Walker Valley, Central Impressive In Jamboree Play

East Ridge, Notre Dame, Ooltewah, Soddy Daisy Also Win

Sunday, August 17, 2014 - by John Hunt

The dress rehearsals are over.  All of the preseason scrimmages are a thing of the past.

The second evening of action is now complete for the annual high school jamboree, which was again held at Finley Stadium Saturday night.

Twelve more teams all got to play a 20-minute “quarter” with a running clock and most accomplished what they came for.

East Ridge, Notre Dame, Ooltewah and Soddy Daisy all won their battles by similar 7-0 scores.  Walker Valley scored two times against Hixson in a 14-0 win while East Hamilton and Central battled to a scoreless draw.

The Pioneers slipped past Grace before the Fighting Irish edged Brainerd.  The Owls outlasted Rhea County while the Trojans stopped Franklin County in the final skirmish of the evening.

The regular season kicks off for most teams next Friday, although Cleveland and McCallie will face each other on Thursday night at Finley.

EAST RIDGE 7, GRACE 0: East Ridge coach Tracy Malone was visibly upset at his team’s obvious lackadaisical effort at the start, but he also knows that you really don’t prove anything under these kind of conditions.

The Pioneers got the ball first and promptly marched 70 yards for the only touchdown when quarterback JoJo Tillery scored on a keeper from the 1.  The key play in the drive was a 60 yarder by Tillery on the previous snap on fourth-and-1.

The Golden Eagles had possession for most of the stanza, but they were never able to convert it into points.

The biggest play of the evening for Grace was a 34-yard pass play from sophomore quarterback Jared Thompson to junior Jared Roberts which moved the ball from the Grace 32 to the East Ridge 34.

The Pioneer defense then got tough and didn’t allow another first down.

Thompson also had completions of 10 yards to James Rowell and Dalton Morrison, but the Golden Eagles were never able to score.

“We didn’t play very well and we surely didn’t look like a team picked to win our district,” Malone said when it ended.

“Defensively, we gave up too many big plays, but we’ll get there.  All in all, we got a win, so I’m happy about that,” he added.

Grace coach Bob Ateca felt like his team did okay with the exception of the long run he defense allowed.

“It wasn’t too bad.  We made one mistake on that long run and we had some missed blocks, but all of that’s fixable.  We’ll keep working,” he added.

NOTRE DAME 7, BRAINERD 0: Both teams had turnovers on back-to-back plays, but it was ultimately a Brainerd punt that didn’t travel very far before taking a reverse bounce that set up Notre Dame’s only score of the game.

Jamal Herman Jr. recovered a fumble for the Panthers to stop Notre Dame’s first drive, but Demonte Pickett threw an interception on the next play that Ricky Ballard snagged, but it was that seven-yard punt that gave the Fighting Irish great field position at the Brainerd 23 that was the downfall for the Panthers.

Ballard picked up one yard on the first play before backup quarterback Nicholas Coronis hooked up with Kareem Orr for a 22-yard TD pass into the corner of the end zone.

Coronis is subbing for starter Alex Darras, who is sidelined for a couple of weeks with a broken right ankle.

“That was a really good effort by my team and I’m really happy with the defense.  We know just how fast Brainerd is and we kept them pretty much under control.  Offensively, we moved it pretty well and I’m really happy with the play of our backup quarterback,” said Notre Dame coach Charles Fant.

“It was about what I expected as we always start off slow,” said Brainerd coach Brian Gwyn.

“We still have plenty of stuff to work on and we gave up a couple of big plays we shouldn’t have, but we’ll be alright,” he added.

WALKER VALLEY 14, HIXSON 0: The Mustangs probably looked as good as anyone on Saturday night as they scored on their first two possessions.

The first one was a nifty 10-play, 70-yard drive that ended on a 3-yard pass from quarterback Josh Jones to Hunter Newport.

The second one came midway through the quarter on Walker Valley’s first play after a Hixson drive stalled at the 16.

Freshman quarterback Kolten Gibson completed a little swing pass to Cooper Melton, who broke a couple of tackles and raced 84 yards for the longest play of the weekend.

