “I think in a league that passes the ball as much as the OVC does, it’s going to be very important for us to be able to defend in space. Given the experience and the talent we have, we’ll be better than we were in previous years.” Among the defensive backs Tech has is sophomore Bill Dillard, junior Austin Tallant, junior Jamel Cook, juniot Cory Webber and junior Luke Woodason among a big group. At linebacker, Tech returns junior Tra’Darius Goff, senior Seth McDonald and senior Blake Adams. Gaining a lot of preseason recognition is punter Chad Zinchini, who has already been listed on a couple of preseason all-America teams. “Chad is really good,” Brown said. “He kept in so many of those games that we played close in. Somebody would get us backed up, then he’d punt one nearly 70 yards. He’s a really good going-in punter. He’s very good about kicking it way up into the air and let it bounce around. I just hope he has a season better than last year, because if he does, that’s a big gun for us.”

HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013 — A31


Titans hope changes translate into wins TERRY McCORMICK TitanInsider Network

NASHVILLE — The operative word for the Tennessee Titans for the 2013 season is change. Throughout the off-season, the Titans spent quite a bit of time and a chunk of cash to upgrade the roster at a number of positions. With training camp and the preseason in full swing, those changes have been on display in an effort to push a franchise that has mostly floundered in recent years back toward playoff contention. No less than 17 free agents were added to the roster, not to mention the drafting rookies like Chance Warmack and Justin Hunter, who may be counted upon to contribute early as well. After the Titans slumped to 6-10 last year, the changes were necessary. Tennessee has not been to the playoffs since 2008 and has logged just one winning season in the past four years out of the postseason. That fact, plus a mandate from 90-year-old owner Bud Adams to win, was not lost on general manager Ruston Webster and Coach Mike Munchak. “Overall, the aggressiveness we had this offseason was driven by the need to improve the team,” Webster said. “There are probably different ways to do it every year depending on where your team is it can be a little different. This year that was necessary.” Munchak agrees that the Titans are finally being molded and shaped the way he wants them to be. “I think when we have had a couple of years to put a staff and group together. Three drafts now, since I have been the head coach, so you get the chance to bring in the kind of guys you want in free agency,” Munchak said. “This past year, we did the same, so yeah we think we have definitely created in almost all the situations where we have upped the talent level. I think these guys will push each other which will be good for the whole team. Definitely, since I think the season ended we have done a really good job as a group, as an organization, put some great people in this room.” Offense All the upgrades and overhauls are done with Jake Locker in mind. Locker was injured and inconsistent in his first year as a starter with 10 TDs and 11 interceptions. By retooling the offense toward his skill set and surrounding him with a better supporting cast, the Titans believe they are setting up Locker for the success they expected when they made him a first-round pick in 2011. “I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to put that product on the field,” Locker

Tennessee Titans quarterback JAKE LOCKER said. “There have been a lot of changes, but guys have taken it really well and made strides with it. I’m looking forward to see that product on the field.” The Titans made fixing the offensive line priority No. 1. They imported left guard Andy Levitre from Buffalo with a six-year, $46.8 million contract, and then spent their first pick in the draft on Warmack to play right guard. At center, incumbent Fernando Velasco will try to hold off rookie fourth-round pick Brian Schwenkie, who missed time with a hamstring injury, as well as Rob Turner and Chris Spencer. Tackle is one of the few spots where the Titans were strong last year with Michael Roos and David Stewart as the starters. Mike Otto and Byron Stingily are capable backups. The happiest person about the offensive line changes is probably running back Chris Johnson, who has not been afraid to point the finger at his blocking the past couple of seasons when the running game struggled. When Warmack was drafted with the 10th overall pick, CJ2K was quick to tweet “THANK GOD.” What Johnson was less enthusiastic about, however, was the arrival of power back Shonn Greene, who figures to take some carries away from CJ. But the addition of Greene to work in short yardage and in the four-minute offense should benefit Johnson in the long run by preventing him from being banged up from running between the tackles. As for the passing game, Locker should find plenty to like. Kendall Wright led the

