Blue Devils looking for continued middle school success

FULL ARTICLE at THE NEWS EXAMINER HERE

hawkinsBy Chris Brooks for The News Examiner

HAWKINS

Coach: Chris Bain, first season as head coach of the Commandos

Last season: 8-0 overall record, 4-0 in the West Division (West Division and Sumner County Conference champion)

Players to watch: Isaiah Chandler QB-FS; James Bundy, FB-NG; Elijah Pruitt, HB-DE; Helton Porter, HB-LB; Tyler Stith, FB-LB

Who are the favorites this season? “Being my first year in middle school, the names I keep hearing are Rucker-Stewart and Knox Doss. Since I’m new to the league, I personally don’t know their teams, but those are the two teams that keep coming up.” – Bain

What is the key to success for your team this fall? “The kids have bought in to a different style here at Hawkins than they have run in the past. The key for us to continue the winning ways are simple. The offensive line must step up and be more physical, because we are a young team there, and we must continue to swarm on defense. We are trying to install a very aggressive style of defense and physical attitude up front on offense. Those are the keys to success for us as a team.” – Bain

Schedule: Aug. 18 vs. Shafer; Aug. 25 vs. Knox Doss at Drakes Creek; Sept. 1 at White House; Sept. 8 vs. Portland West; Sept. 15 at Station Camp; Sept. 22 at Portland East; Sept. 29 at Hunter; Oct. 6 vs. Ellis

WHITE HOUSE

Coach: Clint Niehaus, eighth season as head coach of the Blue Devils

Last season: 5-3 overall record, 3-1 in the West Division

Players to watch: Jeremiah Morrow, TB-LB; Avery O’Bryan, C-DL-LB; Wil Blackburn, FB-TB-LB; Berkley Henkel, OL-DL; Logan Neufeld, QB-TB-WR-DB; Will Harper, QB-CB; Skylar Holcomb WR-DB

Who are the favorites this season? “Hunter. We scrimmaged them. I think they are going to be in the mix. The chatter is the Hawkins is as good as they have been, and Knox Doss is supposed to be good. I don’t want to discredit Rucker-Stewart. They have speed. Portland West played Hunter toe to toe. The league is loaded this year. It’s going to be extremely competitive.” – Niehaus

What is the key to success for your team this fall? “It has to be ball control, smart, hard-nosed, fundamental football. It can’t be anything else. We have to have play solid defense and be physical. We have to play together. We have to play (well) to be in the game in the fourth quarter.” – Niehaus

Schedule: Aug. 18 at Portland West; Aug. 25 at Shafer; Sept. 1 vs. Hawkins; Sept. 8 vs. Ellis; Sept. 15 vs. Portland East; Sept. 22 at Rucker-Stewart; Sept. 29 vs. Knox Doss at Drakes Creek; Oct. 6 at Hunter

KNOX DOSS MIDDLE AT DRAKES CREEK

Coach: Bryan Dupree, sixth season as the head coach of the Mustangs

Last season: 6-2 overall record, 2-2 in the West Division

Players to watch: Briston Bennett, RB-LB; Garnett Hollis, RB-LB; Collin Woods, RB-DB; Max Barnett, QB-FS; Asher Talbot, TE-DE; Keshon Jackson, OG-DT

Who are the favorites this season? “You definitely have to go with Hawkins. They haven’t lost a game in almost three years. I haven’t seen them … but this is the school’s seventh year, and we’ve never beaten White House. You have to put White House up there too.” – Dupree

What is the key to success for your team this fall? “We have to make sure that we take care of the ball and play good defense. We are eighth-grade heavy. I have two seventh-graders who are contributing this year. In the past, we were playing majority seventh-graders. It’s probably the best group of eighth-graders to come through Knox Doss up to this point.” – Dupree

Schedule: Aug. 18 vs. Station Camp (at Station Camp High); Aug. 25 at Hawkins; Sept. 1 at Ellis; Sept. 8 vs. Hunter (at Station Camp High); Sept. 15 at Rucker-Stewart; Sept. 22 vs. Shafer (at Beech High); Sept. 29 at White House; Oct. 6 vs. Portland West (at Station Camp High)

ELLIS

Coach: Lawson Watson, third season as head coach of the Cougars

Last season: 3-5 overall record, 1-3 in the West Division

Players to watch: Logan Spurrier, RB-LB; Drew Hohenbrink, QB-DE; Jacob Newton, DB-WR; J.D. Jordan, OL-LB; Jameson Barksdale, OL-DL

Who are the favorites this season? “I feel the entire county will be tightly competitive again, but with Knox Doss returning several key players I think they are the front-runners and the favorite for the season. I also feel each year that Rucker-Stewart will be competitive and should be favorites in their division.” – Watson

What is the key to success for your team this fall? “For us to be successful this year, we are going to need to stay healthy through the whole season.” – Watson

Schedule: Aug. 18 at Rucker-Stewart; Aug. 25 at Portland East; Sept. 1 vs. Knox Doss at Drakes Creek; Sept. 8 at White House; Sept. 15 vs. Hunter; Sept. 22 vs. Portland West; Sept. 29 vs. Station Camp; Oct. 6 at Hawkins

HUNTER

Coach: Constance Luttrell, fourth season as head coach of the Buccaneers

Last season: 3-5 overall record, 0-4 in the West Division

Players to watch: JaSean Parks, TB-LB; Wes Hyde, TB-DE; Bryson Duffer, OL-LB; Delaney Williams, OL-DL; Will Johnson, C-DL

Who are the favorites this season? “I’m not sure who the favorites are in the county this year, because this county is so competitive every year. Obviously, Hawkins (is) because they won the county the last two years, even though they have a new coaching staff this year. Rucker-Stewart, Portland West and White House are always tough and very well-coached.” – Luttrell

What is the key to success for your team this fall? “The key to success for us this year is to put it all together. We are very excited about the group we have this year, and several of our eighth-graders have experience from last year and also the experience of a losing season as a strong motivator. I think we have all of the tools we need to be a good football team. We just need to play as a team and not a bunch of individuals.” – Luttrell

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