Local players on preseason all-state team

By Wes Holtsclaw
The preseason high school football chatter is heating up in more ways than one across the state.
In the recently published Tennessee High School Football Magazine by Murphy Fair, several local players were named to their preseason all-state squads.
Elizabethton punter Brandon Blevins (4-A) and the Cloudland trio of quarterback Mark Byrd, tailback Dakota Benfield and linebacker Dane Christman (1-A) were all named to their respective teams.
"I think anytime you've got three kids on an all-state team and other kids who could've been there, it ups you're expectations," said Cloudland head coach Mike Lunsford.
"The problem with expectations are if you don't fulfill them. You could have a 7-3 season and a lot of people are tore up and aggravated, than if your expectations are low."
"I just assume to not have too many of them," he said. "I just expect to come play next Friday (against Hampton). I'm proud and glad that those kids are getting recognition, but it takes eleven players to line up and do it and they've got to do it consistently all night long for us to be good team."
Sullivan North lineman Cody Johnson (3-A), Dobyns-Bennett receiver Lamon Williams and Science Hill lineman Anthony Barcel (5-A) were also listed.
Many pre-season statewide football polls are being released, including the Sonny Moore "Tennessee High School Football Power Ratings," (For the complete listing, check out Sonny's website: http://members.aol.com/powerrater/h-s-foot.htm).
It was no surprise to learn that Maryville (4A) was the state's overall top squad going into the season. Locally, Dobyns-Bennett (7th in state, 3rd in 5A) and Morristown West (12th in state, 3rd in 4A) made the top twenty.
Sonny's rankings were made up with the team's success rating in recent years and their upcoming schedule. Just remember, it is a pre-season ranking and things won't really get kicked into gear until the season starts.
Other local team rankings include: Greeneville (43rd in state, 10th in 4A), Science Hill (53rd in state, 21st in 5A), Cloudland (58th in state, 5th in 1A), Tennessee High (60th in state, 15th in 4A), Gatlinburg-Pittman (82nd in state, 8th in 2A), Elizabethton (84th in state, 23rd in 4A);
Sullivan South (124th in state, 33rd in 4A), Morristown East (130th in state, 35th in 4A), Sullivan North (165th in state, 26th in 3A), David Crockett (169 in state, 43rd in 4A), Volunteer (172nd in state, 45th in 4A), South Greene (176th in state, 23rd in 2A);
Sullivan Central (182nd in state, 48th in 4A), Cherokee (183rd in state, 49th in 4A), Daniel Boone (188th in state, 51st in 4A), Hampton (195th in state, 27th in 2A), Happy Valley (208th in state, 31st in 2A), Johnson County (227th in state, 56th in 4A), Sullivan East (245th in state, 59th in 4A), Unicoi County (255th in state, 60th in 4A), West Greene (263rd in state, 46th in 2A), Chuckey-Doak (273rd in state, 48th in 2A), North Greene (287th in state, 44th in 1A).
More high school football will be shown on a Comcast and Charter providers across the state of Tennessee. Viewers in Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville areas will be able to view regional high school football telecasts.
This will be the second year for the high school programming and the upper East Tennessee region will be left out, after it was rumored broadcasts would take place in the area this year.
Be sure to pick up next Friday's Elizabethton STAR, as it will feature the annual football edition with previews of all the local high school and college teams.