Last week's 40-3 season-opening whipping of Community should've been a memorable one for Sequatchie County coach Ken Colquette. While it was his first as the Indians' head coach, it was the 250th of his decorated career.
But when asked about his thoughts on such a milestone victory, Colquette said he wasn't even aware of it.
"Honestly, I didn't even realize that," Colquette said. "I had somebody ask me before the season what my record was and I had no idea. All I worried about was making sure we didn't go 0-10. That's always been my biggest fear, wherever I coached, was going 0-10, so my number-one goal is always win the first one."
Colquette, 65, took over the Indians program last spring and now stands at 250-81 overall. He is the fourth coach from the area to have won at least that many games, joining the late E.B. "Red" Etter (324 wins at Central and Baylor), Bill Chappell (317 wins at Dalton) and Benny Monroe (259 wins at Cleveland).
Colquette first was a successful head coach at Bridgeport (Ala.) before taking over at Marion in 1980 and guiding that program to unparalleled success. The Warriors won four state championships, were state runners-up twice and had just one losing season in his term. During one stretch in the mid-1990s, they went 56-1.
After resigning from Marion in 1996, Colquette coached at Vidalia (Ga.) and Grundy County before working as an assistant at Soddy-Daisy, Marion County and Ooltewah.
"A record like that comes about mostly because of the players and the assistant coaches," Colquette said. "I've been fortunate to have good guys around me for my whole career. I'm enjoying being back around the kids and on the field on Friday nights."
New era for Pirates
When South Pittsburg opened its season with a win at Kentucky 3A power Bell County last week, it marked the first time since 1961 that the team had taken the field without a Grider on the coaching staff.
The late Don Grider was an assistant for his first seven years with the Pirates, then was the head coach from 1969 to '92. His son Vic was the 1993-96 defensive coordinator and the head coach from 1997 until last year, with his younger brother Heath working on staff during those 17 seasons.
It was also the first time the Pirates had left the state to play a game since 1987 and the first time they had opened out of state since 1962.
Good news on Gill
Trion coach Justin Brown said late Thursday that sophomore quarterback Tyler Gill had shown signs of improvement after spending two nights in Floyd Hospital following a neck injury suffered at practice Tuesday.
Gill was released from the hospital Thursday and made an appearance at the Bulldogs' practice two days after what appeared to be a normal hit left him feeling numb from the waist down.
"He's progressing well," Brown said. "Things are looking a lot better than two days ago. He had actually gotten some feeling back. He had good use of his arms, but from his waist down he was numb. He could move his legs but he couldn't feel them. He lifted both his legs today, so that's great news, and the swelling he had is going down. It's a great sign.
"We're hoping for the best. He plans to come to the prep rally tomorrow. It wasn't one of those hits you really worried about when it happened, but when he didn't get up we knew something was wrong."
LFO honors Wade
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, in the final stages of a major school renovation, is honoring former football coach Jake Wade tonight before the Warriors' opener against Gordon Lee. According to current coach and athletic director Todd Windham, the school's field will now be called Jake Wade's Warriors Field.
Wade, who won 24 games in a three-year span in the 1950s, created an organization known as Wade's Warriors that is still active in the community.
"Remembering the past helps our current and future players understand that they represent something far greater than the here and now," Windham said. "We play with a purpose to honor a legacy of commitment, sacrifice and dedication to our school and community."
The ceremony, which will include several of the original Wade's Warriors, begins at 7:10.
Field honors Talaska
Thursday night prior to its game against Red Bank, Soddy-Daisy named its field for Robert Talaska, who has been the Trojans' No. 1 fan and team manager for the past 41 seasons. Talaska has been in the Soddy-Daisy area since 1970 and spent a season playing football before health problems prevented him from playing again.
He became the night custodian at Soddy-Daisy in 1977, while managing for the football, basketball and baseball team games and practices. He served for 12 head football coaches in his time -- including E.K. Slaughter, now the Red Bank head coac, and current head coach Justin Barnes. He earned the nickname "Rob T" and wrote a fight song that has become a tradition before every game.
Current Signal Mountain head coach Bill Price, Walker Valley head coach Glen Ryan, Slaughter, Barnes, Rick Smith and Kevin Orr, now a Red Bank assistant, were all in attendance.
"Robert is Soddy-Daisy football," Ryan said. "He bleeds blue and gold. You're not going to find a person more loyal and dedicated than him."
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...