By Tim Chambers
It’s 2016 high school football season on August 18 at Sullivan East and Longhorn fans have it marked on their calendar. The Longhorn nation is excited about the upcoming season and rightfully so.
But Saturday also marks the first day of youth league football.
Johnson County will field teams in the Mighty Mites, Grasscutters and Junior Pee Wee divisions and all will take part in the jamboree at Unaka High School.
Attempts to field a fourth team in the Pee Wee division failed according to President Charlie Jennings.
“We did everything we could but the numbers weren’t there,” said Jennings. “You put the article in the paper; we talked to the middle school coaches and reached out to the kids, but couldn’t come up with enough players. We had somewhere around nine players and you can’t play with that small a number. We’re excited about the number of kids we have in our program but would have loved to field a Pee Wee squad.”
The numbers are good otherwise.
Some 65 players will be taking part in football and nearly that number has signed up to cheer.
The football players sold pizza kits from Little Caesars to play for the cost of their uniforms. But there is still a lot of expense according to Jennings.
“We are always looking for sponsors to help pay for equipment,” added Jennings. “The cost to equip nearly 70 players with helmets, shoulder pads and other necessary gear is enormous. The cheerleaders also have a lot of expenses too.”
Jennings is very appreciative of his wife, Stacey, who helps out a lot with the paperwork. He also praised the board which consists of Jennifer Campbell, Devin Brown, Adam Sauer, Beth Henson, Angela Blevins, Cassidy Shupe, Rachael Hatley and Jessie Rhudy.
“We couldn’t do it without everyone working together,” said Jennings. “They are to be commended for the outstanding job that they do.”
Andrew Hensley will coach the Mighty Mites; Austin Atwood the Grasscutters and Travis Brown will tackle the Junior Pee Wee.
The regular season will begin on August 19.
Jamboree Schedule for Saturday August 12
At Unaka High School
11:00—Johnson County vs. Tennessee High (Mighty Mites)
12:00—Johnson County vs. Tennessee High (Grasscutters)
2:00—Johnson County vs. Tennessee High (Jr. Pee Wee)