You couldn’t remove the smile off of Unicoi County head coach Glenn White’s face following the Blue Devils 36-33 win over South Greene last Friday night as Unicoi County broke an 11 game losing streak and got the season off to a great start.
For White who had coached only his seventh game as head coach of his alma mater, the win was big not only because it broke the losing streak but it was a way to put the 0-10 season of 2014 in the rear view and show White that the players’ hard work was already paying dividends.
Last January, the Blue Devils hired veteran California high school football coach Robert McElwee to guide Unicoi County after Jerad Huskins resignation after he led the program to consecutive 4A playoff appearances in 2012 and 2013.
But four games in as Unicoi County got off an 0-4 start, McElwee abruptly resigned before the fifth game of the season and White was introduced as the new head coach with the responsibility of turning program around since he had been with the program for such a long time.
Although the Blue Devils didn’t win a game in White’s six games as head coach last season, White feels they improved every game and that improvement followed in the off season weight lifting program and set the stage for the win over South Greene.
“The kids really took their commitment to a new level in the off season,” White said. “They were showing up with a chip on their shoulder and the willingness to get better on a daily basis and they worked extremely hard and it’s great to see the payoff so early in the year because they see that all that hard work has led to something positive.”
White is the perfect leader for the Unicoi program because the 1981 Blue Devil graduate knows what is expected and is going into his 25th year of being involved with the program, it is also his 30th year of coaching football as well.
“This is and always will be home,” White said. “I’ve been in other programs but there is something to be said about being apart of the program that is your alma mater and because of the win, the community is really fired up right now and that is great to see.”
Blue Devil senior quarterback Hunter Hensley passed for 251 yards and threw two touchdowns and the Blue Devils rolled up 502 yards of total offense in the win and Unicoi County lived up to their “Fight to the Finish” mantra that they adopted in the offseason.
Unicoi County wasn’t the only team that broke a big losing streak in week one as five other teams won for the first time in over a year as Jellico and Cumberland County not only won but made winners our of their first year head coaches in Dustin Buckner and Ken Johnson.
•Jellico 35, Hancock County 6– First year head football coach Dustin Buckner who last season was the wide receivers coach at the University of the Cumberlands saw his team break a 15 game losing streak by beating Hancock County as senior Jorden Hammonds hauled in a touchdown pass and intercepted two passes on defense.
“I’m really happy for our kids and this community. It was great to see the smile on our kids faces after the game and will hopefully get the opportunity to win more games in the future,” Buckner said.
Last Playoff Appearance- 2004, no appearances since 2005
Overall Record Since 2005- 16-84
Up Next- at Pickett County
•Community 53, Cannon County 14– Second year head coach Chris Grooms got his first head coaching win as the Vikings led by Darian Pride’s 188 total yards and four touchdowns hammered the visiting Lions and now Community will go into their off week with momentum as their 12 game losing streak is history.
“It was great to see all the hard work pay off for the kids with a victory, they are excited and ready to compete for the rest of the season,” Grooms said.
Last Playoff Appearance- Never Qualified
Overall Record Since 2005- 12-77
Up Next- IDLE
Fayette Academy 48, Macon Road Baptist 13– Sophomore quarterback Spencer Hayden passed for 154 yards and one touchdown and the Vikings rushed for 245 yards as three different running backs scored touchdowns in the easy win as Fayette Academy snapped an 11 game losing streak.
Last Playoff Appearance- 2012, made six playoff appearances since 2005
Overall Record Since 2005- 44-60
Up Next- at West Memphis (AR)
Middleton 28, Rossville Christian 13– Senior quarterback Keon Pipkin was the star of the game as he had 296 yards of total offense (192 passing, two touchdowns, 104 rushing, one touchdown) while wide receiver Onetravious Anderson caught two passes for 100 yards and a touchdown in the win as Middleton broke an 11 game losing streak.
