A winless start in his first season as head coach at William Blount hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm and optimism of Robert Reeves.
“I told the guys, let’s shoot for 5-5,” Reeves told The Daily Times. “At 0-5, you’re going to have times when spirits are down, but we’re still working. There are lots of little things we are improving on, each week.”
Reeves noted that the Governors have played with discipline, having only seven penalties called against them so far this season.
That discipline and much more will be needed for the Governors to pick up the first win of the season on the road against Sevier County at 7 p.m. Friday.
Class 5A Sevier County will likely come into the game with a chip on its shoulder, as its 4-0 record over the first four weeks was crushed last Friday by the West Rebels in a 49-0 Region 2-5A mercy-rule loss.
“Sevier County is a good team, it’s just that West is a state-championship caliber team, so you can throw that game out,” Reeves told The Daily Times. “You can see from their scores that the defense has really been impressive in their other games.”
Prior to the West fiasco, the Smoky Bears had kept two opponents out of the end zone and had yielded a total of 30 points.
Running 3-4 or 4-2 front schemes, Sevier County has good size up front and physical linebackers who are “really good,” according to film study by the Blount coach. The defense is led by middle linebacker Garrett Hawkins, who is also a key running back on offense. Reeves said the 6-foot-2, 217-pound senior is a force that the Governors will have to bottle up on both sides of the ball to have much success.
Offensively, Sevier County throws the ball well, Reeves said, and can run effectively both inside and out.
The Governors will be near full strength coming into the contest. Starting fullback Hunter Ogle is unlikely to be cleared for play but Reeves knew of no other major injuries.
The coach stressed that his players have kept working hard despite the lack of success thus far. He mentioned senior safety Tyler Ellis and junior right tackle Vincent Diehl as two who have been improving and showing good effort in recent practices.
To be able to stay with Sevier County, the Governors need to have a stronger start than in the last two games. William Blount allowed a long 11-play march capped with a 27-yard run for the Hilltoppers to take an early lead and the Govs never responded in the 35-0 loss.
Against Heritage, William Blount allowed 28 unanswered points before replying with its first score late in the first half. The Governors kept the pace in the second half but could not cut into the commanding early lead, losing the Battle of the Bell 38-20.
With Ogle out of action, the offense will need to depend heavily on both the legs and arm of quarterback Brett Cortez. The Governors opened the year hoping for a heavier run-oriented attack from the Wing-T formation but have gradually adjusted to present more of a passing threat.
Reeves knows the task won’t be easy, just as it has not been so far in the campaign, but the veteran assistant now in his first year leading the Governors remains upbeat and steadfast in his goal to build a solid program.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this program won’t be, either,” Reeves said. “I’m proud of the kids. They have worked hard and continue to work hard.”