It’s the week before The Week, and that means some area high school football teams are getting really close to game mode.
Twelve area teams open in Week Zero, which means they play Aug. 23. Included in that mix is Hampton, which plays host to Unicoi County.
Bulldogs’ head coach Mike Lunsford said his team has plenty to work on before the lights go on for real.
“We’ve scrimmaged a couple of times, and we have a list of things we’ve done well and list of things we didn’t do well,” said Lunsford. “It’s a large list and I can’t cover all of it, but there are a lot of things we need to improve.”
One good thing is Hampton has enjoyed the extra preseason time like other area schools. It has been a noticeable difference, said Lunsford.
“Last year everything was thrown on us too quick,” said Lunsford. “It seems like we’ve had more time this year even though we open in Week Zero as compared to opening in Week 1 last year.”
With the extra preparation time can come a little loss of focus from the players, but Hampton, Unaka and Cloudland will try to alleviate it a little bit with a jamboree scheduled for Friday at Cloudland.
“I think the jamborees are good, but a lot of people don’t like them,” said Lunsford. “It’s a day you don’t get a lot done, but it is a dress rehearsal in front of the fans. There’s bad about it, but it is good because the players are maybe starting to get a little bored with the practice routine.”
Hampton will continue to hit practice hard this week, but Lunsford said he will back off a little for game week.
“We will probably go two days in shorts and two in pads next week,” said Lunsford. “It has been a hard-working group of kids. I’ve been very pleased with the offseason.”
n The Big Seven Conference will hold its football jamboree Thursday night at Tipton Stadium.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with a 12-minute quarter for each contest.
Lining up first are Science Hill and Dobyns-Bennett. That will be followed in the second quarter by the Hilltoppers taking on Sullivan Central.
The third quarter has Volunteer against Tennessee High, and the evening will wrap up with David Crockett against Daniel Boone.
n The Three Rivers Conference jamboree will be held Friday at Rider Field in Elizabethton.
Action begins at 6 p.m. with Happy Valley going up against Sullivan North in a one-quarter contest. At 6:30, Johnson County will square off against Sullivan East.
Elizabethton takes on Sullivan South at 7 p.m., and then the Cyclones turn around and go up against Unicoi County at 7:30 p.m.
n The Mountain East Conference jamboree will be held Friday night at Cloudland.
Individual competition will begin at 7 p.m., followed at 7:30 by Unaka playing Avery County, N.C., in a two-quarter contest.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., Hampton will battle Cloudland in a two-quarter contest.
n Volleyball jamborees: The Big Seven Conference will hold its event Thursday at Dobyns-Bennett’s Buck Van Huss Dome.
Action begins at 5 p.m. with 25-point games. Science Hill plays Tennessee High, Volunteer and Dobyns-Bennett. Daniel Boone takes on D-B, Volunteer and Sullivan Central. And David Crockett battles Volunteer, Central and D-B. ...
The Three Rivers Conference volleyball jamboree will be held tonight at Unicoi County.
Each of the league’s teams will play three other teams for one game to 25 points. At 5:30 p.m. Sullivan East will play Elizabethton, and Sullivan North will take on Sullivan South.
That will be followed at 6 o’clock by Unicoi County and Johnson County, and Elizabethton versus Sullivan South. At 6:30, Johnson County takes on North while East plays Unicoi.
The 7 p.m. matchups are South versus Johnson County, and North against East. Wrapping up the evening, Unicoi takes on Elizabethton at 7:30 p.m.
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Sullivan East is looking for a new head softball coach. Tommy Forrester recently resigned and took over as head coach at Emory & Henry College.
East athletic director John Dyer said the Patriots are in the process of finding a new coach.
“We are very proud of Tommy and extremely happy for him,” said Dyer. “It will be big shoes to fill.”