Last Playoff Appearance- 1990
Overall Record Since 2005- 12-87
Up Next- at Peabody
Cumberland County 28, Oliver Springs 14– New head football coach Ken Johnson got his first career win as quarterback Tyler Howard rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another as the Jets won their first game of the season for the first time since 2003 and with the win broke a 10 game losing streak.
Last Playoff Appearance- 2002
Overall Record Since 2005- 12-88
Up Next- Kings Academy
Jellico, Community, Fayette Academy, Middleton, Unicoi County and Cumberland County weren’t the only schools to break lengthy losing streak as 17 other teams won their first game after entering the 2015 season with at least a two game losing streak.
•Halls 48, Lake County 40– The Tigers broke an eight game losing streak by upsetting the Falcons as Halls had 375 yards of total offense and 19 first downs, the win was big for second year coach Chris Parker as Hallbs lost to Lake County 38-16 last season.
•Volunteer 15, Cocke County 0– Not only did the Falcons break an eight game losing streak but first year coach Barry Jones, a veteran assistant coach in Virginia picked up his first head coaching win as Volunteer’s defense pitched a shutout.
•Brighton 49, MAHS 6- The Cardinals scored early and often under new offensive coordinator Mike David (formerly St. Benedict head coach) as they broke a seven game losing streak.
•Jackson Southside 28, Obion County 26– In battle of first year coaches Brian Moore (Jackson Southside) and Paul Decker (Obion County), the Hawks got the two point win to break a seven game losing streak while extending the Rebels losing streak to five games.
•Sullivan North 24, Sullivan Central 14– The Raiders tied their win total from 2014 while breaking a seven game losing streak by besting Sullivan Central in the first contest between the two schools since 2010, a Sullivan North win as well.
•Douglass 32, Booker T. Washington 0– Douglass got off to a quick start and tied their win total from 2014 with the big win over the Warriors, whom they hadn’t played since 2012 a game in which Douglass won as well.
•-Gleason 60, Fulton County (KY) 28– Gleason made it three wins in a row over their neighbor from Kentucky as they scored early and often for the easy win, and the Bulldogs won their first game of the season for the the sixth year in a row.
•Soddy Daisy 49, Red Bank 15– The Trojans broke a six game losing streak as quarterback Justin Cooke was a perfect eight for eight passing for 224 yards and five touchdowns as Soddy Daisy rolled up a ton of offense in the win over neighbor Red Bank.
•Coffee County 42, Tullahoma 7– The Raiders won their first Coffee Pot trophy for the first time since 2007 as sophomore quarterback Alontae Taylor scored three first half touchdowns to stake Coffee to a 42-0 halftime lead to break a four game losing streak.
•Gibson County 53, Zion Christian 20- Jackson Cantrell passed for 248 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Pioneers to the easy win to break a four game losing streak.
•Clarksville Northwest 20, Hunters Lane 0– Junior running back Desmond Daniels rushed for a team high 70 yards as the Vikings shut out Hunters Lane to break a four game losing streak.
•Pickett County 32, Clinton County (KY) 0- The Bobcats recorded back to back wins over Clinton County (KY) and done away with a four game losing streak which is also the first win in the second tenure for Pickett County coach O.B. Caudle.
•Richland 30, Sale Creek 6– The Raiders opened the season with a big win as running back Caleb Briggs rushed for 202 yards and scored once on just 11 carries in the win and smashed a four game losing streak.
•Stewarts Creek 16, Nashville Overton 8- The Red Hawks made school history by winning their first game of the season for the first time in the school’s short three year history snapping a four game losing streak.
•William Blount 24, Lenoir City 20– Sophomore T.J. King opened the game with a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown and the Governors open with a win over Lenoir City in Phillip Shadowens’ debut at William Blount.
•Father Ryan 35, Hillwood 12– Father Ryan senior running back Bryce Vickers rushed for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns as the Fighting Irish break a three game losing streak.
•St. Benedict 17, Collierville 10– Jack Samsel passed for 176 yards and tossed a touchdown pass and Colton Cochran rushed for 89 yards as St. Benedict broke a two game losing streak and gave new coach Scott Samsel his 200th career win.
