Franklin, McClellan, Wright Play Key Roles In Signal Mountain Success

Three Eagle Seniors Looking To Improve As 2013 Season Begins

Thursday, August 15, 2013 - by John Hunt

Last year’s football season was like a roller coaster ride for the Signal Mountain Eagles.

They got embarrassed in the season opener when East Hamilton put a 55-14 whipping on them as they began the season with three losses in the first four games.

The Eagles turned things around and won some key contests to finish the season on a six-game winning streak and a District 7-AA title.

Unfortunately, the Eagles hit a bump in the road in the opening round of the TSSAA playoffs and the season was over in a hurry when visiting Page outscored them in overtime, 42-41.

That’s a loss that the Eagles have put behind them, but one they’ll surely never forget.

This year’s Signal Mountain team appears to be a bit more talented than last year.  The Eagles have 16 returning starters, including eight on offense and eight on defense.  There are 16 seniors on this year’s team, including Diamez Franklin, James McClellan IV and Jacob Wright.

Signal Mountain coach Bill Price has expectations for his team as always, but for these three in particular.

Franklin is a 6-1, 205 pounder who is a running back and one of the defensive leaders at free safety.  The Eagles have used a two-platoon system in the past, but Franklin is the only player who’ll go both ways.

McClellan is a six-foot, 250-pound rock who has been a defensive tackle in the past, but will be used strictly as a fullback this fall.

Wright may be the biggest player on the team at 6-5 and 265 pounds, but don’t be misled by his size.  He’s also one of the quickest defenders on the roster.

“We weren’t very good defensively last year, so we just tried to outscore people,” Price said before a recent practice.

“We have a lot of outstanding football players on this team, but those three are some of the best.  We’ll be a lot more physical this year, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

“Diamez missed a  lot of playing time a year ago with two separated shoulders, but he’s a leader and he knows what our expectations are,” the coach expressed.

“We moved James to fullback after the fourth game where he had been a defensive tackle.  He’s a big guy and you know I like big running backs.  He’ll be a real presence in our running game, but he still isn’t as good a shape as I’d like.

“Jacob is a three-year starter whose engine is always running.  He’s very athletic for a big guy, but we do a lot with him up front.  He has exceptional speed and quickness for someone his size,” Price continued.

All three of these players are confident that 2013 will be better than 2012.

“I’m pretty confident that we’ll do some things this year,” said Franklin before heading out to the practice field.

“I like to hit, but I also like to score.  We’ve gotten a whole lot better than we were, but we need to keep improving and stay humble.  We have a major point to prove, said the two-year starter who transferred from Tyner.

Franklin gained almost 800 years ago and averaged more than a touchdown per game.  Defensively, he had three interceptions, including one that he returned for a TD.

McClellan certainly isn’t lacking for confidence.

“I’m expecting us to go all the way this year,” he began with a serious tone.

“I had a good year last fall, but it could have been better.  I just have to go hard on every play.  I’m pretty fast to be big guy and I’m faster than I was a year ago.  I don’t mind running over people, but I can use my speed to juke them and go on by.

“This is my final season.  I’m ready to give it my all,” McClellan concluded.

Wright was late for practice this particular afternoon and didn’t get as long to talk as the others.

“I just want to make my senior year the best of all.  We have to play together, but we need to practice like we want to play.

“I’m pretty big, but I like to use my speed to get past offensive linemen,” Wright said before racing onto the field.

It should be an interesting battle in the 7-AA race as Signal Mountain and Notre Dame are both picked at the top.

The Eagles will get a quick chance to redeem themselves as they host East Hamilton in the season opener on Aug. 23.

Another key game will take place on Oct. 4 when they host Notre Dame.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


Barrett Serrato Tabbed As New Lee Baseball Assistant

Head coach Mark Brew has announced the addition of Barrett Serrato as the new assistant coach for the Lee baseball team beginning this season. Serrato previously served the past three seasons as an assistant coach at Kent State University. While on staff he was in charge of hitting and the infielders while assisting with the outfielders and base running. The Golden Flashes ... (click for more)

UTC Golfing Trio Named All-American Scholars

The Chattanooga Mocs men's golf team prides itself on its work on and off the course. Wes Gosselin, Stuart Thomas and Phillip Hickam were named Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America Wednesday morning.   It is the second time in Gosselin's career that the Knoxville native earned the honor adding to his 2016 mention. Gosselin ... (click for more)

Bill Kilbride To Retire As Chamber CEO; To Step Down Dec. 31; Chamber Starts Transition Process

Bill Kilbride, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Chamber, has announced that he is retiring from his position effective  Dec. 31 .   Larry Buie, chairman of the Chamber board of directors, expressed his appreciation for Bill's efforts. He said, “Bill Kilbride has led us through the past three years to a place of excellence in terms of strategic leadership. Among ... (click for more)

Corker Votes For Amendment To Repeal Core Elements Of Obamacare; Alexander Votes Against It

Senator Bob Corker voted for an amendment to repeal the core elements of Obamacare, while allowing for a reasonable transition period for a replacement to be developed and implemented. “As I have said before, I believe the best path forward is for Congress to repeal Obamacare after a reasonable transition period,” said Senator Corker. “This amendment would take us back ... (click for more)

Prayers For Denny - And Response (2)

I don’t live in Chattanooga any longer unfortunately and haven’t for many years now, but when I did live there, I was more than a regular at Yesterdays.  It was basically my second home….as it was for many, many of my friends and others that I may not have known their names, but definitely knew their faces.   It was the “Cheers” of Chattanooga. It was the place that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘No Sir -- It Stays Here’

To any of the millions who have served the United States on the field of combat, the most hallowed and prized distinction is our nation’s Medal of Honor. It is never given, it is always earned before it is ever awarded.  At least that’s the way it was up until a sun-splashed Wednesday three weeks ago in Vicenza, Italy. There is an Army base there that houses the 173 rd Airborne ... (click for more)