For a coach and a football team coming off a 1-9 season, any good news is welcome.
Rhea County opened 2012 with a win Friday night, albeit in the third quarter of the Best of Preps Jamboree at Finley Stadium.
The Class AAA Golden Eagles won 6-0 over Tyner, which was picked among District 6-AA favorites in a preseason poll.
“Tell the folks [in Rhea County] not to get carried away,” second-year Rhea coach Doug Greene said. “Tell them the kids are working hard and that they care about each other, and if they come watch us play they’re going to see the guys in green hats playing hard.”
The touchdown went to Demetrius Patterson on a 28-yard pass by Krischan Goins, who had several key tosses.
“Goins is really coming along, and he threw that TD with a wet ball,” Greene said.
The Golden Eagles also showed speed in spurts.
“Our speed has improved. We have spent a lot of time working on agility and speed drills,” the coach said. “The big thing for us, though, was getting so many people around the ball.”
David Loden picked off a pass to end Tyner’s one serious scoring threat, and he also launched a 53-yard punt.
While Greene downplayed the importance of the exhibition win, he was pleased with the performance.
“It’s a jamboree and it’s just one quarter, but the kids competed to a man. Tyner is a physical team and we got physical with them,” he said.
• McCallie 14, Soddy-Daisy 0: To the average fan, the Blue Tornado looked to be in midseason form, especially quarterback Nelson Johnston, who ran for a 5-yard TD and threw a 16-yard scoring toss to C.J. Fritz.
“He made one mistake but he did a good job running the offense and the option,” McCallie coach Ralph Potter said. “On a couple of runs it looked like he was trying to prove his toughness, so we may talk with him about avoiding tacklers. But I have been very pleased with Nelson the last couple of weeks. He has shown a lot of resiliency.”
Potter noted the miscue when Johnston turned the wrong way. The coach also took note of an illegal-procedure penalty but knows the grind his players have been through.
“I think the whole team is happy. We’ve been in camp two weeks and I think a lot of them are anxious to get home,” he said.
• Bradley Central 7, Red Bank 6: Bradley’s Bears went to veteran quarterback Bryce Copeland for their score, and he managed it on a pass play where protection broke down. He never would have gotten the TD, though, without an outstanding comeback block by Cal Pickel.
“Bryce had a couple of good runs. He has made and will make more good plays for us with his feet,” Bears coach Damon Floyd said.
Red Bank’s TD came on a short run by quarterback Hagen Wilkey, who misfired on just one pass attempt.
“Hagen’s a good quarterback and I thought he managed the game well. A lot of people are going to be looking at him before the season’s over,” new Lions coach E.K. Slaughter said.
After they moved within a point, Red Bank, staring at a running clock in a 20-minute quarter, elected to go for the win and was stopped.
“We have a kicker but we won’t be playing for a tie,” Slaughter said. “If it’s tight or close at the end, we’re going to be going for the win.”
• Signal Mountain 21, Central 0: The Eagles wasted no time getting on the board, with Kentucky commitment Reese Phillips passing to Chris Abernathy for a 70-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
Phillips, who threw for almost 200 yards in the 20-minute quarter, added a touchdown strike to C.J. Johnson with 1:37 remaining.
Even with a scrimmage against Ridgeland this morning, Signal’s starters played almost every snap.
“This is my last jamboree. I wasn’t coming out,” Phillips said. “For the first time, I felt comfortable out there. I think the commit helped, because I’m always nervous before a game and I wasn’t tonight.”
Senior Robert Turner had a 14-yard touchdown run for the game’s second score.
• Baylor 0, McMinn County 0: The final quarter of the evening was stopped with just under four minutes remaining due to lightning. Both teams showed some positives and some kinks that needed to be worked out.
McMinn’s Kelvin Wells ran for 34 yards on three carries. The Baylor quarterback tandem of Michael O’Connor and Nick Tiano were a combined 2-for-6 for 41 yards.
Staff writer Gene Henley contributed to this report.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...