published Friday, August 19th, 2011

Football Preview: Sweetwater Wildcats

SCHEDULE

Aug. 19 at Tellico Plains

Aug. 26 Stone Memorial

Sept. 2 at Grace Academy

Sept. 9 at Oliver Springs

Sept. 16 Polk County*

Sept. 23 Loudon

Sept. 30 at Meigs County*

Oct. 14 at McMinn Central*

Oct. 21 Bledsoe County

Oct. 28 Sequoyah*

* District 5-AA game

SWEETWATER WILDCATS

Coach: Richie Marsh 5-6 (here and overall)

Returning starters (O/D/K): 7/6/0

Remember these names: Gavyn Davis (Sr., 5-11, 186) brings experience and athleticism to the Wildcats’ run-and-shoot offense. Eli Arwood (Jr., 5-10, 209) is a former hard-hitting safety who’s grown into a linebacker. He’s equally aggressive as a running back. Zack Neil (Jr., 6-1, 229), who led the team in sacks last season, and Jordan Moore (Sr., 5-11, 207) are established players at defensive ends. Neil also will play offensive tackle and Moore is a tight end.

Will be a memorable year if: The Wildcats at least gain a Class 3A TSSAA playoff berth. The league’s coaches don’t expect the Wildcats to be down for long. They climbed from a 2-8 record in 2009 to 5-5 last year before taking a beating from eventual Class 3A state champion Alcoa in the first round of the playoffs. With most of their starters back on both sides, they’re looking to be in a better playoff position this time around.

MEMORY LANE

Sweetwater lost one of its luminaries early in 2011 when Bill Dupes died at the age of 81.

Dupes played football at Sweetwater before moving on to Tennessee Tech, where he became an All-Ohio Valley Conference performer. He graduated from TTU in 1952.

His coaching career included a stop as head coach at Austin Peay. He was hired in 1963 and ultimately was an OVC coach of the year.

In 1983 he returned home to coach Sweetwater and guided the Class AA Wildcats to their third and most recent state championship in ’93. He retired as head coach in ’98, although he spent a few more years on the sideline as a volunteer assistant.

His obituary at kykerfuneralhome.com includes this statement from former Tennessee football coach Phillip Fulmer: “I am especially grateful for our time together talking about life, family, football, players, great wins and tough losses. He will be missed but has left a legacy that made a difference.”

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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