The Real Deal: OL Chase Kennedy

Playing on the offensive line at any level in football means playing with some level of pain. Fulton senior OL Chase Kennedy is no exception. Kennedy has been playing with a hip flexor for about 3 weeks now.

"Absolutely, sometimes you gotta play with the pain", he said when asked about being able to go next week. Linemen have a way of answering those questions before their asked. It reflects the gritty fortitude that most linemen possess.

But, Chase isn't' just an OL. He's also the teams starting punter. Yet, there he'll be Friday night, kicking when need be and protecting Jock Stinson and run blocking for arguably the state's best RB, Dennis Rogan.

Tennessee Prep Sports sat down with Chase to ask him about the unsung life of being a down lineman, Fulton's outlook for the remainder of the season and what it'll take to get the Falcons back to the ‘Boro.

TPS: Fulton plays one of the toughest schedules in Region 2, 3A. As tough as it is, some say it's strange for a 3A team to schedule 3 2A teams. If you could change the schedule and add and delete teams, what changes would you make? Is there any one team you'd add to the schedule?

Chase: Well, this year I believe our team has come together as one unit with a common goal: 15-0. We have worked hard this year in the off-season and so far it has paid off.

I believe we could play with the best of Tennessee's football teams because I believe we are one of the best. I really enjoyed adding Alcoa to our schedule and the challenges playing a state championship team has brought.

I would like to add Central to our schedule, though. They're just right down the road from us, and I think it would make a nice rivalry; and who would not want to play Maryville.

TPS: You play a little bit all over the field (OL/P/DE). Which of your two starting positions do you enjoy most? Why?

Chase: Well, I do really enjoy punting, but playing on the line is where I get my blood boiling. I've started there since my sophomore year when we won state in 2004 and it was exhilarating.

It's a great sensation at 220lbs, putting 300lbers on there backs. My older brother, Chad Kennedy, was a member of the 2003 state championship team here at Fulton and an all-state offensive lineman. He has always told me, "technique is everything" and it seems to be coming in handy.

TPS: The job of an offensive lineman is the one of an unsung hero most of the time. Do you think OL's get enough credit? Which do you enjoy most, run blocking or pass blocking?

Chase: Fortunately, at Fulton our offensive line has received much credibility thanks to our coaches, but for the most part offensive linemen are not noticed. Unless you know football, no one really knows what goes on in the "pit".

I have to say that pass blocking for an offensive lineman is just as rough as run blocking but not as fun. My favorite play no doubt is a quick pitch or quick screen right where I get to pull out and go head to head with a corner. I love to watch there eyes get as big as saucers when they finally see what's about to happen.

TPS: The Falcons "owed" the Tornadoes for last years blow out defeat. Explain how it felt to get that win against the defending 2A state champs.

Chase: The win over Alcoa was such a relief. That weight that we carried on our backs all year since then had just been lifted as we took that final knee in the fourth quarter.

TPS: You got an impressive win vs. Tyner Academy last week. What were the keys to that win?

Chase: Well, the first quarter was rough. We got off to a rocky start because we did not come out as strong as we should have. Our coaches told us not to take them for granted, and we came out in the second half ready to play.

Our offensive line finally took control up front and aloud us to move the ball which would eventually seal the deal against Tyner.

TPS: The Falcons are averaging nearly 29 points and have racked up 144 total points in ‘06. What have been the keys to the Falcons potent offensive attack this year? Is it a rush to block for Dennis Rogan? Has Stinson progressed into a veteran leader?

Chase: Again I think unity is the key to our success this year. Playing as a team has definitely paid off. It doesn't hurt though having offensive weapons such as Rogan and Freeney though.

Blocking for Rogan is great though. To actually have someone who will follow blocks and let his offensive line do there thing is complimenting to the big guys up front.

I have great respect for Jock. He is just a sophomore and is showing signs of a mature quarterback.

TPS: The Falcons have a tough stretch left vs. the majority of your regional opponents. Catholic sent the Falcons home last year. What will it take to best the Irish, maybe twice? Can the Falcons finish out unbeaten?

Chase: Catholic, first of all, is a great team and has earned respect from everyone around Knox County and the state of Tennessee. Last year they just seemed to want it more in the fourth quarter of the second round play-off game. It's going to take teamwork and drive to come out on top over the Irish. I believe in my team and coaches and I believe we will come out on top even if it means twice. And yes, we will finish 15-0.

TPS: Speaking of regional foes, the annual game with Austin East is a special one, isn't it?

Chase: Definitely, Austin-East is always an exciting, fast-paced game with hard hits and many other highlights. The Fulton vs. Austin-East game is one that gathers many fans from everywhere, and is possibly the biggest rivalry in the state.

TPS: At well over 6ft, you're quite a site punting the ball. Would you say kicking a 50 yard punt is as big a rush as pancake blocking a potential tackler? What are you averaging on punts this year and what has been your longest punt thus far?

Chase: Well, it depends on how big the tackler is. Punting a good ball is the best feeling. You know you kicked a good one right when it leaves your hand. That?s when a big smile appears on my face. This year my punting hasn?t been what it should be because we lost our long snapper, but we have now filled the position and things will be going a lot better now and my average will be rising. During the Anderson County game last year I hit a 58 yard punt that landed on the 2 yard line and at Tyner last year I kicked one inside the one from behind the 50.

TPS: Besides the 3 positions you get time at, is there any other positions you'd like to try, given the chance?

Chase: If given the opportunity to play college ball I definitely would not be recruited as a 220lb offensive lineman who runs a 4.5. But with my body type I would love to try to play either linebacker or tight end.

TPS: If you could go to any college or university, which would you pick and why? If you could be any college or pro athlete, who would it be and why?

Chase: I would want to go to Vanderbilt or the University of Tennessee. I plan to go into pre-med. to become a sports physician. Both schools have great pre-med programs and I would love to play football for either one.

I just want to play football and get a great education. I am also looking at Harvard right now and have been receiving letters from them.

If I were to be any college or pro athlete, I would be Jason Witten. He is a tremendous athlete and an incredible person. He has never been ashamed to speak out for his love of God, and the Lord has truly blessed him.

Prep Tennessee Top Stories