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80 Years Ago

Archives 2001 11-14-2001



New Coach, Same Goal Drive Lady Wildcats
Garrett Named Golden Eaglette Co-Captain

Grant Swallows Sets TTU Career Passing Record




Reserved Seats Available For Basketball Reserved seats for Livingston Academy's upcoming basketball games are currently available at the high school. Those interested in season tickets should see Coach Danny McCoin.

Basketball Season Tickets Available Now Season tickets for reserved seating for the Livingston Academy 2001-2002 basketball season are available. The $30 seat and pass tickets are a $10 saving over general admission.


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New Coach, Same Goal Drive Lady Wildcats

Members of the 2001 Lady Wildcats varsity, basketball team are, seated from left, Kristen Hoover, Kasey Baltimore, Megan Thompson, Chelsie Stover, Jessica Leach, Whitney Sells, standing from left, Coach Lesley Smith, Jenna Baltimore, Renee Melton, Christen Cates, Stephanie Sullivan, Katrina Beechboard, Kellie Thurman, and Assistant Coach Elizabeth Woodard.

Members of the 2001 Lady Wildcats junior varsity basketball squad are, seated from left, Kristen Hoover, Jessica Lee, Allison Medley, Ashley Howard, Rebecca Vaughn, Krista Clinard, standing from left, Assistant Coach Elizabeth Woodard, Whitney Sells, April Handy, Whittney Sells, Jessica Ray, Kim Carr, Haley Mitchell, Brittany Ray, Chelsey Franklin, and MaryFaye Maynord.


By Dewain E. Peek, OCN staff

Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats will enter the 2001-2002 high school basketball season with a new coach, but will still strive for the same goal as always, a state championship.

Coach Lesley Smith came to LA this year with seven years experience teaching and coaching, three at Oneida and four at Farragut. A 1994 graduate of Vanderbilt University, her credentials as a math teacher were as valued by the Overton County School System as was her coaching ability when the coaching position became available.

Smith has a tough act to follow, taking over after Eddie Linder's four-year stint, in which he led the Lady Cats to a state championship in 1999 and the state finals in 1998 and compiled a 115-30 record. Linder had taken over after the legendary run of Larry Looper, who finished with 699 victories as a basketball coach.

Smith is well aware of the expectations. The expectation of winning contributed to her seeking the job.

"I'm a little nervous about it, because the expectations are so high. But, that's also why I did it. I want to be a part of something where you're expected to win all the time. I'm apprehensive a little bit, but I'm excited at the same time."

Smith knows about the winning tradition of the Lady Wildcats; she was a member of LA's first state champion team in 1990, along with her assistant coach, the former Elizabeth Maxwell, now Elizabeth Woodard.

Coach Smith believes the addition of Woodard as assistant coach will bolster the Lady Cats skills this year and in succeeding years.

"I think it was just fate things worked out like they should've," Coach Smith said. "She came back home at the same time that this opened up and relayed her interest to me. That, to me, said, ‘yeah, it's time. It's time to go back.' Everything's fallen in place the way it's supposed to. They're giving me an assistant coach at the same time I've got a great assistant willing to do it.

"Elizabeth's played at the University of Florida, played at Tennessee Tech, and been a state champion here. The prospects of putting our heads together, being able to put a team together, was one of the final things that said, ‘yeah, you're going, and it's going to be a great thing', because I knew I had excellent help. And so far, she's been awesome, one of the best assistants I've ever had, because she's willing to correct them and at the same time she's got good ideas.

"In the JV program in itself, that she's getting the opportunity to do, is going to help our program. The kids when they become sophomores, they're already going to know the system. They will have already played a bunch of games. I just think the JV program in itself is going to be a big boost to the program."

Assistant Coach Woodard said, "When I found out that the position was open, I was anxious and willing to do what had to be done."

For the new coach and her assistant, their big win came in their senior year. This year's seniors are the expected leaders for another big win.

