Morristown East will have a chance to get their first region win of the season in their final game on Friday night when they travel to take on William Blount.
The ‘Canes enter the contest with a 1-8 record following a 49-7 loss to Greeneville. East and William Blount have played nine times before with East leading the series 7-2. East won the last game in 2014, 35-24.
For East and head coach Caleb Slover, he will be looking to end the season with a win. However, he’ll also be looking to see what some of his younger players can continue to do as he looks ahead to next season.
“First and foremost, we have to win the game and send the seniors out on a high note,” Slover said. “That’s our main goal on Friday. Right now, we have a lot of young guys that play anyway so rotating those guys has been something we have done all year. We feel comfortable playing the young guys as well so we have been able to see them play and know what they can give us in the future.”
It’s been a season that hasn’t gone according to plan for Morristown East as the expectations were high to begin the season.
However, there have been some positive moments for the ‘Canes. Trevor Malone broke the school record for interceptions this season while Micah Simpson took down a 50 year old record when he caught his 21st touchdown of his career.
Along with those two, Ethan Ledford has a chance on Friday night to break 1,000 yards for the second time in his career while Eli Seals has 1510 passing yards and 12 touchdowns.
For Slover, he notes two things that have led to some of their struggles. But, he is also proud of the way his team has fought all year and continued to get better.
“What’s hurt us is our turnovers and penalties,” Slover said about their 28 turnovers and 81 penalties for 772 yards. “That hurt us early. But I think our kids have played hard and fought. Early in the season, when we lost some close games like we did, that takes the wind out of you. Our kids have played hard all season. We’re playing so many young kids and new starters that it’s taken time for them to get used to playing with each other. If we can get a win on Friday, that’ll be huge for us heading into the offseason.”
William Blount enters the game with a 1-8 record as they also look for their first region win of the season.
The Govs are led by quarterback Matthew Clemmer who has had success all season in the air and on the ground.
Clemmer has two receivers that are equally as impressive in Ashton Auker and Job Matossian who he will look to get the ball to on Friday night.
For Slover, stopping Clemmer will be the key to the contest for the ‘Canes.
“He’s got a big arm and can throw it deep and accurately,” Slover said. “He’s got two receivers he likes to throw the ball to, and they’re both solid. They’re about 70% pass and that is what they are going to live and die by. We have to get pressure on the quarterback and do a good job in coverage.”
It will be the final test for the ‘Canes secondary that has been solid all season. Between Ahmad’Jai Fulton, Nate Roberts and Trevor Malone to name a few, East has seven interceptions for the season. Malone leads the team with three, including a pick six.
However, in order to have success in the secondary, East will need to get pressure upfront and force Clemmer into some forced passes.
“We trust our secondary to shut them down, but I think it comes down to how much pressure can our front have,” Slover said. “We can let him sit back there and take all the time in the world. We have to make sure he doesn’t get out of the pocket and put pressure on him in the pocket.”
Kickoff for Friday night is set for 7 p.m. at William Blount.