Christian Academy of Knoxville

Sometimes it takes a new challenge to spark renewed interest in a man's profession and such was the case a year ago when long time football Head Coach Bill Young left Bearden to take the top job at Christian Academy of Knoxville. The young school had only a year of varsity football under their belt and zero wins. Job one was to win a game and that is exactly what the young Warriors and their veteran coach accomplished. In fact, Christian Academy finished with three wins and could have won more.

Here's a newsflash, CAK of Knoxville is poised for a playoff run in 2003! "We are looking forward to a good season," said Coach Young. "Our senior class is talented and experienced." This year's edition of Warriors have broken out the war club and are primed for a run at the postseason as 17 of 22 starters are back looking to give CAK the school's first winning season.

Coach Young loves a multi dimensional offense and the Warriors return experience along the offensive line, a talented quarterback and a stable of solid running backs to ignite the Christian Academy I-Pro attack.

The spotlight will shine on senior signal caller Mark Cunningham (6'3" 170). Last season the Warrior's QB completed 90 of 183 attempts for 966 yards with 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Cunningham is a gun slinger and should see those numbers improve dramatically if he has the time to survey the field in passing situations.

QB sacks were a problem for CAK a year ago. The offensive line will be much improved. The anchor at center will be senior Bryce Hardin (5'10" 180). The guards should be senior Michael Blount (6'1" 214) and junior Daniel Devore (5'11" 181). Senior A.J. Kendall will provide quality depth at guard. The tackles should be senior stalwart Nick Parrish (6'1" 215) and sophomore Andrew Fox (5'11" 200). As always, the O-line must come through for CAK to reach their potential.

The Warriors will pound the football with a solid running game. Junior tailback Trey Bowland (5'9" 165) carried 157 times for 752 yards and scored 8 touchdowns in 2002 to lead CAK. Junior wingback Taylor Yoakley (5'7" 155) rushed 33 times for 180 yards and scored twice. Seniors Will Burkhart (5'10" 168) and John Douglas (5'10" 172) should improve their rushing totals. Burkhart carried 22 times for 145 yards with 4 scores while Douglas gained 93 yards on 32 tries and scored once.

When Cunningham drops to throw, he will look for reliable senior receiver Brandon Japp (6'2" 202) in key situations. Japp has the size to create problems. He snared 23 passes for 337 yards and two touchdowns last season. Fellow senior Nathan Chesney (5'11" 168) will be the split end. Chesney grabbed 7 aerials for 69 yards and a score. The tight end should be yet another senior in Morgan Cox (6'3" 187). He caught a couple of balls for a 12.5 average a year ago. Yoakley will be more involved in the CAK aerial assault this season. He is also the Christian Academy return specialist as Yoakley gained over 500 yards in kick returns a year ago.

The Warriors defense needs to take their intensity to the next level and then some in 2003. CAK gave up almost 23 points per game in a region that is loaded with solid offensive attacks. Nine starters return to man the Warriors 4-4 scheme.

Linebacker should be a team strength and that is always a good place to look for improvement. Douglas is the top returning tackler as he recorded 68 total hits in 2002 and also grabbed an interception. Burkhart had 31 total tackles and two fumble recoveries while Matt Miller (5'5" 160) had 59 stops and an "oskie" as CAK will start three seniors at LB.

The defensive line will feature Cox and Hardin at end. Cox jumped in on 23 tackles, recovered two fumbles and recorded two sacks a year ago while Hardin had 29 tackles in 2002. The tackles will be Parrish, Fox and Kendall. Parrish found his way to 19 tackles two for loss of yardage a year ago.

The secondary is experienced and will be tested in pass happy Region 2A. Yoakley was busy at one corner as he made 37 total tackles, recovered two fumbles and stole two interceptions while Bowland made 36 stops and tallied four "thefts" from his safety position. Senior David Park (5'9" 140) and sophomore Jon Peters (5'8" 145) will compete for playing time at the other corner position in the Warriors defensive backfield.

Several rival coaches mentioned the Christian Academy of Knoxville Warriors as the team to watch in Region 2A in 2003. The schedule features perennial Class A powers Greenback, Coalfield and Oneida plus improving Midway. The region is loaded but venerable Coach Young should enjoy his 33rd year in coaching. This tribe of Warriors should be on the warpath and earn their first trip to the playoffs.

Pigskin Preview Prediction- 6-3

Playoff Contender- Yes

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