Monday, July 30, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
“Every day you have to ramp it up a little more … have to have a mission … your purpose is not to survive … your purpose is to win, everyday … win the play and finish."
-- East Hamilton football coach Ted Gatewood speaking to his players at the end of the Hurricanes practice on Monday.
High school football players and coaches were on the field Monday across Tennessee signaling the official start of the prep gridiron season.
Starting at Boyd Buchanan at 7:50 a.
m. and leaving the East Hamilton parking lot close to 9 p.m, the third annual Chattanoogan.com prep football tour visited 13 schools with coaches acknowledging team speed as the predominant strength and every coach looking for more depth.
The Chattanooga Jamboree is Aug. 10-11 and the opening Friday night is Aug. 17.
Best Football Name: Baylor freshman free safety - Ulysses Strawter …
50+ years ago the Baylor football roster included another player with a Greek name … Atlas H. Molnar Jr. from Alabama .., Played halfback and was on the swim team graduating in 1961
can one find a player named Zeus?
7:50 a.m. - Boyd Buchanan - Players were heading to the practicc field for the first session at 8 a.m. …. Strengths for coach Grant Reynolds are veterans at the skill positions - junior QB Jim Cardwell, senior running back John Hale and tight end Austin Hall.
Three year starter and pre-season all-state Rance Harden (4.1 GPA) will lead a veteran defense as Cardwell and Hale will split time at safety …
Biggest Buc: Senior Malik Brewer measures at 6-3, 320
Notes: The Bucs have seven – yes, seven home games as opposed to six road games in 2011 … : Sophomore Austin Jackson is the son of Brainerd head coach Stanley Jackson ... Austin will see playing time at running back and linebacker
First Game: Aug. 17 at Chattanooga Christian (won 27-7 in 2011)
Home Opener: Aug. 24, East Ridge (won 7-6 in 2011)
8:20 - McCallie … It’s the third time at McCallie for Ralph Potter – once as assistant coach and now his second as head coach. … spent the last three years at Brentwood Academy … there has been a Potter coaching McCallie football, either Ralph or his dad, Pete, during some or all of the past five decades .. Pete’s first year was 1973.
“We have more speed than in the last couple of years with good experience on both sides of the ball but a little short on depth,” said Potter.
Running backs Chad Tolliver and Samir Usman will be the main ball carriers will excellent speed … QB Junior Nelson Johnston will replace Trent Lusk who is a freshman at Centre College
Season Opener: Aug, 24 at McMinn County (won 56-34 in 2011)
Home Opener: Aug. 31 - Ensworth (2x defending D-II state champs) (lost 28-20 in 2011)
9:15 at Notre Dame … first year coach Charlie Fant brings a touch of Vanderbilt’s Black and Gold to blend with the traditional Irish Green and Gold.
“I told myself that when I became a head coach I would bring the Vandy black and gold to the color scheme,” said Fant who was a quarterback and receiver at Vandy, 1991-95.
This year’s QB is freshman Alex Darras and Auston Banks is the top running back.
Thurs Aug 9 Scrimmage: Green and Gold game on campus at 6:30 p.m.
Season Opener: Aug. 17 at Grace Baptist
Home Opener: Aug. 24, McMinn Central
9:48 a.m. – Baylor … It could be a tall order to replace graduated quarterback Matthew Oellerich who led the Red Raiders to a state runner-up finish in 2011 … but coach Phil Massey has two pretty good ones in Michael O’Connor (So., 6-5) and Nick Tiano (So., 6-4).
Veterans include Colton Jumper (linebacker) and Reggie Upshaw (wide receiver) – who could play football or basketball in college – and running back George Porter.
“I plan to have Michael and Nick split playing time the first couple of games before we get into our D-II schedule,” said Massey
Season Opener: Aug. 17 at Soddy Daisy (won 48-0 in 2011)
Home Opener: Aug. 24, Bradley Central (won 45-28 in 2011)
11:19 – Brainerd … Third year coach Stanley Jackson has good skill players, but little depth with 30+ players on the roster ...
Jr. Sam Cafey is the returning starter at quarterback, while the defense is led by senior linebacker William Womack and sophomore cornerback Kaylen Stewart.
Season Opener (home) – Aug. 17 - Ooltewah (lost 41-7 in 2011)
Coaching staff has several championship rings ... “I wouldn’t trade my staff for any other group,” said Jackson… Dedric Maffett (Howard, Austin Peay) won an Arena Football league title (Florida, 2002) … Jackson has a conference ring from Tennessee Wesleyan in football.
1:57 p.m. – Red Bank … as new athletic fields are under construction so is the football team led by first year coach E.K. Slaughter … team strengths are speed and physical play … quarterback Hagen Wilkey has a good arm and top running back is Demitrius Williams … Up front Tyler Phillips is a three-year starting cente.
New Fields: the football team has a new full- size practice field above the school, while the adjacent softball field is nearly completed … the new middle school is being built as well as a band field .
Season Opener (home) Aug. 24 – Soddy Daisy (won 42-35)
2:53 – East Ridge … first year coach Tracy Malone has depth at the skill positions on both sides of the ball and good depth on the offensive line.
“The kids are real excited and we have a chance to be pretty good,” said coach Malone.
Mention junior kicker Tad Whitaker and coach Malone gets excited .. “Tad has a great leg and is the real deal and will handle all our kicking duties,” stated Malone who the head coach at White County the past three years.