Coaches Milestone First Win
•David Barker, Trousdale County- The former Crockett County defensive coordinator opened as the new coach at Trousdale with a close 13-7 win over Westmoreland.
•Dustin Buckner, Jellico– The former University of the Cumberland wide receiver coach has already turned Jellico’s fortunes around as they broke a 15 game losing streak.
•Thomas Cagle, Jackson County- Cagle won the opener at Jackson County as they downed Clay County 24-3 behind a solid defensive performance.
•Adam Caine, Sequatchie County– The new coach who was the defensive coordinator from Hewitt-Trussville (AL) guided the Indians to a big non region win over Sequatchie Valley rival South Pittsburg 12-7 as Grundy County transfer Houston Maynord was big in the win.
•Shane Jacobs, Peabody– So far so good for the former Golden Tide defensive coordinator coaching his first game as head coach of the defending 2A champion who downed Milan 24-20 on a late touchdown to win the game.
•Todd Loveday, Northview Academy– Loveday, a first year coach for a new 3A program that got its first win in its first varsity season, more on Northview Academy later in this column.
•Anthony Moore, Hamilton– Hamilton got off to a quick start as they broke Hillcrest’s six game winning streak besting the Vikings 38-8 and giving Moore his first career win.
•Brian Moore, Jackson Southside – Moore and the Hawks were able to deliver a win as they nipped Obion County and another first year coach Paul Decker 28-26.
•Adam Sykes, Arlington– Sykes, who was an assistant coach at Arlington since the start of football at the school won his first game as head coach as the Tigers beat Kirby and first year coach Jaja Nebo in a shootout 49-34.
•Tyler Turner, Liberty– An impressive debut is what Tyler Turner made at Liberty as the Crusaders shut down the Henry County offense besting the Patriots 20-3.
•Kendrick Wade, Middle College– Wade and Middle college like Northview Academy got off to a great start by beating Hillcrest 33-18 in the school’s first varsity game.
•Bobby White, Sequoyah– The Chiefs under the new leadership of White got to scoring early and often downing Tellico Plains 46-6.
Coaches with wins at new schools
•Joe Campbell, Loudon– The former Midway coach got the Redskins off to a good start with a big win against a very good 1A team in Greenback as Loudon won 36-22.
•Maurice Fitzgerald, Stratford– The game was not pretty and the score was low but in the end the former Pearl Cohn coach led the Spartans to a 6-0 win over rival Maplewood.
•Chester Ford, Melrose– The former defensive coordinator for the Golden Wildcats got his first win at Melrose on the road beating JP II 48-27.
•Jeff Harig, Knoxville West– Harig who led the Loudon program previously got a late touchdown as the Rebels the defending 5A champ beat Hardin Valley 16-15.
•Thomas McDaniel, CBHS– McDaniel who left the Oakland program led the Purple Wave to a close victory over White Station 28-20.
•Rahnmann Slocum, Southwind– The former Fairley coach and now Southwind AD got a shut out win over Westwood 45-0.
•Eddie Woods, Cane Ridge– The former Melrose coach got a big shutout win over metro rival Antioch 20-0.
New Coaches Debut This Week
•Jerton Evans, Claiborne– The former Defensive coordinator at Cumberland Gap will make his head coaching debut as the Panthers will host Union County.
•Steve Hookfin, Haywood County-Hookfin was hired to restore the Tomcat program as he did when he took over at Liberty and Haywood will open the season hosting Jackson Central Merry.
•Jason Jarrett, Happy Valley– Jarrett will lead Happy Valley against Cloudland in his head coaching debut after being on staff last season.
•Josh Ownsby, Bledsoe County– Owensby has had two different tenures at Bledsoe County and was the offensive coordinator last season before taking over as head coach and the Warriors will travel to South Pittsburg on Friday.
