Morristown East at Tennessee High — Friday, 7:30 p.m. — Stone Castle
Things certainly won’t get any easier for Morristown East Friday night when the Hurricanes take to the road in quest of their first victory.
The Hurricanes are set to battle Tennessee High in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff inside the Stone Castle in Bristol.
Tennessee High is 2-1 for the season as the Vikings have already had their bye week. They are 1-0 in Mountain Lakes Conference (Region 1-5A) play with all three of their games being played away from home.
East is 0-1 in the league and 0-4 for the season.
First-year Hurricanes Coach Caleb Slover says the Vikings are very impressive and look like they may be the best team East has faced.
Led by an amazing performance from senior quarterback Cole McBrayer, Tennessee High pounded cross-town rival Virginia High 46-23 last week with its other victory a 35-0 blanking of conference foe Daniel Boone.
McBrayer connected on 15-of-21 passes for 399 yards and 6 touchdowns last week, using nine different receivers in the process.
He also had a huge night in a 33-13 loss at Dobyns-Bennett when he threw for 288 yards and 2 scores.
For the season, McBrayer has completed 35-of-51 passes for 798 yards and 9 touchdowns.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Slover said. “But to me, they make things happen through their guys up front on both sides of the football. I think this is the first team we’ve faced where it all runs through up front.
“They’re the biggest team we’ll play and they’re physical. This is the most complete Tennessee High teams they’ve had in a long, long time.”
ETSU commit Nolan Wishon (6-6, 240) leads the linemen for the Vikings. He is a former tight end who has moved to tackle and also anchors the defensive line.
The Vikings lead the all-time series between the teams 11-6 and posted a 35-19 victory last season when they ran for 405 yards on the night.
Slover talked more about the foe. “Their basic set is the Wing-T but it’s not anywhere near the same offense we saw out of that last week. The quarterback does a great job running the option. But this team will also get in the spread and throw the ball. When they do, they have a bunch of quality people to get the ball to.”
Reece Proffitt caught TD passes of 27 and 57 yards last week. Jaden Keller (6-3,195) is the big play threat and had the longest scoring catch at 72 yards and also grabbed touchdowns of 84 and 76 in the loss to D-B. He also returned a kickoff 97 yards against Boone.
Lance Tudor (43 yards), Isaiah Smith (10 yards) and Dominick Daggs (9 yards) had the other touchdown grabs against the Bearcats. Kelvin Coleman didn’t score but had receptions of 43, 62 and 27 yards.
Keller also had 3 touchdowns rushing as he and Smith lead the ground attack along with McBrayer.
Slover said the Vikings are much the same as always defensively. “They’ll be a four-man front. Their safeties will play hard against the run and they’ll put pressure on the receivers. They are very fundamentally sound.”
The coach talked about the Hurricanes. “You know, I looked at the game a couple more times and I think our defense played well for 3 1/2 quarters. But our defense spent way too much time on the field.
“I still think the big difference came when we had the ball down there at the two and couldn’t punch it in. That took a lot of wind out of us. They took over and scored really quick and that was pretty much it.”
East had its lowest offensive output of the season in the loss to Gibbs, getting just 133 yards total.
“We have to establish the run a little more this week,” Slover said. “We have to be able to move the chains and give the defense a little rest.
“We know what they’re going to do on defense. They’ll stay in a 4-2 pretty much of the time even when we go trips and such. They’re big up front and will be tough for us to move.”
He said, “We can’t get in a shootout with them and we can’t give up home run balls. We have to make them drive it.”
Offensively, freshman running back Ethan Ledford leads the Hurricanes’ rushing attack with 268 yards on 59 carries.
Quarterback Cole Henson has connected on 61-of-88 passes for 665 yards and 7 touchdowns while throwing 3 interceptions.
Trevor Malone is the reception leader with 16 grabs for 129 yards and a score while Shaffer Harville has 15 catches for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns. Evan Seals has 11 for 137 and 2 TDs while Braxton Dalton has caught 9 and Austin Williams 8.