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80 Years Ago

Archives 08-23-2006


Livingston Academy Wildcats
Jr. Cats
Jr. Cats Volleyball
LA Volleyball

Livingston Academy Wildcats

New Season Preview





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 help."

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 Wildcats team.

"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 our program.

"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


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 Linder.

"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. 30.

"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 them."


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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Jr. Cats


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.



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 since."

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 that department.

"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.

The Schedule:
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 Lucas Cole.


Jr. Wildcats volleyball team announced

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.



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 leadership.

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 then.

"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.




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