As we strolled through the Sequatchie Valley with our TSSN Preseason Football tour, we took some time to see what the players really thought about the upcoming season.

FScreen Shot 2016-07-30 at 3.18.02 PMrom the best pep club to overrated football players, they had a lot to say.

Of the players we surveyed, the average age was 16 years and six months with over half graduating in 2017.  Lineman made up the largest percentage of our voters, in regards to position groups, by a small margin, but overall, the halfbacks made up the biggest single position.

60 players from Sequatchie Valley football programs completed our survey with an average of ten players per team taking part.  They are completely anonymous as not to point out who said what among the Valley elite.  Our survey included two categories:  Superlatives and Team Votes.  We’ll focus on both in this survey, but also be sure to look out for our Coaches’ Survey coming soon.

MoScreen Shot 2016-07-30 at 3.35.48 PMst Common Phrase Heard at Practice

“WIN OUR WAY.” — Whitwell Tigers

We won’t reveal where others come from, but you can take your wildest guess.  This is a phrase that many players referred to in our upcoming TSSN Redzone Report for the Tigers.  New head coach Tracy Malone came up with the slogan for this team trying to change the mindset of Tiger Town.

Our Favorite:  RUN DICKSON!  

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 3.47.57 PMMost Hated Valley Team

South Pittsburg Pirates

The Pirates take the cake, err, pie in this one as the most hated team in the Valley, although only by a 1% margin.  Winning titles equals unified hate apparently.  The Indians come in 3rd, and that makes the three most successful teams in 2015.  Although not apart of the six-team core, Lookout Valley made the list. #FearTiftonia

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.00.41 PMMost Intimidating Valley Team

Marion County Warriors

It’s no surprise the Warriors find themselves on top in this category due to their recent success in the postseason, but a great atmosphere at home along with the size and depth of their 2A powerhouse just put the nail in the coffin on this one.  Richard Hardy still has some intimidation apparently without even fielding a football team!

Best Chance at a State TitlScreen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.02.52 PMe

Marion County Warriors

With two trips in two years to Cookeville, the Warriors definitely boast the greatest chance according to the players.  Also according the athletes, Sequatchie County, Bledsoe County, and Grundy County have no chance to make it deep in the playoffs.  Whitwell is in on the books, though, standing only behind South Pittsburg in Region 3-1A.

HScreen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.06.01 PMow Do Players Feel About Having to Compete Against Private Schools?

No Clear Answer

Although there is a definitive winner in our poll, the answer was that there isn’t a consensus on how players feel.  With a tie between whether it’s fair or not, this debate is still up in the air.  Many schools won’t have to compete with private schools, though, after this year’s public-private split.  And that’s where the players are, split right down the middle.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.10.48 PMThe Player You Don’t Want to Line Up Against

Hunter Davenport, Sequatchie County

The Players in the Sequatchie Valley have spoken and Hunter Davenport is the player you don’t want to see across the line of scrimmage.  A senior linebacker for the Indians, Davenport should be feared by most as he is half of a one-two punch with Kyle Cates.  Two players from Bledsoe County appeared on our list along with Mr. Football semifinalist Alex Kirkendoll from Marion County.

Most Overrated PlayerScreen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.20.43 PM

Kyle Cates, Sequatchie County

Also from Dunlap, the players seem to think that Kyle Cates might not be worth his weight in football pads.  Although a key player for the Indians last season, Cates was voted, by a slim margin as an overrated player.  Josh Wingo and Alex Kirkendoll follow in his footsteps.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.27.44 PMMost Underrated Player

Kyle Cates, Sequatchie County

The player universe is trending in Dunlap this season with the same player receiving votes as underrated and overrated.  Taking Cates out of the equation, Hudson Petty is the second choice in the category.  Fellow Indian, Hunter Davenport, came in third as underrated.  It will be interesting to see who really steps up this season.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.38.12 PMMost Intimidating Stadium

Indian Stadium, Sequatchie County

With a very close margin, the Indians boast the most intimidating home crowd of any school in the Valley according to the players.  Grundy County didn’t make the list and Bledsoe County barely made any headway.  Interesting, though, is the fact that Whitwell outranked State Runner-Up Marion County in this category.  Beene Stadium showing its worth as well, coming in second.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.39.51 PMPep Club You Don’t Want to Mess With

The Tribe, Sequatchie County

There’s not many pep clubs with a name to be feared, but The Tribe has definitely established themselves as the most feared in the Valley.  Whether it’s their clever signs or intimidating Twitter wars, The Tribe is something special and apparently the players of the Sequatchie Valley agree.

IScreen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.41.00 PMf You Could Play For Any Other Valley Team, It Would Be The…

Marion County Warriors

What else could you want in a program?  A storied past, great facilities, and recent success all play a part in this one.  South Pittsburg and Sequatchie tie for second, but nearly half the athletes that answered chose Marion County as their Plan B.  Some also reported they wouldn’t play at all if their school didn’t have a football team.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 4.55.04 PMName The Hands Down, Best Rivalry in the Sequatchie Valley

Sequatchie County vs. Bledsoe County, AKA The Battle For The Stump

This one threw us for a loop with the amount of coverage and craziness that goes along with a South Pittsburg-Marion County Rivalry matchup.  This one was decided by Grundy County and Whitwell players, being the middle ground for both war zones.  The Battle for the Stump edged out the South Valley Battle by a mere four percent.  In other words, it might as well been a tie.  The Bledsoe County-Sequatchie County rivalry, though, has had closer affairs, more exciting games, and more parity than their counterparts near the State Border.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 5.05.27 PMMost Hated Non-Valley Team

Boyd-Buchanan Buccaneers 

With common opponent this year and playing time with other schools in past year, Boyd-Buchanan was by far the most hated Valley beyond the Mountains.  That coupled with the tension of public and private schools, put the Buccaneers at the top of this poll.  They play Bledsoe County and Marion County in Region 3-2A while also competing with South Pittsburg in an established rivalry.  Upperman, Tyner, Signal Mountain, and Copper Basin round out the top five with many other in contention.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 5.11.17 PMThe Best Player in the Valley

Hunter Davenport, Sequatchie County

Two ‘Hunters’ top our player polls with Davenport and Zeman, but the prior has established a reputation unlike any other as a Linebacker for the Indians.  Known as a hit first, ask question later type of player, Davenport definitely deserves the role of top player, although Alex Kirkendoll will be ‘Hunt-ing’ him down all season in the race of Elite players in the Sequatchie Valley.

Contact Chandler Morrison at and follow him on Twitter @RCS_Chandler.


2 thoughts on “THE PLAYERS’ VOTE: Preseason Surveys and Opinion

  1. Well that was mildly entertaining. There ain’t no way in hell, the oldest and nastiest rivalry in the State isn’t the best in the Valley. SMH.


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