FULL FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Grundy County Yellow Jackets

THE RUNDOWN

2015 Record: 1-9        Region 4-3A Record: 1-5        Region Rank: 6th

A PREVIEW OF THE ‘VEER-FEARING’ JACKETS

Head Coach: Casey Tate (2nd Year at Grundy County and Overall)

Returning Starters:

Offense:  Lost 5, Return 6              Defense:  Lost 3, Return 8 

10-Year Win Tracker:

Sequatchie Win Tracker

PLAYMAKERS:  Kevin Castro (Senior Halfback), Dewayne Grooms (Senior Offensive Guard/Linebacker), James McDaniel (Senior Halfback), Matt Burrows (Senior Wide Receiver/Cornerback), Grayson Lawson (Sophomore Offensive Tackle/Defensive Tackle), and Josh Wingo (Sophomore Halfback/Linebacker)

KEY LOSSES:  Matthew Underhill (Defensive Tackle/Tight End) and Dakota Jones (Halfback)


IMG_7628OVERVIEW:
  Starting out with a 1-9 record as a head coach, Casey Tate made some major changes in the offseason, but most kinks worked themselves out with time.  Strength was a huge part of the spring and summer months out in Coalmont as were the fundamentals.  Don’t let this out-of-place team wonder out of the mind, though, because the Yellow Jackets have a more veteran squad, returning 14 out of 22 players from last year on both sides of the ball.  Add to that some sophomore talent and you’ve got a team that could be scary in the later weeks of the season.  Grundy County has a great shot at the playoffs, only having to fight their way through three teams–barring a tremendous upset–to put an extra game on the schedule.  The 4-3A region, though, will probably be know for a lot of parody in the 3- and 4-seed slots in the coming years, but that doesn’t make it any easier on the Jackets to pick up a matchup post-Week 11

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK:  Yellow Jacket fans need not worry about the quarterback situation, even though it’s still hot and wide open.  The option always works itself out in the end.  Timing gets better.  Read are more precise.  No matter who takes over they’ll be in good hands with a line that bigger then most.  And speaking of the line, it will be crucial for a team that put the fear of the veer into the hearts of their enemies.  By no means is this team a powerhouse hidden away in the far reaches of the Valley, but no team can take them as lightly as they did last year.  The offense will be more precise and fine-tuned.  And that’s saying alot, considering some close games the Yellow Jackets had in 2015 against quality opponents.

DEFENSIVE OUTLOOK:  If you give a coach a defense, he’ll probably win some games.  If you buy into a coach’s defense, he’ll probably win a lot of games.  This past offseason, Tate put a lot of emphasis on defense after getting into several shootouts, giving up 30 points or more on several occasions.  That had to stop.  Grundy county has a solid defensive line and linebacker core, but the secondary isn’t too shabby either.  That’s something you need in IMG_7612a region largely reliant on a free-fly zone.  Either way, the Yellow Jackets should have enough juice in the tank, if player stay healthy, to keep most offenses at bay this season, including some high-octane squads from the Valley.

SCHEDULE ANALYSIS:  Whitwell is a wild card with Malone making Tiger Town new again, but the rivalry between Whitwell and Grundy County is fierce.  Down the line, it’s probably better to bet against the Yellow Jackets in the first two games of the season due to the late-season spark Grundy County always seems to have.  That coupled with the fact that Marion County hosts in week two should be room for concern.  Cannon County should be a cupcake while a trip to Watertown might warrant a closer affair.  The non-region schedule is somewhat strong with MArion and South Pittsburg but ultimately is weighed down by Whitwell and Watertown.  The Yellow Jackets best chance at playoff berth will come between weeks  eight and eleven when they host Dekalb County, who they nearly upset last season, and Smith County and travel to Sequatchie County and York Institute.   STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE GRADE:  B+

PREDICTED FINISH:   (3-7, 3-3 4-3A); First Round Loss

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

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