Coach Smith said, "For the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats, a state championship is always the ultimate goal. This group of seniors, they've been playing together for a long, long time.

"I asked them, 'what do you want to do this year? Do you want to go to the dance? What do you want to do?' and they said, "We want to win it.'

"So, with the quality of players that we've got, I think it's realistic for us to have the goal of winning the state championship. Now, it takes a lot to get there. You've got to have a little bit of luck, and you've got to play well, and everybody's got to stay healthy. A lot of things have got to happen. But that's our ultimate goal. It wouldn't surprise anybody, I think, if we did win it."

Coach Smith said the seniors have put their speech into practice.

"The very first meeting we had with them, I set the seniors down when everybody else had left and said 'Guys it's your team. After you graduate, hopefully, I'll still be here, so this is your team, this team will be your legacy just like my team when I was a senior was my legacy. It's your choice.'

"They took it by the horns then and just said, 'Hey lets go.' And they have set the pace in practice too. They are playing harder than anybody else and they're pushing each other and they are pushing their younger teammates. So, all four seniors have played really well and have been vocal and have been great leaders."

Having lost one player to graduation, this year's team comes into the new season with experience.

"We're getting five starters back," Coach Smith said. "The senior class is really strong. Jenna Baltimore and Jessica Leach are great shooters. Renee Melton and Stephanie Sullivan have been playing together in the post for years. They're playing great defense right now and doing a great job rebounding right now."

Coach Smith said the sophomore class of Kasey Baltimore, Katrina Beechboard, Chelsie Stover, Megan Thompson, and Kellie Thurman are strong, along with the lone junior, Christen Cates.

Rounding out the varsity team are freshmen Kristen Hoover and Whitney Sells.

"We've got some great shooters,” Coach Smith said. "We've got some great post players. We're having a little hard time right now getting everything to come together all at the same time.

"We're going to be able to pressure some people defensively. We're going to make them think about things, trap and run and hopefully get some easy layups. We're going to shoot it, and we're going to push, and we're going to trap, and do a little bit of everything."

The team will have the flexibility to keep pressure up throughout a game, thanks to a deep bench.

"I think that's one of our biggest strengths,” Coach Smith said. "We've went to one scrimmage day so far and, at times, our bench was better than the five people that we started the game with, and I think that's going to happen a lot this season. So, we're going to give those kids the opportunity."

The Lady Wildcats will open the 2001-2002 season against the Cookeville Lady Cavaliers on Tuesday, Nov. 27 in a game scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Cookeville High School.



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Garrett Named Golden Eaglette Co-Captain

Seniors Misty Garrett and Janet Holt have been named as team captains for the 2001-2002 season for the Tennessee Tech Golden Eaglettes, as announced by Coach Bill Worrell on Friday, Nov. 9.

The two have been instrumental in winning three Ohio Valley Conference regular season championships and two OVC tournament titles during their careers, and are expected to play key roles as the Eaglettes bid for an unprecedented 15th league crown this winter. Tech has posted a 69-24 record in the past three years.

Garrett, a 5-foot-6 senior guard from Livingston, was a league-leader last season, topping the OVC in both assists and assist-to-turnover ratio, A second-team all-OVC pick and OVC all-tournament winner, she won the President's Award on her team as a junior.

Coach Worrell said, "Misty is one of the best point guards we've ever had. She gets the job done and she works hard every day. "She loves to compete and she's at her best when she's challenged. She's a vocal leader, and she also leads by example."

The pair will lead the Golden Eaglettes into their season opener Friday, Nov. 16 when Tech hosts the University of Mississippi Lady Rebels in Eblen Center at 7 p.m.


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Grant Swallows Sets TTU Career Passing Record

Livingston native Grant Swallows took more than a win with him when the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle quarterback walked off the field Saturday after soundly defeating Tennessee State University 63-13.

