Donovan Stewart’s Class 3A Spring Top 10

Donovan Stewart’s Class 3A Spring Top 10

Alcoa is gunning for a fourth consecutive Class 3A state title in 2018.
The question is will anyone stand in their way?
The Tornadoes are tied with Blount county rival Maryville with the most state football championships in TSSAA history with 16.
In fact, Alcoa has won 12 state titles since 2000 in two different classifications (2000, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 in 2A, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 in 3A).
The Tornadoes return 13 starters so who’s to bet against Alcoa in 2018.
While Alcoa will be the heavy favorites for the state title, other teams such as 2017 runner up Covington as well as Pearl Cohn, Austin East and Milan will have plenty to say as they round out my Class 3A Spring Top 10.
For the seventh straight year, I will offer my Spring Top 10 teams in each classification as Class 3A will be looked at this week.

My Top 10s are based on conversations with coaches in 3A across the state as well as returning personnel that the teams have back in 2018.


10. South Gibson Hornets
Last Year’s Record- 9-3, lost to Raleigh Egypt in second round
Head Coach- Scott Stidham (46-32 in eight years at South Gibson)
Offensive Coordinator- Jim Fishel
Defensive Coordinator- Justin Truett
Region- 7-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 5 (4 Off/1 Def)
Offense- Triple Option
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Marcus Jackson (OL/LB, Sr.), Spencer Lacewell (OL/DL, Sr.), Paxton Terry (OL/DL, Jr.), Michael Bell (WR/DB, Jr.), Josh Kwasigroh (LB/RB, Sr.), Christian Denton (RB/DB, Jr.), Jackson Bell (RB/LB, Jr.), Nolan Stidham (QB/DB, Jr.), Garrett Wallace (RB/LB, Jr.), Devin Hardwick (RB/DB, Sr.), Harrison Dyer (OL/DL, Jr.)
Key Losses- Connor Warren (OL/DL), Will Corbin (WR/DB), Ryan Black (OL/DL), Krayton Woods (OL/DL), Levi Schlesinger (LB/RB), CJ Sharp (DB/RB), Dustin Moore (OLB/QB), Dre McAllister (RB/DB), Calem Rich (RB/DB), Rudy Jenkins (RB/DB)
Spring Practice-April 30-May 18
Spring Optimism- The Hornets only return four starters on offense but three of them in Spencer Lacewell, Paxton Terry and Harrison Dyer will come back to lead the offensive line
Spring Concerns- South Gibson will use spring practice to identify who will fill the skill positions on offense


9. Loudon Redskins
Last Year’s Record- 8-4, lost to Smith County in second round
Head Coach- Jeff Harig (99-62 overall, 8-4 in one year at Loudon)
Offensive Coordinator- Candics Jones
Defensive Coordinator- Jeff Harig
Region- 3-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 13 (7 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- 4-2-5
Key Returnees- Darrell Cozart (LB/OL, Sr.), Jamison Harig (DB/WR, Sr.), Cole Jameson (DL/OL, Sr.), Noah Burnette (DE/TE, Jr.), Emerson Tripp (DE/OL, Jr.), Kyle Smallen (DB/WR, Jr.), Tyler Whitfield (DL/OL, Jr.), Mark Ridenour (DB/WR, Jr.), Bill Crawley (LB/RB, Sr.)
Key Losses- Cameron Baker (QB/DB), Skyan Lyle (WR/DB), Levi Henson (OL/DE), Noah Bowman (OL/DE), Josh Russell (RB/LB), Shallan Alawadi (WR/LB)
Spring Practice- April 17-May 4
Spring Optimism- The Redskins will return the bulk of their offensive and defensive lines from a team that won eight games in Jeff Harig’s first year back at Loudon
Spring Concerns- Loudon will use the spring to improve their defense as they gave up 26.4 points a game last year and Harig wants that number to go down in 2018


8. Giles County Bobcats
Last Year’s Record- 7-5, lost to Fairview in second round
Head Coach- David O’Connor (134-58 overall, 15-9 in two years at Giles)
Offensive Coordinator- Rip Flippo
Defensive Coordinator- TBA
Region- 5-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 11 (6 Off/5 Def)
Offense- Multiple Pro
Defense- 40
Key Returnees- K.J Ziegler (WR, Sr.), Knox Birdsong (WR, Sr.), Drew Hawk (OL, Sr.) Deshaun Williams (DL, Sr.), C.J Bryant (LB/RB, Sr.), Dre Garrett (WR, Sr.), Luke Williams (DB, Jr.), Dillon Simmons (OL, Jr.), Eric Cannon (RB, Sr.), Charlie Faulkner (LB, Jr.), Colten Teagarden (LB, Jr.), Nolan Below (LB, Jr.), Ty Pierce (FB/LB, Jr.), Austin Mitchell (DB, Jr.), Austin Williams (OL, Jr.), RJ Oyanib (DB, Sr.), Trey Coffey (DB, Jr.), Zyshaun Yarabrough (TE, Jr.), Kaleb Perry (DB, Soph.), Walker Dunn (QB/FS, Jr.), Hunter Mitchell (OL/DL, Sr.), Noah Crab (OL, Sr.), Chris Lampkin (RB/DB, Sr.), Caelin Beddingfield (DL, Jr.)
Key Losses-John Bachus (QB), Davonte Murphy (DL/OL), Cameron Harrison (LB), Samari Howell (DL,) Max Jett (TE), Morgan Witt (OL), Crockett Gibson (OL), Jermaine Pounall (FB) Hunter Rose (DB)
Spring Practice- April 30-May 15
Spring Optimism- The Bobcats have some really talented skill players returning led by wide receiver K.J. Ziegler (70 catches, 1,340 yards, 17 TDs) and running back C.J. Bryant.
Spring Concerns- The Bobcats are looking for a new defensive coordinator and will be implanting a new defensive system this season.


