Pouring on the offense: All-County team shows trend of high-power scoring options
By Grant Ramey | (email@example.com)
Maybe Christian Academy of Knoxville’s 76-45 win over Anderson County in Week 0 should’ve been a clue. High school football offenses in East Tennessee, and around the country, are running away from defenses.
Blount County — and The Daily Times All-Blount County team — was no exception.
Maryville averaged 42 points per game on its way to a state championship berth and a runner-up finish. Alcoa averaged more than 38 points per game before falling in the state quarterfinal to CAK, a team that scored more than 500 points in 15 games on its way to a Class 3A state title.
“Kids in general have just gotten so much better at throwing and catching,” Maryville coach George Quarles said. “Teams are able to do both so well now. Used to, they were either one or the other, and now teams can do both.”
Quarles’ Maryville team beat Farragut 60-41 on Oct. 11. The Rebels advanced to the Class 6A state title game on the heels of a state semifinal where a combined 90 points were scored.
“For us to have a playoff game, 47-43 down at Siegel, was crazy,” Quarles said.
Rankin’s Alcoa team scored 49 points or more five times and was eliminated from the playoffs in an overtime game where 74 total points were scored.
“Certain parts of the nation, you’re going to have a lot more people throwing the ball, in the warmer climates,” Rankin said. “The Floridas and the Georgias and the Californias and Texas and so forth. CAK got a lot of credit for being a throwing team, but in Florida there’s 100 CAKs and 100 in California.
“I think it has something to do with the part of the nation you’re in and the influences you’re around. I still believe no matter what, any way you want to draw it up, you put those 11 out there, you still have to be able to run the football to win.”
In an ever-developing pass-happy football climate, Rankin’s Alcoa squad led a Blount County football landscape that was heavy on the running statistics.
Ezekial Koko ran for 931 yards and 10 scores. Jarod Crenshaw, an All-County selection more because of his defensive stops at linebacker, scored four times on the ground while running for 485 yards. As a team, Alcoa combined for more than 3,000 yards rushing and 53 touchdowns on the ground.
Both Koko and Crenshaw were All-State selections at linebacker.
Maryville’s backfield tandem of Shawn Prevo (22) and Trenton Shuler (10) combined for 32 touchdowns and more than 2,500 rushing yards. Shuler is being recruited by Tennessee-Chattanooga, Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech and Maryville College, while Prevo was named to the All-State team.
Je’Rell Bledsoe, an All-District selection, led Heritage with three rushing touchdowns and 521 yards on the ground.
In the trenches, it was guys like Alcoa’s Dalton Ownby, Heritage’s Ty Clark, Maryville’s Greg Jones and William Blount’s Zach Barton clearing holes for tailbacks and giving quarterbacks time to throw.
And the spread offenses spread the wealth behind All-County and All-District senior signal callers Nick Myers, Tim Green and Jake Olvey.
Myers, the senior Maryville QB who was named All-District, District 4-AAA’s best quarterback and was an All-State selection, threw for more than 2,500 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Heritage’s Olvey threw for more than 1,100 yards. Green accounted for more than 1,000 total yards and five touchdowns for William Blount.
A cast of big name receivers were on the receiving end of the running-wild offenses.
Maryville Cody Carroll and T.J. Kimble, both All-Distrcts wideouts, had over 40 receptions.
Carroll hauled in a County best 13 touchdowns on 44 catches for 810 yards. Kimble, the District 4-AAA newcomer of the year, had seven touchdown grabs and 678 yards receiving for the season.
The wideout duo of Dylan Harris and Jesse Huff led Heritage with a combined 792 receiving yards and four touchdowns. WB’s big-play threat Vinnie Hasenstaub scored four touchdowns on the season, spending time as both a wideout and running back while also fielding kicks and punts and playing defensive back.
Malik Love caught 26 passes for 387 yards and three touchdowns.
But while defenses tried to keep pace, defensive stoppers padded the stats and the list of accolades.
Brian Coulter was an All-State safety, leading a Maryville defense that included All-District linebackers Drew Curtis and Dylan Shinsky and defensive end Taylor Spivey.
Alcoa’s Mustafa Anthony and Landon Turbyfill were both All-State selections, while Braylon Young anchored the defensive line and garnered an All-State honor.
Turbyfill was also named District 4-AA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
But defenders county, state and countrywide, at all levels of football, seem to be a step behind.
“Defenses will catch up here to the offenses,” Quarles said.
“But right now the offenses are a little ahead of the defenses.”
The numbers prove that.