Jefferson County Patriots

The best coaching move of last season benefited the Jefferson County Patriots program as red hot Head Coach Scott Meadows was lured away from a successful stint at Alcoa. Meadows has won big everywhere he has been and while the cupboard was certainly not bare talent wise at this proud program, Meadows guided the Patriots into the third round of the playoffs and a 9-4 record overall.

Meadows and Jefferson County seem like a perfect fit as the Patriots have great tradition with a State Title in 1987 and two runner up finishes to their credit. "We are obviously excited about the coming season," said the Coach. "We have lots of experience returning and it will be the second year in our system for these guys. We are looking for a good year. The key will be not to be satisfied with last season and build on our success," continued Coach Meadows. There is plenty of talent returning on both sides of the ball for Jefferson County to do just that!

The Patriots return eight starters on offense. Senior quarterback Parker Clement (6'2" 195) is a dual threat. In 2002 Clement passed for 1283 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is also a solid runner but his passing numbers will be key for Jefferson County to field a balanced offensive attack.

The Patriots ground game will be rugged as usual. Senior fullback Jeff Jennings (6'2" 215) is a bruiser with good speed for his size. Jennings rushed for 973 yards, scored 16 touchdowns and is a Division 1 college prospect. The tailback will be senior Scooter Houston (5'8" 160) who is the perfect compliment as the scatback behind the power of Jennings. Houston "scooted" to 1078 yards and 13 scores and was named to the All State team as an athlete. The wingback will be senior Seth Hoover (5'7" 160) while junior Aaron Carson (5'9" 170) will see plenty of action.

Clement will look for All Northeast Tennessee wide receiver Tyler Brown (6'2" 190) in key passing situations. Brown is the top returning receiver as he caught 28 balls for close to 500 yards a year ago. Fellow senior Cody Cantrell (6'1" 185) caught enough passes to cover almost 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. The tight end should be junior Billy Luther (6'1" 220) who is an outstanding blocker. Senior Rayvon Bly (6'4" 198) will get in on the fun at tight end.

Jefferson County has a history of producing excellent offensive linemen and 2003 will be no different as the Patriots will field a nasty group of five big fellas up front. The center will be junior Kevin Cline (5'9" 240). The guards are led by stalwart junior Jason Yeary (5'9" 235) and fellow junior Daniel Green (5'11" 218). Another quick guard prospect is yet another junior in Zac Smiley (5'9" 160) who will knock your head off and is a good pulling guard on sweeps according to his coach. The tackles are seniors Brandon Byrd (6'0" 165) and Andrew Newman (5'11" 275).

Seven starters return to wreak more havoc on opposing offenses led again by the sterling play of All Region outside linebacker Jennings, who recorded 97 tackles and intercepted 3 passes a year ago. Jennings knows what to do when he gets his paws on the football as he returned two of those "oskies" for touchdowns. On the opposite side, Carson is all over the field and the top returning tackler from last season when he jumped in on 103 stops. Carson recovered three fumbles and snared an interception.

Jefferson County has two returnees at inside linebacker. Reliford ripped into 72 tackles and caught six quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage. He is a big hitter according to Coach Meadows. Fellow senior Noah Vickers (5'10" 195) is back as well giving the Patriots perhaps the best tandem of linebackers in the state. Vickers had 68 stops, 3 sacks and two fumble recoveries last season.

The Patriots also welcome back a solid group of defensive linemen to the fray led by senior strongman Nick Mason (6'4" 295). Mason had three sacks at tackle and is the strongest man on the team. Sophomore William Elliott (5'9" 285) is tough to push off the line at DT as well. Yeary and junior John Husky (5'9" 155) who is a "tough little pine knot" according to Coach Meadows, will see action at tackle. The ends should be senior transfer Brian Cook (6'3" 215) and fellow senior Aaron Houseal (5'11" 195) while Bly and Luther will get in the mix at end. Senior workhorse Randy Wagner (5'11" 255) and junior Scott Hopkins (6'6" 280) are working towards playing time along the defensive front.

The Patriot secondary will feature Houston at free safety where he excels with 65 tackles and 4 interceptions. Houston also is a threat as a kick returner as he totaled over 500 yards in punt and kickoff returns a year ago to earn All Region honors at three different positions. The corners will be Brown and Cantrell. Brown recorded an interception last season and Cantrell stole two "oskies" last season. Junior Shane Acuff (6'1" 170), sophomores Trey Reliford (5'9" 165) and Dallas Crouch (5'9" 150) and freshman Chris Shiverdecker (5'10" 155) will be in the mix in the secondary.

The Jefferson County Patriots have a rich winning tradition and are working hard to regain lost status. The schedule is no picnic as Kingsport, Sevier County, Bearden and Science Hill are top region contenders. Add rivals Morristown West and improving Cocke County to the mix and Jefferson County will have to earn their wins. Fans attending games at Leroy Shannon Field will have plenty to cheer about as this band of Patriots is set to ambush many opponents in 2003! Prediction- 9-1

Playoff Contender- Yes

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