Loudon has new focus in new district
Having to play in District 4-AA is always tough when you’re matched up against Alcoa and Christian Academy of Knoxville. But for the first spring practice in a years, Loudon High School didn’t have to focus on those two football powers.
Instead, the Redskins are moving to District 5-AA and focused on getting experience.
Jeff Harig returns for his 12th season as the head coach and his team ended the spring with experience at the skill positions, but some inexperience in the trenches.
After nine tough practices, Loudon battled Farragut in a scrimmage to wrap up the full contact period. Harig felt his offense, that runs mainly out of the shotgun, needed more work after the scrimmage.
“We didn’t do a great job on offense,” Harig said. “We scrimmaged Farragut and didn’t do so well. We didn’t execute the way we wanted to.”
Nineteen seniors were lost from last years’ squad including tight end/defensive Tyler Elliott, who signed with the University of the Cumberlands. The senior class for the Redskins, who lost in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs to CAK last season, is much smaller than last seasons’ class.
“We have 12 seniors,” Harig said. “Of those 12, we should have two senior starters. One was Trent Elliott. He was one of our better players. He broke his collarbone in week four or five last year. We won’t have him until around week five this year.”
It’s a torn labrum sidelining Elliot for the early part of the 2013 season.
Loudon stays in AA but moves up into Class 4A when the playoffs begin this year. The Redskins also will face off against new district opponents Sweetwater, Sequoyah, McMinn Central and Polk County this season.
Junior Travis Brewer looks to man the quarterback position again this season for Loudon. Josh Jackson will be at tailback and Tyler Ferguson will play both wide receiver and line up some at quarterback coming out of the spring.
According to Harig, the offensive line will have four new full-time starters on an offense that averaged 22.5 points per game last season.
“Brandon Thomas was a starter on the offensive line last year,” Harig said. “Junior Trevor Reese was a part-time starter who provided some depth last year.”
Those two along with Ben Felhoelter, who finished third in the discus throw in the state championships, will see a lot of action on the offensive line after being part-time starters last year.
In the last eight seasons, Loudon went 3-19 record against CAK and Alcoa. The Redskins went 62-11 against all other opponents in that time period. While the Loudon offense has played a big part in that, the Redskins defense has always been tough in those eight years.
The Loudon defensive line will have several juniors on it, but the size of the line may force some changes for the 2013 season.
“We realized we are going to have to be a team that does things different,” Harig said. “We have always been a gap controlled team. We are going to be a multiple front team, with more slanting in the past.”
Normally, Loudon runs a 4-2-5 defense, but may have to switch to a 3-4 some this season with the defensive line size.
Harig thought his defense showed flashes on the defensive side, but struggled at times against Farragut.
“We didn’t do bad,” Harig said. “We focused on the basics. We gave up some big plays in the scrimmage.”