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Archives 08-18-2004

LA Wildcats ready for 2004 football season
LA Golf Team off to 4-0 start
Lady Wildcat soccer seeks to up the ante
Outlaws Cheerleaders ready to cheer on football team


 

LA Wildcats ready for 2004 football season

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Members of the 2004 Livingston Academy Wildcats football team are, front row from left, #1 Jake Peterman, #2 Cody Melton, #3 Alan Rudd, #4 Jamie Cravins, # 5 Levi Holt, #6 Josh Simpson, #7 Dustin Flowers, #8 Wilson Cates, #10 Wesley Puckett, #11 Jonathan Sullivan, #12 Josh Carwile, #15 Jacob Gore, second row, #19 Drew Cannon, #20 Steven Morgan, #21 Eddie Morrow, #22 Jamey Vaughn, #23 Ryan Duke, #24 Jonathan Maynard, #27 D.J. Allred, #29 Jake Reeder, #30 Gary Massengille, #31 Josh Coffee, #32 Brian Colson, #33 Lane Ponder, third row, #34 Sam Nelson, #50 Brent Carr, #51 Adam Hunter, #52 Curtis Beaty, #53 Levi Cobble, #54 Colby Loftis, #55 Brad Pendagraft, #56 Brandon Bond, #58 Wade Ford, #59 Brent Skinner, #60 Matt Reeder, #61 Bobby Perdue, #62 Jacob Coffee, back row, #63 Michael Hammock, #65 Brad Burkett, #66 Ryan McDonald, #67 John Willeford, #68 Ryan Bowman, #70 Robert Holt, #71 David Ledbetter, #72 Lucas Holt, #74 Rodney Dempsey, #75 Tyler Watkins, #76 Jonathan Preece, and #77 Nick Shelton.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
Most of the time, it's useless to look back. What's done is done, but in the case of the Livingston Academy Wildcats, this year's football edition might just want to take a glance over its shoulder for a quick glimpse of how things ended last season then turn around and charge forward.

After posting a 1-3 mark after the first four games of last season, the Wildcats took stock of what was going on, made a dramatic change in the offensive attack, and reeled off seven straight victories including a win in the Upperman Bowl to finish a respectable 8-3 on the season.

"We want to build on that and we have enough players returning from last year who understand what we can do if we set our minds to it," remarked Head Coach Matt Eldridge as he was getting his team ready for the August 20 season opener against Warren County.

Eldridge and his staff have 48 youngsters dressed out this season ready to go after the Region 4-3A championship, and despite some big losses to graduation, it appears this year's squad could be up for the challenge.

"This is a very coachable team," Eldridge continued. "Most of our players remember how we turned things around last year, and they are anxious to move on. We have had some real good practices so far and things are coming together.

"We lost a couple players who will be hard to replace, but that's high school ball, and our kids realize that they will have to step up and take over. Our coaching staff believes they will."

When things got underway last year, the Wildcats pinned most of their hopes on the passing game, but after four games and only one victory, the team switched to a more balanced attack and the running game made the passing game valuable.

And that's where things are headed this fall.

With junior Wilson Cates leading the way at quarterback, LA will be able to attack offensively from the ground and the air. Cates, a starter for the past two years, honed his skills this summer at a football camp in California and according to Eldridge, did well at the camp.

"Obviously, we will rely a lot on Wilson, and he's an outstanding young athlete. He can pass and run the option with a lot of skill, and with Brian Colson at running back and Jamey Vaughn at tailback, we should be strong with the run. Colson is a senior and Vaughn is a junior."

Up front offensively, the Wildcats have a strong core returning including Matt Reeder, Rodney Dempsey, Jacob Coffey, Wade Ford, and Adam Hunter. Wesley Puckett and D.J. Allred will be at wide receiver while Cody Melton and Jake Reeder will operate from the tight end slot.

"Both Wesley and D.J. have good speed and good hands," Eldridge added. "And they have experience. Both are seniors. Melton is a senior and Reeder is a sophomore.

Defensively, the Wildcats will see Colson and Adam Hunter at the ends; Wade Ford, Brandon Bond, and Brad Burkett in the middle; Cody Melton and Jamey Vaughn at linebacker; Cates and Allred at defensive back; and Puckett and Jake Reeder at safety. "

We have good size and decent speed defensively," Eldridge continued. "We probably won't scare anybody with our size or speed, but these young men can get the job done.

"We have some experience coming back, but probably our biggest weakness is where we are young, we are very young. Some players will have to step up quickly."

Eldridge went on to point out that last year the Wildcats probably caught some opponents by surprise when they changed offense in the middle of the season, but this year, that element won't be available. This year the players will just have to pick up where they left off last year and simply beat opponents.

"Our strength will be in our experience, plus the fact that many of our players won't have to play both offense and defense," Eldridge added.

