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Longtime assistant Ricker takes over as Battle's top man

Tanner Cook • Aug 23, 2019 at 7:30 AM

BRISTOL, Va. — New John Battle coach Bradley Ricker is no stranger to Friday nights on Battle Hill. After all, he’s been on the staff the past seven years as an assistant.

This season, Ricker gets his shot at leading a senior- and junior-heavy team that’s coming off a 5-6 season and a first-round playoff loss to Union.

“This is definitely different. You take some more expectations and more duties,” Ricker said. “The coaching staff has been great all around. Other than that, it’s a walk in the park.”

Some of the big guys to keep an eye on are returning quarterback Walker Osborne and running back Seth Scarbrough. Those positions are key in the option attack Battle has used the past few years.

The other key wingbacks — as Ricker calls them — are Dylan Cunningham and Bryson Denton. Scarbrough, Cunningham and Denton all bring special skills to the table, but speed and experience are likely to determine whether the Trojans have a special season.

“We like to think of it as being 11 as one. One unit is our philosophy,” Ricker said. “We have a lot of older guys and we’ll rotate through a lot to keep them fresh.”

Battle lost few seniors to graduation, so most of the defense is back as well.

The two primary safeties returning are Zane Poe and Logan Fleenor. The defensive backfield was a strength last year, and Ricker looks for more of the same this season.

Battle has probably one of the tougher road schedules in all of Southwest Virginia, starting Week 1 with a cross-county game at Abingdon. The Trojans also play at Marion, Patrick Henry, Wise Central, Lee and Union in the last game of the regular season.


Aug. 30 at Abingdon

Sept. 6 Virginia High

Sept. 13 Holston

Sept. 20 at Marion

Sept. 27 at Patrick Henry

Oct. 11 at Wise Central

Oct. 18 Ridgeview

Oct. 25 Gate City

Nov. 1 at Lee High

Nov. 8 at Union


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