FULL FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bledsoe County Warriors

THE RUNDOWN

2015 Record: 5-6        Region 3-2A Record: 4-3        Region Rank: 4th

A PREVIEW OF THE ‘BLUE-CLAD’ WARRIORS

Head Coach: Josh Owensby (2nd Year at Bledsoe County and Overall)

Returning Starters:

Offense:  Lost 4, Return 7              Defense:  Lost 5, Return 6 

10-Year Win Tracker:

Bledsoe Win Tracker

PLAYMAKERS:  Chaise Sorrows (Senior Quarterback), Joseph Gore (Senior Halfback/Cornerback), Harley Smith (Junior Offensive Guard/Nose Guard), Kevin Whitson (Junior Linebacker/Tight End), Derrick Pursley (Senior Linebacker/Offensive Lineman), and (Cole Angel Defensive Tackle/Tight End)

KEY LOSSES:  Tavian Dodd (Defensive Tackle/Halfback) and Caleb Smith (Senior Halfback/Fullback)

IMG_7374OVERVIEW:  In his first year as head coach, Josh Owensby lead his Warriors to a playoff game.  Maybe it was far off in Chapel Hill, Tennessee and maybe, just maybe, they slipped in by the grit of their teeth with late season wins, but nonetheless, Bledsoe County put an extra game on the schedule.  That’s how you keep fans happy:  keeping making the playoffs.  And if you can do that in year one against arguably the best region in the State, chances are you can do it again.  They’ll have to cope, though, with the losses of Dodd and Smith who were two-thirds of the Warriors’ three-headed monster last season.  Look out for a team with an invisible chip on their shoulder in the fact that many in Region 3-2A might not see the blue and gold gaining speed in a top-flight district.

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK:  Starting every game since he was a sophomore and some as a freshman, Chaise Sorrows is the kind of quarterback you need in a region like 3-2A.  With the most experienced and veteran backfield duo among the region elite, there’s sure to be some balance.  Don’t say that to Coach Owensby, though.  He’ll gladly tell you the rushing game is where it’s at in Pikeville with a veteran group in the trenches on both sides of the ball including senior guard Harley Smith.  With roughly the same offense pre- and post-Owensby, expect a mix between spread and pro/ace formations.

DEFENSIVE OUTLOOK:  The trenches again will be key for the Warriors as they take on Marion County, Boyd-Buchanan, and Tyner all in a three week span.  Smith and fellow defensive lineman Cole Angel will be key, but linebackers Kevin Whitson and Derrick Pursley will be holding down the fort in the shallow secondary.  The Warriors may be lacking a little in the deep secondary, but as we all know, the IMG_7326Valley and Region 3-2A put more emphasis on the run.  Whatever Owensby has lined up deep, it should be sufficient for his schedule.

SCHEDULE ANALYSIS:  Looking down the barrel of South Pittsburg starting out is never ideal, but the Pirates are still adjusting to life after a Vic Grider hiatus.  That being said, the Warriors have a bye week right out of the gates, so after week one, they’ll have to play all the way through.  Whitwell, Silverdale Academy, and Polk County make up a relatively manageable stretch before they enter the belly of the beast midseason.  Starting out week six with Sequatchie County, who will always be a challenge no matter the season, is enough to deal with by itself.  Bledsoe County, though, has the pleasure of facing Boyd-Buchanan, Tyner Academy, and Marion County within a three-week stretch.  Did we mention that when the Warriors played these teams last year, they were all ranked top-three in the State the week of their matchups?  Did we also mention that Bledsoe County travels all three of those weeks?  They do end the season with Brainerd and Meigs County, which proved competitive with the Warriors last year, and if they can make it through the gauntlet healthy, a second-round playoff game should be theirs for the taking.  STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE GRADE:  A++

PREDICTED FINISH:  7-5 (5-2, 3-2A); First Round Win, Second Round Loss

Contact Chandler Morrison at TheSpearSportsBlog@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter@RCS_Chandler!

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