High school football teams resume summer workouts this week with, if not a fury, at least high-octane enthusiasm.
Tennessee schools are coming off a two-week no-contact period for athletes and coaches, and most all area schools will begin competing in 7-on-7 passing scrimmages as early as Tuesday.
There are two major sessions Saturday with Signal Mountain High and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga hosting scrimmages. The city of Dalton will host the two-day Southeastern 7-on-7 championships Saturday and Sunday, and several teams including Boyd-Buchanan and Sequatchie County will be at Maryville on Saturday.
Eleven teams will compete at Signal Mountain with the host Eagles fielding two teams. Play is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on three fields with winners of each of the two pools playing at about 2 p.m.
Soddy-Daisy won't be among the teams on Signal, opting instead to participate in UTC's event at Finley Stadium. Trojans coach Kevin Orr decided to bypass the Signal event after a fracas last year that involved parents and actually got him suspended for his team's opener against Baylor.
"That was the worst feeling in my life," he said. "Here's the thing: My coaching staff did what it was supposed to do, and Signal's staff did what it was supposed to do. Parents were the problem.
"We were invited back, but that's still a little bit of an open wound."
Because of the problem, which also involved a couple of Signal parents, Eagles coach Bill Price decided to have at least one referee participating in each game this year.
"I decided to bring in officials because of all the controversy we had last year," he said. "We have some parents who'll make sure people are back [from the sideline] on our game field, but on the practice fields people will stand wherever."
There is no admission at Signal -- the Eagles also are providing lunch for the participating teams -- and Price said at least one concession stand would be open.
Teams he is expecting are Bradley Central, Brainerd, Cleveland, Lincoln County, Marion County, McMinn County, North Murray, Notre Dame, Ridgeland and Red Bank.
The Southeastern in Dalton is to begin at noon Saturday, and among those competing are Baylor, McCallie, Christian Heritage, Coahulla Creek, Dalton, LaFayette, North Jackson, Northwest Whitfield, Ringgold and Southeast Whitfield. Seven states will be represented with competitors coming from as far away as Searcy, Ark.; Neptune Beach, Fla.; and North Augusta, S.C.
Soddy-Daisy and Signal are among the competitors expected to be in Dunlap on July 17, but Orr is still awaiting approval from principal John Maynard because of Signal's presence. Sequatchie coach Chad Barger didn't see it being a problem, saying he would make sure those teams were in separate pools.
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 ...