Kingston Yellow Jackets

In many ways the 2002 football season was a return to normalcy for the Kingston Yellow Jackets and their rabid fans. After failing to make the playoffs for the first time in many years in 2001, the stinger of the Jackets was restored as Kingston finished the season 7-4 and made the postseason once again. The hive at Dr. Nat Sugerman Field should be bustling with activity this season as the Yellow Jackets are set to make another playoff run.

"Injuries to key players have killed us the past couple of years," said long time Head Coach Vic King, who is prepared to start his 19th season as the King of the Yellow Jackets. "We're tickled to death because we should actually have some depth this season. I am very pleased with this group of kids, their attitude and work ethic."

Junior quarterback Rock Gurney (5'11" 180) is back looking to improve on a solid season a year ago. "Rock throws the ball really well, he's a good quarterback," said Coach King. Sophomores Daniel Bredwell (5'9" 160) and Kyle Adams (5'10" 180) are Gurney's understudies.

The Yellow Jackets running game should be sound as senior fullback Justin Mounsey (5'10" 190) returns after gaining close to 1000 yards last year. Junior William Morefield (5'10" 185) will spell Mounsey. It will be tailback by committee among three potential runners. Senior Adam Miller (5'11" 215) is a bruiser and got some valuable experience a year ago. Junior transfer Kelvin Turner (5'11" 200) is an exciting transfer while sophomore Chad Johnson (5'11" 220) has a bright future in the backfield. Sophomore Nathan Joslin (5'9" 185) is also fighting for carries.

As Gurney drops to pass, he will search downfield for senior split end Drew McMillan (5'11" 160), who is the Jackets top returning receiver and also the Kingston placekicker. Seniors Jeff Wade (5'11" 165) and Kile Rogers (5'11" 170) will share time at flanker. Super quick sophomore James Driggers (5'10" 170) should also get in the mix at receiver. Senior tight end Monte Fritts (6'5" 190) is an imposing target who has good hands and runs well according to his coach. Junior Brandon Qualmann (6'3" 200) and sophomores Lee Johnson (6'3" 185) and Justin Fritts (6'4" 180) will also line up at tight end for Kingston.

The Yellow Jackets are well stocked with studs along the offensive line. All Region honoree Ryan Hill (6'3" 255) is a senior leader at left guard. Sophomore Mitchell Brown (6'2" 235) started as a freshman at right guard. The center will be junior Chris Ariks (6'3" 285) who took over at midseason a year ago. The right tackle should be all round talent Michael Day (6'3" 235). Day earned All State honors as a punter last season and is also a very good soccer player. The left tackle will be sophomore Justin Hill (6'3" 285). Juniors Michael Waldo (6'1" 195), Jeff Westbrooks (5'9" 240) and Ben Creekmore (6'3" 210) plus sophomores Robert Neal (6'3" 270), Austin Owens (6'3" 155) and Brandon Quillen (5'11" 225) will battle for playing time along what should be an outstanding O-line.

Many of the same cast of characters will fill out a stingy group of Kingston defenders. Hill is the Yellow Jackets top returning linemen as he was voted All Region at defensive tackle. The other tackle should be Ariks while the noseguard will be Westbrooks. The ends should be Day and Brown. Owens, Justin Hill, senior Justin Cox (6'3" 200) and sophomore Devin Jones (6'0" 185) will supply the valuable depth Coach King covets.

The linebackers sting is painful indeed as Mounsey, Morefield and Miller line up behind the behemoths up front. In fact, Kingston's front seven has a chance to be outstanding. Turner has potential to be a starter at linebacker and Chad Johnson will also provide a much needed breather for the starters.

The Yellow Jackets' defensive backfield features All Region honoree Jeff Wade, who led all of East Tennessee in Class AAA with 7 interceptions last season. Rogers and Fritts will line up somewhere in the secondary while Adams and McMillan should get plenty of snaps.

They have been playing football in Kingston for almost 100 years and a strong winning tradition was long ago established. "Former Tennessee player and Head Coach Bowden Wyatt played here," said Coach King. "Our fans are knowledgeable and love their football. It's a fun place to play high school football." The Kingston Yellow Jackets should give their fans plenty of reason to cheer in 2003! Prediction- 9-1

Playoff Contender- Yes

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