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Endemic Deer Virus Above Average This Fall

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) offices are receiving reports of dead deer in scattered areas of the state. The timing and details of many of the reports are indicative of hemorrhagic disease (HD).
Hemorrhagic disease occurs at varying levels of severity each year in Tennessee’s deer herd. So far this year, reports are predominantly coming from Middle Tennessee, and based on the volume of reports it appears to be above average in severity.

Reports to TWRA offices indicate mortality of deer in at least 20 counties with more expected as the season progresses. The last substantial outbreak of HD in Tennessee was in 2017 and was predominantly in East Tennessee. The last major statewide outbreak of HD was in 2007.
“Reports are coming in daily as TWRA continues to monitor the situation,” said James Kelly, Deer Management Program Leader for TWRA. “If hunters or the public find sick or dead deer they are encouraged to report these animals to their local TWRA regional office.”

HD is caused by viruses in one of two groups of vector borne viruses belonging to either the epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) group or bluetongue virus (BTV) group. HD is transmitted to deer from biting midges or “no-seeums.” It is not transmitted from deer to deer by contact. The virus causes fever, respiratory distress, and swelling of the neck or tongue. Not all deer exposed to the virus will die, but those that do usually do so within 3 to 10 days of exposure in or near water as they seek to cool their bodies from the fever. Incidence of HD usually peaks around mid-September and activity slows down mid-October with the onset of cold weather.

Cougars Fall to Gibbs

The Cougars took to the road this week to take on the Gibbs Eagles. The game began with Gibbs winning the toss and taking the ball. They quickly set the tone for the evening ripping off long run after long run on a Cougar defense that had been very good against the run in 2019. The Gibbs triple option was unfortunately, a different story and the Eagles went up 7-0 quickly.

The Cougars took the ball and had a march of their own. Hunter White began spreading the ball around to Williams and Shepherd who made a few moves and got 1st down after 1st down. CJ Allen had a 9 yard run as well. The Cougars very quickly found themselves at the 31 yard line. White then spotted senior speed merchant Devlin Dukes on the sideline. Dukes dashed 31 yards with the White pass and it was 7-7 after Thomas Johnson’s xp sailed through the uprights.

Gibbs took the ball again after the Johnson kickoff and they began to rip off long runs again. Picking up 6 to 8 yards seemingly each down. The injuries to linebackers Daymon Seiber and Blake Taylor were slowing the Cougar D, even though the pair were still on the field battling. The efforts of they and other Cougar defenders weren’t enough as Gibbs went up 14-7.

This time the Cougar offense looked like it was going to march down the field again. White, who was 4-4 on the first drive hit the 1st 4 of his second drive too. He was 8-8 for around 80 yards and a touchdown before Shepherd couldn’t haul in a pass near the Gibbs 30. A few plays later the Cougars were forced to punt.

The Eagles cashed in on that possession as well, making the score 21-7 in the 2nd quarter. The Cougar offense returned to the field and went on the move into Gibbs territory again. This drive ended as a long White pass attempt to Devlin Dukes was intercepted. The Cougar defense had an inspired series this time out and they forced an Eagle punt with around 2 minutes remaining in the half.

The Cougar offense rolled down the field again on the arm of White and the legs and hands of Allen, Shepherd, Williams, Dukes and Mason Shanks. Shanks caught a pass at the Gibbs 11 and rumbled to the 9 yard line. Inexplicably the officials spotted the ball just outside the 11. Where Shanks had caught the pass rather than where his knee touched. It seemed to not matter as White fired an absolute bullet to Dukes in the right corner of the endzone. However this touchdown was nullified by a mysterious holding penalty. Photos appeared to show 3 Eagles and White in the vicinity of the flag and no other Cougars involved in the play. This flag made what should have been a 1st and goal inside the 10 with the proper spot, 1st and 27 from the 28 yard line. There then appeared to be a clock error that caused the Cougars not to get another shot at the endzone. White rolled right and had to throw the ball away, the officials blew the play dead but didn’t stop the clock. The final two seconds ticked off. The side judge who’d blown the play dead tried to get the ball for one more down but he was overruled by the umpire and the half ended.

What should have been 21-14, Cougar momentum and the ball to start the second half turned into Gibbs momentum and a 21-7 lead instead.

In the second half more of the same came to pass. Gibbs broke some long runs and the Cougars were faced with multiple penalties and several punts. Later the Cougars had a White touchdown run taken off the board, their second score lost via a penalty in the game. CJ Allen managed to bulldoze his way into the endzone behind center Brennon Byrge but it was too little too late. The Cougars came up on the bad side 42-14 in this one.

