published Friday, August 17th, 2012

Preps Preview: McMinn County Cherokees

Dre Sanders (2) and the Cherokees won the district title last year and are pegged as the favorites again this fall.
Dre Sanders (2) and the Cherokees won the district title last year and are pegged as the favorites again this fall.
Photo by Dan Henry.

BY THE NUMBERS

2 — Kelvin Wells’ rank in the Chattanooga area in rushing yards over the past two seasons. He averaged 146 yards per game in 19 games with Walker Valley.

2 — District championships in the last three years for the Cherokees, after not winning one the prior eight years.

0 — Passing yards last season for new starting quarterback Corbin Powers, then a backup.

SCHEDULE

Aug. 17 at McMinn Central

Aug. 24 McCallie

Aug. 30 Rhea County*

Sept. 7 at Farragut

Sept. 14 at Ooltewah*

Sept. 28 Walker Valley*

Oct. 5 at Cleveland*

Oct. 12 Meigs County

Oct. 19 at Soddy-Daisy*

Oct. 26 Bradley Central*

* District 5-AAA game

Games start at 7:30 p.m.

McMINN COUNTY CHEROKEES

Coach: Bo Cagle (35-22 in his five years here)

Stadium address: 2215 Congress Parkway, Athens, TN 37354

RECENT HISTORY

After missing the playoffs in 2010, the Cherokees won their second District 5-AAA title in the past three seasons by defeating Bradley Central 48-36 in a winner-take-all final game of the regular season. Here’s a look at the regular-season win total for the last five years:

Season 1 5 10

2011 ———————(7)

2010 ——(2)

2009 ————————(8)

2008 ——————(6)

2007 ———————(7)

THREE STRENGTHS

1) Led by senior Patrick Priest, the Cherokees return four starters expected to be very stout on the offensive line.

2) The team added Kelvin Wells Jr., who rushed for 2,774 yards and 30 touchdowns the past two seasons at Walker Valley. With 900-yard rusher Dre Sanders returning, the Cherokees will be loaded in the backfield.

3) The Cherokee defensive line will be tough, led by senior Aaron Kimpson, who has been deemed “unblockable” by the coaching staff.

THREE CONCERNS

1) How will sophomore quarterback Corbin Powers, who got only limited playing time last season, develop in his first season as a starter?

2) Who will step into a leadership role for the Cherokees this season?

3) The Cherokees lost three of four starters in the defensive backfield. Who will fill those secondary roles?

THREE QUESTIONS WITH PATRICK PRIEST

(Senior offensive lineman)

Q: Your lines have become a big team strength — one of which you’re a part of. How important are the trenches this season?

A: I don’t want to be cocky, but I feel like we’re solid on both sides of the ball. We have some very talented players on both sides, so I feel confident about us as a group.

Q: Even with the line being an overall strength, nobody’s perfect. But you’ve added another back to an already pretty talented backfield. How do Kelvin Wells and Dre Sanders help you out?

A: The best part about them is that every time a mistake is made, they can fix it. If we miss a block, they’re athletic enough and talented enough to be able to recover from it.

Q: After a below-average 2010 season, your team won the district championship last year. How did it feel to get back on track?

A: It was super exciting. I loved the fact that although I didn’t feel like we were the biggest or most talented team all the time, I knew we were the meanest. I hope we can bring that back this year.


ROSTER

1 Blake Powers - Senior

2 Dre Sanders - Junior

3 Josh Brown - Senior

4 Caleb Dain - Freshman

5 Taurian Linder - Senior

6 Caleb Selvege - Senior

7 Clay Bennett - Junior

8 Dre Hall - Junior

9 Trevor Crisp - Junior

10 Dakota Powell - Sophomore

11 Corbin Powers - Sophomore

13 Austin Meadow - Sophomore

15 Colin Cornett - Freshman

17 Nick Peeler - Sophomore

19 Day Currie - Junior

20 Israel Brown - Sophomore

22 Raekwon Westin - Junior

23 Corey Johnson - Senior

24 Kelvin Wells - Senior

25 Paul Clark - Sophomore

27 Forrest West - Senior

28 Spanky Thompson - Junior

30 Johny Clayton - Sophomore

31 Aaron Kimpson - Senior

32 Cole Haggart - Sophomore

33 Jay Odum - Sophomore

36 Matt Bullock - Sophomore

37 Bubba Cooper - Sophomore

38 Hunter Davis - Junior

43 Jordan Hockman - Sophomore

44 Austin Fairbanks - Senior

47 Jordan Miller - Sophomore

48 Brandon McMahon - Junior

49 Mike Daley - Sophomore

50 Dillon Martin - Senior

51 Ryan Fowler - Senior

52 Dillon Clayton - Senior

53 Colden Dain - Sophomore

54 Cole Plaster - Senior

55 Jonah Tallent - Senior

56 Jacob Murphey - Sophomore

57 Stone Trent - Sophomore

58 Hunter Gleaton - Sophomore

59 Chase Layman - Junior

60 Patrick Priest - Senior

62 Gavin Arnett - Sophomore

63 Issacc Beltran - Sophomore

64 Hunter Priest - Junior

66 Logan Sutton - Sophomore

67 Wayon Downing - Sophomore

68 Cade Deakin - Junior

69 Andre Johnson - Junior

70 Kallante Hammonds - Senior

72 Marcus Cansler - Sophomore

73 Johnathan Lockhart - Sophomore

76 Brad Walker - Sophomore

77 Justin McConkey - Senior

79 Ryan Haney - Sophomore

81 Matt Derrickson - Junior

82 Andrew Bonnett - Sophomore

83 Kyilen Gillespie - Sophomore

85 Anthony Brown - Junior

88 Mikey Wilder - Sophomore

99 Sebastian Feliciadario - Junior

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