Let the games begin

Area teams ready for 2008 season

It counts on Friday.

Don’t make too much of Seymour beating Maryville in the jamboree.

The Rebels definitely weren’t sharp in a 7-0 loss to the Eagles at the Maryville Orthopaedic Clinic annual high school kickoff last Friday night at Heritage.

The four-time defending Class 4A champion Rebels, who open at Halls on Friday, turned the ball over on three occasions, including a Steve Frazier interception of a tipped Mark Young pass on Maryville’s second play from scrimmage, the pick giving the Eagles the ball at the Rebel 10-yard line.

Seymour’s Blake Overton would punch it in from there one play later.

The Eagles stayed with their starters for much of the remainder of the quarter to hold the advantage. Maryville, as has been its practice during the George Quarles era, lifted its first unit in favor of reserves after its first series. The second team defense had taken over for the first group prior to the Overton score.

Blount County’s other three schools will each open at home Friday, with four-time defending 2A champion Alcoa welcoming Spring Hill to Goddard Field, Heritage playing host to the high-flying Eagles and William Blount getting started with Sevier County at Mike White Field.

All kickoffs are 7:30 p.m.

Friday wasn’t the best dress rehearsal for a Maryville team that enters 2008 riding a 60-game winning streak, but Quarles didn’t panic afterward.

The Rebels simply weren’t fired up, and he let them know it in a post-quarter, team meeting beneath the goalpost. There’s been the Nike distraction all summer, and several key performers, including feature back Thomas Shuler, were held out of the jamboree to ensure they would be rested and ready for the opener.

There are concerns along the offensive line, where three starters are currently out injured. Senior tackle Brad Coulter will miss his final campaign with the Rebels after being told last week he had a fractured vertebrae in his lower back.

Halls will provide a stern test for Maryville, which needs to address some things in a hurry, but making too much of a jamboree loss to a Seymour team with the weaponry to contend for a Class 3A title isn’t the way to go.

The Tornadoes six-back attack looks as if it could be the real thing as the Tornadoes made quick work of Sevier County, 10-0, in a quarter of play at the jamboree. Sophomore fullback Taharin Tyson blasted 24 yards off right guard to score on the Tornadoes first series, with place-kicker Derrick Brodus adding a 27-yard field goal later in the quarter.

None of Blount County’s four teams have had a tougher go of it during preseason than the Governors. First-year coach Richie Wilhite has seen the first three quarterbacks on his depth chart all lost for at least half a season because of injury. The list includes 2007 county rushing star Darrin Garner, who suffered a broken collar bone last week in a scrimmage after being forced to move under center.

Yousef Baskin’s leaping grab of a Zach Owens pass was a Governor highlight in the jamboree, pulling William Blount within a touchdown with three minutes remaining. Tim Hassett’s tackle for loss on the quarter’s first play conjured up memories of T.J. Walker. Greenback still held on, though, for a 13-7 win.

Tyler Edmonds sent Heritage into the new season on the heels of a solid rehearsal. The junior quarterback scampered in from 9 yards to pull the Mountaineers into a 6-6 tie with Pigeon Forge in the first of two quarters. The Tigers avenged the loss with a 6-0 blanking of Heritage in the second frame between the two teams.

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