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High school notes: Coaches will be walking a fine line

August 11th, 2014 9:14 pm by Douglas Fritz

High school notes: Coaches will be walking a fine line

Week Zero football games are usually flag-filled as teams struggle to get used to the first real encounter with a hectic pace.

This year, things could be even worse for the opening week — and perhaps beyond — because of several mechanics changes for officials, mandated by the TSSAA.

One significant change is having the head linesman and line judge both on the sidelines — the same setup used in college and professional games. The head linesman is on the chain side while the line judge is on the other side.

There’s a line all the way down the sideline that is two yards from the sideline. Players and coaches have to stay on the other side of that line.

Inside the line between the 25-yard lines is the coaches’ box, where a limited number of coaches can be between plays. When the ball is snapped, those coaches are supposed to be behind the other line with the rest of the team.

In the past, the head linesman and line judge were setting up nine yards off the widest player. They were officiating while on the playing field. Now they will be on the sideline unless the play goes the other direction.

Having an official constantly in the box could be a big adjustment for coaches who feel the need to be on the field to communicate with their players. One official predicted “tons of flags” during the first few weeks as coaches try to adjust to the new system.

Happy Valley head coach Larry Shively, whose team will be the first “guinea pig” for the new setup because of its Aug. 21 opener at home against Volunteer, said he doesn’t think it will be a big deal.

“The new positioning of the line judges will take an adjustment period for the officials and coaches, but we have a top-notch group calling our games,” said Shively. “They will adjust and roll with it.

“The officials in East Tennessee and our region know we keep a pretty clean box for them. It’s a safety thing to keep everybody out of the way, and we do a good job.”

Still, the role of “get back!” guy might take on a more important value in the early portion of the 2014 season.

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Elizabethton’s Len Dugger (girls basketball), Sullivan South’s Anthony Richardson (girls golf) and Tennessee High’s Reedy Toney (tennis) were selected as TSSAA coaches of the year for the 2013-14 school year during the Board of Control meeting Monday in Hermitage.

Each coach will be considered for sectional and national honors.

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Soccer, volleyball and cross country seasons are scheduled to begin Monday.

Included in the first-week mix are Science Hill’s home openers in soccer (Volunteer, Aug. 20), volleyball (Sullivan South, Aug. 19), and cross country (TC Twilight 2-miler at Daniel Boone on Aug. 20).

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Golf season is already in full swing, and Science Hill took a second-place finish in the Morristown Invitational last week. Knox Halls won the event with a score of 315. Science Hill followed with a 319, one stroke better than Tennessee High. Volunteer was fourth at 324.

Science Hill’s Jack Rhea and Sevier County’s Spencer Cross went to a playoff for medalist honors after each shot a 75. Cross won on the par-3 second hole with a par. …

Science Hill golfer Garrett Whitfield continued his strong summer play on the Hurricane Golf Tour. He won an event over the weekend at the International Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Whitfield was 3-under par for a 12-shot victory.

He is currently ranked No. 1 nationally on the HGT points leaders list for boys ages 15-18. ...

As for the girls, they dominated in their event in Morristown with a 17-stroke victory. The Lady Hilltoppers’ score of 148 topped second-place Jefferson County.

Addie Baggarly fired a two-under-par round of 70 to win medalist honors by eight strokes over teammate Jenny Simonsen and Dobyns-Bennett’s Haverly Harrold.

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Jamboree horizon: The Big Seven Conference football event is scheduled for Thursday at the Stone Castle in Bristol.

It begins at 6 p.m. with Tennessee High taking on Sullivan Central in a 15-minute contest. That is followed by Dobyns-Bennett versus Science Hill, David Crockett against Daniel Boone, and Tennessee High returning to play Volunteer. …

As for the Three Rivers Conference, its event will be Friday at Sullivan South. Happy Valley meets Sullivan North in the opener at 6 p.m. Other contests are Johnson County versus Sullivan East, Elizabethton against Sullivan South, and the Rebels staying on the field to play Unicoi County. …

Soccer has its jamboree fun set for today at the Stone Castle. The Big Seven Conference event begins at 5 p.m. with Dobyns-Bennett meeting Volunteer. Daniel Boone plays Three Rivers foe Elizabethton, David Crockett takes on Science Hill, and Tennessee High battles Sullivan Central. …

Volleyball weighs in Thursday with 12 jamboree contests on the slate at Science Hill. Action begins at 5 p.m. Each team will play three or four 25-point games.

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