"In the region, I think Portland will be strong, as will be Smith County. We play Smith County our second game so we'll find out early just how good we will be," Eldridge said.

Bobby Gore, Danny McCoin, Grant Swallows, and Bruce Lamb return to coach the offense, quarterbacks, running back, and line. Newcomers include Dale Flatt and David Clouse, who played high school ball at LA, and Dusty Whitaker. They will coach the defense.

Opening night fans will be treated to a brand new repaved parking lot, and more noticeable, a playing field second to none. David Holt took it upon himself to work on the field, and before all the wear and tear of action starts to wear it out in spots, fans might just think they are on the golf course at Augusta.

Coach Eldridge smiled when the field was mentioned.

"I've never seen a field in better condition. David has nurtured it like a golf course and we can't wait to show it off, and certainly play on it."

LA Golf Team off to 4-0 start

Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Members of the 2004 Livingston Academy Golf Team are, front row from left, Kylor Winningham, Michael Ledford, Daniel Elder, Nathan Dale, Samantha Williams, Brandi Keisling, back row, Assistant Coach Patty Dale, Brad West, Josh Crawford, Brandon Matthews, Beau Massengille, Rex Dale, Justin Monday, and Coach Elizabeth Woodard.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
With a quick 4-0 start and a lineup of veterans who look to get even better, the 2004 edition of the Livingston Academy Golf Team appears once again to be a top contender for this year's district 7A-AA links crown.

And not only has the boys team shown strength, the girls also appear to be headed for a much better season.

Third-year Coach Elizabeth Woodard pointed out, "We have two girls on this year's team, and when you take the top two scores in a match, this time around, we have two scores to use instead of just one like we did last year."

Samantha Williams and Brandi Keisling compose this year's girls team. Williams is a seasoned junior, and Keisling, a freshman, is taking on competition for the first time.

Of the nine boys who make up the male team, two are seniors, four are juniors, two are sophomores, and one is a freshman.

"We have a very well balanced team with some strong veteran players," Woodard said. "Last year we only lost three matches, I believe, until we went to the district tournament. We have good, solid players returning from that team and we have Michael Ledford, a freshman, who I believe can go as far as he wants to in this game."

Although only a freshman, Ledford has gained valuable experience playing on the Vince Gill tour. That match-playing experience will give the youngster a leg up on the competition plus, according to his coach, "He has a good, solid all-around game."

Seniors Brad West and Josh Crawford bring both ability and leadership to the squad. Juniors Justin Monday, Beau Massengille, Rex Dale, and Brandon Matthews will be counted on to provide strong play in the middle of the field.

Massengille is taking up the game for the first time, but has shown steady improvement while learning to deal with the pressure of playing competitive golf.

Matthews is a good all round athlete and a solid long ball hitter.

Sophomore Daniel Elder is perhaps the most improved player on the squad, according to his coach, and could be the spoiler in matches that are close.

"Once he gets used to the pressure, Daniel will get better and better," Woodard said. Patty Dale will assist Coach Woodard.

The team started play Tuesday, Aug. 10 in Baxter and defeated Pickett County and Upperman handily. The team also scored a pair of wins Thursday, Aug. 12 in its first home match at Hidden Valley Country Club, downing Jackson County and Pickett County.

The regular season will consist of 13 district matches running through September 14, then the team will head to the sub-district tournament September 16. Each match in the regular season will be a 9-hole contest with the top four scores going towards the total team score.

"We're looking forward to the season," Woodard continued. "We have a good, solid boys team, and our girls program is coming. We have a group of golfers who love to compete and will get better as the season progresses. The players love the game, and that will make them work harder to improve, and that's what this game is about - working and improving."

Lady Wildcat soccer seeks to up the ante

Lyndon Johnson/OCN staff
The Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats soccer team is set to head into another season with 19 players and the familiar supporting cast of managers, trainer, and coach. Members of the 2004 version are, front row, from left, Melody Allen, Krista Clinard, Katrina Marshall, Jessica McDonald, Jessica Carr, Olivia King, Heather Camp, middle row, Tara Taylor, Allison Medley, Brittany Ray, Stevie Plumlee, MaryFaye Maynord, Danielle Ray, Megan Harris, Mallie Stephens, back row, manager Ricole Winningham, Michelle Allen, Whitney Allred, Eysha Pryor, Chelsey Franklin, manager Tabathia Walker, athletic trainer Chuck Wheeler, and Coach Ethan King.

By LYNDON JOHNSON, OCN Sports
A hot, humid August afternoon sees the Livingston Academy Lady Wildcats soccer team taking sprints across their field width-wise. It is that time, after all. The team knows that come tomorrow, they have to load up the bus and head to Harriman for their first game in the beginning of the true test of all their time, sweat, determination, and practice: The season.

It is 14 games in length. Two games a week. Seven weeks total. Half of the games count towards their District 9A-AA record - the record that will either put them in tournament play in October or send them home to wonder what they could have done to improve it.

