Baylor-McCallie Football: A Trio With Unlikely Similarities

Friday, October 3, 2014 - by B.B. Branton


Three football players – two wearing red, one in blue – face off tonight with the apparent difference in schools, but interesting similarities.

Baylor’s Ryan Parker and Blake Sutherland both play fullback on offense, while on defense Parker lines up at linebacker behind Sutherland at tackle. Trotter is strictly a running back for the Big Blue.

Tonight’s Game: Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

at McCallie’s Spears Stadium … TV broadcast on CW Chattanooga.

State Champs: Parker (a junior) and Sutherland (a senior) are state wrestling champs, while Trotter (a senior) was part of McCallie’s 2014 state championship track relay team.

All three hold a grade point average at 3.6 or higher, enjoy science and math and struggle – if one can call a B+ struggling – with English composition.

“It is a struggle, at times, for me to be able to put on paper my thoughts in an organized manner,“ said Trotter who first donned the pads and helmet at the age of eight for the East Brainerd Packers.

“Putting your thoughts on paper with a good opening and closing along with solid transition statements throughout is difficult,” Sutherland stated.

While writing essays can be tedious for all three, they light up when discussing their favorite subjects.

Parker (3.8 gpa) stated emphatically, “with Physics, I get it,” and is looking at Duke and Purdue among others to possibly study engineering two years from now, while Trotter enjoys the “complexity, the challenge and the why of math courses” which is maybe how he has solved opposing teams defenses this year with 14 rushing touchdowns and 996 yards.

Trotter plans to study mechanical engineering in college and also enjoys taking apart cars in the summer to see how they work, while in the fall he has had good success in taking apart opposing team defenses.

Sutherland, who is playing football for the first time since the seventh grade, also has an interest in engineering with the hope of attending one of the service academies.

“I have been wrestling since elementary school and with two surgeries on my right foot in middle school I stopped playing football five years ago to give my body a rest before wrestling season,” stated Sutherland who won a tournament in Michigan this summer.

“But a few of the seniors kept talking to me about playing again so with this being my last year I thought I would play one more season and I am glad I did.”

The Big Game

“The hype around the McCallie-Baylor game is awesome and the rivalry is great, yet you must stay focused on your assignments and play one play at a time,” said Parker who sees wrestling and football as complementary sports due to the importance of hand-eye coordination and the need to protect your legs and not get taken off your feet.

Sutherland stated, “We need to look past the rivalry aspect of the game and just sustain our level of play.”

“Of course this is a big game, but it takes a lot of focus and discipline to not get distracted by all the hype in the McCallie-Baylor game,” stated Trotter.

 While all three are ready to dissect and take apart the opposing defense tonight in route to a possible victory, the winner just might be able to compose a semester-best, post-game essay shortly after the final horn with high marks equal to the final verdict on the scoreboard.

Note: Ryan Parker competes in four sports (football, lacrosse, track and field and wrestling) and is on track to earn 17 varsity letters by graduation in the spring of 2016.


contact B.B. Branton at

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