Zeller returns to area with Lenoir City

Zeller returns to area with Lenoir City

November 8th, 2013 by Staff Report in Sports - Preps

Evensville is over the mountain from Dunlap, but former Sequatchie County football coach Mike Zeller is coming back close to the area where he lived and coached for three years.

Zeller is now the head coach at Lenoir City, which will play Rhea County tonight in Evensville.

Lenoir City has grown over the years, moving to Class 4A in 2006 and then Class 5A this year.

Of tonight's game, Zeller said, "It always comes down to who controls line of scrimmage. Their wing-T is tough and their defense looks tenacious. They play hard on every down. We will have to be more consistent then we have been and play mistake-free football."

Familiar opponent

Grundy County is going to play Upperman, and the Yellow Jackets are quite familiar with the Bees, who are 10-0.

Grundy played Upperman in the 2011 and 2012 regular seasons, winning 49-34 and 21-7.

Upperman, though, has been an offensive juggernaut this year. The Bees have scored 41 points twice this season, and that's the fewest points they've put up in any game to date. In the other eight games they've scored anywhere from 48 to 61 points, a 52.3 season average.

Repeat showings

East Ridge is going back to Hixson tonight for a Class 4A game. Hixson won the first meeting 19-14.

"It's not a big deal for us," Pioneers coach Tracy Malone said. "I think there's probably more pressure on Hixson because they've already beat us once. We look at that game and there were a lot of 'what-ifs' for us. Our kids know what to expect, the routine, the locker room over there, the pregame scenario, and they know what we're up against. We like the fact that it's familiar. Even though Hixson's a good team, it's a positive for us."

In Division II-AA, Baylor will be hosting Pope John Paul II and McCallie will be going to Father Ryan. The Red Raiders drilled PJP 51-3 while McCallie lost 34-18 to Father Ryan just two weeks ago.

It's possible that there will be another District 6-AA repeat next week. The Hixson-East Ridge winner will face the Central-Sequoyah winner. Both Hixson and East Ridge defeated Central earlier this year. And if each wins tonight, East Hamilton and Ooltewah could lock horns again. Ooltewah won 28-26 earlier this season.

Long time

It's been a while since Bradley Central played Maryville, the Bears' first-round opponent in the Class 6A playoffs.

According to the Tennessee high school football database, Bradley last played the Rebels in 1947. Maryville won 12-0.

Bye weeks

South Pittsburg and Boyd-Buchanan, the respective District 6-A and 5-A champions, have byes this week.

South Pittsburg, competing in Class 1A, will host the winner between Moore County and Harriman next week. Boyd-Buchanan, a member of the Class 2A field, will host the Marion County-Middle Tennessee Christian winner.

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765. Follow him at Twitter.com/wardgossett.