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TWRA Reminds Boaters To Be Safe Over Labor Day Weekend

The Labor Day holiday, the final major weekend of the 2019 summer boating season is Aug. 30-Sept. 2. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants to emphasize the use of life jackets while boating in a safe and responsible manner.

The TWRA wants all those who visit the waterways to have an enjoyable time. However, TWRA officers will be on the watch for dangerous boating behavior, such as boating under the influence (BUI) and other reckless operation.

To date in 2019 on Tennessee waters, there have been six boating-related fatalities, 15 less than at the same time last year. There have been 36 serious injury incidents and 40 property damage incidents. TWRA officers have made 53 BUI arrests.

During the 2018 Labor Day boating weekend, there was a single fatality involving a personal watercraft on Tims Ford Lake. TWRA boating officers made five boating under the influence (BUI) arrests and investigated seven serious injury incidents and three property damage incidents.

Cougars Defeat Cocke County 14-0

CJ Allen had a monstrous night running the ball

In an emotionally charged game that saw a 2 hour stoppage for lightning, the Campbell County Cougars defeated Cocke County in a defensive battle.

The field started out wet as heavy showers drenched the Hill in the hour leading to the pre-game ceremonies and a rainbow appeared over the CCHS football field house, further marking for many, the special significance of the #TeamJack theme of the evening. The crowd, dressed almost entirely in Orange for young Jack remained loud and rowdy as the game got underway.

The Cougars took the ball first to begin the contest and failed to produce much on their initial possession. The wet ball seemed to make things extra hard for the Cougar receivers to hold on to sophomore quarterback Hunter White’s passes.

The Cougar defense quickly set the theme for the night behind junior linebacker Blake Taylor. Taylor looked unstoppable once again and was seemingly in the quarterbacks face as soon as the ball was snapped.

The Cougars resumed possession of the ball and got to work. C.J Allen made some yardage on the ground while White and his receiving duo of Cahron Williams and Devlin Dukes helped move the ball through the air. With just under 3 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter White found Dukes for a 19 yard touchdown strike. Thomas Johnson hit the xp and the Cougars led 7-0.

The Fighting Cocks took possession after the kick off and once again ran into swarming Cougar defense. Taylor, Javan McCulley, Jadon White and Daymon Seiber were everywhere Cocke County didn’t need them to be.

White once more took the ball for the Cougars as thunder rumbled in the Western skies. The Cougars had driven into Cocke County territory when the sky began to flash much more vividly. The officials called a halt and the stadium was ordered to be evacuated. The result was a storm stoppage from just after 8 pm until around 10 pm.

The Cougar offensive momentum from just prior to the delay was lost. The game became a defensive slug fest as rain poured from the skies. Jason Kennedy and Taylor recorded interceptions for the Cougars. Daymon Seiber, McCulley and Desmond Gilbert had bone crunching hits as Cocke County wasn’t able to get the ball down the field at all. The Cougar secondary, finally healthy, was able to shut down any attempt at a passing attack.

The teams exchanged punts, and in once case a long White interception that served as a defacto punt on 3rd down and very long, into the 4th quarter. The Fighting Cocks managed a foray into Campbell County territory only to see the Cougar defense snuff the drive on 4th down.

Finally in the 4th, the rain had stopped. The Cougars were just inside the Cocke County 40 yard line when White spotted a streaking Devlin Dukes, he rolled left and let fly a perfectly placed ball, and Dukes turned at the goalline, leaped into the air and snatched the ball over two Cocke County defenders. Johnson once more nailed the xp and the Cougars led 14-0.

The Cougar defense once again frustrated all Cocke County efforts to mount an offense. With 3 minutes left the Cougar offense took the field and ground out 1st downs until the clock expired.

It was a very long evening with the game wrapping up close to midnight. The Cougar defense was sterling and it shut down what was a potent offense the prior season. The Cougar offense had flashes of very high level play but the rain, slop and stoppage seemed to hurt them at times. Also penalties wiped away a 50 yard White to Dukes reception that would have led to 1st and goal, and another penalty erased a 30 yard White to Williams td pass.