•Rusty Smith, Grace Christian Academy- Franklin– The former Tennessee Titans quarterback will take a new program playing 11 man football for the first time and will travel to McEwen to open the season.
Revenge In Mind?
Carey Craig resigned as head coach at Ripley in March after three seasons and wanted to continue to coach but take a step back.
Now he has landed at Dyersburg as an assistant coach while his former defensive coordinator Wade Vandergriff was the new Ripley coach and on Friday, Dyersburg will host Ripley and Craig will get to play his former team so how does Craig feel about playing his former team?
“It’s always difficult to coach against your former players. I enjoyed my time in Ripley and still have good friends there. I will support Wade and the guys every week but this one,” Craig said. “I am proud to be part of great program in Dyersburg and look forward to a good challenge this Friday, and actually I will be relieved when it’s over.”
Craig isn’t the only former head coach that will be playing his former team as new Mt. Juliet running backs coach Jonathan Parks will go against Cane Ridge, where he was the head coach the last three seasons leading the Ravens to three 6A playoff appearances before the school decided to go in another direction and dismissed Parks before Christmas.
It has been a weird week for Parks considering that he still teaches Freshman classes at Cane Ridge and he is considered the enemy in the building, at least for this week.
“It’s been a little different this week, not only in the preparation for the game but I’ve went through some emotions because I still talk to the kids at Cane Ridge and I’m excited about seeing them play again but at the same time, I want us (Mt. Juliet) to play really well and get the win.”
New Antioch head coach Calvin Hall will also be staring at familiar faces as the Bears will take on LaVergne where Hall served as an assistant coach on two different occasions.
“It’s an honor to coach against a State Championship Coach like Coach Stevens,” Hall said. “I have the utmost respect for him and his program. They have done a great job over there in rebuilding the program. I like to see Antioch going in the same direction as LaVergne.”
Alcoa at William Blount– At first glance it’s hard to see this as a revenge type game as the Blount county neighbors haven’t played since 2004 and Alcoa has won three of the last five meetings and enjoys a 14-10 series lead.
But with William Blount 1-0 and being coached by Phillip Shadowens who battled Alcoa coach Gary Rankin when they were both in Rutherford county (Shadowens at Smyrna, Rankin at Riverdale) it is big.
This game has special meaning especially for Shadowens who despite winning back to back 5A titles at Smyrna never beat Riverdale coached by Rankin in the 12 years they played against each other from 1994-2005 and a win by Blount would be a huge start for the Governors who haven’t started 2-0 since going 9-3 in 2007.
Starting The Varsity Program
Four schools reached a milestone last Friday night by playing the first varsity game in the history of the school with mixed results as Northview Academy, a new 3A school in Kodak opened with a 47-36 win over Cloudland, a game they won on the road as quarterback Justin Howard had more then 300 yards of total offense in the win.
Middle College, a small 1A school in Memphis joined Northview Academy in the win column as new coach Kendrick Wade saw his team defeat Oakhaven 33-18 as junior wide receiver Desten Palmer caught five passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
“It was amazing Friday night, our fans packed the house and the atmosphere was electric,” Wade said.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes but we were still able to execute our game and come out victorious. Of course, you always want to start your season off with a win so that your kids can see that all the work that they had to put in the during spring and summer paid off.”
Summertown and Concord Christian both also played their first varsity games last Friday but both teams came up short as Loretto defeated Summertown 33-6 and Chattanooga Grace beat Concord Christian 48-7.
“It was an awesome atmosphere and the fan support was unbelievable. When the players came out onto the field for the game it was unbelievable all the people with cell phones out videoing and taking pictures,” Summerton head coach Leslie Mote said.
“The fans stayed till the end and stood and gave them a standing ovation at the end. It took our players a while to settle down to the speed of the game but I was very proud of how our kids fought and played and I also know we are getting better which is our goal.”
KIPP Academy Wins Two Games in Week 1
KIPP Academy head football coach Tim Thompson was in a bind when it came to scheduling this year thanks to two fellow Memphis schools Woodstock and W.E. B. Dubois.
