Fall Sports Preview – Football

The varsity football team at practice. ()

The varsity football team at practice. ()

Football coach Mike Ketchum expects this year to be better than last. The Quakers were 3-7 overall last year and winless in Old Dominion Athletic Conference play (0-6). “We just weren’t very good. Our defense was on the field way too long, giving us huge problems in personnel,” said Ketchum.
The team’s major problems last year were lack of offense (16 points per game) and opponent’s rushing yardage (190 yards per contest). Ketchum says better tackling and moving the ball, especially on the ground, will be top priorities. “I think we can throw the ball well, but like any other offense, we must establish the run first. Tackling and staying healthy are the keys to our defense.”
Quaker fans will see many familiar faces on defense this season, with the starting unit coming back except for free safety JJ Edwards. Seniors Sherod Long (team-high five interceptions in 2002) and OJ Batts (four interceptions shy of the school record) will once again anchor the secondary while linebacker Wes Kidd seeks to improve on his team-leading 86 tackles (9 for losses) a year ago. Finally, nose tackle Brian Person, who was among Don Hansen’s Football Gazette 2003 NCAA Division III Preseason All America team, will be counted on to shore up the defensive line and wreak havoc in the middle.
Ketchum also expects big things out of the offense as long as the line makes its blocks and opens holes. Feky Eugene is the most experienced lineman as well as the team’s most athletic big man. Terrance Gary and Brian Caye will handle most of the running responsibilities, while quarterback, wide receiver and tight end positions are open.
The Quakers open the season at Carson-Newman (TN.) Sept. 6. The first home game is Sept. 13.