Swallows placed his name in the Tech record book by breaking three school records. He broke Tech records for most passing yards in a season and a career, and most total offense yards in a career.

The Golden Eagles handed 14th ranked Tennessee State Tigers their worst loss in TSU history with the 63-13 pounding before 10,204 fans on Senior Day in Tucker Stadium. The 63 points was the most ever scored on a Tiger defense.

The win allowed 14 Tech seniors to post a perfect 5-0 record at home in their final season, and improved the Golden Eagles to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the OVC. TSU slipped to 7-2 and 3-2 in the OVC.

After punting on the game's first possession, the Tech offense scored the next 10 times it had the ball behind quarterback Grant Swallows and a punishing rushing game. Tech managed 603 yards in total offense, the 4th-highest in Golden Eagle history, and rushed for a season-best 337 yards.

Nick Solomon had 121 yards and 2 touchdowns, Travis Rogers gained 79 yards and scored twice, and Oscar Bonds rushed for 62 yards and 2 scores.

TTU Coach Mike Hennigan said, "Offensively, the credit again has to go to the linemen up front. You don't do those kind of things without linemen being in position and taking care of business."

The Tech defense limited the top-ranked offense in the league to 300 yards in total offense, 194 yards below their season average of 494 yards per game.

"Our defensive effort was generated from up front," Hennigan said.

"Those guys had a great game. I think TSU's quarterback (Shannon Harris) is a phenomenal young man and I knew from the first day we started to prepare for this game that he was going to have to have an off day or we were going to have to do something to disrupt his game. He does a great job leading them and taking him out of his gameplan tonight made it easier for us."

Tech built a 36-0 lead by halftime, scoring 27 points in the second half, piling up 237 yards in total offense in just the second period. The 63 points scored by the Golden Eagles was the most by a Golden Eagle team during the modern era (since 1948).

TSU came into the game with a 7-1 overall record, ranked 14th in the I-AA national polls.

Tech started the game with a 34-yard completion from Grant Swallows to Tedarrell Scott but the drive stalled and David Collett's punt bounced into the endzone, setting the Tigers up for their first possession at the TSU 20.

Tech's defense stuffed TSU on 3rd down, and the Tigers had to punt. Tech began its second possession in good shape after a fair catch by James Robinson at the Tech 43. The punt was 28 yards.

Travis Rogers skirted right end for a 24-yard gain to the TSU 1 yard line, his longest carry of the season. Three plays later, Rogers took a pitch from Grant Swallows around left end for his seventh TD of the season and a 6-0 Golden Eagle lead with 6:51 to play in the first quarter. The PAT kick attempt was blocked by Marquis Stephens. The drive was 57 yards in nine plays, and took 3:56.

The Tigers opened their second possession at their own 18 after Kunle Adewole made a tackle on the kick return. After getting nowhere on the first two plays, quarterback Shannon Harris connected with Patrick Jenkins for a 24-yard gain and first down.

Greg Hunnicutt and D.J. Bleisath combined to catch Charlie Anthony for a 2-yard loss. It was Bleisath's 20th TFL (tackle for loss) this season, and ran his streak to 18 consecutive games with at least one TFL.

Tech took over via a punt, and when Robinson wasn't given enough room, a 5-yard penalty started Tech at the TTU 44.

Tech moved 61 yards in two plays for a 13-0 lead. The scoring play was a 43-yard pass from Swallows to Tedarrell Scott, who was streaking wide open over the middle.

Tech opened the second quarter by finishing off an 80-yard touchdown drive, a 21-yard pass from Swallows to Antonio Carter the final play to make it 20-0. With that completion, Swallows broke both the single-season and career records for passing yards by a Tech quarterback. The drive lasted 1:55 and took nine plays.

On 3rd and 15 at the TSU 20, quarterback Kenny Irby scrambled for a 4-yard gain but was hit by Maurice Harris and fumbled. Daniel Wentzel picked up the ball and returned it to the TSU 24. That turnover led to a 25-yard field goal by David Collett and a 23-0 lead.