Both Woodstock and W.E.B. Dubois were supposed to field football programs this season and were placed in region 8-1A with other Memphis teams Booker T. Washington, KIPP Academy, Carver, Middle College, Memphis Northside and Middleton.
But Woodstock and W.E.B. Dubois decided not to field a football team after all which left every team on their schedules scrambling to find replacement games, which made Thompson get creative.
Desperate to find two games to replace Woodstock and W.E.B. Dubois, Thompson decided to play back to back games in week one as KIPP defeated Memphis Overton 40-22 on Friday night and then eight hours later beat Kingsbury 52-6 to go 2-0 on the season.
“It worked out for us in the end, but I wouldn’t want to do that again if I could avoid it,” Thompson said. “It was really difficult to find games and to make it work but I’m very proud of the way the kids responded considered they played two games in a seven hour span.”
On Friday, KIPP played Memphis Overton at a normal 7 pm start but then had to turn around and play Kingsbury at 3 pm on Saturday afternoon.
“I wasn’t worried about the first game considering it was a normal game time but on Saturday it was very hot and the kids had to fight through several things and I’m very proud of them because they fought through adversity.”
Although it is pretty uncommon to play two games in one week, Alcoa and Whitehaven did that in the 2014 season as Alcoa played three games in a nine day period to start the season playing Smith County on Thursday, Morristown East on Saturday of Week zero and then playing Maryville on the next Friday in week one.
The Tornadoes went 2-1 in that stretch beating Smith County and Morristown East and losing to Maryville.
Whitehaven played back to back games on Thursday and Friday in week nine defeating Carver 41-0 on Thursday and Memphis Overton 29-0.
Goforth’s Saturday Adventure
Chris Goforth’s last Saturday was a tiring blur but he wouldn’t trade it for anything and would do it again in a heartbeat.
Goforth, a play by play veteran on both radio and television not only got up ridiculously early for a Saturday morning but drove to Atlanta to do the play by play radio broadcasts for Atlanta radio station 92.9 “The Game” (his weekend radio gig) for two Georgia high school games at the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome.
He then got back to his home in Ooltewah to change clothes before heading out to do the play by play for WFLI TV-53 the CW in Chattanooga as they broadcasted the Northwest Whitfield (GA)-Ringgold (GA) game.
“It was a very long day but one that was rewarding for me both personally and professionally and despite being exhausted by the time I got home, I would do it all over again,” Goforth said.
Here’s a run down of Goforth’s hectic day
4:45 am (EST)- Goforth awakes to an alarm to get his crazy day started as he leaves his home in Ooltewah and gets on the road headed to the Georgia Dome finally getting on the road at 5:45.
7:30- As he makes great time getting down to Atlanta, Goforth hits a traffic jam only two miles away from the Georgia Dome because the streets are closed and blocked due to a road race after a thirty minute delay he finally pulls into the Georgia Dome parking lot, his first game Kell vs. Carrollton begins at 9.
9:00- Goforth and the 92.9 team start as the Kell- Carrollton game gets underway as Kell shuts out Carrollton 35-0 ando now the radio team awaits the start of the second contest as Mill Creek takes on Brookwood.
12:30 pm- Mill Creek and Brookwood gets underway and Goforth sees his second blowout of the day as Mill Creek beats Brookwood 42-7 as the mercy rule is put into play and Goforth hustles to get into his car and back on the interstate at 3:30 pm.
6:00- Goforth pulls into the Ringgold high school parking lot, the TV broadcast starts at 7 after making it back home to change clothes from a nice Polo shirt to a even better suit for his TV debut for the 2015 season.
7:00- The Northwest Whitfield-Ringgold game starts as Goforth begins call on his third game of the very long day and the game is going smooth until severe weather threatens to delay the contest.
9:00-The contest gets delayed before halftime as lightning is seen close to the stadium with NW Whitfield leading 21-11 at this point and at 10:30 the game starts back off of the hour and a half delay.
