Category Archives: Sports

Pat’s Place: More Reasons Politicians Should Stay Out Of Sports

If you ever needed an example of why politicians don’t know what they are doing look at the monster on the hill that is Campbell County High School.  It is possibly the worst thing to ever happen to Campbell County Schools not just athletically but academically.

First off it completely buried the great traditions that were in place at both Jacksboro and LaFollette high schools.  Everything those schools won in the past was completely buried.  CCHS didn’t display their trophies; the new junior highs (now middle schools) didn’t display the old trophies for very long since they were building traditions of their own.  Two great schools with two great legacies were covered under the dirt of what I am sure the people running the show back then referred to as progress.

Before I go any further I want to point out that it was the trend at the time to make giant comprehensive high schools.  But it did not do anything to help Campbell County.  The argument was that it offered students more opportunities, both academically and athletically.  I know plenty of people that went places much smaller that did well.  While I was at UT I had many friends that went to Oneida High School.  It is tiny in comparison to CCHS but they did as well as anybody I knew from CCHS or Oak Ridge.  It has since been proven that small schools are better learning environments.

OK now that my justification that this column is not just about sports is over let’s look at the athletic aspects.  Both Jacksboro and LaFollette would likely be AA schools athletically.  I have seen, coached, and coached against many talented athletes at both schools over the years.  Not all of these athletes played sports in high school and many of the ones who did went somewhere besides CCHS.  Would that have changed if we had two separate high schools?  I believe it would.

Some students transferred because of academic reasons and just happened to also play sports.  I firmly believe that with the smaller classes that two smaller high schools would offer give students a better learning environment.

Many students transferred to be part of a winning program.  For the most part CCHS has no good football tradition.  Though Coach Wells changed that some the history speaks for itself.  When I was at CCHS we had 3 head coaches in a four-year period.  My senior year they brought in a coach touted to be the savior of the program, he won no games and from what my friends told me his coaching style was atrocious.  Just looking at Anderson County they basically had one head football coach for what seemed like forever in Larry Kerr.  He built the program very well there.  There is no reason that couldn’t have happened here.  If we had two smaller schools it probably would have.  Jacksboro Middle had a Johnny Bruce for a number of years.  LaFollette would have likely had Steve Rutherford as their head coach.  Both men are excellent coaches and would have done well on the high school level. I really feel like I would be wearing at least four state title rings if Jacksboro High School still existed, one as a player and three as a coach. I feel like LaFollette would probably have at least three state titles as well.  This in and of itself would have stopped most of the purely athletic transfers.

We would probably have a few basketball titles in town too.  John Turnblazer, Gail Stanley, and Vic King would all be sporting rings, I am sure whoever ended up coaching the Lady Owls would have a few as well.  LaFollette and Jacksboro both have had dominating basketball on the middle school level, this would translate even more directly than football would.

Lady Cougars Pick Up Tournament Win

The Lady Cougars met the Lady Mavericks of Anderson County Tuesday night in the opening round of district tournament play.  After a tense defensive battle, which saw them steal the ball an astounding 33 times, the Lady Cougars advanced to the next round with a 47-44 victory.

The game came down to an exciting ending as it was tied multiple times in the final quarter.  With 1:40 remaining in the game Courtney Morris shot a go ahead bucket and the Lady Cougars never relinquished the lead.  Kristen Chapman added a pair of points and Shayla Goins put in another point, all on free throws to put the icing on the cake.  A steal by Courtney Miller and Amber Young also robbed the Lady Mavericks of a chance to shorten the lead.  The Lady Mavericks were not completely finished a scored a final goal but a rebound by Young at the end saw the Lady Cougars leave the court with the win.

Goins led the Lady Cougars in scoring with a dozen points.  Morris also scored in double digits with 11.  Chapman (9), Young (7), Miller (6), and Hannah Owens (2) also got on the board for the Lady Cougars.  They now prepare to face the Lady Wildcats of Oak Ridge on Saturday.

Coach Ryan Browning spoke highly of his team’s efforts after the contest was complete.  “We did a good job forcing turnovers tonight.  The only problem was we didn’t always connect with them.  But it did limit their shot attempts, “said Browning.  He continued to praise his team by saying, “Our post players did a good job getting the ball inside.  Shayla and Amber got a lot of touches tonight.”

His praise was tempered by some constructive criticism though, “We have got to put teams away.  We had several 6 or 7 point leads that should have turned into 12 or 13 point leads.”

As for the looming rematch with the Lady Wildcats Browning said, “We have to do better than we did last time.  We have to limit the amount that Armeka Booker touches the ball and make her supporting cast take shots.  On offense we have to take care of the ball.  We played six and a half good quarters against Oak Ridge this year. A quarter and a half cost is last time and we can’t do that here.”

Kristen Chapman, Samantha Leach and Courtney Morris swarm the Lady Maverick ball handler.

Kristen Chapman applies pressure.

Courtney Miller makes a break for the basket after stealing the ball.

Shayla Goins fights to get a shot off and draw a foul.

Defense Spurs Owls To Victory

Once teams reach the East Tennessee Tournament, held in Sevier County, they tend to end up against unfamiliar teams in the op0ening round.  That was the situation the LaFollette Owls faced as they took on the Cyclones of Elizabethton.

