Livingston Academy Wildcats
Jr. Cats Volleyball
New Season Preview
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
When the regular season ended last year, the Livingston Academy
Wildcats could only boast a 5-5 record, but by the slimmest of margins,
made the playoffs in Region 2-3A. Had they lost any game from that
point on, or had they not made the playoffs at all, then there would
be little concern that this year's edition of the Wildcats could
come on and do fairly well.
But that of course, is not what happened. With five wins in their
next five games, the Wildcats went on to win the state's 3A championship
with a convincing 28-13 victory over favored David Lipscomb.
"That goes to prove one thing," explained the Wildcats'
new head coach, Danny McCoin. "Last year we were not a world
beater during the regular season, but we got better and better as
the season went along, and by the time we reached the playoffs,
we were still improving. "That's going to be our goal again
this year. We want to get better every time we go on that field,
and if we can do that, we will be okay. We graduated a very fine
group of players last year, and naturally it will be hard to replace
some of them. But we have a good group coming back this year, and
in addition, this group has a special attitude that will certainly
Seventy-six players showed up for practice on opening day, and
with 28 of those being freshmen, a total of 48 veterans will be
returning from last year's championship team.
Some changes will also be evident along the sidelines this fall,
and the combination of new coaches and some new players could put
some needed new life in the offense and defense for this year's
"In addition to the players we graduated," McCoin continued,
"we also have had to replace three very fine coaches. Coach
(Matt) Eldridge is gone, as are coach (Bobby) Gore and coach (Grant)
Swallows. It goes without saying they were extremely valuable to
"But we have some new coaches who will fit in well this year
in our program. Brian Johnson and Mark Ogletree have joined us to
fill two of the positions, and then we will have David Clouse, Dale
Flatt, and Bruce Lamb coming back, and there's a total of 15 years
of experience. This will be my 16th season on the staff and my fourth
as head coach (McCoin was previously the Wildcats head coach before
Eldridge)," the coach added.
Ogletree will be coaching running backs and linebackers, while
Johnson will work with wide receivers and the defense. Lamb will
head up the offensive line coaching position and will work with
linebackers and the defense. Clouse works with the offensive and
defensive line, and Flatt works with the offense.
The team will have other obvious changes when the season opens
at home on Friday, Aug. 25 against Trousdale County.
Lamb explained, "We have moved our dressing facilities back
to the field house down on the field, and we will have new jerseys
this fall. We are in a rebuilding situation so we think the changes
will make this team feel somewhat special.
"So far they have responded well. We've had good practice
sessions and we are getting a very good effort from everyone out
here. We will win because of the effort."
Senior Levi Holt, 5-11, was scheduled to start at quarterback
this season, but a broken collar bone during a scrimmage with Cookeville
earlier in the summer has changed that.
Coach McCoin said, "Levi was going to be our quarterback,
and will be when he returns about the third week of the season.
He earned the position and has some experience there as he replaced
Wilson Cates on occasion over the past several seasons.
"Right now we're going with Brandon (McCoin) at quarterback
until Levi comes back," McCoin continued. "That's one
of our options. Josh (Carwile) has played quarterback at times as
well. We will just have to wait and see."
McCoin is a freshman and Carwile will be a junior this year, and
either will have to step up in a hurry to fill Holt's shoes.
"If there was any good news here, it was the injury came three
weeks before the season starts and will only go about three weeks
into the season,” Coach McCoin added. "It is a setback, but
that's all a part of football. It's a rough game, and you will have
things like this happen. It means that everyone on this team will
now have to take a more active role in the team as a whole. But
knowing our kids, they will respond well."
Filling out the backfield will be 6-0, 175 senior Jake Reeder.
Reeder came on strong mid-season last year and is expected to be
the workhorse of the running offense. Senior Drew Cannon, junior
Steven Morgan, and Carwile will see plenty of action in the backfield,
as will Kiefer Smith, Joe Reynolds, and newcomer Nick McGregor.
"We have talent in the backfield without question," McCoin
continued. "They may be a little ragged early in the season,
but they will get better with every game, simply because most of
them have some experience."
On the offensive line, its about the same story as throughout the
entire team - a lot of holes to fill, but there is some experience
to fill them.
Lamb explained, "Up front we have Curtis Beaty at 6-2, 275,
Ryan Bowman, 6-0, 220, Jesse Cole 6-0, 200, and Gary Massengille,
5-11, 195 who will be the core of the line. We will play a lot of
kids early to see who can take over and play the position."