On the positive front, this was not a region game and that’s an area where the Cougars control their own destiny. The second half of the season will fold over the next 6 weeks. If the Cougars can match their 3-2 record of the first half of the season in the second they will be playoff bound. This seems rather more possible that it looked prior to the season. Fulton has faced attrition and their team is now 0-5 after losing to a Karns team that was 0-4 itself before Friday night. The Cougars will face a Clinton team who has struggled all season and the aforementioned Karns who got win 1 in week 5. West and Powell sit at a combined 10-0 this season and look to be the class of the region. Those will be tough games but the Cougars should only need 3 wins out of 5 to make their playoff push.

Cougars defeat Seymour 35-13

The Cougars had a bounce back game this week against the Seymour Eagles. A week after a tough outing agaisnt Oak Ridge, the Eagles came to town hoping to catch the Cougars down from that loss and distracted by homecoming.

The game got underway at 7:30, the heat of the prior hours blunted, but a steamyness would hang in the air, relentlessly, as the game unfolded.

The Cougars would have the ball first. They drove it just over midfield to the Seymour 41 yard line before facing a punt. CJ Allen booted the ball down to the 18 yard line. The Cougar defense seemed to have Seymour stopped cold but a 15 yard late hit on 3rd and 9 got the Eagles out of trouble. The Eagle quarterback got a long run, then hit a pass and Seymour took the 6-0 lead after a failed xp.

The Cougars hit the field on offense after the Seymour kick sailed out of bounds. Once more the offense couldn’t get going, and the drive ended after a Hunter White pass over the middle was dropped. Allen punted to the Eagles again.

This time the Cougar defense made sure the Eagles wouldn’t gain any offensive momentum. They stuffed the Seymour run on 4th and 1, giving the offense the ball back on their own 37 yard line.

On this drive White began peppering passes to MaKyle Shepherd, interspersed with CJ Allen dashing through the holes his front line was blowing in the Seymour front seven, as the first quarter came to a close the Cougars found themselves in Eagle territory. White picked up where he left off in the second quarter. He his freshman Mason Shanks over the middle for a nice gain, then turned to his seniors, Devlin Dukes and Anthony Gaylor. Gaylor took as pass, made some nifty moves and was finally forced out at the two yard line. Allen lined up at quarterback in the big package. Jadon White opened a truck sized hole and Allen took full advantage, plowing into he endzone. Thomas Johnson booted the xp through the uprights and the Cougars were up 7-6.

The Cougar defense once more bottled up Seymour, this time near midfield. Forcing the Eagle punt. It didn’t take long for the offense to strike again once they secured the ball. Hunter White hit Devlin Dukes on a 25 yard pass play and the Cougar offense was off to the races. White hit Shepherd for 7 more yards and the Cougars were at the Seymour 32. Allen did the rest, ripping off a 32 yard touchdown run. Johnson nailed another xp and it was 14-6 CCHS.

The next defensive series was similar to the one prior. Javan Mcculley, Desmond Gilbert, Allen, Blake Taylor, Michael Brown, Cobey Rains, Daymon Seiber and Jadon White all were gang tackling the Eagles. Once more they had to punt. The offense once again struck quickly.

White hit Dukes for a 45 yard gain as Dukes flew past the defense. White fired a pass to Mason Shanks who ran over a couple of Eagles on his way to the five yard line. White then hit Shepherd for a five yard td pass. The Cougars had went 65 yards in three plays. Their second three play touchdown drive in a row.

Shepherd’s pass catching prowess on offense wasn’t wasted when he played defense. He snatched an Eagle pass out of the air just before the half near the goal line to shut down a potential Eagles score before half.

The second half would go much like the first. White got Gavin Newman and Wyatt Sharp involved to give the Cougars another more catching threats. CJ Allen kept hitting the holes Ben Conrad, Chaz Duverney, Brennon Byrge, Caleb Osborne and Carson Meade were giving him. The Cougar defense continued getting stops, including Shepherd’s second interception of the game. There were seniors making plays, like Devlin Dukes fake punt reception that kept the Seymour offense on the sidelines, and players from every other class made them too. It was a total team effort on a night of relentless heat and humidity.

The full harvest moon hung over the Cougar Fieldhouse the entire game and the Cougars harvested another win to move to 3-1 on the season. White spreading the ball to a multitude of receivers was the thing that had been missing from the Cougar offense this season. It felt like he took another big step on his path to being the complete passing quarterback the Price era is famous for. Allen continued to improve as well. He had close to 200 yards on the ground and did it with his explosive playmaking. He didn’t have to touch the ball as much to get those yards and his three touchdowns.

