After winning the home opener against the Brainerd Panthers at Eagle Stadium, the the locals are set to open Region 5A play on the same turf as they host the Walker Valley Mustangs.
The visitors enter the game with a record of 0-2, losing in their season opener at Finley Stadium to Chattanooga Central and dropping a 41-2 loss to Bradley Central last week.
Mustang head man Glenn Ryan will be looking to get his team rolling against the Eagles this week, and they bring in some talented players.
At quarterback, gone is storied Mustang signal caller Kolten Gibson who set records for the team and made the top ten in Tennessee high school football history in multiple categories in his career at the helm of the offense, and in is junior Griffin Broome in his first season as starter.
Helping him out on the offensive side is sophomore wideout Reid Gibson (6’0, 165 #30) and junior offensive lineman Hayden Gibson (#70, 5’11, 285).
The Mustangs run with a spread offense, utilizing multiple wide receivers and their quarterback’s arm to open up the passing attack rather than the run-based offense practiced by the Eagles.
Defensively, look for sophmore defensive lineman Christian VanDusen (#64, 5’11, 210) and others to contribute for the Mustangs.
For the Eagles, keep an eye out for #7 on offense. Pemberton is a sneaky good athlete who has been running roughshod against opposing defenses in the preseason as well as the quarter at Cleveland and the game against Brainerd. Expect another big day on the ground for him.
Not only is he a capable runner, he’s got a solid arm and multiple options to throw it to in Aulbrey Smith, who caught his first touchdown of the season on a 39-yard pass from the senior quarterback, and Kaleb Laws, a 6’6, 250 pound tight end that is split out wide in the triple option.
Look no further than the 40s when you are looking for defense with #42 Chandler Kaylor, #40 Bradley Goodwin, and #48 Bo Garmany locking down opposing offenses from their positions at linebacker and defensive line.
Game Breakdown: With the way the offense and defense looked against Brainerd and the way Walker Valley has looked against Chattanooga Central and Bradley Central, I don’t see this being anything more than a tune up game for the Eagles. Region games should always be taken seriously, but I don’t know how long Walker Valley will be able to match the talent, experience, and physicality of the Eagles before the game gets blown wide open.
Brian’s pick: Rhea County 42, Walker Valley 7
Other Region 4-5A Games:
Lenoir City (1-1) @ Soddy-Daisy (1-0)
Brian’s pick: Soddy-Daisy 28, Lenoir City 21