McCallie three-peat in the hands of returning QB, new talent

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The McCallie Blue Tornado blew into Cookeville the last two years, demolishing any competition that stood in the way of that gold ball trophy. This year, the back-to-back state champs enjoyed an uninterrupted off-season and look better than ever — if that’s even possible.

Led by two Division I talents Eric Rivers and BJ Harris, McCallie brought home two state titles in two years. However, the fight for three straight will have to be won without that dynamic duo.

“We’ve got plenty of talent to work with,” quarterback William Riddle said.

“We probably have more kids on our team than we’ve had in ten years,” coach Ralph Potter said. “I guess that’s a result of winning the state championship and things like that.”

“Though we have lost a lot of great talent, we have gained a lot of great talent as well,” linebacker Aaron Crowder said.

“There’s my cousin Andrei (Delinois) the receiver, he’s pretty good. Also Xavier Gaillardetz he’s pretty good, also from Canada,” receiver Kenzy Paul said. “I’ve known, I mean, my cousin, he’s family so I know him, but Xavier is a hard worker, and I know with all the other receivers that we have and the new running backs, Ontario (Price) and Damian (Scott), William (Riddle) is also here again this year. We have a lot of potential. … You’ll see on the field that they’re not playing any games.”

Riddle returns after successfully commanding the Tornado offense last season.

“Anytime you’ve got a returner, especially one that’s won the state championship, you’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” Potter said. “So we just want to keep him healthy. He’s a great leader. He loves football. He’s always studying football. Throws a nice ball. Knows our offense. He’s a lot stronger this year physically because he’s really had a year of training. He was injured going into last year and really couldn’t play very much, so we expect really great things from him.”

“What makes this team capable of winning the state championship again?”

“Honestly, just getting better every day, like I said. We have the tools to do it. We just have to keep getting better,” Riddle said.

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