Jr. Cyclones have potential

  By Tim Chambers
  star staff
  The key to every successful high school football program is a good feeder system in the junior high division. Coach Eddie Pless and company can rest assured that T.A. Dugger has some outstanding talent waiting in the wings.
  With numbers near 60, the Jr. Cyclones look to be successful under head coach John Oakley.
  "Both the eighth and seventh-grade teams are working hard," stated Oakley. "We think they are making great progress."
  The eighth-grade squad features Jordan Meredith as the starting quarterback.
  "Jordan has looked good thus far running a new offense," said Oakley. "He is quick and throws the ball well."
  Bruce Crumley lines up at fullback while the starting tailback position will be selected by committee.
  Julian Smith, Deon Pickett, Derek Carr or Cody Forbes could all see action in the backfield.
  "Whoever happens to be doing the best job at time is the one we'll go with," stated Oakley.
  Jerry Berkley, Chris Shields are the wide receivers, with Forbes, Kyle Wash and Ethan Meredith slated to see some action as well. Vick Deloach and J.T. Lyons are battling for the tight end position and both could see duty in the line.
  "Our receivers have shown great progress up to the point," added Oakley.
  Schaun Carter anchors the center position, with Zack Coggins and Thomas Cowan slated to go at the tackles. Devon Byrd has the size and ability to fill in at any of the line positions while Jeremy Simerly is the backup quarterback and fullback.
  "We've giving them several new wrinkles this year, and they seem to have grasped the system really well," said Oakley.
  The defensive unit has Kyle and Kendall Wash at cornerbacks, with Berkley, Forbes and Simerly at the safety positions. Coggins and Deloach step in as the defensive ends while Cowan, Landon Honeycutt and Byrd anchor the line.
  Carter, Lyons and Carr make up the inside linebackers while Smith, Crumley, and Simerly hope to see action at outside linebacker.
  On the seventh-grade side, Coach Daniel Proffitt likes the things he has seen thus far in his players.
  "We have some lineman who are big and move well," stated Proffitt. "I think the entire team is making good progress."
  Zack Boles starts at quarterback.
  "Zack has done a good job thus far running the offense and we look for good things from him," Proffitt said.
  Preston Itaro is the starting tailback, and according to Proffitt possesses excellent speed. Nick Jenkins and Justin Bailey are in a battle for the fullback position.
  Chris Kelly lines up at center slot, with Drew Chambers and Daniel Moore slated to start at the tackles. Michael Hutchins and Matt Febuary will see duty at left and right guard, respectively, and Drew Shingleton will slide in at the tight end position. Knox Eraysa gets the nod at wide receiver.
  The defense is led in the middle by Chambers at noseguard, with Febuary lining up at tackle.
  "Both move well and have improved tremendously," stated assistant coach Travis Smithdeal.
  Hutchins and Moore are the ends while Ryan Thomas and Logan Loving will see action as the outside linebackers.
  'Hutchins was at fullback but we converted him to the starting line because he blocks so well," added Proffitt.
  Kelly and Itaro will start at inside linebackers along with Eraysa and Bailey at the corners. Boles will man the free safety position.
  We have some good size in the line, which always helps, and speed in the backfield," added Oakley. "Coach (Brian) Culbert will coach the defense and does an excellent job.
  "We don't have the great numbers like four or five years ago, but this group of seventh and eighth graders could stand out. We hope to improve with each and every game."
  Oakley is excited about playing Happy Valley this season.
  "It's a good rivalry because all the kids know one another," he said. "With teams like Vance, Science Hill, John Sevier and Ross Robinson on the schedule, you have to play well to compete."
  8th grade: Sept. 9--at Vance, 6 p.m.; Sept. 14--at Robinson, 5 p.m.; Sept. 16--at Happy Valley, 6 p.m.; Sept. 28--SEVIER, 5:30 p.m.; Oct. 5, CHURCH HILL, 7 p.m.; Oct. 12--at Unicoi County, 6 p.m.; Oct. 19--SCIENCE HILL, 6:30 p.m.; Oct. 26--Reg. Playoff, TBA
  7th grade: Aug. 30 --at Indian Trail, 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 9--at Vance, 4:30 p.m.; Sept. 13--at Robinson, 4:30 p.m.; Oct. 5--CHURCH HILL, 5:30 p.m.; Oct. 12--at Unicoi County, 4:30 p.m.; Oct. 19--INDIAN TRAIL, 5 p.m.