And the anchor of the offensive line will be Robert Holt, a 6-3,
230, senior who has been named to the preseason All-State team.
"Robert will be the man that everyone will look to for leadership
up front," Lamb continued. "He was outstanding last year,
and we're expecting some big things from him this season. Robert
will be a big key to our success."
Defensively, it's the same old story: a lot of holes to fill from
a defense last season that could bend, but seldom broke.
Coach McCoin said, "Up front defensively, we have some big
shoes to fill, but we have a good core to work around. We returned
Ryan Bowman and Cody Shokoui, and there are about 68 kids wanting
to play, so we'll see. In the backfield we have Levi, Carwile, and
Reeder returning, along with Morgan, McGregor, Smith, Cole, and
Massingille all bringing some experience to the positions."
The region promises to be strong again, especially Austin East
and Knoxville Catholic. Fulton will be a front runner, and Anderson
County looks to be much improved.
Early in the season, experience may be against Livingston Academy,
but the entire coaching staff believes improvements will come. The
offensive attack will be similar to last year in that the Wildcats
will run the option, but McCoin leaves the door open to change.
"Several years ago our offense wasn't working, so we changed,
and that seemed to fit the players we had much better," McCoin
pointed out. "We will start with the option offense, but if
we have to, we will change. I just don't know at this point.
Looking at the season realistically, McCoin is quick to point out
that this is high school football and the climb to the top may be
easier than staying there.
"Four years ago we had to start over, and now we are having
to go through much the same thing," the coach explained. "That's
high school football. But you also have to remember that every school,
even those in our region, have to go through the same process. Last
year we were new in the region and we caught some teams by surprise
with a very talented group of players. This year, we won't catch
anybody off guard and the road may be a little bumpy.
"Our job as coaches is to try to smooth things out and keep
the players enthusiastic," Coach McCoin said. "We'll take
our lumps, but our goal will be to improve every game. And if we
do that, then it will be a successful season.
"We'll start finding out next Friday night."
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Outlaws win in jamboree
Rachel Smith/OCN Sports
Brock McCoin, #8, makes a tackle in the jamboree win.
Veteran Outlaws look to capitalize on know-how
By BETH UNDERWOOD, OCN Sports
When Coach Curtis Hayes talks about this year's Outlaws football
team, he can pretty much sum them up with one word: experience.
"This is a team where the majority of them have played together
since they were 7 years-old," Hayes said. "Expectations
are very high."
So high, in fact, that many pundits have picked the Outlaws as
preseason favorites to win the Middle Tennessee Youth Football Conference.
Five-year starting quarterback Creed Hayes will lead the well-anchored
offensive play with the running attack of Brock McCoin and three
other 5-year veterans, Morgan Mayberry, Jordan Thrasher, and Ronnie
"Loren Crowder, Hunter White, and wide receiver Dustin Matthews
will be adding a whole lot to the team," Hayes said. "They
should be seeing a lot of playing time."
In order to make sure they'll have what it takes on the field,
the coaches have pushed the team both mentally and physically in
the dog days of summer.
"It's been very hot," Hayes continued. "But we've
got to work very hard. We had a tough, hard-nose summer camp. We
conditioned for a solid week, then put on the pads and conditioned
another week before they ever touched a football."
As in the past, one of the season highlights will come when the
Outlaws kick off against DeKalb County at 5 p.m Saturday, Sept.
"When the kids were 9 years-old, they beat us 6-0 in overtime,"
Hayes added. "Then they beat us pretty convincingly last year.
"Nobody has been able to overcome DeKalb. This year, we look
forward to the battle and should have the experience to get past
Completing the 10-11 year-old roster are John Dishman, Bubba Jolley,
Lukas Reagan, Jared Hogue, Cole Presley, Austin Gentry, Connor Oliver,
Will Gore, Anthony Woolbright, Jordan McCoy, Hunter Sells, Will
Hutchinson, Jonathon Owens, Devin Copeland, Austin Qualls, Jesse
Carr, Colby Gore, Zachery Buell, Jacob Kinnard, and 10 year-olds
Matthew Burnette, Ethan Beechboard, Storm Wright, Wade McDonald,
Gage Vaughn, Bobby Allred, Coty Ray, Josh Blodgette, Austin Buck,
Colby Parrish, Casey Thompson, Loren Crowder, Hunter Hutchison,
and Mitch Maynord.
