published Friday, August 17th, 2012

Preps Preview: Grace Academy Golden Eagles

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    Grace senior Jake Simpson
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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FAN’S GUIDE TO THIS YEAR’S GRACE ACADEMY GOLDEN EAGLES

Coach: Bob Ateca (9-12 in two seasons here, 44-61 in 12 overall)

Stadium address: 7815 Shallowford Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421

THREE STRENGTHS

1) Thirteen returning to 22 starting spots should offer some stability.

2) Two years ago the Golden Eagles were at square one with a new head coach. Now the upperclassmen are entering their third season in the same system.

3) Coach Ateca said if offseason workouts are an indication, he expects a good work ethic to be a team trait.

THREE CONCERNS

1) For Grace’s defense to play at its peak, the outside linebackers need to be able to cover the flats and help turn ball carriers inward where senior inside ’backers Aaron Tisdale and Austin Powell can clean up. Three unproven players are vying for those two positions.

2) The dive is the first option in the Golden Eagles’ veer-option offense. Junior DeQuan Hughes appears to be capable of getting some tough yards, although he’s untried. And they’ve got to find his understudy.

3) As as is typically the case with Class A teams, the list of reserves ready to compete at the high school level is a short one.

Three questions with ...

JAKE SIMPSON

Senior two-way lineman

Q. What are you confident Grace Academy will be able to do this year?

A. I’m confident in our running game; confident in the progress we’ve made as a team, mostly. We’ve lost some people but we’ve gained some people. I think we’re tighter this year than we were last year. I think we’re just going to come out and work together.

Q. What is your biggest concern?

A. Mainly that whenever we start to get down, because there’s always going to be a spot where you get down, you’re going to be behind, that we need to pick up the pace and just move on and do our best, no matter what.

Q. What do you like most about playing football?

A. I just like to get out here, work hard at something, hit people and be a part of something bigger than me.

RECENT HISTORY

Grace Academy started its football program nine years ago. The Golden Eagles have earned state-playoff berths four times since then but are still seeking their first playoff victory.

Here’s a look at the regular-season win total for the last five years:

Season

2011 ——————(6)

2010 ———(3)

2009 (0)

2008 ——————(6)

2007 ——————(6)

SCHEDULE

Aug. 17 at Notre Dame

Aug. 24 Cannon County

Aug. 31 at Sweetwater

Sept. 7 Lookout Valley

Sept. 14 at Boyd-Buchanan*

Sept. 28 at Copper Basin*

Oct. 5 Marion County

Oct. 12 at Harriman

Oct. 19 Grundy County

Oct. 26 Silverdale Baptist*

*District 5-A game

BY THE NUMBERS

4 — State-playoff berths in the varsity program’s eight-year history, although the Golden Eagles are still seeking their first postseason victory.

5 — Times the Eagles scored at least 40 points in their 11 games last year.

6 — Grace players who had at least 255 rushing yards last season.

2011 STATS LEADERS

RUSHING Att Yards Avg TD

*Will Slack 70 676 9.7 8

*Aaron Tisdale 86 614 7.1 5

Cooper Wittman 102 512 5.0 7

*Josh Smith 82 494 6.0 7

PASSING Comp-Att Yards Int TD

*Josh Smith 64-118 1,434 9 12

RECEIVING Att Yards Avg TD

Corey Nelson 33 951 28.8

Cooper Wittman 8 115 14.3

*Austin Powell 6 109 18.2

TACKLES Solo Assists Total

*Austin Powell 72 55 127

*Aaron Tisdale 68 24 92

Cooper Wittman 48 31 79

*returning player

ROSTER

1 Ike Ateca Junior

2 Larry Mason Sophomore

5 J.R. Haley Senior

6 Eli Rogers Freshman

7 Will Slack Junior

9 DeQuan Hughes Junior

13 Isaac Spencer Junior

14 Jared Roberts Freshman

15 Chet Matheny Junior

21 Tyler Wynn Junior

22 Josh Smith Senior

23 Aaron Tisdale Senior

28 Ben Rogers Freshman

30 Chace Underwood Junior

33 Austin Powell Senior

35 T.J. Swanson Senior

43 Alex Blandon Freshman

50 Kent Scruggs Junior

52 Waldo Odens Junior

55 Dakota Doss Freshman

56 Aiden Hall Senior

57 Stephan Lawrence Sophomore

59 Wyatt Morrison Senior

62 Austin Parks Sophomore

64 Jake Simpson Senior

68 Logan Groves Sophomore

70 Nolan Turner Junior

72 Sam Cowart Sophomore

86 Drew Shumaker Senior

88 Chandler Cook Junior

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