Cleveland Football Team Has Confidence In Austin Herink

Senior Southpaw Looking For Great Things In Final Season For Blue Raiders

Monday, August 19, 2013 - by John Hunt

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Last year was one of those football seasons that members of the Cleveland Blue Raiders would just as soon forget.

They finished with a 5-5 record, which is not very good for a team with much higher standards.  Perhaps the biggest kicker to last year's misery was losing their final game to Rhea County and getting left out of the playoffs.

Every coach and player who has anything to do with Cleveland football is vowing to not let that happen again.

Ron Crawford is starting his second season as the Blue Raider head coach.

  He too has high expectations as he has a strong senior class numbering 18 and he has the majority of starters back, including nine on offense.

Austin Herink was the starting quarterback a year ago who looked great at times.  At 6-2 and 210 pounds, he has the size to be a force.  He's also a smart kid with a 3.9 grade point average, so he's certainly more of an asset than a liability when the Blue Raiders have the ball.

He's been to more than a dozen camps this summer and he's a better than average bet to be playing on the college level next fall.

"Our goal is to be better than last year, get back to the playoffs and win some important football games," the only child of Jeff and Donita Herink shared one day last week before practice began.

"We've had a great summer so far, but we have to get back to that level of play that Cleveland is known for.  We have most of our starters back on offense and I feel more confident than ever before.  I know that I can play at this level and I feel like a veteran now after what I went through last year.

"All of my friends are on the football team and we've been playing together for a while.  We've worked hard to get to this point and we really care about each other," he continued.

This young man started his football career as an energetic six-year-old and was a running back until the sixth grade.

"You know that every kid wants to be a quarterback.  I've really taken my role as the quarterback serious as my work ethic is one of my biggest assets.  I don't put the football down all year long and I'm a student of the game," Herink added.

He has a long list of colleges interested in his services, including Cincinnati, Furman, Samford, VMI and Youngstown State.  History is his favorite subject and he wants to one day go into business for himself selling insurance, but he's hoping that his career as a gridiron star will keep going for several more years.

"I know that football doesn't last forever, so I have to have a backup plan," he concluded.

Coach Crawford is just happy that he has another season with the strapping guy who just celebrated his 18th birthday this past Friday.

"From an experience standpoint, we ask him to do a lot, but he understands our offense and he allows us to do some good things on that side of the ball," Crawford said while supervising a weight room workout.

"Austin is a good teammate and the others have a lot of confidence in him.  His goal is to be number one and he's often harder on himself than we are.  He's competitive, coachable and dependable and that's the kind of guy you want at quarterback.

"He can throw the football, but he also has the ability to keep a play alive when the call doesn't materialize.  We'll run him some as he's big enough to protect himself," the coach continued.

"He understands our offense and he knows how to protect the ball.  He has all the ingredients of a great leader and we expect him to improve from last year.  I hope that he plays with a chip on his shoulder.

"We don't want to leave any doubts this year.  Our mental toughness has to get better, but I feel like we have a chance to win every game on our schedule.  Of course, we can't afford to beat ourselves.  But we're excited about the upcoming season as we're looking for great things from these young men," Crawford concluded.

The Blue Raiders looked good in their 20-minute jamboree matchup with Boyd-Buchanan on Friday night as the Blue Raiders prevailed, 14-0.

Herink's first pass fell incomplete, but he then completed his next four, including a touchdown play of 79 yards to fellow senior D.J. Jones.

Cleveland will be the first team to start the season as the Blue Raiders host McCallie at Benny Monroe Stadium on Thursday night with the opening kickoff set for 7:30.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)



Comeback Falls Short For Covenant In Loss To Piedmont

The Covenant men's basketball team rallied from a 21-point halftime deficit and sent the game to overtime before falling to Piedmont,  89-82 , in USA South action inside Barnes PE Center  on Thursday  night. Covenant (7-7, 3-4 USA South) suffered from a cold shooting night and fell behind by 21 points, 46-25, at halftime. However, Covenant got hot from ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Signal Mountain Girls Top Tyner 57-42.

BlueCross Sells Huge Tract Along River For $8.1 Million

BlueCross BlueShield has sold a huge tract along the riverfront in Lupton City for $8.1 million. The purchaser is listed as Riverton LLC., 651 E. 4th St., Suite 403, Chattanooga. BlueCross had bought the 216-acre site in 2001 as a possible site for its corporate headquarters. However, it wound up building a $299 million campus on Cameron Hill instead. BlueCross started ... (click for more)

1 Person Injured In Duplex Fire In East Lake Wednesday Night

One person was injured when fire broke out in a duplex Wednesday night in East Lake. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at  11:53  p.m. on  Wednesday  and responded to the 4800 block of General Thomas Boulevard with several fire companies. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, Captain Chris Cordes with Engine 9 said a significant ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: This Is Not A Drill

Last Saturday morning in paradise, at 8:07 to be precise, an alert appeared on every cell phone that read: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” I can envision no greater horror than having to ask myself how much time do I have, and what is the wisest way to spend it? It was a long and dreadful 38 minutes until the correction ... (click for more)