ALAMO – Crockett County was one of the top high school football teams in rural West Tennessee in 2014.
The Cavaliers’ undefeated run to the Class 4A quarterfinals was evidence of that.
But the senior class that led them to that run is gone. So are players like running back Johnny Jones (last year’s All-West Tennessee Offensive Player of the Year), linemen Cody Richardson and Landon Kail and linebacker Kamau Caldwell.
But that’s OK according to head coach Kevin Ward.
“That was a great class, and they accomplished some good things,” Ward said. “But they’re gone, and it’s up to the class behind them to step in and take that leadership role.
“They bring a different set of skills and a different approach to the team. Those skills could be a good thing.”
The different look for the Cavaliers starts at quarterback. With Cade Parlow being a part of that outgoing senior class, Jeremiah Nance will be the one to step in to that offensive leadership role. Nance is more athletic and can move around faster, so that skill will give the Cavaliers some different options this year on offense.
There will also be plenty of options to carry the ball from the running back position. Jones was a workhorse who would have 25 or 30 carries if the team needed him to. This year, there will be guys like Tyler Wise, Kordell Smith and Jordan Branch (2014 All-West Tennessee Freshman of the Year) to carry the ball more. They were part of Jones’ supporting cast last year, and each back’s role will increase this year.
“We feel good about those guys because they do have experience playing out there on Friday nights, and for the most part they’ve seemed to have matured well during the offseason,” Ward said. “Our line in front of them has three starters back and is probably the most experienced group on the team.
“So we will build from there, which is probably the best thing since everything that happens starts at the line.”
The Cavaliers are part of Region 7-4A and will compete for a region championship with the likes of Chester County, Hardin County, Lexington, North Side and Haywood. The Cavaliers’ two non-region games are against a couple of old foes from the old District 13-AA with Westview and Dyersburg.
“The schedule doesn’t give us any breaks, and it shouldn’t,” Ward said. “We’ll be ready to go when the season gets here.”
Brandon Shields, 425-9751