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Campbell County preparing with 7-on-7 scrimmages

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By Chris Cannon

ccannon@lafollettepress.com

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FARRAGUT—Campbell County has started it’s season off with some tough competition.

The Cougars traveled to Farragut High School on Tuesday morning to face off with the Admirals in the first 7-on-7 scrimmage of the season.

For the coaches and players, it was a welcome sign to see.

“Farragut’s traditionally, year in and year out, one of the premier football teams in 6A football,” head coach Justin Price said. “They have tons of athletes and tons of kids to pick from. When you come down here, you see well-coached and a lot of speed. That’s good for our players to experience that, and I thought we held our own today.”

The 7-on-7 drills consist of mainly passing schemes.

Offenses work on their passing skills, while the defense gets a workout in passing coverage.

According to junior quarterback Ethan Jeffers, the Cougars need these summer workouts more than any other team.

“It’s just going to let us improve on what we do,” he said. “Obviously, we throw a lot. Everybody knows that. This just gives us more room to improve and get better at what we do. We need this more than almost anybody in East Tennessee, except for maybe CAK. We pass more than anybody around here.”

According to Justin Price, however, it’s more than just passing drills.

As Monday ended the nearly two-week dead period, the team needed some practice to “oil the hinges.”

“You’ve got dead period that comes in the middle of summer, and it’s good to get away,” the head coach said. “But sometimes, you get a little rusty. We want to come out and start throwing as quickly as we can to knock off that rust and find out who goes where. We’re going to start developing depth charts and see what plays best suit our players. You start finding out a lot more.”

According to defensive coordinator Matt Price, the scrimmages do more than prepare the throwing abilities.

The games also give the team some conditioning that’s going to help during the season.

On Tuesday, the team had workouts early before going to Farragut at 11 a.m.

“It is challenging, especially for the first one,” Matt Price said. “It goes back to that conditioning that they may not realize. As a coaching staff, we realize they’re going to get some good conditioning today. It’s not sprints, but it’s being in the heat, being on the bus, and your body is drained. It helps the mental focus of it, because that’s when the kids have to understand that when they’re really tired, that’s when you’ve got to dial in and get that tunnel vision so they can execute.”

Tuesday’s 7-on-7 wasn’t the last one for Campbell County.

They travel to Grace Christian in Knoxille on Friday at 5:30 before going to Maryville College on Saturday at 9 a.m. The team will participate in four games on Saturday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon.

“I think we’re getting to go against Maryville High School this year (at 9 a.m.),” Matt Price said. “That’s the standard for high school football in this area. Anytime you can go against that, you can see where you are. A lot of times in practice, you think, ‘We’re getting better.’ We are, but sometimes you don’t see it until you go against competition. Going against that level of competition will be really good for our guys, because obviously, we won’t see anything as disciplined or that executes the way they do throughout the season.”

Going into the season, the team had concerns about its receiving core. Losing many of the guys from last season, many newcomers have had to step up for Campbell County.

“We’ve been blessed the last two years with tall guys and a bunch of them,” Justin Price said. “They were all level. Right now, we’ve got about four or five guys that are separating themselves from everybody on their team. They all bring something different.”

Corey Phillips brings height, Trey Torres brings aggressiveness and Joseph Elkins and Preston Miller each bring elusiveness, according to the head coach.

“I think that’s going to help us down the road, as those guys each bring something a little different to our table,” Justin Price said. “That will make us tougher to defend.”

“We lost a lot in the depth charts, but there’s a lot of guys stepping up,” Phillips said. “We’ve got some pretty good receivers this year and some big guys. We should be pretty good.”

However, that wasn’t the only players stepping up.

With a freshman class the coaches are excited about, they were only lacking one thing: a quarterback.

“It’s all about evaluating who can play what,” Justin Price said. “Josh Lay stepped in and said, ‘I’ll take a shot at quarterback.’ He’s throwing it deep, and they’re high-pointing touchdowns. That’s an exciting group. They’re going to be fun to watch this year.”

To a senior, that’s good to see.

“Josh Lay was out here, hadn’t played quarterback in his life, and he was out here throwing touchdowns,” Phillips said. “I’m just excited to see these guys being competitive.”