The Anderson County Mavericks host Powell High School this Thursday for the Thursday Night Rivalry Game that will be televised.
Last year, the Mavs brought Powell to the wire, gaining a lead early in the game, only for Powell’s greater depth to become an issue in the second half as they ran Anderson County ragged, finally gaining the lead to go on and win 48-36.
Mavericks Coach David Gillum, said there were mistakes made last year, but he’s hoping for a better outcome this time.
“We were up 14 or 21 going into the fourth last year,” said Gillum. “There were some mistakes by the offense and bad defense and it turned into a battle of stamina. Their depth became a real issue for us as that game went on. Hopefully we learned a lot from our mistakes last year and can perform better to make sure we don’t repeat them this year.”
The Mavericks have more depth this year and even got to air out their second- and third-string players in the opening game against Clinton. But there are some sticking points that could hurt the Mavs.
“We’ve got depth at positions this year that will give us a break at some things,” said Gillum. “Our offensive line and defensive line play both ways, so it could be an issue, but our kids are in pretty good shape and the biggest thing will be not letting it get to that point. If we had tackled a little better last year, it wouldn’t have been an issue. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that last year and defense ended up spending an entire quarter on the field without any rest. We’re going to try tackling a little better this year and taking care of the ball so it’s not an issue.”
One thing that will be difficult for the Mavs this year is the lack of video on their opponents. With hardly a pre-season to speak of, and no scrimmages or 7-on-7 to study, it will be difficult for them to go into the game with an idea of what to expect. Granted, Powell will have the same issue.
“It will be a sparring match early on. We’ve got limited film on them, so we’re not even sure how they’ll line up against us,” Gillum said. “I feel good about us on a run game and as a pass game. I know we’ll have to make adjustments on the way, but I feel good. It won’t be a cakewalk on either side of the ball, but I expect something more like an Alabama vs. LSU game, where it’s a war on both sides for four quarters and it may be a single play or two that makes the difference.”
Clinton, meanwhile, travels to Christian Academy of Knoxville for a rematch after last year’s 24-14 loss against the Warriors. Elie Deshomme rushed for 60 yards last year and came away with an interception, but that wasn’t enough to put the Dragons in the lead.
This year, the new head coach for the Dragons will get a chance to show off his chops against the Warriors. CAK goes into this week’s game 1-0 after a decisive victory against Volunteer High School that ended 28-14.
“We want to slow down their passing attack and force them to run the ball,” said Dragons Coach Keith Darrell. “They pass at least 95-percent of the time. They’re just as formidable as AC, not as good, but as formidable. I view our whole schedule as a gauntlet. Eight out of the 10 teams we’re playing are ranked in the state.
“The first two games are going to be like scrimmages. I really didn’t get a spring at all. I don’t know these guys, and I haven’t had a chance to evaluate them at all, really. I know them in shorts and stuff, but not in shoulder pads. I’m doing multiple things, trying to win a football game, scrimmage, and evaluate kids at the same time. It’s pandemonium.”
Darrell said he plans to start Trace Thackerson at QB again at CAK, and he’s just hoping the team does its best.
As for last week?
“I wanted to play real hard against AC,” he said. “And now I’m pulling for AC against Powell.”