Walker Valley, Hixson, Rhea, McMinn Victorious In Jamboree

Three Of Seven Segments End In Scoreless Ties

Saturday, August 17, 2013 - by John Hunt
A Howard player tries to avoid a tackle Saturday night in their quarter of play with Walker Valley.
A Howard player tries to avoid a tackle Saturday night in their quarter of play with Walker Valley.
- photo by Greg Davick

A total of 13 high school football teams got to face "game conditions" on Saturday night in the second evening of the annual jamboree and three of the seven contests ended in scoreless draws.

Most of the coaches were just wanting to see how their kids would respond in real time situations.  Some were content but most were more on the disappointed side than anything.

As a group, they were probably all glad that it wasn't the first game and that everyone is still 0-0 as the season doesn't officially begin until next weekend.

While the Silverdale-Brainerd was Friday's only scoreless battle, Sale Creek and Grace didn't score in the first round on Saturday.  Then in the final two battles of the evening, East Hamilton and Notre Dame battled to a 0-0 standoff while Soddy Daisy and East Ridge did the same in the final match.

In between, Walker Valley blanked Howard by 14-0 while Hixson overpowered Grace, 27-0.  Rhea County played well in a 14-7 win over Ooltewah while McMinn County posted a 13-0 victory over the Red Bank Lions.

The season officially begins on Thursday when McCallie travels to Cleveland while everyone else kicks things off on Friday.

Sale Creek 0, Grace 0: Golden Eagle coach Bob Ateca chose to let some of his younger players see action against the Panthers while Sale Creek coach Ron Cox was feeling better about his team's defense than their offense.

Cody Daniel intercepted freshman quarterback Jared Thompson and had a nice return of some 47 yards, but the Panthers couldn't take advantage after getting the ball at the Grace 26.

Five-yard penalties on three plays certainly didn't help, but the Golden Eagles got an interception from Austin Smith to snuff that scoring opportunity.

Grace had its biggest play near the end when Thompson hooked up with Cody Sanders for a 28-yard game from the Sale Creek 48 down to the 20, but a 37-yard field goal on the final play fell short.

"We shot ourselves in the foot on offense, but I'm excited about our defense," stated Cox when everything ended.

"It feels good to get out here and play a little bit.  That last play was really the only time they moved it, but we still have a lot of work to do on offense," Cox nodded.

"I'm proud of the effort the young guys put forth.  We moved the ball at times, but we couldn't score.  It was a good experience for us," Ateca nodded.

Walker Valley 14, Howard 0: The Mustangs were intent on establishing their running game and they did just that as they piled up 119 yards on 11 attempts.

Holt Spencer was the workhorse for the Mustangs as he scored both touchdowns on runs of 13 and 3 yards while gaining 39 yards on five carries.  He also had another scoring run of 24 yards called back by penalty on the final play of the quarter.

Howard only had 10 offensive plays.  Quarterback Terrance Brooks had the longest run of eight yards on a scramble.

Alex Stallion had a fumble recovery for Howard, perhaps saving a touchdown at the 1 while Ryan Baker had a fumble recovery for Walker Valley on the next play as a steady rain apparently made the ball hard to handle.

"We're a work in progress, but I didn't like seeing a fumble at the 1," said Walker Valley coach Glen Ryan.

"Overall I'm pleased as we did some good things tonight.  We came out and executed on offense and that's what I was hoping to see," Ryan added.

"We've got to wrap up on defense," said Howard coach Michael Calloway.

"We didn't play a lot of guys, but we just wanted to see what our first teams would do.  We need some help on our offensive line," he added.

Hixson 27, Grace 0: This was a mismatch from the opening play as Isaiah Robinson raced 70 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.

K.C. Shelton recovered a bad pitch on the first play for Grace and the Wildcats had a 14-0 lead three plays later when Preston Wilkey hooked up with Austin Gilkey on a 12-yard pass play with more than 15 minutes still to play.

Marshall Cooper had another big run for the Wildcats as he raced 47 yards from the Hixson 47 down to the Grace 6.  Wilkey then scored from the 2 two plays later to make the difference 21-0.

Hixson then scored its final touchdown on the last play when Austin Clark went 69 yards on a sweep down the right sideline that created the biggest cheer of the entire evening.

"We got to play everybody and nobody got hurt, but we have to get ready for Soddy Daisy," said Hixson coach Jason Fitzgerald when the final horn sounded.

"It's really hard to tell a whole lot in a 20-minute scrimmage when the clock is running the whole time, but it is what it is," he added.