Outside of a few penalties the Cougar defense played much better than last week. Seymour has a very athletic quarterback who in the part would have given the Cougars trouble with his legs. But they held him to one long play and otherwise shut him down. The Eagles final touchdown came with just over a minute to go in the 4th quarter against mostly future Cougar starters.

Up next for the Cougars is a 2-2 Gibbs team who handily defeated Morristown East last night. Last year the Cougars were dominating the Eagles when Landon Addington was knocked out of the game and Gibbs made an improbable rally. The game, like last year’s, is at Gibbs.

Seymour Generosity

The Eagles students took it upon themselves to make a large banner and sign it for young Jack Price. The amazing young people also raised 1200 dollars for the Price family. The youth in East Tennessee are doing amazing things. The JROTC of Campbell County have themselves raised close to 10,000 dollars for the Price family.

Cougars Fall to Wildcats

Hunter White

It was an unfortunately familiar story on Friday night at L. Hope Dossett Stadium. Oak Ridge arrived and took yet another victory in the series that dates back to 1975.

Long a region power, the Wildcats were off to a slow start in 2019 with losses to Hardin Valley and Kingsport DB. Their start was much faster on Friday night. The Cougars won the coin toss and chose to accept the ball. However the kick was bobbled and with the team speed you face with Oak Ridge that split second is enough. The Cougars were forced to start on their own 14 yard line.

The Cougar offense couldn’t muster yards and had to punt on their first possession. Oak Ridge was able to take the ball on the CCHS side of the field. The Wildcats put together a drive that ended in 7 points, amazingly it was the first time they had scored 7 in a game this season. It gave the Wildcats confidence early, something no Cougar wanted to see.

CCHS fared better on their next drive, getting a 15 yard penalty for a 1st down then moving the ball behind a Hunter White pass play to Cahron Williams. The Cougars crossed into Oak Ridge territory but the drive ended at the 48 with a Wildcat interception.

Oak Ridge couldn’t make any magic happen this time out, the Cougar defense stiffened and Blake Taylor continued his inspired play, sacking the Wildcat QB, making it 3rd and 12. The Wildcats had an errant pass and were forced to punt as the quarter came to a close. It was 7-0 and the Cougars seemed to be in the thick of the battle.

That would change quickly in the second quarter. The Oak Ridge punt took a good roll inside the Cougar 15, once again leaving a lot of grass between the Cougars and the end zone. The Cougars had a short gain on the ground from CJ Allen but the ready Wildcat defense forced the punt. Oak Ridge once more got started a drive inside the 40 of CCHS. One play later the Wildcats scored a touchdown, the xp was good and it was 14-0.

On the next play, the Cougars fumbled the kick return and Oak Ridge took it 20 yards for a score. It was suddenly 21-0 when two plays before it had been 7-0 and the Cougars had the ball.

The Wildcats kicked off to the Cougars and this time the offense began to move the ball. CJ Allen had a nice run, and Devlin Dukes and Gavin Newman quick catches from Hunter White and the Cougars were quickly back on the Wildcat side of the field, trying to make it 21-7 at the half. White hit Cahron Williams and CJ Allen had another solid run, bringing the Cougars 4th and 1 near the Wildcat 40. It appeared the Cougars were going to use the quick snap that had worked on an earlier Allen gainer but the line moved and it was 4th and 6. Coach Price elected to punt in hopes of getting Oak Ridge in a long field position before the half.

The punt took Oak Ridge down to their own 25 yard line with 6 minutes to go in the half. The Wildcats mounted another drive, capping this one off with a score with 2:48 left in the half.

The Cougars offense took the field but were looking at a 3 and out in the face of a very fast Wildcat defense. However a roughing the punter penalty gave CCHS a 1st down. A few plays later Isiah Johnson intercepted White again and the Oak Ridge offense took the field 66 yards from paydirt. The Wildcats quickly scored again just before half, making the score 33-0.

When the second quarter assault finally ended, Oak Ridge had scored 27 points. There were opportunities for the Cougar that came up just a few inches short. Multiple long pass plays that were inches from completion for instance. Unfortunately this was a game where everything went the Wildcats way. The Cougars managed to have major mistakes in each phase of the game.

In the second half the Cougars would threaten to score two times before the drives ended deep in Oak Ridge territory. The Wildcats had one long scoring play to make it 40-0. The Cougars never stopped trying and outside of that really tough 9 minute stretch in the 2nd quarter they played okay vs the Wildcats.

This will be one of the games these young Cougars can learn from as 2019 continues. The importance of special teams play, field position and never quitting can be taken into next week’s game vs Seymour and in district play as that part of the schedule arrives. The Cougars can be encouraged by the play of the offensive line and front 7 on defense.