11:30- Game is officially called final with 3:38 left in the third quarter and NW Whitfield comes out on top 28-18 and after packing up his materials Goforth finally gets into his bed at 12:30 am and his three game, 20 hour Georgia odyssey is complete.
Longest Winning Streaks
Here’s a list of the current longest winning streaks in the state:
Union City- 28
Dyer County- 4
Longest Losing Streaks
Here’s a list of the current longest losing streaks in the state:
Memphis Northside- 48
Sale Creek- 21
Memphis Overton- 14
Cheatham County- 13
Polk County- 12
Tate Kolwyck, QB, Arlington- The sophomore signal caller passed for 313 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-34 win over Kirby.
Jordan Mason, RB, Gallatin- The junior ran wild on Mt. Julie as he rushed for 255 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 34-31 win.
Isiah Bigbee, RB, Springfield- Bigbee was unstoppable rushing for 269 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 41-6 win over Greenbrier.
Nick Jones, RB, LaVergne- Rushed for 217 yards and scored once in a 16-13 loss to Smyrna.
Tanner Green, RB, MTCS- Rushed for 235 yards and scored twice in a 26-7 win over Ezell Harding.
Andrew Bunch, QB, Independence- Bunch completed 30 of 44 passes for 460 yards and threw three touchdowns, added a two point conversion pass and a touchdown run in a 47-17 win over Brentwood.
Clay Beathard, QB, BGA- The reigning Division II-A back of the year passed for 319 yards and four touchdowns in a 47-0 win over Goodpasture.
Cooper Edenfield, QB, Knoxville Catholic- Passed for 373 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 of 17 passing in a 49-24 win over Morristown East.
Prince Momodu, RB, Brentwood Academy- Rushed for 211 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 48-6 win over Olive Branch (MS).
Lilotis Walker, RB, Ridgeway- Rushed for 228 yards and scored twice in a 25-0 win over Houston.
Vic Johnson, RB, Cookeville- Rushed for 258 yards and scored four touchdowns on just 13 carries in a 34-26 comeback win over Upperman.
Jacob Stone, QB, East Hickman- Had 333 yards of total offense (200 rushing, two TDs, 133 passing, two TDs) in a 42-26 loss to Hickman County.
Noah Whaley, RB, Pigeon Forge- Rushed for 227 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 29-14 win over Gatlinburg Pittman.
Kylin Winn, RB, McNairy Central- Rushed for 247 yards and scored three touchdowns on just 12 carries and also added an interception return for a fourth touchdown in a 48-27 win over Scotts Hill.
Justin Cooke, QB, Soddy Daisy- Threw just eight passes but completed all of them for 224 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-15 win over Red Bank.
Tre Carter, WR, Soddy Daisy- Caught four passes for 194 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 49-15 win over Red Bank.
J.D. Griffin, LB, Sevier County- Made 17 tackles, forced two fumbles and had four sacks in a 26-6 win over Cleveland.
Logan Marlow, DB, Oneida- Intercepted three passes as Oneida beat Oakdale 47-6
Tylin Oden, QB, Spring Hill- Had a combined 363 total yards (200 rushing, 163 passing, 3 total touchdowns) in a 27-15 win over Summit.
Cameron Oakley, S, McKenzie- Made 22 tackles, including two for loss and intercepted a pass in the Rebels 41-13 loss to Dyer County.
Caleb Briggs, RB, Richland- Rushed for 202 yards and one touchdown in a 30-6 win over Sale Creek
BY THE NUMBERS
-13- Total yardage for Ripley in a 49-14 loss to Northpoint Christian (MS).
17- Consecutive wins for Smyrna over LaVergne
200- Total coaching wins by new St. Benedict coach Scott Samsel
370- Career wins for Alcoa head coach Gary Rankin whose overall record is 370-71.
559- Total yardage gained by Hampton in a 54-17 win over Avery (NC).
Email Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew