BLOUNTVILLE — The Tri-Cities Christian football team is a squad still under construction.
The team, which fields both students and homeschoolers, had 17 players on hand for media day, but the Eagles were looking to add a few players before the start of the season.
“Right now I am waiting on a German exchange student and two homeschoolers,” said Tri-Cities coach Scott Allgood. “By the start we should be up to 22 or 23 players.”
The Eagles, who are entering their sixth season fielding a football team, play an independent schedule. They have applied to the TSSAA for league play.
“I talked to the TSSAA in March and it will be two years before the current contracts are up,” Allgood said. “Next year we hope to have our middle school team in the TMSAA and start there as a steppingstone.”
This season’s schedule includes all Tennessee-based high schools except for one. The Eagles play the likes of Cloudland, Unaka, North Greene and Sullivan East.
Their home games are played at the old Lynn View football field in Kingsport.
Seniors returning healthy in the backfield are Dakota McGee, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound quarterback, and Evan Blankenship, a 5-11, 195-pound running back.
McGee was injured in the third game last season. Blankenship sustained a leg injury after posting three consecutive games of 300 yards rushing.
Joining them in the backfield is junior fullback Luke Payne (5-8, 205), who previously played at John Battle.
The 5-8, 170-pound Antonio Miller, whom Allgood called a “speedster,” fills wingback.
The offensive line sports tackles Jacques Davis (5-10, 230) and Tyler Worley (6-2, 265). Falling in beside are guards John Dawson (5-10, 205) and Echfen Sanders (5-11, 245).
Junior Brandon Pierce (5-11, 225) holds down center.
In the defensive mix, Dawson and Davis handle the end spots and Payne is at nose tackle.
Blankenship and Sanders have the inside linebacker spots. Deshaune Gaines (5-10, 205) and Zach Allgood (6-2, 180) occupy the outside positions.
Hasan Aziz (5-11, 185), Miller, Matt Saulsbury (5-11, 175) and McGee roam in the secondary.
“We are slowly getting to where we want to be. I probably fielded 30 calls just today from homeschoolers with questions about the program,” Coach Allgood said. “If we can stay healthy, I think this can be a really good year for us.”