KNOXVILLE (WBIR) – The Knoxville Football Officials Association held its annual scholarship golf tournament and media day at Three Ridges Golf Course on Friday.
About 40 local high school teams were represented by head coaches and players.
That includes four returning state champions.
The Maryville Rebels look for their third-straight state championship, and 16th overall.
They aren’t looking ahead to Week 2’s matchup with Fulton.
George Quarles: “I think we’ve handled things really well. We don’t talk a whole lot about games and numbers and all that stuff we try to get better every day.”
Josh Yoakum/strong safety: “When you step on the field there’s nothing that compares to that in the world and I actually got goosebumps thinking about it.”
Kelby Brock/wide receiver: “We’re ready. We’re coming back stronger, we’re coming back faster, so I think we’re ready.”
The West Rebels finally broke through to win the program’s first state championship last year, one season after suffering a heartbreaking, one-point loss in the title game.
But coach Scott Cummings left West for Cleveland HS.
Former Loudon coach Jeff Harig is still settling in with his new team.
“It’s been a challenge,” Harig said. “Any time a new coach takes over regardless of how the team has done, you want to instill your culture and your way of doing things. That’s been challenging as any first year coach will tell you but the great thing about the West program is that the expectations were already there to be good. So there’s not a lot that has to be done.”
Rob Black and company won their third-straight state championship, and seventh overall, last season.
Fulton loses a lot of talent from last year’s team, but as usual, the Falcons are ready to reload.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys that didn’t neccessarily start last year, but played a lot of football due to some of the scores we had,” said Rob Black. “Like I said we don’t have a lot of returning starters, but we’ve got some guys that have played. We’re just trying to grow quickly for those young guys and get those guys ready for what they are going to face on Friday nights.”
It’s a similar story for Webb, who is also coming off its third-straight state championship, but also suffers the loss of a second-straight, D1-caliber senior class.
This year there are only three seniors on David Meske’s roster, and he expects to play a lot of sophomores, and even a few freshmen.
“We’ll go through some growing pains,” Meske said. “They need to grow up and we need to grow and hopefully by the end of the year we’re playing good football.”
Mason Staten/DB: “All of us know it’s going to take a lot of leadership out of us three seniors but I’m excited about the role and I think all of us are.”
Alexander Berube/LB: “Leading by example is the best method of leadership so we’re going to step out on the field and do our best and hopefully the younger guys will follow and do the same.”