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Senior FB Dolen eager to carry load for Golden Raiders

Tanner Cook • Jul 20, 2019 at 2:13 AM

KINGSPORT — Part of being a football player is having a certain brand of toughness. It comes with the territory.

But being a football player from Sullivan North and playing under the lights on Friday night at Bennie Compton Field in Bloomingdale? That’s a different level of tough and Golden Raiders senior fullback Yancy Dolen fits that mold about as well as anyone.

Named to the Times News “All Tough Guys” team in 2018, Dolen will certainly be looking to do more damage to anyone that gets in his way once the season starts.

“I feel like when I get the ball that nobody can tackle me or really stop me,” he said. “I feel like I can just basically bully them and run them over.”

Those are some strong words from the strong and intimidating 6-foot-3, 220-pound fullback/linebacker who got the bulk of the carries last year when Dale Potter and Austin Hartsock went down with injuries. The latter two are back this year for a last go-round and are fully healthy.

In the option offense North has been running for years, a strong fullback willing to carry the load at times is necessary. Dolen showed he’s capable of doing that when the injury bug bit the Golden Raiders last season.

“We’ve all been playing together for a long, long time. We have chemistry together and we’re all pretty athletic,” Dolen said. “Last year, we had a great start and then we had some injuries. After that, our season took a downturn and we lost in the first round of the playoffs.”

A plethora of injuries — not only to the backfield but everywhere in between — plagued the Raiders following a 5-1 start. North ended up losing the last four regular-games by a combined score of 140-32 and suffered a 48-7 first-round loss at Meigs County in the playoffs.

The Golden Raiders are hoping to reverse those fortunes this time around.

“Having all the guys back this year really makes it feel like this season is going to be great,” Dolen said.

“Yancy has a lot of natural ability, size and speed. I think this year, he’s kept his weight down. Last year, he played fullback at about 260, but this year he’s gotten by some of our secondary players in drills and practice,” coach Preston Patrick said. “If he keeps his weight down and keeps working hard, he can have a really special year. ...

“He’s an old-school type of player and naturally tough. He doesn’t care to play banged up and some of the others feed off of that. He’s a natural leader and he keeps kids focused.”

The Raiders open their season on Aug. 23 on the road at Sullivan Central.

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