By Mark Nagi
There are times that the days drag, and others that they fly by. Either way, our local high school football teams can’t wait for the opening games of the 2021 season get here.
The good news (or bad news for those impatient folks) is that the kickoff to the 2021 campaign is less than four months away.
I’ve had the chance to check in with a bunch of area schools over the past couple of weeks and figured this would be an opportune time to relay what I’ve learned to you, the loyal reader!
First up, let’s head to the mean streets of Farragut where the Admirals are hoping to win a Region title, and advance further in the Class 6A playoffs. In 2020 they were eliminated in the first round by Bradley Central.
The Ads return eight starters overall, the most important of which is quarterback Dawson Moore, an all-Region performer in 2020.
“Dawson did a great job growing up last year with all this COVID,” said Farragut head coach Eddie Courtney. “He matured a lot and that is what we wanted him to do. He can be a dual threat and got more accurate as a passer. We always know that he can run the football so, that is a big plus there. He’s always been a great leader in the off season and I’m looking forward to see what he does this spring.”
There is a lot of potential in terms of the skill positions.
“That’s wide open right now we lost some good ones last year,” said Courtney. “We have got some young kids that got some playing time last year so that’s why you have spring practice to see what you have. We should be getting some guys back from track and baseball soon. It should be pretty exciting around here.”
Farragut’s 6A rivals, the Hardin Valley Hawks, had their struggles in 2020, finishing 2-8. But head coach Mike Potter likes what he is seeing from his team these days.
“These guys are motivated, and they are working hard,” said Potter. “We have had some good work in the weight room, and they are getting stronger. They are eager to get the pads on in the next couple of days and getting after it… coming out every day, working and giving maximum effort, and being committed to the cause and trying to do our best to improve upon what we did last year.”
A few miles away the rebuild continues for the Karns Beavers in Class 5A.
“We are excited for spring practice,” said Karns head coach Brad Taylor. “It looks like we are getting back to more normal of a football season coming up, so we are excited about that too.”
The Beavers return twelve starters, including rising junior running back De’Sean Bishop, who is getting looks from lots of college programs. And he’ll have some help going forward.
“We had a good off season through winter workouts,” said Taylor. “We return a good bit of offensive linemen. We have some guys in the skill positions that have some experience. Our biggest concern is where we are on defensive line and linebacker because we lost some experience there. But we return a lot of good football players.”
And finally, the South-Doyle Cherokees are getting used to life in Class 4A after a 2020 season in which they were Class 5A semifinalists.
“We feel like we played in a great league,” said South-Doyle head coach Clark Duncan. “5A football is huge but so is 4A. We’ve moved into it with Fulton, Anderson County, Greeneville, Elizabethton… so there is great football to be played. It is going to be challenging but exciting because it is new people. We have a really strong out of conference schedule which will help us come postseason.”