In the 8-9 year-old division, quarterback Kaleb Qualls will take
the field with running backs Jordan Savage, Dillon Linder, and Logan
Clark, and center Wade Eldridge. "I think we can go deep into
the bench if needed," Hayes pointed out.
Also rounding out the 8-9 year-old roster are 9 year-olds James
Owens, Seth Parker, Mason Jolley, Peter Hollars, Jacob Masters,
Joshua Wright, Dalton Gore, Ethan Hammock, Elijah Miller, Darian
Davis, Daniel Flatt, Dylan Young, Andrew York, Hunter McDonald,
Hunter Steele White, Drew Gore, Colin Ellis, and 8 year-olds Chase
Meadows Blake Goolsby, Austin Miller, Thomas Hall, Michael Mansell,
John Michal Ferrell, Jewayne Robinson, Corey Parrish, Ethan England,
Noah Baijo, and Josh Bell.
The Junior B team includes Tristen Castle, Kobe Trail, Kamren Blankenship,
Carter Hayes, Michael Castle, Donnie Allred, Justin Rich, Wesley
Carr, Peyton Hogue, Jarrett Suggs, Jessie Hummel, Rhett Boles, Cody
Jackson, Joseph Thompson, Ethan Reagan, Matthew Harris, Stone Wright,
Ben Maxfield, Austin Ellis, Blake Walker, Jacob Carr, and Tanner
Dillon. "I know they're ready," Hayes concluded.
"I know they're in shape. Now it's time to play."
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Members of the 2006 Junior Wildcats football team are, front row,
Tyler Scott, Tyler Burnett, Carson Bailey, Tyler Peek, Luke Voss,
Jacob Wilson, Brandon Burchett, Lucas Dailey, Justin Ledbetter,
Zack Edmonds, Garrett Berue, second row, Christian Dillon, Patrick
McCam, Josh Melton, Kyle Lee, Paul Daniels, Grant Livingston, Daniel
Robinson, Paxton Eldridge, Dylan Roberts, Tyler Cronk, Justin Savage,
Justin Perdue, Matthew Allred, Colby Savage, back row, Carl Sanders,
Sam Winningham, Hayden Hill, Ricki Lisi, Jacob Thorne, T.J. Reagan,
Dustin Wylie, J.W. Lee, Jake Huitt, Zach Green, Tyler Smith, Tyler
Gore, Joseph Nichols, and Jonathan Bull.
By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
From a distance it looks like a group of young kids just playing
football, but a closer look reveals that the Junior Wildcats football
program is the groundwork of the future of Livingston Academy's
entire gridiron program. What the 6th, 7th and 8th graders pickup
at this early stage definitely determines the success or failure
of the high school program several years down the road.
"Oh, there's no question how important this program is to
our program," points out Livingston Academy head coach Danny
McCoin. "Those coaches over there teach the fundamentals of
the game, and when the players reach us in high school, they are
ready to step in and move right along in our program.
"Without Junior Wildcats, we would be in real trouble at the
high school level." McCoin knows full well the importance of
the early development of players. He went though the program and
is one of the names most often mentioned when fans and alumni relive
Livingston Academy's past teams and players.
And so are other notable past standouts such as Grant Swallows,
Dale Flatt, Wilson Cates, and Brian Colson. Just about every players
who went on to play at Livingston Academy went through the program,
and almost 90% of the Wildcats that captured the state 3A championship
last season were at one time Junior Wildcats.
"It's a great feeling to see these kids develop then go on
to the high school and do well," explains Terry Melton, the
head coach who is now entering his 32nd year with the program. "I
think the program started in the early '60s with a vision that if
the high school was to have a good program, it needed to be started
in the middle schools.
"I came along around 1972 and have been a part of it ever
Melton explained that what he and his assistant coaches, who include
this year Steven Mosley, Mark Lee, and Brian Aldridge, try to do
is teach the kids the fundamentals of the game and also use the
same offenses and defenses used at Livingston Academy, so when the
players move on, they are familiar with the game that is played
at the high school level.
The program is open to all youngsters in Overton County from 12
to 15 years of age. The team will play a 9 or 10 game regular season
schedule, and depending on its success, could play and extended
schedule in the post season. During his years of coaching the team,
Melton has produced 6 undefeated teams, and numerous 9-1 and 8-1
records that include 12 championships.
The Junior Cats play in the Tri-Lakes Conference, which is composed
of usually eight teams and is divided into two divisions -east and
west. At the end of the regular season, the two division winners
will square off for the championship at a neutral site.
