Warriors, Grizzlies prepare four round 2

from staff reports

  JOHNSON CITY -- The Mountain Empire Warriors will travel to Asheville, N.C. Saturday night to play the second game of their series doubleheader against the Asheville Grizzlies.
  Mountain Empire (3-0) won the first contest against Asheville 19-0 thanks to a defense that only allowed 60 yards of total offense. The Warriors rushed for 172 yards on 32 carries and once again dominated the line of scrimmage, creating three turnovers, forcing six punts, and sacking the quarterback five times.
  Warriors defensive end Glenn Young recorded two sacks and a hurry in the first game but doesn't expect the Grizzlies (1-1) to roll over this weekend.
  "I feel that we need to approach the game the same way we approached the game this last week," said Young. "We need to keep ourselves humble and not think that we're the best thing coming in the NAFL (North American Football League)."
  Outsiders might already have that opinion, though. The Warriors are starting to gain national prominence in minor league football and in the NAFL after winning their first three games this inaugural season in impressive fashion.
  They are ranked No. 4 in the Southern Regional on www.minorleaguefootballnews.com <http://www.minorleaguefootballnews.com/> and are a consensus top-10 team on most independent NAFL polls (www.nafl.org <http://www.nafl.org/> ). Mountain Empire might not want to listen, but plenty of people are talking.
  Head Coach Mark Tucker isn't one to pay attention to rankings, though.
  "I didn't even know there was a ranking," he said.
  Young leads a defense that has allowed only six points in twelve quarters and has created an enigma for the opposing offenses. The Warriors have abundant speed everywhere on the field and opponents are having a tough time blocking people they can't even catch. Young, who played at Vanderbilt and on the St. Louis Rams practice squad, speaks like a veteran lineman when talking about taking the season day-by-day.
  "I think we need to have confidence, but at the same time we need to understand that we need to play all four quarters and play our ball game," Young explained. "That's why we've got to think about one game at a time."
  Tucker agrees.
  "They (Asheville) are a really good football team that wants to vindicate itself from last week," Tucker said. "Right now they probably feel like a wounded animal and are a little dangerous. From our standpoint, it's comforting to have film and be familiar with the team we play. The disadvantage is they are just as familiar to us."
  Last week's game was a hard-hitting match-up of two quality teams closer than the score indicated. This week, Asheville has home-field advantage in what appears to be Mountain Empire's toughest test to date. As the expectations rise, so does the chance of a letdown, but Tucker would be surprised if that happens with this team.
  "I don't think that would be a problem," said Tucker. "One thing that people will take from watching us is that our kids love to play. They truly love to play."
  The Asheville Grizzlies host the Mountain Empire Warriors Saturday night at Memorial Field in Asheville, N.C. Kickoff is set for 7:30. For information or directions, call (423) 928-4324.