The Golden Eagles drove 62 yards in seven plays to build their lead to 29-0. Oscar Bonds raced 34 yards for the touchdown.

Tech's defense stopped the potent Tigers once again on three downs, and the Golden Eagles took over on their own 21 following a punt.

Ten plays later, Nick Solomon roared around right end on 4th-and goal from the 2 to make it 36-0, putting the finishing touch on a 79-yard drive that lasted 3:25. Solomon rushed for 50 of the 79 yards in the drive. That pushed his game total to 100 yards in 12 carries, his first 100-yard game of the season and the fifth of his career. It also pushes him to fifth in career rushing yardage, passing both Jerome Tillman and Cecil Fore.

Tennessee State was held scoreless in the first half for the first time in 2001. Total offense at halftime: Tennessee Tech had 385 yards compared to 102 by the Tigers.

TSU received the second half kickoff and marched the length of the field in four plays to make it 36-7. The scoring play was a 36-yard bomb from Kenny Irby to C.J. Johnson. The drive covered 85 yards and took 1:30.

David Collett's second field goal of the game, a 35-yarder, made it 39-7. It was Collett's 47th career field goal, putting him within four of the OVC record. The kick capped a 63-yard, eight-play drive.

James Robinson deflected a pass and Jameel Brown made the interception at the TSU 29, returning it to the Tiger seven. Tech's offense couldn't convert the turnover into a touchdown, so David Collett was called on for his third field goal of the afternoon, a 28-yarder to make it 42-7 with 7:05 to play in the third quarter. It was the ninth game that Collett has kicked three field goals in a game, the second this season.

Oscar Bonds scampered 22 yards for a touchdown, but the play was called back by offsetting penalties. After Grant Swallows rushed 14 yards to the TSU seven, a personal foul penalty moved the Golden Eagles back to the 22. So, Bonds broke into the secondary and made it to the endzone a second time from the 22, and this one stood for a 49-7 lead. The drive covered 49 yards in eight plays.

With less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, Riley Walker, TSU's third quarterback to see action, was sacked by Maurice Harris and the ball popped loose. Tony Gomez recovered for Tech at the TSU 36 with 1:10 left on the clock in the third period.

In the fourth quarter, the Golden Eagles opened the lead to 56-7, converting a 36-yard, four-play drive with Nick Solomon's second TD of the day.

Freshman Robert Craft got the call to relieve Swallows for the final period. Swallows got a well-deserved rest after passing for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns, and rushing for 21 yards to account for 270 yards in total offense, putting him three shy of the Tech single-season record.

Robert Craft's first pass of the day, a long bomb down the left sideline, was intercepted at the TSU 16. That snapped a streak of 10 consecutive scoring possessions by the Golden Eagles.

Tennessee State made it 56-13 with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Riley Walker to Carlos Wright with 5:20 remaining. The Tigers drove 84 yards in nine plays, using 4:24 on the clock.

Craft got the offense into the endzone on his second possession, including a 17-yard completion to reserve fullback Peter Carlson. Tech drove 48 yards in eight plays with Travis Rogers carrying for 31 yards including a 4-yard burst to paydirt in the final minute to make it 63-13.

After punting on their first possession, the Golden Eagles scored on 10 consecutive possessions. Tech finished with scores on 11 of their 13 possessions, losing the ball once on an interception.

Tech's 603 yards in total offense was the third-best game in school history. Tech rushed for a season-best 337 yards.

Tech finished the home schedule with a 5-0 record, the first unbeaten home season since 1972.

Coach Hennigan said, "I would have never expected this type of game because Tennessee State always scares you. But our kids anticipated that and I am quite proud of how they responded.

"The seniors have got to feel good about going out with this kind of victory. What you want when you recruit a man is to bring him in and give him an opportunity to play football at a competitive level."




Overton County News
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P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
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