The post game emotions were high as Coach Justin Price thanked his team for their efforts. Price’s voiced cracked as he told the kids to appreciate every moment of joy they can find in football and off the field in life.

Speaking with him post game, Price said that Jack was doing as well as can be expected at this point. He thanked the community for strongly supporting his family as they face many months ahead at Children’s Hospital.

The Cougars have a week to fix a few mistakes as they hit the road for Carter next Friday. If they can keep up their defensive momentum and shake some dropped passes and penalties on offense we could see a season of high level play. They will need their best effort quickly vs a tough district schedule that begins in week 3 with Oak Ridge.

Seiber Steps Up

A decade ago the Justin Price era of Cougar Football began. Outside of the Price Twins one man remains from that initial staff. His name is Cody Seiber. He has faithfully given his all to the Cougar Nation ever since.

On Friday night he had to enter one of the most iconic stadiums in the history of football as acting head coach of the Campbell County Cougars. Justin and Matt Price, along with all of the Price family, were gathered at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital as young Jack Price enter treatment for Leukemia. Jack, the infant son of Justin and Traci Price, had gotten the sad diagnosis the day before.

It fell upon the shoulders of the remaining staff to lead the Cougars in this situation. Seiber, Chris Honeycutt, Troy Arnold, and Landon Reese stepped up in a major way. They led the Cougars to a 13-6 victory over traditional East Tennessee power Austin-East. \

Though a jamboree is not always indicative of how the regular season will go this particular quarter of football showed something else. It showed the Cougars were going to rally behind their coach and play with their whole hearts.

For Cody Seiber it was a great leap in his journey as a coach. A wise man named Arn Anderson once said,”adversity introduces a man to himself.” I can not think of a more adverse situation to be in. His coaches that he has been with since he played high school football himself were struck with one of the most crushing situations imaginable. With no notice at all he had to take the reigns of the team and rest of the coaching staff. He had to settle the minds of dozens of young men who had their coach ripped from them. He had to focus them on the task at hand, when it would be so easy to lose that focus as their beloved head coach must have weighed heavy on their hearts. He had to go from being a position coach to a coordinator. He had to be his best.

He delivered all of this in spades. Cody Seiber proved that he embodies the Blue and Orange. He is ready to lead a team of young men onto the field and squeeze every ounce of their potential out of them. He proved that he is indeed head coaching material.

Cougars Do It For Jack

For the first time in 10 seasons Cougar football took the field without Matt and Justin Price. The normal excitement of playing a bit tampered by very sad reason those two couldn’t attend, the Cougar staff of Cody Seiber, Troy Arnold, Chris Honeycutt and Landon Reece had their young men ready to go out and give it their all for their missing coaches and the young reason they were absent.

As most now know, Jack Price, youngest son of Cougar Head Coach Justin Price and his wife Traci Price, was diagnosed with leukemia this week. Once that illness is discovered, treatment begins immediately. The Price family gathered to support Justin, Traci and young Jack on Friday, for a battle far larger than one on a football field.

The Cougars, decked out in Orange, the color of leukemia awareness, gathered in Neyland Stadium prepared to play their hearts out for their coach and his family. Austin East, a traditional East Tennessee power, returned the core of a team that made the 3rd round of the TSSAA playoffs before falling 24-6 to perennial state championship winner, Alcoa, in 2018. Led by a dynamic quarterback, Austin East had averaged 47.2 ppg vs teams not named Alcoa in the last 7 games they had played.

The Cougar defense set the tone quickly, Chaz Duverney, Javan McCulley and Jaden White bull rushed the Austin East front and linebacker Blake Taylor wreaked havok on the Road Runner QB and any attempt at running the ball. The Road Runners went backwards on their first drive before electing to punt on 4th down and very long.

The Cougar offense took over and sophomore Hunter White got the starting nod. White looked cool and confident as he fired balls wide to Cahron Williams. Williams, an elusive junior receiver with speed to burn made the Road Runners pay on an 18 yard reception from White. Another White completion got the Cougars inside the 10 yard line. An off sides penalty on Austin East’s defensive line saw the Cougars with 1st and goal from just inside the 5 yard line. Much like they did on their way to a state championship at Jacksboro two seasons ago, Hunter White handed the ball to C.J. Allen, Brennan Byrge, Ben Conrad, Chaz Duverney and Calob Osborne had blown out the Road Runner front and Allen dashed into the end zone for the Cougar score. A Tyler Johnson extra point saw the Cougars leading 7-0 with around 7 minutes to go in the quarter.

