Coach: Dwayne Hatcher
2006 record: 9-4, 6-1
Offensive starters returning: 2
Defensive starters returning: 9
Outlook: Making it to the Class 4A quarterfinals motivated East’s squad.
Standout running back Terrell Dockery is one of two returnees on offense. He can be sensational at times in East’s version of the Air Force wishbone. The other returnee on that side of the ball is tackle Jacob Mills.
The Hurricanes have good team speed.
Defense will be the team’s foundation, with nine starters back. The shining star is linebacker John Thompson.
The Hurricanes, just like West, will be playing for the first time on the newly installed artificial surface at Burke-Toney Stadium.
Coach’s comment: “I think we can win the Five Rivers title if we take care of business. Hopefully, we will have a little luck go our way. We definitely enjoyed last year. You either go forward or backward with a football program from one year to the next.”
Coach: Don Woods
2006 Record: 13-1, 7-0
Offensive starters back: 3
Defensive starters back: 4
West’s big guns are pass-minded quarterback Logan Wild and free safety Jamere Hogue.
Again, Woods will be flooding the field with players to eventually wear down opponents. The fewest number of players West had in a game in the first quarter last year was 47. Woods has 54 who’ll see most of the action this season.
West outscored its first three playoff opponents 111-13 last season before losing 44-19 to Maryville in the 4A semifinals.
The Trojans are expected to have an efficient passing attack.
West faces a brutal schedule.
Outlook: “We’re kind of starting over but we will continue to use a two-platoon system. We have players who could handle offense and defense but we put them on just one side of the ball. It’s team first and everything else comes second. The guy who works harder most of the time has the opportunity to succeed.”
Nickname: Greene Devils
Coach: Steve McCurry
2006 Record: 4-6, 2-5
Offensive starters back: 6
Defensive starters back: 6
Outlook: The top defensive returnees are linebacker Ryan Duncan, guard Nathan Whitehead, outside linebacker/safety Lance Bailey, defensive end Joel Brimer and defensive lineman Charlie Arrington.
McCurry, a first-year coach who came to Greeneville from Asheville, N.C., wants to employ a two-platoon system.
Offensively, quarterback Jordan Greenway will direct the team from a one-back set with four wideouts.
The team has 22 seniors but is lacking in size. The coaching change has increased players’ confidence.
Mercer County, the defending 2A champion of Kentucky, has been added to the schedule.
Coach’s comment: “I’m still trying to learn names. This program has great potential. Our players are working hard enough to win every single game. We got three players hurt before we even played our first scrimmage.”
Nickname: Fighting Cocks
Coach: David Crawford
2006 Record: 1-9, 0-7
Offensive starters back: 5
Defensive starters back: 4
Outlook: Cocke County could have gone 4-6 last year with a break or two here and there.
Incomplete passes were common. Quarterback Jake Crawford, who leads by example, threw passes on the money only to have them dropped.
Numbers are up despite the lackluster 2006 season.
Defensively, the Fighting Cocks will be led by linebackers Jesse Burgess, Dexter Parton and Jordan Keller, and free safety Austin Graham.
The team has two offensive linemen back — Josh Schultz and Barry Huffine. The emergence of Justin Webb should make the Cocks better.
Graham also will be the tailback. He is strong and has a measure of quickness.
Coach’s comment: “Our motto is: ‘Make the play.’ We don’t want to wait for a teammate to do it. We’re trying to build on the intangibles. We couldn’t catch a cold in a laboratory last year. When we catch that first pass this season we’re going to call time out, come to the sidelines and get down on our knees and have a moment of silence.”