By COLLIN BROOKS
The two teams will meet for the first time on Tuesday, Oct. 4, as consolidated teams, with the Pioneers consisting of the southern middle schools of the county and the Blazers having players from the five northern middle schools of the county.
The rivalry isn’t quite as bitter between the two middle school teams as they have each worked with one another in hopes of making the first year go smoothly.
“Both coaching staffs know that this is really important to make these teams work during the first year,” Blazers coach Eddie Good said. “So we have had a close working relationship. I’ll call them and they will call me weekly after their games and we will share scouting reports and stuff like that. So we are pretty close.”
Pioneers coach Jacob Adkins agreed, but said it is sort of like a brother approach to the rivalry.
“It’s like your brother, you love them and you hope for the best for them, but when it comes down to playing football, we want to win and I know they feel the same way too,” Adkins said.
While they may be cheering for one another during the season, the match-up between the two teams won’t be all friendly, as both teams want to win.
The two teams have contrasting styles, with the Blazers relying on a heavy run game and the Pioneers liking to rely on the passing game. With no surprise, each team mirrors their high school counterpart.
Offensively things start for the Blazers with running back Brennan Blair.
“He is our best player offensively and he has done a great job helping our offense with his athleticism, size and speed,” Good said. “What impresses me the most is that he gives 100 percent on every snap of the game.”
Anthony Edwards is the signal caller for the Blazers and he does a great job of leading the team on offense, according to his coach.
The defense has been one of the strong points for the Blazers this year and it starts with Devon White at middle linebacker.
“He is our middle backer and game-in and game-out he brings a solid consistency to our team,” Good said.
Bringing more consistency to the defensive side of the ball are Jacob Sullivan and Ethan White.
Jackson Jenkins and Chandler Masters are the bullies up front for the Blazers. Matthew Master, Bo Wolf and Aaron Ford are the other lineman that help the Blazers clear the way for their talented backfield.
Some of the other running backs that are featured are Phillip Page, Cole Bishop and Tyler Saults.
The receiving core is made up of a solid group of 8th graders that are dependable when the ball comes there way. Preston Miller, Gavin Jones, Ethan White, Daniel Matherly and Daxx Carr all contribute.
“This 8th grade group is a special bunch,” Good said. “They are competitors and they have worked hard and they are good kids. And it has been a good year for us.”
The junior varsity team currently has a record of 3-2 going into their contest against Sevier and the Pioneers.
Things start under center for the Pioneers with quarterback Mason Britton.
“He has made some great throws all year, while playing both sides of the ball,” Adkins said. “He reads the field well and has a really great arm.”
Britton shares the backfield with Johnny Loyd, who will line up as running back and also move to receiver. Boys also lines up at defensive end and linebacker on defense.
“He has been Mr. Everything,” Adkins said. “He just follows the ball, wherever it is, he is going to find it and sniff it out and make a play.”
Up front Tony Davis is what Adkins calls a “space-eater”.
“He is just always in the backfield and he is just disruptive,” Adkins said.
Also up front the Pioneers have Tres Silvers, Damian Vance and Damian Brown, who open up holes for the running backs to be able to find the end zone.
On defense, Zack Hardon lines up at defensive end, but he can also be found on the offensive end taking snaps at wide receiver. Brodie Kiser is another who brings speed to the Pioneers.
The Pioneers junior varsity squad were 3-2 heading into the final two weeks.