White is growing up before our very eyes. Each game throws unique pressures at the young quarterback that he’s seeing for the first time. The learning curve is steep but improvement will come.

Speaking with Cougar legend Ethan Jeffers pre-game, he looked back at throwing 5 interceptions in his first start as a sophomore. Then over 50 passes the next week against Cumberland County. Those Cougars went 3-7 but the foundation was laid for a very high level of play the next two years. It feels like we are seeing that with White and these young skill players and linemen each week. It’s not always pretty early on but these long nights build fires inside that lead to bigger things.

The Cougars next bigger thing is homecoming vs Seymour in 6 days. The Oak Ridge game is history and now the Cougars’ goal shifts to going 1-0 in week four.

Cougars Win Last Second Thriller

The Cougars had much better weather this week as they traveled south to face the Carter Hornets. The skies were bright blue as they took the field. Carter won the toss and chose to receive the opening kick. The Cougar defense, much as it did in game one, got a quick stop.

The Cougar offense handed the ball to CJ Allen who blasted ahead for a nice gain. After a pair of completed passes, Hunter White’s next attempt to Cahron Williams went awry after Williams batted the ball into the air as he attempted to catch it. Carter intercepted the batted pass and ran it well into Cougar territory, setting their offense up at the 31 yard line. Within a few plays Carter was on the move, inside the Cougar 10 yard line. The defense stiffened and forced a 4th and goal from the 1 yard line. It looked as if the Cougars had blown up the Hornet 4th down play in the backfield but the Carter ball carrier managed to escape and just managed the tip of the ball across the goal line. The xp was successful and the Hornets led 7-0.

The Cougar offense took the field again after the Carter squib kickoff to the 20, and this time they came out ready to even the score. White hit Williams for a 23 yard gain on second and 12, then a few moments later White threw a 3rd down and 15 pass to MaKyle Shepherd for another 1st down. Williams and CJ Allen took the Cougars to the 22 yard line, and the Hornets got a late hit penalty to move it half the distance to the goal. Allen took the handoff from White and blasted into the end zone on the 11 yard carry. Thomas Johnson knocked in the xp and the teams were tied at 7.

The Cougar defense led by big plays by CJ Allen, Blake Taylor, Desmond Gilbert, Jadon White and Javan McCulley caused the Hornets to go backwards. The Hornets punted away to the Cougars on 4th and 14.

White had a series of completions to Williams, Shepherd and Devlin Dukes, sprinkled with some CJ Allen ground action. The efforts of Brennan Byrge, Calob Osborne, Chaz Duverney, Ben Conrad, and Carson Meade up front allowed White time to pass and Allen holes through which he could dash.

Allen getting to the linebackers and defensive backs was a bonus for the sophomore ball carrier, as he punished would be tacklers with his grinding gallops. The big play of the drive came as White rolled right and hit Allen for a 21 yard gain on 2nd down and long. Allen rumbled through several Hornets to take the ball inside the 20. Two quick White to Williams competitions later and the Cougars were back inside the 10. Once again the Cougars dialed Allen’s number in the and goal situation and the sophomore delivered touchdown number 2 on the night. Johnson once again nailed the xp and it was 14-7 CCHS.

The Johnson kickoff went deep and a Carter player had a mental mistake, stepping out with the ball at the 6 yard line. It seemed the Cougars had all the momentum late in the 2nd quarter after forcing the Hornets to punt from their own end zone. The punter got off a good punt that took a great roll leaving Campbell County with the ball at midfield, up 14-7 with around 4 minutes to go in the half. It looked even better after a pass interference call gave the Cougars 1st and 10 and the 38. Unfortunately things took and turn for the worse. A fierce Carter blitz got to white on the strip sack and the ball was lost.

The Hornets wasted little time, turning the second Cougar turnover into a second touchdown on a long pass and run on 3rd and very long following a CJ Allen sack. After the 62 yard touchdown it was 14-14 with around 2 minutes left in the half.

Bad fortune wasn’t done with the Cougar offense yet. CJ Allen fumbled the handoff from White and Carter recovered deep in Cougar territory. The defense once again were sent out with the task of stopping the Hornets after a turnover. The Hornets had 18 yards and 39 seconds to make something happen. This time the defense said “no” to the Carter offense and the half hit with the score tied at 14.

There were positives in the first half, the Cougars had made some very good plays in all phases of the game, but they had also allowed a long touchdown, turned the ball over 3 times and gotten a slew of costly penalties. The Cougars had dominated time of possession and seemingly controlled the game but were tied.

