Different paths connect ’Dogs, ’Jackets
Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
Gleason and Greenfield will open their respective 2012 seasons Friday night against each other — one team looking to get a fresh start and the other attempting to make it back in the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 at Gleason.
Other Weakley County action has Westview hosting McKenzie and Dresden entertaining Gibson County.
The Yellowjackets have lost 11 consecutive games dating back to the final game of the 2010 season and are hoping to reverse that trend and upset the Bulldogs under first-year head coach Don Pitt.
On the flip side, the Bulldogs are looking to make it back into the playoffs for the fifth time in six years.
Gleason finished the 2011 season with a record of 6-6 and won the program’s first-ever home playoff game. The Bulldogs won four of their last six games a year ago.
Gleason will be using a hybrid wing-T offense with head coach Noah Lampkins platooning junior Tanner Trevathan and senior Blake Taylor at quarterback. Juniors Chase Ezell and Will Clark will be the primary running backs for the Bulldogs.
Pitt will counter the Bulldogs’ offense with a defense that has struggled in Greenfield’s 11-game losing streak. The ’Jackets have given up an average 40.8 points in those 11 games.
The Yellowjackets will have junior Jeffery Johnson at quarterback. This will be his first season playing the position, but he has excelled during the offseason and has the mobility to make big plays happen. He replaces sophomore Miles Cavitt at the QB position. Cavitt was the starter for all 10 games last season, but Pitt wants to use him as a wide-out because of his size and athleticism.
Pitt plans on spreading the ball around with the passing game in hopes of moving the ball downfield more efficiently. He also has plans to use the power running game with his running back.
Junior running back Austin Pence will see the majority of the ball-carrying duties with sophomore Jeremy Lannom coming in at fullback at times.
The offensive line could be a trouble spot for Pitt with most of last season’s starters having graduated.
Lamkins transitioned his defensive scheme to a 3-4 last season, and it paid off well for him with the defense only allowing an average of 5.3 points in the six wins, including two shutouts.
One of those shutouts came in the opening game against Greenfield, 48-0.
Pitt may have to rely on his special teams to get points on the board if the Greenfield offense sputters and cannot get the ball into the end zone. Senior Zach Grebe gives the ’Jackets a legitimate scoring threat from 35 to 40 yards out. Pitt said he may be able to punch the ball through the uprights from 45 yards outs.
Since both teams opted to not play in Week 0, both will be playing 10 straight weeks without an open date. If either or both teams make it into the playoffs, they will have to go right in without a break.
The Chargers will be looking to bounce back from last week’s 14-12 loss to Dresden, while the Rebels will be in regular season action for the first time following a 14-10 loss to Crockett County in the annual Huntingdon jamboree two weeks ago.
Westview had several players step up with solid efforts last week.
Running back Quan Williams had 75 yards on 18 carries and Ryne Vinson completed five passes for 84 yards and a score on offense, while R.J. Scott had 14 tackles and Hunter Beal added 13 stops on defense.
Westview leads the all-time series 32-22, but this will be just the third meeting at Martin since 1997. That was also the Chargers’ last home win in the series.
Dresden was the last team to lose to Gibson County.
That was Oct. 10, 2008. Since then, the Lions have improved yearly and advanced to the Class 2A state championship game last season. The Pioneers, meanwhile, have lost 34 straight games.
Those trends continued last week as Dresden picked up a tough, and painful, 14-12 win over Westview, while GC lost 28-12 to 1A’s Halls.
The Lions are looking to retool the offense, though, after both quarterback Davis Moran and running back Colter Swafford went down with knee injuries.
First-year Dresden head coach Keith Hodge went almost exclusively with Devan Raymer in the second half and has spent this week coaching up both Raymer and backup QB Tyler Hutcherson to run the offense and senior Jastin James to take Swafford’s spot in the defensive backfield.
Good news out of the Dresden camp is that both injuries were not as bad as initially reported. Moran only suffered a sprain and could return for McKenzie in two weeks. Swafford suffered a slight MCL tear and might miss just three-to-four weeks. Neither player will undergo surgery. Published in The WCP 8.23.12