Upshaw's Catch Leads Red Raiders To Jamboree Win

Junior Receiver Snags 41-Yard Touchdown From Tiano

Friday, August 15, 2014

Like his older brother, Gage Upshaw is a two-sport standout at Baylor.

Reggie Upshaw played football and basketball, but rode a sterling cage career with the Red Raiders to a college hoops scholarship at Middle Tennessee State University, where he is a rising sophomore.

The younger Upshaw plays basketball for Red Raiders coach Austin Clark, but also provides football coach Phil Massey with a talented offensive weapon.

Gage Upshaw, a junior, has tentative college plans that could include MTSU, but he would likely join the Blue Raiders’ football program. So far, he is interested in MTSU, where his father also played, Southern Miss and Vanderbilt.

“I love football. It’s my calling,” he said Friday night after catching a 41-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Tiano in the Red Raiders’ 7-3 win over Cleveland in the preseason jamboree at Finley Stadium. “MTSU is a family tradition with us.”

On the only touchdown of the quarter, Upshaw broke free over the middle and Tiano, who has verbally committed to play at Mississippi State, threw a textbrook strike to his tight end for the score.

“It was a mesh route between me and the slot,” Upshaw said as the final seconds on the 20-minute “quarter” ticked off the clock. “I noticed the safety was helping the other way and I jumped the corner. Nick threw a perfect ball.”

That’s not at all surprising.

Tiano and Upshaw have spent countless hours throwing and catching footballs over the last three seasons, including a weekend last month at the Southeastern 7-on-7 Championship in Dalton, Ga.

“That tournament helps tremendously with our timing,” Upshaw said. “We faced good competition and even in games we lost it helped our passing game. Nick looks for me to make plays and I look for Nick to make plays.

“Timing is the key benefit from 7-on-7s. We don’t hang our hats on them because it’s not real football.”

Friday was as near to real as you can get in the preseason. Cleveland reached the Class 5A state semifinals in 2013, losing to Knoxville West, 49-14, and is picked to challenge for the District 5-AAA championship again this season.

It was a night of big plays that can only whet the appetite of fans that turned out for the first of two nights of jamboree action.

Tyner put up two such plays in a 14-0 win over Silverdale Baptist Academy.

Jaylen Grimes bolted 49 yards off left tackle for a quick touchdown to get the Rams on the scoreboard first.

Then quarterback Emmanuel Moss hooked up with Keiontae Halfacre on a 43-yard touchdown for Tyner’s second score.

“It’s go big or go home for me this year,” said Grimes, a 5-foot-10-inch, 170-pound senior fullback. “I need to lead my team and be an example for everyone. “I had to get by that first guy and then do my tricks of the trade and score for my team.”

Grimes used a stiff-arm to shed a potential tackler, darted to the left sideline and outran the Seahawks defense to the end zone.

Grimes scored only two touchdowns last season, but helped the Rams to their 20th consecutive playoff appearance, losing to Upperman, 70-49, in the second round.

“I was more of a blocker last year,” Grimes said. “I’m still the fullback and I wouldn’t say I’m a feature back, but I think I’ll get more carries this season. We’ve got a lot of depth in the backfield.”

Grimes said the Rams started off slow in preseason practice, but came into Friday’s jamboree with a different mindset, determined to play well and lay the foundation for another successful season.

“I think, no I know, we’re ready to get the season started,” he said.

The Rams open the season on Aug. 29 at home against Signal Mountain.

Boyd-Buchanan’s Bucs, who went 4-7 last season playing a challenging schedule and still wound up in the playoffs, got a 45-yard scoring run from new quarterback junior Cooper Hodge in a 13-0 victory over Sale Creek’s second-year Panthers.

“I played behind Jim (Cardwell) for a couple of years and learned a lot,” Hodge said. “I knew I’d get a chance to play as a junior and I’m very excited to lead the team. It was good to get the pads to poppin’.

“I got some good blocks on the touchdown run and got in the end zone.”

E.J. Matthews got the Bucs’ other touchdown on a 4-yard run.

The Bucs open their season next week at home against Red Bank.

“We’ve been thinking about that game since February,” Hodge said. “We can’t wait to play.”

In Bradley Central’s 13-0 win over Howard, wide receiver Tyler Carpenter grabbed a short pass from quarterback Cole Copeland on a crossing route and turned it into a 35-yard touchdown play. The touchdown was set up a play earlier when Copeland connected with Trevon Hill on a 29-yard gainer.

“It’s a quick-hitting shallow route,” Carpenter said. “The linebackers blitzed, the ball came out fast and Tanner Cox blocked his guy right into the end zone and allowed me to score.

“We’re ready for the season. We’re ready to fight. We’re young and lost a lot of leaders off last year’s team, but we’re getting some new ones.”

Signal Mountain took an early lead against McCallie when a 42-yard Jack Teter-to- John Ryan Wilson pass set up a field goal.

The Blue Tornado answered when JaVaughn Craig hit Tyler Payne on a 28-yard score.

However, Teter connected with a wide open Hunter VanDyken down the right seam on a 40-yard touchdown play for the 10-7 win just seconds before the quarter ended

“On that route I basically read the safety,” VanDyken said. “I looked at the safety first, cut between the cornerback and outside linebacker and that left me open. That was a confidence booster for us because we lost to McCallie in last year’s jamboree.”

Signal Mountain travels to East Hamilton next Friday for the team’s season opener. The Hurricanes have won the last two meetings by a combined score of 69-26.

“East Hamilton is probably the most exciting game of the season for us,” VanDyken said. “Them and Notre Dame, I guess. That game usually sets the tone for the rest of the season.”  

(E-mail Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)



RHP Julio Teheran Picked As Opening Day Starting Pitcher For Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has been among the many who have long assumed Julio Teheran will make his second consecutive Opening Day start for Atlanta this year. But Gonzalez did not make it official until he shared a brief casual exchange with his young right-hander after Friday's rain-shortened win over the Red Sox. Teheran responded with a smile ... (click for more)

Complete Results For 65 Roses 5K Road Race

 ********** OVERALL LISTING - 5K ********** **** OVERALL FEMALE **** Place Name                     Ag Div   Nettime Pace     ===== ======================== == ===== ======= =====     1 Amy ... (click for more)

Hard Freeze Predicted In The Area For Saturday Night

Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to 28 degrees or less. Here is the latest report from the National Weather Service:  HARD FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT EDT /11 PM CDT/ TONIGHT TO 11 AM EDT /10 AM CDT/ SUNDAY... * EVENT... A HARD FREEZE EXPECTED WITH LOWS FROM THE TEENS NORTH TO THE UPPER 20S SOUTH LATE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mom’s Parting Instructions

My mother, Helen Exum, went to be with the Lord in late August of last year and, in the way folks do, I was going through some of her files last week when I ran across an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a story and written in her hand were the words, “This is a wonderful story for you to tell!” Not being one to disobey my mother and not about to waylay the wishes of the ... (click for more)