Jacksboro is jumping straight into the fire in the beginning of their 2012 season.
On Nov. 8, the Eagles face a tough Clinton team, followed by an even tougher Powell team on Nov. 9. Tipoff is slated for 1 p.m. for Thursday’s match-up with Powell.
“Powell was the second best team in Knox County last year,” head coach Cody Parker said. “That league is so good, top to bottom. I really wanted to test our kids early to see where we are at and see what we need to strive for. I think that will be a good measuring stick to tell us where we’re at and what we need to work on.”
With the game set for school hours, Jacksboro is expecting a good atmosphere in the gymnasium as most of the students will be in attendance.
However, the measuring stick may be close to Powell’s talents early. Jacksboro lost only one consistent starter in Tyler Loveday, as they bring back a lot of talent.
“We bring back a lot of experience,” Parker said. “We have a lot of seventh graders that played last year, and I’m really excited about those guys.”
That experience will be tested, not only in the Powell and Clinton games, but in the game to follow on Nov. 12 against Jefferson.
To Parker, they could be the example that everyone in the district looks up to.
“Right now, I think Jefferson is the top team in the district, and that’s what we’ve got to shoot for is that level of play,” he said.
For Jacksboro, later in the season becomes the gauntlet in the district. The Eagles play the toughest schools in their group as possible.
“Our district schedule is really going to get competitive for us in late December and early January,” Parker said. “That’ll continue throughout the season. Our district is really good. We don’t play Soldier’s Memorial and Livesay. We play both Oak Ridge schools, Clinton, and Horace Maynard that’s always traditionally good in basketball. Then, we’ve got LaFollette in the big rivalry game. We really stack up well against those teams.”
This season, the Eagles should be an interesting team to watch as they try out a new defensive scheme.
Jacksboro will be playing fast and fierce in their man-to-man plan.
“I think we’re fast enough and smart enough to play it,” Parker said. “That’s what we’re going to hang our hat on early, is man-to-man. We’ve obviously got some changeups that we can go to. There’s going to be some games that we’re going to try to go full court pressure. Our half court defense is going to be a man-to-man, in your face and physical. We’re going to let people know that nothing’s going to come easy.”
According to Parker, Landon Reese, Josh Lay, and Eli Cross will be the defensive specialists that can really cause havoc and turnovers.
With Jacob McGuire and Jacob Walden running the offense the Eagles have only one goal in mind: play for a title.
“Our goal is ultimately to make it to Sevierville for the East Tenn. state tournament,” Parker said. “We want to go over there and have a good showing. Our goal is really just to compete for title this year.”