This year's team is composed of 35 members, mostly from the 8th
grade. It's not quite the mix Melton prefers, but he's been with
the program long enough to know it will have its ups and downs in
"Ideally, we would have more 7th and 6th graders," the
coach explained, "but it just so happens we have more 8th graders
this year. You like a better mix so that each year you send the
high school a steady number of players instead of a big group next
year and not very many the following.
"When you look out there right now you see mostly what you
probably consider a bunch of little kids, and that's what's so unique
about the program. These youngsters are in their growing years,
and next year and the year after, they will change dramatically.
They will start lifting weights and getting stronger, and by the
time they are sophomores at the high school they are a far different
group that what you see now."
This year's Junior Wildcats' fortunes will depend on the play of
8th graders Hayden Hill, J.W. Lee, Jake Huitt, and Dylan Roberts.
Hill will go at quarterback for the Jr. Cats while Lee and Roberts
will anchor the backfield and Huitt will go from the tight end position.
"Naturally, we rely on the older kids, just like a high school
team does," Melton continues. "Now that doesn't mean that
there won't be younger kids that won't make a big difference, but
naturally, the older the player, the more mature he is. Hayden,
J.W., Jake, and Dylan have been in the program for several years
now and they are the ones we will look to when it comes to both
ability and leadership.
"Its usually always like that, but I will always remember
the first day Dr. Cates brought Wilson here to play. He was a small
kid, but it didn't take long for him to take charge, and his first
year here we went 10-0. We want all our players to use that as an
example. Wilson simply wanted badly to be a good player, and all
these kids have that same opportunity. If they want it bad enough,
they can do it."
After three years as a Junior Wildcat, the players can move right
over to the high school and step right in, according to Melton.
The program is designed to go straight to the basics of the game
and kept simple. Once the players understand how the game is played,
they can go on to Livingston Academy and the only difference will
be the terminology will change.
"Its all a growing and learning process," Melton pointed
out. "Our players come from the Outlaw program where the kids
are younger. Those coaches over there (Outlaws) do an outstanding
job of preparing the kids to move on to here. And now it's our job
to prepare them to move on to the high school. That's what we do
here, and that's why we're here.
"This coaching staff is fully aware of the fact that what
we teach these youngsters will play a big role in what happens over
at the high school. Of course we're limited somewhat in who comes
through the program, but if a youngster wants to play football,
his best chance to play the game well starts at the Outlaw level,
moved on over here to Junior Wildcats, then on to the high school.
From there, there's no tell how far they can go.
"Danny (McCoin) went on to do very well in college and then
went to the pros.
"I guess you could say that our goal here is not necessarily
to win, but to prepare, and that's what we're trying to do."
As one observer pointed out during practice: "The road to
last year's state championship didn't start on Tom Davis Field,
it started in the Outlaws program, moved right through Livingston
Middle School (where the team practices), then to the high school
before it ended in Murfreesboro."
The team will swung into action August 17 when it played host to
Cannon County, and the regular season will end October 5 at home
against York. All games start at 6:30 p.m., and home games are played
at Livingston Academy.
Aug. 17 Cannon County
22 Tompkinsville. Ky.
31 at Macon County
Sept. 7 Baxter
12 at Smith County
19 at Sparta
21 at Jackson
28 DeKalb Oct. 5 York
Jr. Cats win 30-0
in season opener
The Overton County Jr. Wildcats successfully started their 2006
season with a 30-0 victory over Cannon County on Thursday, Aug.
17. With the Jr. Cats' swarming defense and an opportunistic offense,
the outcome was never in doubt.
On the Jr. Cats' second possession, they dented the scoreboard
for the first time on a 3-yard run by Kyle Lee. The 2-point conversion
was successful on a pass from quarterback Hayden Hill to Jake Huitt.
The Jr. Cats added another quick score after the offense was set
up at the Cannon County 28 yard line on a blocked punt by Carl Sanders.
On the Jr. Cats' first offensive play, Hill connected with Dylan
Roberts for a touchdown. Roberts ran in the 2-point conversion,
giving the Jr. Cats a 16-0 lead.
The Jr. Cats added another score before halftime, this time on
a 32-yard pass from Hill to Huitt. Another successful 2-point conversion
made a 24-0 score at halftime.
The Jr. Cats' last score came in the third quarter on a 3-yard
run by Roberts.
Coach Terry Melton and his staff got the opportunity to play many
players in the game, especially in the fourth quarter.
The defense hung tough to preserve the shutout win.
