It's the middle of August and the 2013 high school football season is now underway after Friday night's opening round of the annual jamboree at Finley Stadium, but it surely didn't feel like the middle of August.
With temperatures abnormally cool for this time of year, it was actually quite pleasant as fans from area schools gathered to watch five 20-minute quarters.
Silverdale and Brainerd battled to a scoreless draw in the opening segment before Cleveland beat Boyd-Buchanan, 14-0.
McCallie looked good in a 7-0 win over Signal Mountain before Bradley defeated Tyner by the same score. Then in the final round of the evening, Baylor posted a 14-0 win over Franklin County.
There will be seven match-ups on Saturday night with Grace Academy welcoming Sale Creek into the world of prep football in the opener at 6:30. Howard-Walker Valley follow at 7 before Grace plays again against Hixson. Rhea County-Ooltewah, McMinn County-Red Bank and East Hamilton-Notre Dame before Soddy Daisy and East Ridge wrap up the day around 9:30.
Brainerd 0, Silverdale 0: The defense was better for both teams than the offense as neither team really ever threatened to score.
Brainerd senior Sedric Jordan recovered a fumble on Silverdale's first offensive snap while teammate Brian Montgomery had a vicious hit on a pass reception that lost eight yards to stop another Seahawk drive. Then on Silverdale's final opportunity, LaTony Word intercepted a pass for the Panthers.
While Brainerd's defense captured most of the highlights for the Panthers, Joshua Rogers was the leader for Silverdale with 15 yards on two carries.
"I'm a little frustrated right now, but everything we did wrong is fixable," said Silverdale coach Al Rogers when the 20-minute battle had ended.
"The effort was there as we didn't back down. I think our guys were ready to hit somebody, but we'll be okay," Rogers added.
First-year Brainerd coach Brian Gwyn was pretty happy with his team's performance.
"Silverdale is a physical football team, but I'm pretty happy with what I saw. At this point, our defense is ahead of our offense, but we have to be able to score when we get turnovers. At least they didn't score," he concluded with a smile.
Cleveland 14, Boyd-Buchanan 0: The Blue Raiders looked good as they scored on their first two possessions.
Southpaw quarterback Austin Herink completed passes covering 13 and 10 yards to wide receiver D.J. Jones while Raekwon Bunion had a 13-yard run before finishing the drive with a 34-yard scamper. Oscar Galvan booted the first of two extra points and the Blue Raiders were on the board with 17:16 showing.
Buccaneer quarterback Jim Cardwell completed his first three passes for a collective 29 yards, but his fourth attempt was intercepted by Jones to stop Boyd-Buchanan at the Cleveland 31.
Cleveland had a first down following an 18-yard pass from Herink to T.J. Parker, but the Blue Raiders hit a bump in the road when the next snap from center sailed over Herink's head for a 22-yard loss. It didn't seem to matter as the talented quarterback came right back with his longest completion of the game, a 79-yarder to a wide open Jones down the center of the field.
Cardwell was the offensive leader with 29 yards rushing on four attempts and 45 yards passing on five completions.
Jones was the leader for Cleveland with 102 yards on three grabs.
"I'm pretty pleased with what I saw, although we had some big eyes on defense," said Cleveland coach Ron Crawford.
"We can and will play better defensively, but D.J. Jones is a heckuva player and we have a quarterback who can get the ball to him," the second-year coach nodded.
Buccaneer coach Grant Reynolds didn't see much that made him happy.
"It was a bad performance by our team as we didn't play well. We weren't ready to go when the ball was snapped and that's my fault. Our expectations are high. Jim Cardwell made a few big plays, but there weren't enough of them. I'm very frustrated right now," Reynolds said afterward.
McCallie 7, Signal Mountain 0: Give McCallie the award for having the hardest hits on defense as the Blue Tornado really delivered the blows as the leather was popping on virtually every snap.
The Eagles drove from one 20 down to the other 20 on their first drive, but on fourth and 1, James McClellan IV was stuffed for a two-yard loss by Tanner Winters.
McCallie then scored its only touchdown on a six-play, 78-yard drive that was aided by a 15-yard personal foul penalty against the Eagles.