To begin the 2nd half CCHS would receive the ball. After the kick sailed out of bounds the Cougars started at the 35 yard line. From there White hit Williams over the middle for 15 yards on 2nd and 12. Once again the ball was spread around with Williams and Shepherd catching multiple passes and CJ Allen coming through with big runs. Williams then caught a side line route at the 12, broke a tackle and stepped out of bounds and the Hornets hit him. The penalty moved the ball to the 6, the Hornets were once again penalized and it was first and goal from the 3 yard line. Allen wouldn’t be denied as he crashed the left side and into the end zone for his 3rd touchdown of the evening. The Johnson xp made it 21-14.

The Cougars seemed to have the momentum once more after Jason Kennedy recovered a Carter fumble at the 50 on the ensuing possession.

The Cougars moved the ball into Hornet territory and then one of the oddest stretches in Cougar football history started. The Cougars had a holding penalty on 1st down, making it 1st and 18, a block in the back on the next play, making it 1st and 28, White was sacked, losing 12 yards on the 3rd 1st down play of the set of downs, making it 2nd and 40, a delay of game made it 2nd and 45, CJ Allen fumbled the next 2nd down play but recovered the ball, making it 3rd and 50. At this point, the Carter announcer, nearly out of breath from calling the many events of the sequence, simply started it was “3rd down and forever”. The ball was snapped to White facing the impossible, but Devlin Dukes broke past two Carter safeties and White arched a bomb in his direction, Dukes made the grab 45 yards from the prior line of scrimmage. The Cougars had gone from 3rd and 50 to 4th and 5, deep in Hornet territory. White threw to Allen on 4th but a jarring hit caused Allen to drop the pass that would have been a 1st down.

As the 4th quarter began, Carter was driving the ball again. The Cougars defense seemed to finally stiffen the Hornets were facing a 4th and 11 from the Cougar 19 yard line, but the shifty Carter QB, Chandler Wilson took off and ran for 13 yards before being forced out by Cobey Raines. This made it 1st and goal from the 6. Wilson then found a receiver in the back corner of the end zone and once again the game was tied at 21.

The Cougars started the next drive in a bad spot as the officials once again tossed a flag, this time on the kick return, meaning CCHS would take the ball at their own 15 yard line. Allen carried the ball out to the 29 for a 1st down, but another penalty, followed by a sack saw the Cougars facing 2nd and 24, Allen had a 2 yard safe play, then a White pass fell incomplete. It was time to punt again, and Allen got off again good one that took a Cougar bounce. Still Carter had the ball at midfield with momentum and 5:45 on the clock.

The Cougar defense said “no”. A Blake Taylor sack on 3rd and 12 forced the punt. The punt was a bad one and it suddenly flipped the field. The Cougar offense managed to move the ball from near midfield down to the Carter 37 yard line before once more having to punt. This time the Cougar punt drove the Hornets down to the 10 yard like.

The Cougar defenders once more rose to the occasion. Taylor and Allen snuffed a wide sprint for a loss. The Cougar front 7 smashed the Hornet run attempt on second down. On 3rd down senior Lawson Shown rushed from the right edge and sacked the Carter quarterback. The Cougars used their 3rd timeout of the possession to preserve time for the offense. They were able to give them 1:13 after the Carter punter hit it from his own end zone out to the 43.

The Cougars would need every second. White got a completion to Shepherd and a CJ Allen run gave the Cougars the first down and all important clock stoppage. After an incomplete pass and exchange of 5 yard penalties White stepped up again and hit Shepherd for a 15 yard gain to the Hornet 18 yard line. Time was scarce, White had to spike it on 1st down. Two more incomplete passes left it 4th and 10 from the 18 with 5 seconds left. The Cougar offense came onto the field. Carter had sent in its field goal defense. The Hornets called timeout. Coach Justin Price had a change of heart during the time out and sent out kicker Thomas Johnson to try the 35 yard field goal. Johnson proved up to the task, his kick sailed cleanly through the uprights as the clock hit zero.

There was quite a celebration on the field and in the stands as the Cougar Crazies went wild. The Cougars moved to 2-0 in 2019.

Hunter White finished up 22-37-238-0-1. CJ Allen had 26 carries for 133 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns, Allen also had 3 catches for 38 yards. Cahron Williams had 10 catches for 98 yards. Devlin Dukes 3 catches for 58 yards. MaKyle Shepherd 6 catches for 39 yards. Thomas Johnson was 3-3 on xp and made his only fg attempt in the Cougars 24-21 win.

Next looms 0-2 Oak Ridge next Friday at CCHS. This will likely be the 1st meeting in the history of the programs that sees an unbeaten Cougar team taking on a winless Wildcat team.