Morristown West Trojans

Forget the Trojan horse story when anticipating the football fortunes of the Morristown West Trojans. To coin a phrase, this army of Trojans is "dialed in" and will certainly not be able to sneak up on any unassuming team this season. Morristown West is on a roll including a sterling 12-2 slate a year ago and semi-final appearance in the State Playoffs. In fact, The Trojans have made the semis two years in a row.

Venerable Head Coach Don Woods is the general of the West Legions. Woods' first win in 2003 will be his 200th as a head coach. The problem this season is not the fact that there is a solid core of starters returning with talent enough for yet another playoff run. No, the problem is the gauntlet of a schedule that must be played before sights are set on the postseason. West has one of the toughest schedules in the State. It will be a matter of survival but Morristown West should be up to the challenge.

The Trojans defense is stout! Seven starters return after allowing less than 10 points per contest a year ago. An outstanding group of seek and destroy linebackers are the mainstay of the Trojan "D" headlined by All State and Defensive Player of the Year in Region 2 4A Brandon Fanney (6'5" 260). This senior hitman plays what Coach Woods calls a "hybrid" position. It is part linebacker part strong safety and the spot is called the "Jack" position in West terminology. Needless to say Fanney is a bigtime college prospect.

Fanney isn't the only star on defense for Mo-West as fellow senior Scotty Dixon (5'9" 175) and junior Matt Mart (5'11" 200) have a penchant for big hits from their "Wolf" linebacker spot. All Region honoree Emanuel Fredrick (6'3" 225) is a menace from his "Will" linebacker position. Morristown West has a stock of studs at LB and should be a excellent against the opposition's running game.

Yet another outstanding headhunter plies his trade at strong safety or "Sam" in the Trojan scheme. Senior Caleb Goforth (6'1" 210) earned All Region honors a year ago with his stalwart play. Fellow senior Steven Dowling (6'4" 220) will get plenty of opportunities somewhere on defense for Morristown West. Dowling could end up at linebacker or strong safety.

Senior cornerback Matt Rice (5'11" 170) was yet another all star for the Trojans defense. Rice garnered All Region honors with his penchant for the big play including several interceptions. Fellow seniors Scott Mull (5'9" 175) should be the free safety while Tim Weatherall (6'1" 190) should see action at strong safety. The corner opposite Rice should be seniors Brad Harris (5'9" 165) or Wes Williamson (5'9" 165).

The defensive line features the return of both starting ends. Juniors Will Brooks (6'1" 224) and John Henderson (6'3" 212) have great size and strength and will be tough to run around. Brooks and Henderson also have the speed to get to the quarterback. Perhaps the only weakness on defense at Morristown West is at tackle where the search is on for big men to fill the void. Seniors Jared Walker (6'1" 255) and Chris Long (6'2" 235) certainly will look the part while the noseguard will be junior Brady Tillman (5'10" 235).

Six starters return to man Morristown West's Multiple I formation offensive attack. The Trojans averaged over 400 yards of offense per ballgame in 2002 the bulk of that coming on the ground. The tailback will be senior Charles Rucker (5'10" 190) who scampered for some 1200 yards a year ago. Junior Bradley James (5'10" 175) will get his chances to carry the ball when Rucker needs a rest. The fullback will be senior Adam Shockley (6'3" 235). This master blaster pounded his way to 875 yards and is also a fearsome blocker. Junior Cory Loveless (5'10" 205) is his understudy.

The quarterback will be junior John Minnich (6'0" 190) who has a strong arm but will have to learn under fire with little experience. Minnich will have the luxury of tossing the ball in the general direction of senior split end Tyler Moore (5'10" 170) who made 30+ catches a year ago as a starter. Speedsters at wide receiver include seniors Joseph Dietz (6'1" 165) and Trey Gilbert (5'9" 160) and junior Derrick Fugate (6'2" 165). The tight end will be senior Matt Jones (6'2" 210).

The offensive line returns only two of five starters from a year ago but don't fret Trojan fans, these guys are big, strong and talented. The returnees man the guard positions. On the left side will be senior Drew Collins (5'10" 245) while the man on the right will be fellow senior Jordan Carson (5'11" 250). The center should be Sean McClellan (6'1" 235) while the tackles should be senior John Wampler (6'2" 255) and sophomore Dillow Stevens (6'3" 250). If these guys play together as a unit look out!

When the offense bogs down, Coach Woods won't hesitate to call upon junior placekicker Daniel Fillmore (5'10" 165) or sophomore Lance Moore (6'0" 155) to boot the ball through the uprights.

The schedule is absolutely brutal with perennial power Cleveland on tab opening night on the road. Rising Jefferson County comes calling at Bert Toney Stadium in week three followed by a tilt with three time defending State Champion Maryville on the road. Cross state power Swain County North Carolina plays at Morristown as well. Then there is cross town rival Morristown East and region foes Cocke County and Greeneville. Win #200 and more will follow for Coach Don Woods and his army of Trojans, all the way to the playoffs they will march in 2003. Prediction- 7-3

Playoff Contender- Yes

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