Sophomore quarterback Javaughn Craig picked up 14 yards on a keeper before hooking up with Tyler Payne for another gain of a dozen yards. Junior running back Paul Silverblatt then got into the act with three straight carries that netted 31 yards, including the last one of 27 that was a perfectly-executed sweep to the right corner of the end zone.
The Eagles completed two of three passes for 19 yards, but they were content to keep the ball on the ground. Kaleb Menzel was the leader with 14 yards on three trips while Diamez Franklin picked up 11 yards on two attempts.
Craig was the leader on the ground for McCallie with 32 yards on three carries.
"I'm always happy when we win, but we had a really young quarterback out there tonight who's only been at that position for two weeks," McCallie coach Ralph Potter praised his sophomore signal caller who was subbing for an injured senior Isaac Kay.
"JaVaughn has great instincts, but we just wanted to play a little football tonight. And yes, we do have some guys on defense who will hit you," he added.
Signal Mountain coach Bill Price certainly had no complaints for his team's effort.
"I thought we played pretty well, but it was just basic stuff. I thought we moved the ball well and Jack Teeter (quarterback) played well too. I was really pleased with our defense, but the big thing is that we didn't have anyone get hurt," the veteran coach concluded with a smile.
Bradley 7, Tyner 0: Bradley's Baylor Terrell intercepted a Tyner pass on the third play from scrimmage and it didn't take the Bears long to take advantage as quarterback Brett Standifer completed three straight passes, including a 14-yarder in the right corner of the end zone to Dee Crisp for the only score with just over 16 minutes remaining.
Terrell had another pick on Tyner's next possession, but the Bears weren't able to convert that one into points.
Tyner quarterback Haasan Miller got the hot hand late and completed back-to-back passes of 21 and 13 yards to Willie Stewart, but the clock expired before the Rams could score.
"This is the first time in eight years that we showed up for a jamboree and didn't get anyone hurt," said a relieved Bradley coach Damon Floyd.
"Brett has been a starter for the last four years (three at Soddy Daisy), so he's been there before. The good news is that he has some receivers with experience. We expect those guys to make plays like that.
"Tyner is physical and fast as always, but we competed with them and I'm happy," Floyd added.
Tyner coach Wayne Turner has been through more than his share of jamboree experiences.
"I thought we were pretty good on defense, but we were just trying to get through it without getting anyone hurt. This is always a good learning experience for these guys, but we were able to throw the ball and little bit and I was happy about that," Turner said with a smile.
Crisp was the leading receiver for Bradley with three grabs for 39 yards. Miller had four completions for 45 yards to lead the Rams.
Baylor 14, Franklin Co. 0: Senior running back caught one pass for a touchdown and added another on a short run as the Red Raiders scored the first two times they touched the ball.
Junior quarterback Nick Tiano, who is a lot more confident this year than last, completed five of six passes for 96 yards. A 30-yarder to Gage Upshaw put the Red Raiders in business at the Rebel 15 before Tiano hooked up with Porter for the final 15 with just over 17 minutes to play.
Junior Colin Brewer booted the first of two extra points as regular kicker Rafael Gaglianone had the night off.
Chandler Gouger, an impressive 6-5 senior, had receptions covering 31 and 11 yards on Baylor next possession while Porter went the rest of the way, gaining nine yards on his first carry of the night before scoring his second TD from the 2.
Gouger and Porter both had two catches for 42 and 24 yards, respectively, to lead the Red Raider offense.
Franklin County's offense never got untracked as they were hounded by a swarming Baylor defense. Luke Hutchins had one sack for 11 yards while Jon Schmissrauter had another tackle for a loss of two yards.
Tyler Seaberg and Hutchins were credited with a sack of quarterback Whitson Moore on a third-and-9 that forced a punt by the Rebels.
"The warmups are over as this was just a glorified scrimmage," said Baylor coach Phil Massey after a brief talk with his team at midfield.
"We did what we needed to do tonight. We've had a good pre-season camp, but the key for us is to keep getting better," Massey concluded.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)