HV backs ready to carry load

By Wes Holtsclaw

STAR CORRESPONDENT

   After a 5-5 season, with a 2-2 conference rank, the Happy Valley Warriors are back in the 2002 season looking to build on last year with a successful playoff run.
   The key to the squad this year will be their offensive backfield.
   Lamar Rollins (6-0 188) returns to the forefront at the quarterback position. Lamar played a pivotal onfield leadership role for the team last year, and returns to help his team strive forward.
   "I just gotta keep everyone up," said Rollins about the quarterback position. "I can't let the linemen's heads go, and keep everyone calm and doing well.
   "I want to lead the team to good things. I hope we go farther than we did last year."
   The Warriors also return two of the hardest working backs in the county with Cody Cannon and Tim Whaley.
   Cannon (6-0, 208) will begin the year at a slot/fullback position, while Whaley (6-2 190) will man the tailback slot.
   Both of these gentlemen hope the Warriors build on last season, and bounce forward with a promising year.
   "We're looking to build on it," said Cannon. "We're a young team, but we've got experience. We're hopefully better than last year; we should be okay."
   Said Whaley: "We're young. I think we'll do real well. We've been working two-a-days, working real hard. If we get together and work as a team, we'll be all right."
   Happy Valley returns five seniors to the playing field, including each of these three gentlemen, which means each of them will play a pivotal role in the leadership of the squad.
   "They're good leaders," stated Warrior coach Stan Ogg last Friday at the team's media day, "There's only five of them, and since they're so small they've got to lead by example.
   "They must go out there and show the team how to work hard, and we'll get things done."
   It will be interesting to watch these three Warriors roll on the hill this fall.
   PRESEASON ALL-WESLEY TEAM
   In a first here at the STAR, I am releasing my picks for the All-Wesleys -- an award which should be labeled the "All-Madden Team of Carter/Johnson High School Football."
   The players picked are the pivotal role players on their teams this year. I am not listing who is best at each position like many teams do. Instead I will be talking about which players from each team will be the key to that team's success.
   COACH OF THE YEAR: Mike Ensor - Unaka
   Mike Ensor just took the reins at Unaka, and many of you are probably asking why is he coach of the year? Well, the reason is this: Ensor is a great coach and should be admired for the work he does with his kids.
   I believe he will turn Unaka football around, and with some work from his kids, they will be playoff bound this season.
   OFFENSIVE MVP: Mark Byrd - Cloudland
   Byrd deserves this award based on his work from the past two seasons behind the most powerful offense in this region.
   Any of his backs were eligible for this award, but Byrd has that leadership ability that any team in this area would kill for.
   I believe he will be back where he was at the end of last season, and those 'Landers will be at the forefront of 1-A football this season.
   DEFENSIVE MVP: Vince Redd - Elizabethton
   This award is a no-brainer as well. Redd is one of the most powerful linebackers in the state and has been recognized across the nation as one of the premier prospects around.
   The key to Elizabethton's season will be Redd, as many of you saw last season. If Vince pulls a Cherokee caliber performance in each game this season, the Cyclones will be right there amongst the elite in 4-A ball.
   THE REST OF THE SQUAD:
   Elizabethton: Lester Bailey (WR/DB), Michael Porter (WR/DB), Adam Turley (WR/DB), Ryan Curtis (QB/DB), Walter Brown (HB/DB), Brandon Blevins (Special Teams)
   Johnson County: Justin Bishop (OL/DL), Matt Dunn (OL/DL), Adam Johnson (QB), Michael Reid (SB/DB), Jonah Dunn (All Purpose)
   Hampton: Michael Peterson (All Purpose), Mitchell Morton (DB), Jimmy Sarrett (LB), Josh Nave (TE), Corey McKinney (WR), Robby England (OL), Pat Murphey (OG), Cody Walsh (Special Teams)
   Happy Valley: Lamar Rollins (OB/DB), Tim Whaley (RB/LB), Cody Cannon (RB/LB), Jordy Harrison (OL/DL), Lance Whitehead (RB/DB), Andrew Bowman (TE/DE), Daniel Dover (OL/DL)
   Cloudland: Dakota Benfield (HB/DB), Dane Christman (SB/LB), Mark Barnett (FB/LB), Jason Birchfield (TB/LB), Jeff Lunsford (OL/DL), Dale Baker (OL/DL), Cole Gouge (WR)
   Unaka: Joey Parlier (HB/DB), Brandon Irick (QB/DL), Andrew Richardson (OL/DL), Jeremy Cook (QB/WR)
   Earl Nall Pre-Season Ratings:
   The Earl Nall Preseason Prep Performance Ratings are out at prepratings.com, and some of our local teams fared well in it, while some of them were under-ranked.
   However, you must note that these are based on the last season with combined seasonal records.
   Cloudland (67.5) comes in at sixth in 1-A, Happy Valley (43.7) and Hampton (42.5) come in at 31st and 32nd respectively in 2-A while South Greene (57.9) stood at 14th.
   Elizabethton (57.0) placed 18th in 4-A and Johnson County (38.7) came in at 49th, Tennessee High (57.4) led the area at 14th.