Senior Eric McCurdy threw for 1,000+ yards and can also run … on defense, senior
linebacker Mike Johnson was all-city in 2011.
Scrimmage: The Pioneers are in a 3-way scrimmage this Friday with Lookout Valley at Bledsoe Country
Season Opener (home): Aug. 17 - Walker Valley (won 39-17 in 2011)
3:19 – Howard … coach Mike Calloway has 40 players on the roster and knows they have to be ready from day one as the first four games are on the road …
Junior quarterback is Terrance Brooks who can run and throw and will rely on his backs to also be receivers this season …
Lawayne Ruffin and Rashad Brummitt are talented backs and also are key to the success of the Hustlin’ Tiger defense … Linebackers are Kentarius Hampton and D’Marquis Bell.
Tallest Tiger: The entire offensive line returns led by 6-8, 290 pounds senior Brandon Walters.
Season Opener: at Franklin County (lost 42-30)
Home Opener: (Sept. 21): Greater Chattanooga Christian
3:57 – Soddy Daisy … the team was having a snack after the second of three practices (9-11 a.m., 1-3 p.m.) and would attend a short chapel service prior to the final workout at 4:45 …
Junior Brett Standifer will run the offense with running backs C.J. Blue, Caleb Jordan and Tyler Dixon.
Juniors Gavin Moody (DL) and Austin Goins (linebacker) lead the defense.
“We are a junior-laden team with good talent,” said fourth year coach Kevin Orr. “We are young, but have experience.”
Trojans only have 10 seniors, but 33 freshman so the future is bright as far as numbers is concerned.
Orr said the team had its best off season with weight and strength training … Trojans will be good on defense, but needs depth on offense.
Season Opener (home): Aug; 17 – Baylor (lost 48-0)
5:15 – Hixson … asked what the team strength was and coach Jason Fitzgerald said "the coaching staff" with a laugh … not to be confused with a “small” staff the Wildcat coaches have done well over the years at the training table .. assistant coaches Garrick Hall and Toddd Worley are both former state wrestling medalists in the “upper” weights, while offensive coordinator Walt Cameron – according to coach Fitz – won’t be the strength and conditioning coach this season … but did play a big part in the success of former Rhea County and Tennessee quarterback Andy Kelly … “I carried Andy during his high school career,” said Cameron with a smile.
"I didn't know there was a weight limit on football coaches," exclaimed coach Hall and noted that wrestling season was still four months away.
Hixson has a big junior class (25) after losing 16 seniors to graduation … Gill Brown and Preston Wilky will battle for the quarterback spot … Kedrick Bradley is a linebacker/running back, while Altante Novene is a receiver/defensive back.
“We have a pretty good work ethic and the defensive line is okay,” said coach Fitz who noted that hopefully the team can get off to a good start with the first three games at home.
Season Opener: Aug 24 – Walker Valley (won 36-20)
6:20 – Central … Coach John Allen mentioned team speed and a good off-season in the weight room as pluses for this year’s team ...
Allen is also excited about the kicking game, i.e.. - sophomore kicker Tareq Faleh .. “Last year we had no kicker and this year we do, so it is a thousand percent improvement.”
The Purple Pounders quarterback is senior Dominic Dawson, while on defense has Tyler Sorenson and Sean Montgomery at linebackers and Dan Bibbs and Andrew Vickers at tackles.
Season Opener (Aug.24): at Polk County
Home Opener: (Aug. 31), East Hamilton
7:10 – Ooltewah …third year coach Shannon Williams has five starters returning from an 8-4 playoff season in 2011 …
He points to team speed at the skill positions on both sides of the ball with the potential to be a pretty talented team.
Junior quarterback Brody Binder has not played a great deal of football, but has a good arm ... he has started as the Owls catcher on the baseball team for the past two years
Impressive Stat: Receiver Philip McClain returned six kickoffs for scores in 2011 … other receivers are Craig Thompson and Mike Williams and Andrew Ware.
Stuart Doss is at linebacker and Thompson is at strong safety.
Season Opener: Aug 17 at Brainerd (won 41-7 in 2-11
Home Opener (Aug. 31): Cleveland
7:53 – East Hamilton ... last stop of the day …
As the sun set behind the home stands, coach Ted Gatewood commented on the pleasant evening weather.
“If the weather would stay like this for the next two weeks that would be great for us since we practice evenings until school starts.”
Gatewood also acknowledged something maybe not so pleasant in the fact that,”we have a target on our backs and everyone is shooting for us.”
East Hamilton was 6-5 in 2011 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Brainerd.
The Hurricans have 17 starters back as senior running back is Logan Jackson (1,000 yards in 2011) and Hunter Moore is the returning starter at quarterback.
Receivers are Jacob Noorbergen, Cody Knox and Tre Herndon.
Francisco Rodriquez and John Dalton lead the defensive line.
“To make the playoffs in our third year was pretty good and now we know what it takes to do that and are expected to repeat,” Gatewood stated
In between 40-yard wind sprints at the end of practice, Gatewood said to the players, “You have to be mentally tough all the time … don’t let your opponent see you tired.”
“Every day you have to ramp it up a little more … have to have a mission … your purpose is not to survive … your purpose is to win, everyday … win the play and finish.
“I saw a lot of good things out there today … you must pick each other up every day.”
Season Opener (home: Aug. 17) – Signal Mountain (lost 34-13)
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com