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)



Lady Flame Golfers Post Top 5 Finish At Battle Of Old South

BLUFFTON, S.C. – The Lee women's golf team turned in a top-five finish at the Battle of Old South hosted by the University of North Carolina Pembroke on Sunday afternoon as the Lady Flames carded a 300 team total and finished tied for fourth with a 36-hole score of 597. The ladies from SCAD-Savannah led from start to finish after firing rounds of 292-290-582 and won by ... (click for more)

Coldron's Goal Lifts Lee Men's Soccer Over Union

Thanks to an Alfie Coldron goal and another clean sheet from goalkeeper Tristan Putnam the Lee men's soccer team blanked the Union University Bulldogs, 1-0 on a muggy Sunday afternoon. Coldron scored the lone goal of the match in the 37 th minute as he dribbled around two defenders and slid a shot inside the near post past the diving keeper to put the Flames ahead just ... (click for more)

3 Separate Shootings Early Sunday Morning Leave 1 Critically Injured, Another In Serious Condition

Chattanooga Police responded to three shootings, early Sunday morning. Jelani Sorrell, 33, was injured in the first shooting.  Chattanooga Police officers responded at 1:26 a.m. to a person shot at the Sky Zoo Night Club.  Upon arrival they were able to locate Sorrell suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Sorrell was transported to a local hospital in critical ... (click for more)

Home Damaged By Fire In Lookout Valley Sunday Afternoon

A home was damaged extensively by fire Sunday afternoon in Lookout Valley. At approximately  3 p.m.,  the Chattanooga Fire Department dispatched multiple companies to  1203 O ’ Grady Drive in Lookout Valley for a smoke investigation. First arriving units found a large two-story house involved with heavy fire and smoke. An initial interior attack was ... (click for more)

Fix Obamacare, Don't Repeal It - And Response (2)

John McCain recently said, "I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal. I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full (Congressional Budget ... (click for more)

Roy Exum - ‘Let’s Talk Real Life’

In mid-November of 2015, the Missouri football team very unwisely went on strike. A black student had refused to eat until a list of racially-based demands were met. Some on the football team were sympathetic and it quickly morphed into the biggest catastrophe in the annals of higher education. The university would lose hundreds of millions, athletic donations dropped 72 percent, ... (click for more)