After an opening round bye the top seeded Owls faced off against the Cyclones in round 2.  The Owls held off a late rally and advanced to the semifinals with a 32-26 victory.

The first quarter saw both teams start off on even ground and by the time the buzzer sounded they were tied at 8 points each.  The next quarter saw a stingy Owl defense hold the Cyclones to 3 points.  Defense continued to be the name of the game for the Owls in the third as well. The Cyclones rallied a bit in the fourth but it was not enough.

Roston Letner led the Owls in scoring with 14 points.  Dakota Dossett (8) and Austin North (7) also had strong scoring output for the Owls.  Ethan Jeffers had 4 points and Andrew Evens added a point to round out the scoring for the Owls.

LaFollette Coach Jason Dotson was pleased with his team’s defensive efforts.  “We knew Elizabethton was undersized coming into the game.  Our game plan was to play tough defense and close out their three point shooting,” said Dotson.

Though he was happy with the won Coach Dotson also saw room for improvement saying, “We have to shoot better in this tournament.  We need to do better on free throws.”

The Owls play again on Friday.

Ethan Jeffers drives to the hoop.

Austin North fights for a rebound.

Roston Letner gets some sky against the Cyclones.

Lady Cougars Finish Srong At Knox Central To Lead Into Tournament Season

With tournament time upon them the Lady Cougar’s made a statement against the Lady Bobcats of Knox Central High School.  The lady Cougars took a 72-56-victory home from the school next to the Fountain City duck pond.

The Lady Cougar’s rained three pointers on the Lady Bobcats as Courtney Morris, Samantha leach, and Courtney Miller all scored from beyond the arc.  Morris led the Lady Cougars with 24 points in the game.  Shayla Goins added 16.  Kristen Chapman also scored in the double digits with 10 points.  Amber Young posted up 9 points on the evening.  Leach had all 6 of her points on three pointers.  Miller had 5 and Rachel Harris had 2 to round out the scoring for the Lady Cougars.

The Cougars did not do as well against the Bobcats as their female counterparts did.  They fell by a score of 106-69.  Lucas Nelson led the Cougars with 19 points.  Corey Poteet added 11 points and Nick Litton had 10.

The Cougars and Lady Cougars will travel to Karns next week to play in the district tournament.

Shayla Goins sets up a shot and a chance to draw a foul.

Kristen Chapman puts up a shot as Amber Young stands ready to rebound.

Samantha Leach drives the ball to the hoop.

The always reliable Lucas Nelson puts a shot in the basket.

Pat’s Place: Politicians Need To Stay Out Of The Sports Business

OK I said in my first column that I would go after anybody that I thought was a detriment to local sports.  Well it took all of three weeks for this to happen.  But before I go into the thrashings I have to hand out some praise.  I have to hand out big kudos to the staffs of both Jacksboro and LaFollette Middle Schools for a great tournament last week. It showed all of the good in local sports as Jacksboro let LaFollette come in after the Owls had major gym issues.  Also I want to give a big shout out to Sheriff Robbie Goins for providing excellent food in the hospitality room for media, coaches, and administrators.

At the tournament I met Coach Mynatt and I have to say I am impressed.  This man has a great coaching resume and we are lucky to have him here.  I have high hopes for him. Now here is where I have an issue.  This man got offered the job after two people turned it down.  This guy has amazing college coaching experience and is bringing in a great staff.  So why in the world did these geniuses runni9ng the search offer it to anybody else?  This is not a shot at Justin Price or Tony Lambert.  I think both men are excellent coaches but they can’t touch Coach Mynatt’s experience.  I don’t have a clue what is going through the heads of these people but how the blue heck can they think either of these men were a better candidate to lead the football Cougars?

Also on the coaching front the local scuttlebutt is that both Coach Jones and Coach Browning are on the hot seat and possibly have their jobs in jeopardy at the end of this season.  I think this is a crying shame.  I have not followed much Cougar basketball much in the last few years so I don’t know what the last three seasons have been like.  I know from watching him coach baseball and as Sherry Chapman’s long time assistant that he is a great coach.  I know little of Coach Jones.  What I do know is that the team I have been watching the last few weeks is playing at least as well as the teams that were playing under Len Pierce, who should have never been fired as coach.  These men are giving their all to coach these teams and the powers that be need to leave them alone and let them guide their teams.

The people in charge need to sit back and realize we do not exactly live in a coaching paradise.

The way that the firing of Len Pierce was handled is, in my humble opinion, the most shameful incident in the history of sports in Campbell County.  A player walk out before a game with the support of parents and the director of schools is the kind of stuff that should only happen in the movies, but it happened here a just a few short years ago.  I have to give Coach Jones a lot of credit fr even being willing to come here and take the job after that,

Coach Wells is the most successful coach in the history of Campbell County football.  That is a fact. He was told to resign and refused.  It is even my understanding that the principal recommended him back as coach.  He was fired anyway.  Last time I checked coaching should be left up to the athletic director and principal, not an interim director of schools and a board who had to boot the previous director of schools for alleged criminal activity. 

I could go on all day but I won’t.  I will have part two of this column up next week.  Not only will I be going after the political types even harder I am going to highlight the biggest mistake ever in the history of Campbell County schools, not just for athletics but in general.  Stay tuned gentle readers.