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Archives 11-05-2008

Sports

Season ends, changes in store for LA Football
Wildcats fall to Fulton
Lady Cats stopped short of state tourney
TTU Homecoming to be celebrated this week

Season ends, changes in store for LA Football


Landon Amonett photo
Coach Bruce Lamb talks to his LA Wildcats team during Friday night’s season finale against Fulton High School of Knoxville.

By Mac McLeod,
OCN Sports

Perhaps it was only fitting that Livingston Academy played its final football game as a member of Region 2, 3A on Halloween night and the 39-11 mauling by Knox Fulton was the last reminder of four years that saw the Wildcats go to the top and free fall to the bottom of the football fortunes.

Saturday morning the nightmare was finally over.

“Naturally we are all glad to be out of that region and hopefully placed in a region where we can compete and compete on even terms,” LA head coach Bruce Lamb pointed out Saturday morning. “For the past four years, mainly the past three, we have had to go up against the toughest opponents in the state, week after week, and we were just not as athletic as the players from those schools in Knoxville.

“But we learned a lot,” the coach went on. “Next year and for several years to follow, our players will have had that experience of playing against the best, and it will make them much better. That’s the plus. Being in Region 2, 3A has been an eye opener. We won the state championship the first year we were in that league and I’m not sure we would have ever won it had we not played at that level. But when that group graduated, it left us deep in a hole, experience wise, that we never got out of.”

In the four years Livingston played in the region, the Wildcats won only 13 games while losing 32. The first year Livingston won five and lost five in the regular season then ran off five straight wins in the playoffs enroute to the state crown. The next three years, one win and nine losses was the best LA could do. It was frustrating both for the players, coaches, and loyal fans.

In the process, three coaches took their shot at the top spot including Danny McCoin, Grant Swallows, and now Lamb.

“A lot goes on when you’re not winning,” Lamb continued. “Danny took the brunt of it the year he was head coach after the championship team. I guess fans expected a lot more than the team had to offer and he was the man they turned on.

“When Grant took over, it was obvious we were in a league where we just couldn’t compete week after week and he probably got a break at that point.

“My year has been mostly smooth. Fans and parents especially, understand better what we’re up against and what we’re trying to reestablish.

“I think we have turned the corner now and headed it the right direction,” the coach goes on. “It was been rough and there have been some tough times, but through it all, the players have hung in there. It’s easy to play when you win, but this group has never quit. They never felt like they couldn’t win before a game. It will be hard to replace that and for that, this group will always be special.

“They have set the tone for the future. They played teams with more talent and more ability, but they always played their hearts out and that’s all we ask as coaches. Give it your best and leave feeling you couldn’t have done any more.”

When fall rolls around next season, Livingston will be in 2A ball for the regular season and 4A for the playoffs. That should become official November 13. Those who will apparently be in the league with the Wildcats include Smith County, DeKalb County, Macon County, Cannon County, Upperman, and York.

It will closely resemble the old District 7 2A where the Wildcats competed before being thrown in District 2 3A four years ago.

“This will be good for several reasons,” Lamb pointed out. “First off, we’ll be able to compete against these schools much better talent wise. We’re all about the same size, we’re mostly country schools, and we’re all on the same level.

“Travel won’t be that big of a deal either. We won’t have to drive 200 miles on Friday night and enter another time zone just to play a football game.”

And next year the Wildcats should have enough underclassmen returning to make for a much more exciting team.

“We will lose some fine kids,” the coach points out. “That’s always the sad part of high school sports. Graduating this year will be Blake Moon, Stenson Smith, Cody Waddey, Josh Scott, Justin Poston, John Cody Brown, Josh Huitt, Colton Hummel, John Burkett, George Fordyce, Jesse Cole, Jacob Collins, Josh Looper, and Ethan Livingston. That’s a fine group of young men, and most of them learned both ends of playing this game.

“They were freshmen on the championship team and they only won three games after that. The three wins is not important, the fact that they came out and gave it their best every day is what makes this group so special. In our book, they were definitely winners.”

