New players, experienced QB lead McMinn County into new era
ATHENS, Tenn. (WDEF) — McMinn County’s offense will have a new look to go along with its new classification this season. The Cherokees drop from 6A to 5A, and they’re hoping last year’s success propels them to another winning season.
“We’ve got athletes, like, athletes everywhere on the field, really,” junior quarterback Jayden Miller said.
Athletes are the number one need for McMinn County, after losing Mr. Football finalist Jalen Hunt and his 25-hundred rushing yards to graduation.
“With him leaving, he took all the offensive lineman with him, so we’ve got a big, big hole to fill,” coach Bo Cagle said. “The only thing right now that’s got a lot of experience coming back is our quarterback. He’s going to have a lot of pressure on him to kind of just make things easier on our offensive line, to make our run game better through the air by being able to throw the ball this year.”
“I can tell one thing for sure, he’s a lot more confident this year than he was last year,” middle linebacker Kutler Blackwell said. “Last year, he was hesitant to make these throws that we knew he could make and bull it in there, but this year, he’s making them.”
Miller will have plenty of brand new targets to choose from.
“We’ve got players who didn’t play last year that have come on and they’re really helping us,” Cagle said. “They’ve just been a joy and a light to see them coming out and helping us and making us better.”
“We don’t have that great player like we usually do, so we all have to have a different mentality and play much better,” Miller said.
“We’re going to score a lot quicker, hopefully. And our defense is still solid,” Blackwell said. “Last year, our secondary was kind of weak, and going into this year, I was really worried about that, but going into this year, these basketball players come out, we good now.”
“In the first games, three in a row are Cleveland, Bradley and Rhea County. So we’re going through the gauntlet when we don’t really know who we are yet. We don’t have an identity,” Cagle said. “We got to make it through that stretch. If we can make it through that stretch and we’re confident in what we’re doing, I think we’ll know who we are and the rest of the season will be laid out in front of us.”