The Lady Wildcats are well aware that they gave up six seniors, five of which were starting players, to graduation last year, and they're not afraid. In fact, they're upping the ante, so to speak.

LA Soccer Coach Ethan King said, "We're playing a lot of tougher opponents for the girls, similar to what we did with the boys last year. We're trying to get them to play more quality opponents because it will help them out. But overall, I think we should be okay for the season." Perhaps the biggest thing the Lady Wildcats have going for them is the eight seniors, six of them starters, on-roster this year.

"We've got a healthy senior class with a lot of leadership, so that's a good thing," King said.

Returning superlative Katrina Marshall will lead the offensive for the Lady Cats and will be the mentoring force behind new-to-the-team senior Krista Clinard, who will see most of the duty at the other forward position and will, if her time with the Lady Wildcats basketball squad is indicative of performance, play, in the truest sense of the word.

Senior Allison Medley returns to the midfield this season to lead the team's crucial middle ground squad, while fellow senior Brittany Ray has, in the words of her coach, "slid up" to the midfield from being a fullback most of last season. The duo will likely have their hands full in the season's early going, as King expressed that he would have two sophomores starting at the outside halfback positions.

"After they learn what to do and the girls get to play together for a while, we'll be in good shape," King said.

"It's going to take a little time for us to learn, being a little bit young outside, but I think that having the seniors in the middle, we'll be okay."

Anchoring the defense will be senior MaryFaye Maynord, who will be aided by incoming senior and York Institute transfer Tara Taylor at center fullback. True to the form set by the midfield crew, the backs will be a half-and-half group, with the less-experienced junior Olivia King and sophomore Megan Harris rounding out the positions.

Filling the shoes - and they are mighty big shoes, mind you - of now-graduated goalkeeper Sarah Jowers will be junior Jessica McDonald, who played fullback and served part-time as the second-string goalie last season.

"She got tested a little bit at a jamboree we played in the other day, but I think she'll do a good job for us.

"Down in Smyrna, there must've been, oh, 20 teams down there. We played four games. We won two and lost two, but overall I think we played very well. I was very happy with the way we played, and I think the girls are coming off of that really enthusiastically looking forward to the season."

They had better be. At the time the coach gave his interview, they were having their final practice before the first game of the season in Harriman against the Lady Blue Devils.

"Harriman is the same kind of classification as us. They play Kingston and Lenoir City, so they're in a tough district. But we match up pretty well with them. It should be a good game and be a good early test for us to see how we do. Hopefully we'll come out playing well."

After playing Harriman Tuesday, Aug. 17, it's back home the following Thursday, Aug. 19 for the first home game of the season versus district rivals York Institute.

"It's a big opening district game at home," King said. "We're hoping to have a big crowd support us for that one."

Outlaws Cheerleaders ready to cheer on football team

The Overton County Outlaws Cheerleaders will be cheering on the football team at Saturday's home game against Fentress County. Members of the varsity squad are, front row from left, Myranda Dickerson, Jessica Hopkins, Mackenzie Allred, Ashley Berta, Ashton Penely, Mariah Wilmoth, Hannah Owens, Toni Phillips, Chelsea Norris, Kandace Reeder, McKenzie Poston, Erin Murphy, Lindsey Watkins, Kayla Bilbrey, back row, Cheyenne Smith, Teia Smith, Meagan Poston, Sarina Surridge, Ashley Taylor, Jessica Carter, Brianna Little, Lindsey Waddy, Chelsea Cook, Courtney Jackson, Chelsea Smith, Karen Kesty, Leanne Hickle, and, not pictured, Kaitlin Pendergraft, Monica Bell, Kate Gunnels, Victoria Smithers, and Sadie King. The squad is coached by Mary Smith and Tasha Bullock.

 

Members of the junior varsity Outlaws Cheerleaders squad are, front row from left, Virginia Miller, Courtney Savage, Elaina Espinosa, Madison Burton, Hannah Jolley, Andrea Winningham, Brittany Warren, Destiny Good, Kylee Parrott, second row, Makayla Cole, Taylor Woolums, Taylor Harris, Sierra Hill, Heather Keisling, Courtney Lee, Laiton Pigg, Rebekah Miller, Shelby Hunter, and, back, Coach Elizabeth Parsons.

 

Members of the junior B-team Outlaws Cheerleaders are, front row from left, Sheena Poston, water girl Kelsey Reagan, Jasmine Schneck, Marley Gibbons, Allison Nimmo, Casey Mathis, second row, Haleigh Gibbons, Camille Sells, Aspen Webb, Sydney Looper, Courtney Cantrell, and, not pictured, Caitlin Forste, Eden Geesling, Samantha Norrod, Kandace Sells, Claire Smith, Destiny Yarbrough, and Savannah Carmack.

 

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