The Jamboree has come and gone, but our passion and hunger for Valley football has only strengthened with the oldest preseason event in the State of Tennessee.
In eight quarters, we saw some stellar action and not-so-interesting matchups, but that all comes with as much clout as the coaches put into it. Sure, we know that the Jamboree doesn’t really show anything, but we don’t care and we treat it like a regular Friday night.
So without further ado, we give the winners and losers from last night’s circus in Beene Stadium.
THE JAMBOREE KICKERS
It goes without being said that at least two kickers could hold up to the pressure put on them. With preseason all-state kicker Gabe Boring, from Bledsoe County, and the widely heralded Austin Nunley from Whitwell, many thought it might be a two-dog race for longest field goal during the halftime skills competition. Little did they know that Silverdale’s Connor Eischeid had a leg on himself, too.
Early, the field of kickers stayed strong with a 25-yard attempt followed by a 35-yard attempt that saw five of eight kickers advance. Onto the 45 yard attempt, Sequatchie County and South Pittsburg were out, leaving only Eischeid, Boring, and Nunley. All three had the leg, but Eischeid had the accuracy. Boring, though, clearly had more distance than both of the others in the last round. The winning field goal was a 50-yarder. That’s pretty impressive for the Sequatchie Valley who hasn’t really had the best kickers in the game in the past few years outside of Boring.
THE MOUNTAIN-BRED YELLOW JACKETS
Casey Tate has often said this team will be better than last year’s squad. The problem with 2015 was finishing ball games. Several times, including once against top-ranked Dekalb County, they messed up a play at the end and gave it away to the opposing team. This time however, they would do no such thing, starting out the Jamboree with a bang!
Down by two touchdowns with around 2 minutes to go, the Yellow Jackets would end up tying the Seahawks late. On a long drive, which included two long passes at just the right, Grundy County would score on a non-designed quarterback scrambled from the edge of the red zone. That would happen as the clock expired. Down by two, they’d get that by going for it and a diving pass to the front corner of the endzone. They’d also beat Lookout Valley 14-0 in the 6th Quarter.
THE HOMETOWN HEROES
Pleasing the home crowd is not always an easy thing to do in the Sequatchie Valley Jamboree, but the Pirates did it in style. Scoring on the very first play of their quarter against Lookout Valley, the Hogan Holland-Cade Kennemore connections went for 70 yards. They would cruise to a 21-0 victory and ease out of the third quarter with the grandstands cheering loud as ever.
Also playing Whitwell to a 7-0 victory, the Tigers came out with a lot of unique looks, trying to sneak a quarter win with dwindling 8th Quarter crowds. However, the Pirates wouldn’t allow it scoring early and playing stout defense to end the Jamboree on a high note against a team that will likely be upset-minded going into their last season affair.
EXTRA CREDIT: BEST UNI’S POWER RANKINGS
1. Bledsoe County–Traditional, Yet Modern
2. Grundy County–Advancement in Nike Hive-Fit Technology
3. South Pittsburg–Alabama-type Tradtion
4. Marion County–Adidas’ New ‘Gladiator Conform‘
5. Sequatchie County–Nike Makes a Difference in Hue
6. Whitwell–Modern with a Body-Conforming Tiger Grip
7. Silverdale–White Unis, No Judgement
8. Lookout Valley–Simple White Jerseys With Black Contrast Helmets
THE NON-BORING PUNTERS
It’s unfair to put your punter out on the field with Gabe Boring. It’s simply a grab for attention if you think you have a chance of matching his distance. Use whatever excuse you want, but no punter got remotely close to the distance of 50+ yards Boring set in this skills competition. Pure Dominance is not usually a trait of a punter, you know.
THE VALLEY-BRED YELLOW JACKETS
Lookout Valley…it’s not your fault. The Pirates are starting their road to Cookeville, and Grundy County is a bottom of the barrel team that has found a ladder in the barrel and is using it. Again, Coach Webb, it’s not you. It’s the Valley. Maybe you’ll get a team you can compete with next season. Who knows, those Richard Hardy kids might start improving your program. Let’s just hope that’s not by stealing a playbook. We saw enough of that in 2013’s scandal-ridden year.
THE TIGER TOWN FAITHFUL
You’re not a loser, but boy did you get the short straw of the Jamboree, having to face the two best teams there. Not mentioning the fact that you feel overshadowed enough by their presence. Now, you have to take them on in the biggest preseason event in the area (again who cares about the Best of Preps Jamboree, who attempted to copy the success of the State’s oldest)? What gives? Did the committee or person that decided the Tigers fate just wish the Tigers would disappear…oh, the Jamboree was in South Pittsburg, so they make the schedule or at least their portion of it? Hmm, who would have known? Holding South Pittsburg to 7-0 is an accomplishment this early Tracy Malone. Just keep on keepin’ on.
EXTRA CREDIT: MY UNCANNY COVERAGE OF KICKERS
It’s odd to talk about kicking. It’s like we’re taking breaks in football to bring you soccer, but ah, do you need one when the time comes? Kickers are probably the most interesting player on the field if it weren’t for dadgum, no-good-for-nothing quarterbacks. What are you gonna do? The fact that three kickers could potentially hit a 50-yarder was impressive. And Gabe Boring had the leg for a longer one. So beware, don’t play closer than four points against Boring’s team. He will find you, and he will kill you, just as he kicks a ball: in his eyes closed and without thinking. Gotta give some love to the Valley kickers.