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High school football is less than a month away

Douglas Fritz • Jul 22, 2019 at 7:14 PM

What is significant about July 22?

For the die-hard high school football enthusiasts, it means the 2019 season is less than a month away.

A pair of Chattanooga teams will kick things off on Aug. 21 — which is a Wednesday — as Whitwell travels to take on East Ridge.

There’s a significant reason for the early start. In the process of a coaching change in the offseason, defending Class 1A state champion Whitwell inadvertently scheduled two games for Aug. 23.

As Stephen Hargis of the Times Free Press reported recently, Whitwell faced the prospect of paying a $2,000-plus buyout penalty along with taking a forfeit. The only way out was tweaking the schedule — something not easy to do in football.

The solution produced an extremely tough task. Whitwell moved the East Ridge game to Aug. 21 and pushed the game at Bledsoe County back a day to Aug. 24. Making matters even more difficult is both opponents are bigger schools. East Ridge is Class 4A and Bledsoe is Class 2A.

So in the span of four days, Whitwell will play one-fifth of its regular season schedule. Head coach Travis Olinger said he will prepare to win both games, but plans to use most of his 48-man roster to get through the physical challenge.

Most teams in Tennessee will have their openers on Aug. 23.

LENGTH OF SERVICE

Being a head football coach is a demanding position. While it’s true the head coach receives much of the credit when things go well, he also gets a huge slice of the blame pie when wins turn into losses.

Remaining as head coach at one school for decades isn’t as commonplace as it used to be. Here’s a look at the top 50 coaches in the state, according to length of service at their current school through the 2018 season. Daniel Boone’s Jeremy Jenkins leads Northeast Tennessee with 15 years.

Coach, school — Years

1. Bobby Sharp, Lewis Co. — 31

2. John Olive, Tullahoma — 26

2. Wayne Turner, Tyner — 26

4. Tom Adkins, Jo Byrns — 25

5. Bob Robertson, Huntland — 23

5. John Webb, Rockwood — 23

5. Eddie Courtney, Farragut — 23

8. Wade Comer, McKenzie — 19

9. Nathan Cole, Mitchell — 17

9. Noah Lampkins, Gleason — 17

11. Travis Tapp, Harriman — 16

11. S. Hollingsworth, Station Camp — 16

11. David Marsten, Lawrence Co. — 16

14. Jeremy Jenkins, Daniel Boone — 15

14. Rodney Saulsberry, Whitehaven — 15

16. Anthony Crabtree, Beech — 14

16. Doug Loope, Harpeth — 14

18. Tony Brunetti, Pearl Cohn — 13

18. Gary Rankin, Alcoa — 13

18. Bo Cagle, McMinn Co. — 13

18. Damon Floyd, Bradley Central — 13

18. Steve Trapp, DeKalb County — 13

18. Cecil Van Hooks, Craigmont — 13

18. Brandon Gray, Adamsville — 13

18. Gavin Webster, Watertown — 13

26. Shawn Witten, Elizabethton — 12

26. Joe Case, West Greene — 12

28. Matt Williams, Smyrna — 11

28. B. Hollingsworth, Lexington — 11

28. Bruce Lamb, Livingston Aca. — 11

28. Keith Henry, Coalfield — 11

28. Eric Swenson, Huntingdon — 11

33. Davey Gillum, Anderson Co. — 10

33. Bart Stowe, Dyersburg — 10

33. Chris Hughes, Fairview — 10

33. Clark Duncan, South Doyle — 10

33. Jamie Williams, Bruceton — 10

38. Stacy Carter, Science Hill — 9

38. Mike Locke, Sullivan East — 9

38. Craig Harris, Middleton — 9

38. Eric Pullen, McEwen — 9

38. J.R. Voyles, Oakdale — 9

38. Duron Sutton, Ridgeway — 9

38. Brad Dedman, Wilson Central — 9

38. Jay Gore, McGavock — 9

38. Stanton Stevens, LaVergne — 9

38. Arcentae Broome, Maplewood — 9

38. Chris Michael, Millington — 9

38. Scott Stidham, South Gibson — 9

50. Three tied with 8 (none local)

BACKTRACKING

Main Street Preps reported last week the Memphis Commercial Appeal story on five standout players transferring from Memphis Central to Brentwood Ravenwood was not accurate.

The players’ legal guardian claimed he was misquoted in the Commercial Appeal story, and told Main Street Preps, “we’re not even in the financial situation to be able to move to Ravenwood, let alone anything like that.”

Also, Ravenwood head coach Matt Daniels stated the story was false and he had heard nothing about the transfers.

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