Titans with 64 catches as a rookie last year, but has dropped 15 pounds in an effort to improve his yards after catch, after averaging less than 10 yards per reception a year ago. The big factor, though, in the pass receiving corps is Kenny Britt, who still has yet to fulfill his potential now five years into his NFL career. Britt has the size and skill to be a true No. 1 receiver, but injuries and immaturity have held him back. He has one last chance to show the Titans what he can do. Beyond those two, veterans Nate Washington and Kevin Walter (currently out with a back injury), rookie Hunter and Damian Williams all figure to be in the mix. The Titans are also expecting big things from the tight end position where Delanie Walker comes over from the 49ers to team with Craig Stevens. Walker has missed most of camp with a knee injury, but should be a go by the season opener Sept. 8 at Pittsburgh. Defense The biggest addition to the Titans defense, was not a player, but a coach. Tennessee brought back one-time defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as a senior defensive assistant after he had been suspended for all of 2012 for his role in the Bounty-gate scandal with the New Orleans Saints. The Titans believe Williams' aggressive style in getting after the quarterback can help improve a defense that allowed a franchise-record 471 points a year ago, and did not add the big-time pass rusher many thought they needed. Instead, Tennessee added more run-stuffers like tackles Sammie Hill and Antonio Johnson and end Ropati Pitoatua as free agents. The Titans did draft end Lavar Edwards of LSU to pair with holdovers Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley, whom they believe can do more this year by being on the field less than they were in 2012. Combine that with holdover tackles like Jurrell Casey and Mike Martin and swingman Karl Klug and the Titans are confident the D-line will hold its own. Linebacker is the position the Titans are most excited about. Third-year man Akeem Ayers and second-year pro Zach Brown have shown consistent improvement, and the Titans are creating a bit of competition for oft-injured Colin McCarthy in the middle by bringing in free agent Moise Fokou. Rookie Zaviar Gooden figures to provide depth as well once he is back from a high ankle sprain. There were plenty of adjustments made to the secondary, which is still undergoing a facelift. Jason McCourty is set at one corner, but Alterraun Verner is having to fend off Tom-

2013 Titans schedule Sept. 8 at Pittsburgh Steelers Sept. 15 at Houston Texans Sept. 22 San Diego Chargers Sept. 29 New York Jets Oct. 6 Kansas City Chiefs Oct. 13 at Seattle Seahawks Oct. 20 San Francisco 49ers Oct. 27 Open date Nov. 3 at St. Louis Rams Nov. 10 Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 14 Indianapolis Colts Nov. 24 at Oakland Raiders Dec. 1 at Indianapolis Colts Dec. 8 at Denver Broncos Dec. 15 Arizona Cardinals Dec. 22 at Jacksonville Jaguars Dec. 29 Houston Texans BOLD denotes AFC South games

mie Campbell to retain the other spot. Verner even worked some at safety in the off-season, though free-agent signee Bernard Pollard will start at strong safety (backed up by George Wilson), while Michael Griffin is back at free safety. Young corners like Coty Sensabaugh and rookie Blidi Wreh-Wilson will vie for time in sub-packages as well. Special teams The Titans re-signed Rob Bironas to a two-year deal in the off-season, and are happy with the efforts of punter Brett Kern as well. The biggest battle figures to be in the return game where former Pro Bowl return man Marc Mariani, who missed all of last year with a compound leg fracture, will have to win his job back from Darius Reynaud, who was electrifying at times last year with three returns for touchdowns. Mariani was solid in his first preseason game, but a shoulder injury has slowed him again in camp. Summary The Titans coaching staff knows that things have to improve over last year to remove them from the proverbial hot seat. The key, of course, is for Locker to take a big step forward and for the defense to improve enough to keep the team in games. The formula calls for the Titans to use their improved offensive line to control the clock and use Locker in mostly short to intermediate throws, with an occasional shot downfield. If the offense can stay on the field, it should reduce some of the wear and tear on a defense that needs to jell quickly and develop more of a killer instinct than it has shown in years past. Projected record: 9-7

A32 — HERALD-CITIZEN, Cookeville, Tenn. — — Thursday, August 22, 2013