Greetings, Eagles fans! With spring practice nearly in the books for 2018, Rhea County is set to play the Rebels of Franklin County in their one and only spring scrimmage.
The Eagles and Rebels met on the spring gridiron last season, and it resulted in a great showing from both teams. Rhea County took the win with them back to Evensville in a tightly fought match.
Neither team will look the same from last year’s tussle, as each team graduated numerous players at key positions.
For Franklin County, Region 5-5A leading scorer and 2nd leading rusher Jarious Johnson as well as fellow running back Cameron Yarlett and defensive end Thomas Holcomb are set to graduate this month. None of the holes are as massive as that left by Johnson and Yarlett, as the duo ran for 1996 of the Rebels’ 2471 rushing yards, which comes to around 80% of the entire rushing attack from 2017.
However, second year head coach Mac McCurry will have an arsenal to work with this year. Riley Ingle, only a rising junior, returns at quarterback after leading the Rebels to the tune of 620 passing yards and a completion rate of 55%. Senior Trenton Gilliland will anchor the line from the guard spot, and junior Jess Church will look to fill the void left by Holcomb. Add in the junior quartet of linebacker Gabe Dempsey, running backs Quinton Gardner and Tahj Taylor, and safety Isaiah Sisk, and the Rebels could be a formidable opponent in 2018.
For the Eagles, the loss of one of the largest senior classes in Rhea County history will sting, but do not count the Eagles out. Region 4-5A Running Back of the Year Christian Simon, Maryville College offensive line signee Logan Sullivan, receiver Jaden Austin, and safety Reece Cooley, just to name a few, have played their last game in the green and gold.
Regardless, the cupboard is in no way bare for 6th year head coach Mark Pemberton. Some of the key seniors coming back this season are quarterback Zack Pemberton, Region 4-5A Defensive Player of the Year Chandler Kaylor, region Defensive Back of the Year Aulbrey Smith, and offensive lineman Colton Edwards to name a few, and, when you throw in junior center Nick Sherrill and running back Jackson Langley and numerous sophomores and incoming freshmen, the Eagles look to be contenders again in 2018.
The Rebels run an offensive set similar to the Wing-T Eagle fans know quite well, and, with Rhea County bringing a new, triple-option oriented offense in this year, the scrimmage looks to be more of a battle for clock control rather than offensive fireworks.
Come out and see our Eagles one last time before the grind of summer begins. Kickoff is slated for 7PM on May 12th at Bill Horton Field. See you there, and GO EAGLES!!