2015 Rhea County LIFT-A-THON

Rhea County sophomore Mason Stephenson on power clean at the 2015 Rhea County LIFT-A-THON held March 14 at Rhea County High School Gymnasium. (photo: Rhea Review)

2015 Rhea County LIFT-A-THON finds a Golden Eagle team hungry for another Title run

“They were hungry the day after the West game,” says Strength and Conditioning coach Taylor Owenbey.  “It was basically on that Monday after we got done, that they were back at it – ready to go. They understood that it takes 365 days starting from the time you end your season.  And that’s what’s gonna push us to the next level.”


The lifeblood of any football program is your offseason work. You can’t survive against other programs if you’re not training year-round.

Mark Pemberton – Rhea County Head Coach


And Rhea County head coach Mark Pemberton insists hard work during the off season is critical to a successful program in today’s game.

“The lifeblood of any football program is your off season work.  You can’t survive against the other programs if you’re not training year-round,” Pemberton says.

And with the implementation of the county-wide unification program, this year’s event included county middle schools, Spring City and Rhea Middle.

“You better believe it is beneficial,” Pemberton said of the unification program.

“It’s paying huge dividends for our program. Our coaches are coaching those middle school teams. Kids are running our system when they come in as 6th graders and running it all through their middle school years. When they get to us, they already understand the basics of our system, and we can go forward from there – rather than having to start from scratch.”

The upcoming 2015 season will mark the first year 8th graders will be familiar with the high school system (including Pemberton’s signature Wing-T offense) when they come in as freshman.

And with Spring City and Rhea Middle placing a greater emphasis on strength and conditioning, they should see immediate benefits in their seasons as well.

“We’ve got middle schoolers squatting 350 and benching nearly 250 pounds,” said Pemberton.

All high school athletes saw marked improvements at this year’s LIFT-A-THON, but there were standouts.

Most notably on bench was sophomore Mason Stephenson with 315 pounds.  On power clean was last year’s District 6-AAA Defensvie Player of the Year Tyler Pendleton with 295 pounds and running back Dylan Smith with 275 pounds.  Two of our most powerful lineman reached the 500 pound mark on squat – big Zach McCarthy and Nic Mullins.

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