It is almost kick off time in Carter County. As we get ready for our first football Friday night of 2015, we take a look at some questions heading into Week 1.
Which Unaka QB will step up?
The Rangers are still looking for the fit behind center as Blake King and John Ramsey have been battling out for the No. 1 position. King and Ramsey are a pair of young guns (sophomore and freshman, respectively) that both took their varsity snaps in the jamboree last week.
With some talented skill players including senior running back Micah Hunt and receiver Brandon Guinn, it will be important for the Rangers to find familiarity at center.
Northview Academy will make their first ever trip to Roan Mountain for the program’s varsity debut. The school located near Sevierville will pose a question because they don’t have a history to go off of. Information is limited, and with no base line to go off of, it could be a dangerous game for the ‘Landers.
Will the Cloudland offensive switch work?
With just two drives in the jamboree, the simple answer is yes.
Cloudland called an audible in fall camp to switch from a triple-option offense to the spread option that was one of the area’s strongest offenses last season. Cloudland returns a great group of athletes in the skill positions, from quarterback Austin Whitehead to running back Colby Birchfield to wide receiver Noah Arnett, that make the offense they run dangerous. However, the athletes that Cloudland has in open space could be a dangerous combination for opposing defenses.
How does Hampton balance the offense?
This may be best question that a team could have heading into a season. Hampton has one of the area’s strongest trios in the offensive backfield in Colby Jones, Jerry Lunsford and Adam McClain, as well as a talented group of wide receivers. Hampton Head Coach Mike Lunsford loves running the ball, and you shouldn’t expect that to change.
However, with a running quarterback and two talented running backs, the challenge may be getting everyone enough touches, and also riding the hot hand during the games.
Which state will shine in Friday’s Border Battle?
Hampton will be the first of two Carter County teams that have Avery County (N.C.) during the regular season. While the programs may not be as close as Cloudland-Avery, it will still be a rivalry game for both schools.
With the Vikings getting a new head coach in July, you could almost put the Vikings in the same category as Northview. Head Coach Jason Phelps has made an impact already and Luke Crowe is a talented quarterback that could cause Hampton headaches if they don’t keep him contained.
How will a Week 1 bye affect Elizabethton/Happy Valley?
This is a question we won’t have the answer to until late in the season. Due to a variety of reasons and scheduling issues, both the Cyclones and Warriors will take the first week of the season off, and finish the regular season with 10 straight games.
Until Week 0 (now Week 1) became a main-stay scheduling date, most teams would play 10 straight games. However, that has changed across the area, which prompted the name change from Week 0 to Week 1. Staying healthy will be key for both squads.