Posted: Thursday, August 15th 2013 at 10:19am
Football 2013: Towns Co. turning to Harrison for spark
By Morgan Lee Editor
TOWNS COUNTY: NEED TO KNOW
TEAM COLORS: Blue & White
CURRENT REGION: 8-A (non-region schedule)
HEAD COACH/RECORD AT SCHOOL: Blair Harrison, first season
2012 RECORD/ ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 3-7
KEY LOSSES: OL Luke Parker, LB Wesley Bloodworth, LB Joseph Foster, DL Colton Stroud
OFFENSIVE STYLE: Wing-T -- The Indians will look to make the most of this deceptive ground-based attack to get backs into the open field and chew up yards.
KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: Sr. QB Jackson Noblet, Sr. RB Harrison Hobbs, Jr. RB Cruz Shook, Sr. RB Brett Barrett, Sr. RB Vonya Baldwin, Sr. OL Jaryd Gurley, Sr. OL Evan Keyes, Jr. OL Kyle Davis
DEFENSIVE STYLE: Multiple -- Towns County will look to stop the run and should have plenty of linebackers to give chase.
KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: Jr. LB Cruz Shook, Sr. LB Evan Keyes , Sr. OLB Garrett Bradshaw, Jr. OLB Zach Sewell, Sr. DL Jaryd Gurley, , Jr. DL Kyle Davis, Sr. CB Brett Barrett, Jr. DL Kevin McConnell
SPECIAL TEAMS: So. PK, P Shea Underwood
STRENGTH: Leadership -- Harrison has been impressed by the commitment of his new players and their willingness to adapt.
QUESTION: Running back -- With the switch to a wing-T, the Indians need big-time play from the running back spot, and while there is talent there, it will have to prove itself in game situations.
KEY GAMES: The opener against Hayesville, N.C., will be big for a new coaching staff and re-vamped team. Last year's battle with Hayesville was tight much of the way, with Towns falling 20-12. There will be some tough contests on the schedule, including at rival Union County (Aug. 30) and home to Rabun County (Sept. 13). The Indians close with three of four opponents that they defeated last season -- North Cobb Christian, St. Francis and Hebron Christian.
TRENDING: After posting its only winning season in its history in 2008, Towns County has hovered between two and three wins per season. Harrison hopes to break that trend and lead the Indians toward bigger things. Yet Harrison also knows it is a long process and will keep his team focused on that process.
Aug. 23 vs. Hayesville, N.C.
Aug. 30 at Union County
Sept. 6 vs. Fellowship Christian
Sept. 13 vs. Rabun County
Sept. 20 at Rabun Gap
Oct. 4 vs. Copper Basin, Tenn.
Oct. 18 at North Cobb Christian
Oct. 25 at St. Francis
Nov. 1 vs. Lakeview Academy
Nov. 8 at Hebron Christian Academy
HIAWASSEE -- Blair Harrison knows what it takes to build a program.
Harrison guided Brookstone of Columbus from a 1-9 doormat in 2002 into a perennial playoff team.
And now Harrison has set his sites on similar deeds with Towns County football.
Harrison knows it won't be easy -- the Indians have just one winning campaign in their history (a 7-3 mark in 2008) -- but the East Tennessee native is excited to tackle the challenge and bring his process to Hiawassee.
"It took us three years at Brookstone to turn things around, and I would love to do that here," Harrison said. "It was good timing for me to come here. I had been back at a school in east Tennessee (for one year after leaving Brookstone) and it wasn't a good fit for me, but I wanted to stay near the area. I also wanted to work for someone that appreciated hard work and going about it the right way. Towns County fit all of those needs perfectly."
The Indians are coming off a 3-7 campaign and Harrison has liked what he's seen from the players within his new program.
"The kids here are great, and they've done a great job helping me transition," Harrison said. "They have really bought in and want to be successful. And I like the atmosphere of knowing all the kids and their families and litearlly knowing where most of them live."
"I'm a traditional wing-T guy, have been all my career," Harrison said. "It's a great deceptive offense and will work for the type of players we have."
The Indians' wing-T will be led by quarterback Jackson Noblet, one of five returning starters on both sides of the ball, and a versatile player that is a threat with his arm and his legs.
"Jackson's a tough kid and has been a great leader for us so far," Harrison said.
Noblet will be joined running backs Harrison Hobbs, Cruz Shook, Brett Barrett and Vonya Baldwin -- and Harrison is hoping one of the backs will step to the fore to become the go-to player in key situations.
"It's a question of who is going to get us the yards when the play is tight out there," Harrison said.
Meanwhile, Evan Keyes and Kyle Davis will anchor the offensive line at guard, along with center Jaryd Gurley.
Defensively, the Indians will rely on many of the same players, with Keyes and Shook at linebacker, along with Garrett Bradshaw and Zach Sewell at outside linebacker. The defensive front will be led by Gurley, Davis, Kevin McConnell and Cody Canterbury.
Baldwin and Barrett will man the cornerback spots.
"We just want to get to a level of consistency," said Harrison, who says the building of Towns County football will follow a process. "You have to start with the little things and keep working every day."
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