The Cougar defense once again took the field and once again Javan McCulley and Blake Taylor looked like men among boys in the trenches. The Road Runners were going backwards on the ground before hooking up for some positive yardage, but not enough for a first down. The Cougar linebackers were playing quite well behind the stout defensive line. Savvy veterans like Michael Brown, Colby Raines and Daymon Seiber will make for a good mix in 2019 with younger guys like Desmond Gilbert and Blake Taylor. The Cougar defensive backs were also playing quite well. Especially so considering 3 of the 4 projected starters were out with injury.

The Cougar offense took the field again, this time with Joseph Paul at quarterback. They began to move the ball once more but Paul had an unfortunate fumble as he was running right and Austin East recovered the errant ball. The Road Runners showed a flash of that high scoring offense by making big yardage pass plays. Austin East got on the board and decided to go for 2 to attempt the 8-7 lead with around 3 minutes remaining in the match. The Cougar pass rush got after the Road Runner QB, forcing him to roll right with Desmond Gilbert in hot pursuit. Gilbert managed to get him to the sideline and his fellow linebacker, Colby Raines made a diving hit that forced the QB out of bounds short of the goal.

This left the Cougars needing to hold onto the football with the 7-6 lead and with 3 minutes to burn. Hunter White once again took the field and started the drive off with a positive yardage play. The Cougars rotated quarterbacks, getting as many players on the field as possible and still managed to move the ball. Wyatt Sharp finished off the Road Runners with his touchdown in the final moments, giving the Cougars the 13-6 victory. Their second in a row in Neyland Stadium.

The Cougars looked sharp and ready to play even with the sad news from the prior day. They played Price football even without the Prices being there in person. Veterans like Anthony Gaylor stepped up at receiver and defensive back and made it seem like the injuries there weren’t an issue. Youngsters like White, Williams and CJ Allen kept the offense humming. Also keep your eyes peeled for #15 this season. Blake Taylor was a major disruptive force in the preseason scrimmages and he didn’t slow down in this game.

We don’t yet know how much time Justin and Matt will be able to spend coaching this fall. We do know their stamp on the program and the community is indelible. We also know their staff knows how to coach football and their players love their coaches and each other. We all love Jack Price too, and his victory will be the most important one for Cougar Nation as the weeks and months of fall arrive in Campbell County.

Pat’s Place: Come Together

Times readers in the perfect world I would be writing about tonight being the prologue to Cougar Football as our boys in Blue and Orange will be playing in the jamboree at Neyland Stadium. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world.

When I got home from the LaFollette Middle School jamboree I was floored when I opened Facebook. The LaFollette Church of Christ was requesting prayer for the family of Cougar Head Coach Justin Price. His youngest son, Jack, had been diagnosed with leukemia. This hurt to my very soul as there are no better folks I know than Justin, his wife Tracy, and their collection of tiny blonde children.

In my job and as Voice of the Cougars I interact with Justin more than any other coach in any sport on the county. I have known him for far longer than that. Now I do not even know what to say to him when I next see him and I am rarely at a loss for words.

Cougar Nation, Times readers, my friends and family throughout the land and the world wide web I want to ask you to rally behind this precious family. Whatever your religious persuasion, personal philosophy, and general beliefs are let us tell Justin Price and his family what they mean to us. If you are the prayer warrior that I know many of you reading this are lift Jack Price up. If you are of a different religious or spiritual persuasion do what ever it is you do when you wish the best for someone.

Cougar Nation let us rise up and dedicate this season to young Jack Price. Get out there and cheer this team, this staff and this coach on to new heights. Justin Price has given so much of himself to our team and more importantly our community. Though I know he would tell you, me, or anyone that we owe him nothing for what he is done this is because he is humble and one of the true good guys of the world. As Cougar fans we owe him a great debt as he has truly brought us joy over the past decade. Now let us shower him with our love and support like never before.

As always, I love each and every one of you people.