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Central's Michael McGhee carries the ball against Grace Academy during the Best of Preps Jamboree on Saturday at Finley Stadium.

It will be a short week of practice to prepare for the season opener, but if Central's football team looks as sharp then as it did during Saturday evening's Best of Preps Jamboree at Finley Stadium, then first-year head coach Curt Jones will be a happy man.

He certainly was after the Purple Pounders impressively won their two quarters Saturday, beating Boyd Buchanan 21-0, then Grace Academy 7-0.

"Playing back-to-back quarters in the heat was extremely tough, but I'm really proud of the effort our guys gave," Jones said. "We worked on being versatile, and I liked what I saw whether we ran from the single-wing or the spread. I've said it before, this is the most speed I've had. We've got some guys who can go."

Central will return to Finley on Thursday to open the regular season in a nonregion game against Walker Valley. That will be part of a doubleheader, with Baylor versus Notre Dame to follow.

Running back Michael McGhee and multipurpose athhlete Rashaun Evans are two of the Pounders who certainly can go, and they proved it during the first period as McGhee scored twice and Evans added a touchdown.

"We used today as sort of a glorified run-through for when we come back here next week," Jones said.

Howard opened Saturday's action with 8-0 wins over Boyd Buchanan and Grace Academy as senior running back Devontay Smith scored in each quarter.

Signal Mountain split its two quarters, beating Soddy-Daisy 7-0 on a touchdown catch by Owen Honroth, followed by a 13-0 loss to Ooltewah, which got big-play scoring runs by quarterback Kyrell Sanford and running back Sincere Quinn.

Red Bank won each of its quarters 7-0, beating East Hamilton and Baylor. Brainerd split its two quarters, losing 7-0 to Baylor after beating Ooltewah 7-0. The Panthers opened their quarter against the Owls with two strong defensive stands and a quick score set up by a halfback option pass from Ciante Chaney to Trey Owton before Owton capped the drive with the touchdown.

"We've been preaching fast and physical to our kids all during the offseason, and that's the way we played," Brainerd coach Tyrus Ward said. "We looked at today as another chance to get better against good competition, and I really liked the way our guys were flying around on defense. The effort is getting a lot closer to where we need it to be."

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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