“Looking back at our most recent season, I have seen some big strides,” Lamb adds. “When we started we only scored two touchdowns in four games. In the next six we scored ten. That’s progress, even its just one small piece at a time.

“Defensively, we gave up 131 points in those same first four games and only 139 in the final six. That’s progress and that’s what we have been about for the past three seasons. Moving forward, however so slowly.

“Now I think we’re right on the edge of being strong next season. We’ve been through the fire and now we’re ready to reap the reward,” the coach adds. “We’ve got a good core coming back built around a good line that will include Justin Hill, Talon Sircy, Daniel Miller, Zack Green Seth Kilgore, and Ricky Lisi.

“On the defensive line, Sircy, Kilgore, Jacob Beu, and Tracy McDonald will be the anchors.

“Offensively, we’re headed in the right direction,” Lamb concludes. “We started making big strides midway though this season and there’s no reason it shouldn’t continues.

“Brannon (McCoin) is probably the most tested quarterback in the state of Tennessee. He was thrown in the position as a freshman and has taken his licks. I really expect to see him shine next fall. His experience will only make him better.

“Paul Daniels and Tyler Peek will have to fill some big shoes in the running department, but I believe they will.

“And we have some strong possibilities coming up from the Junior Wildcats. It normally takes them time to adjust, mainly to the speed of the game at the high school level, but there are some there that could help us.

“All in all, I really believe we have stepped out of the worst situation we could have been in and moved forward in the process. I know it looks like the past three years have been nothing but disaster, but we’re looking at the positive side and when all things are considered, it has made us a much better group of young men. And after all, that’s what it’s all about anyway.”



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Wildcats fall to Fulton


Landon Amonett photo
LA senior Stenson Smith eludes a tackle in Friday’s game.


By Josh Scott,
OCN Sports

“Difficult things take a long time, impossible things take longer.” After the difficulty of a long season and a tough year, the Livingston Academy Wildcats closed their football season Halloween Night at Tom Davis Memorial Stadium.

The Cats looked very confident taking the field and played with that confidence. But, on Knoxville Fulton’s first possession, the Falcons stormed 60 yards down the field to score on a trick 4th and goal play, to make the score 7-0 Falcons early on.

The Cats would answer though, and after a long kick return, the Cats took over with a short field and plenty of time to move the ball. Ten plays later, quarterback Brannon McCoin hit senior Stenson Smith on a 22-yard wheel route to narrow the lead to 7-6. After an off-sides penalty, the Cats succeeded on a 2-point try, taking the lead 8-7.

After punt after punt from both squads, Fulton caught the Cats defense off guard, throwing a 66-yard pass downfield for a score, but an unsuccessful 2-point attempt made the lead just 5 at 13-8 Fulton, then scored after another Wildcat punt, to put the game at 19-8.

The Cats would answer though, after yet another long kickoff return, the Cats stormed into field goal range. Livingston took the ball to the 20, but a sack pushed them back to the 26 yard line, and kicker Jake Huitt booted a 33-yard field goal ,narrowing the lead to 8 at 19-11 Falcons at the half.

The Wildcats would have no answer in the second half though, as the Falcons would manage to open up the half with a 90-yard run after the Cats failed to convert fourth down from the 10 yard line, to give the visitors a 25-11 lead.

The final two scores for the Falcons came in the fourth quarter on a 30-yard touchdown pass, and a 62-yard punt return, to put the game at 39-11. The Cats would not narrow the margin at all, and would fall to the only team they had not beaten in the four years in Region 2-3A.

Standouts for the night included senior Justin Poston with 2 interceptions, as the Cats forced 3 Fulton turnovers, Stenson Smith, who scored the only Cats touchdown, and Brannon McCoin who completed the 22-yard pass in the first quarter.

The season is over, and now the coaches turn to next year. New alignment and new opponents could potentially mean great things with the very talented squad returning in 2009.




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Lady Cats stopped short of state tourney


Liz Nigro photo
Livingston Academy’s Lady Wildcats gather up before Saturday’s sectional game at Notre Dame.


