(This is the 16th in a series of preseason stories on new high school football coaches, or veteran coaches at a different school, and top players in the Chattanooga area)
football team has won 18 games in the first two years of Charles Fant’s time as
the Fighting Irish head coach.
Mountain Eagles have beaten Notre Dame in both of those years, keeping the guys
in green and gold from winning the District 7-AA championship.
currently has 18 seniors on its football roster and a bunch of returning
starters on both sides of the ball.
None are any
more talented or valuable than Kareem Orr, last year’s 7-AA Player of the Year
and an All-State pick. He’s just gotten
better as he’s gotten older and colleges have taken notice.
recently he made a public commitment to the Louisville Cardinals where the
six-foot, 190-pound 17-year-old hopes to see action next fall as a defensive
felt right when I visited there and I’ve already established a good
relationship with Terrell Buckley, their defensive backs coach. I feel like I have a good chance to start
next fall as a defensive back,” Orr nodded.
such an emotional leader for this football team. When he gets up, everybody responds in a
positive way. When he’s quiet, the
others are quiet too, but it’s nice to see him developing into the player he’s
become,” Fant said after school dismissed on Wednesday afternoon.
best as a receiver and he can play there at the next level, but he also has the
potential to play safety as his speed increases. Just throw the ball in his area and he’ll
come down with it. He dropped two passes
in the jamboree last week and I can’t remember the last time that happened,”
the coach continued.
Darras (starting quarterback) getting hurt early in pre-season camp, we’re
using a backup who’s never played quarterback.
Having Kareem in the same backfield gives him the confidence to move our
offense,” the coach praised the work of junior backup Nicholas Coronis.
“I expect a
lot of Friday night leadership from Kareem, but he’s the one to pump them up
when things don’t go our way. He does
more than just stand around. He’s been
nursing a tender hamstring recently, but he still works with the younger guys
while he’s not playing. That’s so
strong this year, but watching this group of seniors develop has been fun. Now is the time as there’s no waiting until
next year. Signal Mountain has kept us
from winning the district the last two years and that will be our big game this
expecting to win again this year as we must be victorious. We have a process where we love them, but we
also demand a lot from them. We’ve set
some pretty high expectations and we don’t let them fall below that level.
player has to earn his starting position every year, but Kareem and I have a
special relationship. He’s a heck of a
player as he’s all business on the football field, but he has fun in the
process,” the coach concluded.
accounted for more than 1,700 yards a year ago when he scored 17 touchdowns for
the Fighting Irish. He also had six
interceptions, including one for a TD while making 67 tackles from his safety
to admit that he wants the ball in his hands, but he also enjoys delivering a
big hit on defense.
having the ball in my hands, but I also enjoy playing defense. It feels so good to hit an opponent
hard. It also feels pretty good to catch
a nice touchdown pass. We feel like we
have a chance to go all the way,” the son of Aaron and Marion Orr said with
“I just want
to lead this team to a state championship and to beat Signal Mountain,” he
more than just play football as he’s a star on the basketball court and he’s
also on the Notre Dame baseball team.
And he’s seriously thinking about playing soccer in the spring.
“I work hard
every day. I want everyone else to get
better because I want them to succeed too.
We have to get the job done this fall, but I’m ready,” he concluded.
starts its season tonight with a home game against Knoxville Catholic.
final season in a Notre Dame football uniform is about to begin. With an outstanding supporting cast, who
knows how the upcoming season will end.
hopes it’s in Cookeville at the Class AA state championship game.
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