"We knew that Hixson was really good, but we got trapped at the defensive line a couple of times and couldn't do anything about it.  We're here to have fun and get some experience for these kids, but that last touchdown for Hixson was far more important than the final score," Ateca said, knowing that it was a specially called play for a special young man.

Rhea Co. 14, Ooltewah 7: It appears that the Golden Eagles will be a much improved team from the one that won just two of 10 games a year ago.

Running the football with authority and using four different running backs to pile up 114 yards, Rhea got a 24-yard scoring run from Jacob York and then another York burst that covered 37 yards.

Ooltewah answered Rhea's first touchdown with Desmond Pittman scored from the 8 on the next play following a 28-yard pass from quarterback Brodie Binder to wide receiver Mike Mike Williams.

Binder and Williams had hooked up on another pass play covering 18 yards for another big play in the drive.

While the Golden Eagles were concentrating on running the ball, the only pass completion was a big one of 30 yards from Austin Dotson to Demitrius Patterson on the play before York's second TD.

"I thought the kids reacted well on both sides of the ball and I'm pleased with that," said first-year coach Mark Pemberton afterward.

"I wish we hadn't given up that touchdown, but we got to play a bunch of kids and that was important," he added.

Ooltewah's Mac Bryan is another first-year coach.  He was wanting to see a faster-paced offense and that's what he saw, but his defense left something to be desired.

"I don't like seeing missed tackles, but we played the pace we wanted on offense.  We didn't have the ball long enough to really see anything, but we want to use a hurry-up offense and that's what we tried to do tonight," Bryan added.

McMinn Co. 13, Red Bank 0: These two teams scrimmaged three days ago, but that didn't keep Saturday's meeting from being hard-hitting and competitive.

The Cherokees got the ball first and promptly marched 70 yards in five plays for the first score with just over two minutes elapsed.

Dre Sanders, who gained 15 and 9 yards on his first two carries, got the first TD from the 2 and the score was 6-0 following a missed extra point.

Trevor Crisp then scored the second touchdown on another two-yard run on the final play.  Crisp had put his team in a great position with a 35-yard pass from Corbin Powers on the play just before the TD.

Quarterback Micheal Robinson was the leader for Red Bank 18 yards on four carries while completing one of three passes for eight yards.

"It's a jamboree.  We had two scores and a turnover, so there was some good and some bad," said McMinn coach Bo Cagle.

"We scrimmaged them on Wednesday, but we're ready for the season to begin," he added.

"Heck no, I'm not pleased because we lost, but we did a lot better tonight than we did on Wednesday," said Red Bank coach E.K. Slaughter.

"We need to keep a positive attitude going into next weekend, but nobody's job is safe on this team.  We're still working to find the right combinations, but the Robinson kid is a good player and he'll make a difference," Slaughter concluded.

East Hamilton 0, Notre Dame 0: Both of these teams are picked to do well in their respective districts and both have offensive units capable of scoring lots of points in a hurry.

However, on this particular occasion, the defenses for both teams created most of the highlights.

Neither team completed a pass.  Notre Dame finished with seven yards rushing while East Hamilton countered with 10. 

Both coaches were more upbeat about their defenses while agonizing over their offensive woes.

"Our defense was outstanding, but our offense has gone backward," Notre Dame coach Charles Fant said.

"We have to get better on offense, but we're going in the wrong direction and we have to find it soon," he nodded.

"Twenty minutes goes by so fast, but we have to execute on offense and we didn't tonight," said East Hamilton coach Ted Gatewood.

"Notre Dame did a good job, but I'm not happy at all.  We made way too many mistakes and we can't afford to do that if we expect to win any football games," he said afterward.

Soddy Daisy 0, East Ridge 0: This was another example of the defenses outshining the offenses.

Soddy Daisy's offense was hindered by several untimely holding calls, but neither team ever threatened.

Jo Jo Tillery gained 25 yards on the final play for the best play for East Ridge while Soddy Daisy's best play was a 10-yard pass play from Hunter Maynor to Blake Smith.

"It's a good thing this wasn't our first game," said Soddy Daisy's first-year coach Justin Barnes.

"We held them in check on defense, but we didn't execute on offense.  I think we're getting there, but we have to run the ball better," he added.

"We need to feel good about tonight because we didn't have any turnovers and nobody got hurt," said East Ridge coach Tracy Malone.

"We're still trying to figure out what we do well on offense, but this was a good chance to see how we react in a game situation so maybe we won't embarrass ourselves next week," he added.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net


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