Laurie Marshall photo
Heather Marshall traps the ball in the sectional game.
Livingston Academy’s Lady Wildcats soccer team played three games last week with a trip to the state tournament on the line.


The journey started at the LA Soccer Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 28 when the Lady Panthers of Portland came to town for the Region 4 semi-final matchup. The Lady Wildcats were less then courteous hosts as they jumped out to an early lead when Kat Nigro found a streaking Brianna Colson just left of the goal. Colson took one touch and fired a low shot into the far corner and past a diving keeper.

The Lady Wildcats went for the knock out, scoring two more goals before halftime and capping the victory with two more in the second half and a 5-0 final.

The Region 4 Finals matchup on Thursday, Oct. 30 was a rematch of an earlier season game against the Lady Bisons of Station Camp that ended in a 2-2 tie. The LA Lady Wildcats looked confident in the opening minutes but a minor miscommunication on the back defensive line allowed the Lady Bison to score first.

The action was end-to-end for the next 20 minutes, with neither team gaining an advantage. Once again, the Lady Bison capitalized on a defensive break down for the 2-0 lead.

Before the Lady Cats could re-group the Bison had struck again making it a 3-0 half time lead.

The second half was evenly played with the LA Lady Wildcats cutting into the lead when sophomore Kat Nigro fired a shot into the corner of the net;
however, it was too little too late.

With just seconds left, the Lady Bison found the scoring touch again for a 4-1 final score, with Kat Nigro being the only player scoring for LA.

On Saturday, Nov. 1, the team hit the road to Chattanooga, for one last chance at a trip to the State Tournament. In their way was the number 1 ranked Lady Irish of Notre Dame.

The Lady Wildcats fought hard, keeping the game scoreless through 25 minutes. In the end, the Lady Irish was too strong and deep, notching a 5-0 final score.


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TTU Homecoming to be celebrated this week
An autumn chill may be in the air, but the atmosphere at Tennessee Tech University will be a tropical paradise for Homecoming 2008, set for the weekend of Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7-8.

This year’s theme is “Aloha TTU”, and the following events are planned that are open to the entire campus and community:

Friday, Nov. 7

•Pep rally set for 5 p.m. in Memorial Gym, located on the Main Quad.

•The Athletics Hall of Fame awards ceremony and dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of Roaden University Center. The cost is $25, and reservations are required. For reservations call TTU Athletics at (931) 372-3940.

•Minority Affairs’ “Divine Steps to Paradise” Step Show is set for 7:30 p.m. in Derryberry Auditorium. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information call the Office of Minority Affairs at (931) 372-3392.

Saturday, Nov. 8
•An alumni breakfast is planned for 9:30 a.m. on the second floor lobby of Roaden University Center. The meal is free, open to all alumni, and reservations are not required.

•The Homecoming Parade begins at 10:30 a.m., and its route runs along Dixie Avenue from Spring Street to 12th Street. Men’s and women’s basketball coaches Mike Sutton and Amy Brown have been selected as this year’s Grand Marshals.

•An open house for TTU’s Habitat for Humanity build will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 12th Street, across from the stadium parking lot. The event will offer the opportunity to meet Habitat for Humanity representatives and tour the house that TTU faculty, staff, and students helped build.

•After the parade and before the game, a tailgate lunch, college and faculty displays, kids’ activities, and giveaways will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Regions Tailgate Park, located behind Tucker Stadium. Cost of the lunch is $5, and reservations are not required. The biology department will feature a live snake display, unless the weather is too cold, and the chemistry department will be providing samples of its award-winning liquid nitrogen ice cream and giving away balloon sculptures.

•“Open to the Eagles”, a men’s hoops scrimmage, is set for 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Eblen Center. The new Golden Eagle basketball players will be playing with last year’s returnees.

•The featured event is the Homecoming football game. The Golden Eagles take on Jacksonville State, with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff in Tucker Stadium.

For more information about TTU Homecoming events go to www.ttualumni.org.


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