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Pankey’s debut highlights Friday’s action

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By Goose Lindsay, Sports Editor

The 2013 season got off to a fantastic start for three Roane County teams last week as Harriman, Oliver Springs and Midway all picked up wins while Rockwood dropped an overtime thriller against Oneida.

Harriman, Oliver Springs and Midway will each look to improve to 2-0 this week with games at home. Harriman hosts Sunbright, Oliver Springs entertains York Institute while Midway takes on Whitwell.
Rockwood will be on the road, but the trip will be a short one as the Tigers visit Wartburg.
Kingston was off last week, but will be playing their first game under new head coach Brain Pankey Friday night. Kingston’s first test will be a tough one, however, as the state’s No. 1 ranked team in Class 2A, Grace Christian Academy, invades Dr. Nat Sugarman Memorial Field.
Sunbright (1-0) at
Harriman (1-0)
Two teams with different styles meet at Wallace Black Field Friday night.
Sunbright’s a fast-paced team that looks to spread the field and isn’t afraid to throw the ball.
The Blue Devils must keep an eye on senior QB Jacob Swint, He is a speedster that is elusive in the open field and can go the distance in a hurry. Swint is also a solid passer with Chris Blackburn and John Stephens being his top receivers.
While Harriman will have an eye on Swint, they’ll also have their hands full with RB Skyler Bunch. Bunch is a great athlete and is a safe bet for 1,000 yards this season.
Harriman’s best bet will be to keep Swint and Bunch on defense, and the Devils can do this by pounding the ball at the Tigers behind and offensive line that amassed more than 400 yards rushing last week against Hancock County.
Harriman also has a trio of backs, Garrett Greene, Kaleb Eleam and Mikey Roberts, that will take turns wearing down the Sunbright defense.
Goose’s Gander
This one could be close and high scoring. If that’s the case, Sunbright’s quick strike capability could be the difference at the end… Sunbright 34 Harriman 28.
Whitwell (1-0) at
Midway (1-0)
Whitwell enters Friday’s game coming off back-to-back 1-9 seasons, but both wins have come against the Green Wave. If the Tigers are to make it three-in-a-row Friday night, they’ll have to do so with a young squad that has less than 10 upperclassmen.
One of those returning upperclassman is senior RB Dusty McHone. McHone rushed for more than 600 yards last year and will be the focal point of Midway’s defense.
Midway’s defense, however, is big and deep up front and it will be hard for the Tigers to put together a lot of long drives.
Offensively, Midway put up more than 300 yards in last week’s 34-23 victory at Tri-Cities Christian. Despite those big numbers, the Green Wave didn’t have a lot of long, time-consuming drives as big plays were the key to success.
This week, the Green Wave will again look for big plays in the passing game from QB Shandon Lyle to Mason Woody and Jonathan Beason, but also expect the Green Wave to put together an inside running game with FB Austin Longmire.
Goose’s Gander
Do the Tigers have Midway’s number? Maybe in the past, but not this time around… Midway 28 Whitwell 14.
York Institute (0-1) at
Oliver Springs (1-0)
The Dragons opened the season last week with a 46-0 loss against White County. York had less than 50 yards of total offense and had nine players out with injury.
Unless some of those players return, it could be a long night unless Lance Crockett has a big day on the ground for the Dragons.
Oliver Springs, on the other hand, rolled to a 40-0 victory at Unaka. In that contest, senior RB Eddie Stephenson rushed for 204 yards and 2 TDs and should get the ball Friday night against a banged up group of Dragons.
Goose’s Gander
There will be a lot of purple in the stands Friday night at D.J. Brittan Field, but the purple clad Dragons will be feeling blue when the final horn sounds… Oliver Springs 34 York 14.
Rockwood (0-1) at
Wartburg (0-0)
One week after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Oneida, John Webb’s Rockwood Tigers look to rebound at Wartburg. If that is to happen, Rockwood must find a way to sustain drives, which is something they had trouble doing against the Indians.
Rockwood should be more consistent this week on offense, however, as Jared Neerman has been named the starter and that allowed the Tigers to mover Hunter Grant to receiver. Rockwood’s run game has never been questioned with Drake Long leading the way.
Wartburg is a young team with just three starters returning. One of those starters, LB Adam Kilby, is a force and is someone the Tigers must account for on every snap.
Offensively, QB Justin Durham, RB Dalton Phillips and WR Ryan Poole are the playmaker for the Bulldogs in 2013.
Goose’s Gander
In each of the last two seasons, Rockwood has dropped their opener only to look great in their second contest. History repeats itself Friday night… Rockwood 28 Wartburg 14.
Grace Christian (1-0) at Kingston (0-0)
If Bryan Pankey is to win his first game as head coach of the Jackets, his squad will have to upset No. 1 ranked Grace Christian Academy.
The Rams enter Friday’s contest fresh off piling up 55 points and more than 500 yards of offense in the first half alone in a 55-19 thrashing of Austin-East. QB Devin Smith threw for nearly 300 yards in the first half while former Rockwood RB Kyron Inman scored three touchdowns on the ground and another through the air for the Rams.
For Kingston to be competitive, the must keep the ball away from the Rams. To do that, all phases of their pistol offense must be firing with QB Logan Malenovsky along with the quartet of Dustin Kitts, Rhett Jones, Preston Edmonds and Maurice Lane all make plays in the backfield.
Goose’s Gander
Brian Pankey will have a lot of wins before he hangs up his whistle at Kingston. Unfortunately, Friday won’t be his first… Grace Christian 35 Kingston 14.
Goose’s Gander on other games of interest: Greenback by 6 over Gatlinburg-Pittman, Meigs County by 2 over Sweetwater, Andrews by 6 over Tellico Plains, Coalfield by 6 over Catholic, Oneida by 7 over Hampton, Oakdale by 6 over Pickett County, Tri-Cities Christian by 7 over Jellico, Maryville by 7 over Alcoa, Powell by 7 over CAK, Scott by 21 over Cumberland County. Last Week 14-0; Overall 14-0.