Hixson’s longest play was a 14-yard pass from Preston Wilkey to McKenzie Martin.

“That was just a little hitch route, but he was able to keep his feet and just kept running,” Walker Valley coach Glenn Ryan explained the long TD play.

“He took a little play and turned it into a big one.  It’s always good to get off to a good start and this was a good momentum builder for us, but we have to polish a few things and get ready for next week,” Ryan nodded.

Hixson coach Dan Duff wasn’t totally disappointed with the play of his Wildcats.

“We moved the ball well at times, but we have got to improve in a hurry as we still have a long way to go.  We’ve gotten a lot better since we started, but we have a bunch of young kids and it’s going to take some time,” he added.

EAST HAMILTON 0, CENTRAL 0: The Purple Pounders were another team that looked pretty good.

Central dominated play as the Pounders had 20 offensive plays to just six for the Hurricanes.

Central’s defense was impressive too as East Hamilton was limited to a negative 12 yards rushing and one pass completion for seven yards.

Taven Spann gained 19 yards on six carries for Central while Scout Morgan completed three passes for 16 yards.

“We just wanted to come out and compete, move the ball and stop the run and we pretty much did all of that, but we’re a long way from good,” said Central coach Ryan Mallory.

“But this is a different Central team from the past and I’m confident that we’ll get there,” he added.

East Hamilton coach Ted Gatewood wasn’t exactly the happiest guy when it ended. He himself a former offensive lineman, he was probably the least happy with their play.

“I thought we came out flat and that’s my fault, but we just need to build on this.  We ran a bunch of basic stuff on offense, but we saw real quick what we need to work on,” the former Memphis State star suggested.

“I was pleased with our defense as they ran to the ball and were pretty physical,” he added.

OOLTEWAH 7, RHEA CO. 0: The Golden Eagles moved the ball pretty well, but a couple of costly turnovers hurt.

Noel Patterson had the biggest gainer for Rhea County with a 25-yard pass from Austin Thurman, but Ooltewah’s Rashun Freeman was in perfect position to cover the fumble when Patterson got hit.

Freeman also had an interception at the end to preserve the win after the Owls had scored the only touchdown with less than four minutes remaining.

Edward Hayes scored the game-winning TD on a four-yard pass from London Elrod.

Elrod completed his last four passes for 47 yards, including a long of 26 to Anthony Turner.

“We weren’t able to see enough to really know how well we played, but I was pleased with our defense,” said Ooltewah coach Mac Bryan.

“I think we did alright, but the key now is to stay healthy,” he added.

Rhea County coach Mark Pemberton also liked his team’s defense, but he wasn’t too crazy about the turnovers.

“We’ve got to do a better job holding onto the football as we didn’t want to turn it over like we did.  We played well on defense, so overall, I’m okay with the overall experience,” he added.

SODDY DAISY 7, FRANKLIN CO. 0: The Trojans marched 70 yards for a touchdown on their first possession and made it count with a win at the end.

Quarterback Hunter Maynor, who had completions of 11 yards to Levi Thornton and Blake Smith in the drive, hooked up with Smith across the middle from the 1 for the difference in this one.

The Rebels moved the ball well on the ground and finished with 113 yards, but a couple of costly fumbles certainly didn’t help.

Christian Bell had the first one while Cale Morgan got the second one on the final play as the Rebels had moved inside the 10.

Tim Farris was the leading rusher for Franklin County as he had 51 yards on just two carries while quarterback Dalvin Russell added 18 yards on one trip.

“We just wanted to execute on offense and make a few plays.  That’s basically what we did, so I’m pleased with the result,” said Soddy Daisy coach Justin Barnes.

“We can’t always depend on turnovers, but we played with a lot of hustle and I’m happy about that,” he added.

Franklin County coach Jim Carr felt like those turnovers far outweighed the success his team had running the football.

“We did a good job moving the ball, but we couldn’t seem to hold on to it.  Using a ball-control offense like we have, we have to hold on and I’m not happy with our ability to do that tonight,” he added.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)



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