Offensively, the Jr. Cats got 51 yards rushing and a touchdown
from Kyle Lee. Hayden Hill completed the only two passes he attempted,
with both going for touchdowns. Dylan Roberts rushed for a touchdown
and caught for another touchdown. Jake Huitt caught a touchdown
pass and a 2-point conversion.
The Jr. Cats' defense was outstanding, paced by Carl Sanders and
Jr. Wildcats volleyball
Kyle Stephens/OCN Sports
Members of the Overton County 2006 Jr. Wildcats volleyball team
are, kneeling from left, Morgan Johnson, Stacia Long, Bailey Buck,
Amanda Hammock, Hannah Hoover, C.J. Boykin, Ariel Carr, Chezney
Hammock, standing, Julie Ann York, Olivia Long, Tori Stocking, Jessica
Simpson, Taylor Eldridge, Mackenzie Sells, Samantha May, Allison
Dailey, and Abby Miller. The team is coached by Christie Jenkins
and Eleanor York.
Wildcats set to defend
District 7-A/AA title
Dewain E. Peek/OCN Sports
Members of the 2006 Livingston Academy Wildcats volleyball team
are, kneeling from left, #40 Chelsea Carr, #24 Megan Cantrell, #23
Alissa Sells, #44 Cassie Sullivan, #4 Betsy Wright, #15 Adrian West,
standing, #54 Kendra Kilgore, #10 Kristen Williams, #34 Brittany
McCoin, #12 Jada Ledbetter, #11 Jessica Norrod, #3 Alison West,
and Coach Merl Smith.
By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN Sports
The defending District 7-A/AA champion Livingston Academy Wildcats
volleyball team will seek to repeat this year, but first Coach Merl
Smith has key positions to fill.
Coach Smith said, "What I'm looking for is a setter, to take
our setter's place from last year, and a weak-side hitter and blocker.
We've got to have a good blocker on our weak side.
"We're looking for that, and we're looking for some more defense."
The coach is confident in the play of his four seniors who were
starters last year - Jada Ledbetter, Brittany McCoin, Alison West,
and Jessica Norrod. Senior Kristen Williams fills out the senior
Coach Smith hopes to have some girls step up from the rest of the
varsity squad, made up of juniors Megan Cantrell and Betsy Wright,
and sophomores Chelsea Carr, Alissa Sells, Cassie Sullivan, Adrian
West, and Kendra Kilgore.
"Right now, we've had some good practices," he said.
"We're not looking as strong as I would like, but we've got
some good points, and we've got some points we've got to really
work on, and one of them is defense.
"And then we've got to learn how to set our hitters. Certain
hitters like it a certain height, or distance from the net, so we
haven't learned that yet. But that's because of having a new setter.
So, we're working on that, and we've got some girls that can possibly
do that. If we do, we're going to be okay in our district."
LA will be competing with 13 other teams in District 7 A/AA -
York Institute, Cannon County, Clarkrange, Clay County, DeKalb County,
Gordonsville, Hermitage Springs, Jackson County, Monterey, Pickett
County, Red Boiling Springs, Smith County, and Upperman.
"Upperman is going to be strong," Coach Smith said. "They
were runner-up to us last year, and had beaten us once. I think
they've got five of their six starters back. So they should be strong.
They are all athletic."
The Wildcats had a taste of tough competition earlier this year,
and it wasn't pretty.
"We had a playday back in July," Coach Smith said. "We
played White County, Greenbrier, and DCA. Every one of those teams
are strong, and we took a beating.
"But we had some good close games too. We've improved since
"We did that to know what we had to do and what we needed
to improve on, and we found out right quick what we needed to improve
on. So, we are working on those things."
One of those things the Cats will be working on is passing.
"I guess it's the mark of my teams," Coach Smith said,
"we've always been able to hit, serve, and those things, but
we never have been a fantastic passing team, and again that's going
to be our weakness.
"I don't know whether I've spent too much time on hitting
and not enough time on passing or what, but it's just one of those
things. "If we can get the ball up, we can hit it. We'll be
able to hit it with the four girls we have."
After playing in the Stone Memorial Invitational at Crossville
on Monday, Aug. 21 and opening home play against Macon County on
Tuesday, Aug. 22, the Wildcats will travel to Gordonsville on Thursday,
Aug. 24 to take on the home team and Cannon County.
The Cats will then travel to Sparta for the White County Tournament
on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25 and 26. Coach Smith's team will
return to Crossville on Monday, Aug. 28 to play the Jets, then will
host Monterey and Red Boiling Springs the following evening.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570