Category Archives: Sports

Railsplitters defeat Eagles

Hannah Byrge performs for the crowd in a joint routine featuring the LMU cheerleaders and dance squad.

The Railsplitters of Lincoln Memorial University hosted the Eagles of Carson Newman Thursday night.  The 13th ranked Railsplitters sent the Eagles packing as they brought home their 23 win of the season.  The final score of the game was 83-78.

The Railsplitters handled the Eagles with a balanced attack.  D’Mario Curry and Brandon Armstrong each had 17 points to lead the Railsplitters in scoring.  Desmond Johnson added 14 points and also contributed a team leading 11 rebounds in the game.  Cam Camden also scored in double digits with 13.  LMU had 14 points off of turnovers.

The Eagles were led in scoring Antonio Sullivan with 20 points.

Earlier in the evening the Lady Railsplitters fell to the Lady Eagles in overtime in a game that saw 14 ties and 15 lead changes.  Dayshalee Salaman led the Lady Railsplitters with an incredible 33 points.

Lori Adkins leads the Railsplitter fans in a cheer.

Amy Orick (center) and the LMU dance team entertain the crowd.

LMU's Brandon Armstrong scores on a fast break.

Pat’s Place: Time for some positives

I know I have been kind of negative in my last couple of columns.  What can I say talking about politicians tends to do that to me.  But this week I have some positives to focus on. So without further ado here is a shiny and happy version of Pat’s Place.

Let’s start out with the middle school basketball teams.  Jacksboro and LaFollette both had great runs this year.  They had excellent regular seasons that saw them play twice, each picking up a win on the other’s home court.  In the Area tournament Jacksboro allowed archrival LaFollette to come into their school and host the tournament when unexpected floor damage rendered the Jerry Irwin Memorial Gym unsuitable for action.  Neither team disappointed in the tournament and they gave us a thrilling Battle of the Birds final.  Both teams made the semifinals of the East Tennessee Tournament in Sevier County.  Though neither team advanced to the finals they played their hearts out.  The Lady Eagles also made it deep into tournament play.  The Lady Owls were a young team this year but I have a feeling they have some good seasons coming up.  By all rights the future should be bright for Campbell County basketball.  I really hope the vast majority of this team stays local.  No offenses to Anderson County or Cumberland Gap but our athletes need to stay and build a winning tradition here at home.

On the high school side we have much to be proud of too.  The Lady Cougars have advanced to region play with a fairly young team. The last few games in district tournament have seen them playing some excellent basketball.  No matter how they finish this year I see a bright future for this team.  It has been twenty years since the Lady Cougars have made a trip to the state tournament.  I have a feeling this bunch can break that drought.

The Jellico Blue Devils recently won their district at the tournament at Wartburg.  This does not surprise me. Mike Reynolds may be the best coach in Campbell County.  He has been successful on every level he has coached.  He also has a pretty good assistant you may have heard of named Vic King.  I would not be surprised to see these two take the Blue Devils to the Promised Land. 

Lincoln Memorial University is also having a good year in basketball.  Though they are not a local team in the strictest definition of the word they are something our area can be proud of.  I went to my first basketball game ever there and was impressed by both their play and hospitality.  It will not be my last game there.

Lady Cougars Advance to Region Play

The Lady Cougars returned to Karns Monday night to take on the Lady Red Devils of Halls with their eyes on strengthening their seeding in the regional tournament.  They secured a three seed for their Friday night game with a 60-53 victory.

Fouls were the name of the game in route to victory for the Lady Cougars as they kept Halls in foul trouble throughout the second half.  The Lady Cougars took advantage of at the charity stripe, led by Kristen Chapman’s 14 points off of free throws.

Chapman had 22 total points to lead the Lady Cougars.  Courtney Morris had a dozen points during the contest.  Shayla Goins also scored in double figures with 10 points. Amber Young (8), Courtney Miller (5), and Hannah Owens (2) also got on the scoreboard in the game.

Lady Cougar’s skipper Ryan Browning was well pleased with his team’s play.  “We did a great job.  We didn’t rotate a lot but we played very physical.  We did a great job shooting free throws.  We also played well on the boards and limited their (Halls) second chance baskets.  We let them get a few in the end but for the most part we rebounded well,” said Browning.

The Lady Cougars will travel to either Knoxville West High School or Farragut Friday night to begin region tournament play.

Amber Young holds the ball as the Lady Cougars set up a play.

Courtney Miller looks for a shot.

Kristen Chapman pulls up for a jump shot.

The Cougar Cheerleaders pump up the crowd during a time out.

Eagles and Owls Bow Out of Tournament

After enjoying successful seasons both the Jacksboro Eagles and LaFollette Owls both fell in the East Tennessee sectional tournament. This ended the season for both programs.

LaFollette played the first of the boy’s semifinal games against the Hilltoppers of Johnson City’s Science Hill Middle School.  The Owls fell by a score of 48-36.  Austin North led the Owls with 9 points.  Rolston Letner, Dakota Dossett, and Andrew Evans all had 8 points.  Dallas Griffith rounded out the scoring for the Owls with three points.

The Eagles played the evening’s nightcap against Cleveland Middle School.  The Eagles exited the tournament with a 42-19 loss.  Darin Gillenwater led his team with 7 points.  Will Chambers contributed 4 points.  Both Jesse Sharp and Jacob McGuire added 3 points each.  Jordan Bruce also got on the board with two points.

Dakota Dossett takes his shot against the Hilltoppers defense.

Andrew Evans shoots and draws a foul

Jordan Bruce bounce passes the ball past a Cleveland defender.

Darin GIllenwater shoots a long range jump shot.

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.