7. Fairview Yellow Jackets
Last Year’s Record- 9-4, lost to Pearl Cohn in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Chris Hughes (80-28 in nine years at Fairview)
Offensive Coordinator- Chris Hughes
Defensive Coordinator- Ron King
Region- 6-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 13 (7 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- 3-4
Key Returnees- Hiller Gray (OL, Sr.), Blake Russell (DB, Sr.), Kam Harris-Lusk (QB, Sr.), Jackson Clevenger (OT, Sr.), Spencer Flake (NG, Sr.), Konner Parsons (LB, Sr.), Stephen Long (DL, Jr.), Decarlos Moore-Miller (OT, Sr.), Nate Jackson (G, Sr.), Steven Jewell (DL, Sr.), Tyler Overton (DB, Sr.), Conner Lindsey (OL, Jr.),
Joey Mathis (RB, Soph.), Logan Nardozzi (RB, Soph.)

Key Losses- Brendan Nardozzi (LB), Khristian Harris-Lusk (RB), Eli Clifton (RG), Corbin Hughes (WR), KK McKinney (DE), Tristan Mann (LB), Andrew Vanover (DE), Tony Torres (DB), David McNeil (LB), Jeffrey Perez (K)
Spring Practice- April 30-May 11
Spring Optimism- The Yellow Jackets return 13 starters including senior quarterback Kam Harris-Lusk who accounted for 1,889 yards of total offense and a big, nasty offensive line that return four starters
Spring Concerns- Fairview will have to find someone that can help in the run game as they having to replace 1,800 yard rusher Darius James and sophomores Joey Mathis and Logan Nardozzi will get the first looks in spring.


6. Red Bank Lions
Last Year’s Record- 11-3, lost to Alcoa in Semifinals
Head Coach- Chris Brown (0-0, first year at Red Bank)
Offensive Coordinator- Drew Akins
Defensive Coordinator- Charles Weems
Region- 3-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 10 (5 Off/5 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- 3-3 Stack
Key Returnees- Calvin Jackson (ATH, Sr.), Mike Porter (DB, Sr.), Madox Wilkey (QB, Jr.), Cole Stevens (OL, Sr.), Ryan Pate (OL, Sr.), Sam Gilbert (DL, Sr.), Nate Doss (DB, Sr.), Xavier Doss (WR, Sr.), Eli Massengale (LB, Jr.), Ashton Tubbs (LB, Sr.),

Key Losses-Ivan Young (DE), Zay Brown (RB), Kedric Richardson (LB), Jordan Douglas (ATH), Jamel Davis (DL), David Cosby (WR)
Spring Practice- April 30th- May 17th
Spring Optimism- The Lions return several players to the skill positions including Calvin Jackson, a versatile athlete who lined up at three positions last year as well as the return of junior quarterback Madox Wilkey.
Spring Concerns- Red Bank will have to find some defensive talent as they will have replace six starters including several in the front seven



5. Milan Bulldogs
Last Year’s Record- 6-6, lost to Covington in second round
Head Coach- Craig Pettigrew (0-0, first year at Milan)
Offensive Coordinator- TBA
Defensive Coordinator- Derek Morales
Region- 7-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 15 (8 Off/7 Def)
Offense- I Formation
Defense- 4-3
Key Returnees- Dylan Mayberry (WR/DB, Sr.), Taylor Lockhart (QB, Sr.), Devonte Herron (QB/WR/DB, ), Damarius Bates (WR/DB, Jr.), Jimari Weathers (RB/LB, Sr.), Austin White (OL, Sr.), Jaxon Hames (OL, Sr.), Kylin Finch (RB/LB, Jr.), Elijah Soltys (DL, Sr.), Jeremiah Peete (DL, Jr.), Nick Lowery (OL, Sr.), Kaelis Siddell (DL, Sr.), Landon West (OL, Jr.), Daniel Coleman (OL, Jr.), Anfernay Lambert (RB/LB, Jr.),
Key Losses- Anthony Ballard (RB), Luke Wren (OL), Tee Carter (DL),
Spring Practice- Already Completed Spring Practice
Spring Optimism- The Bulldogs return 15 starters from last season’s uncharacteristic 6-6 team and will be under new leadership as Craig Pettigrew takes over as the new head coach at Milan
Spring Concerns- According to Pettigrew, the Bulldogs spent spring practice correcting bad habits and they were also working on creating depth on both sides of the ball


4. Austin East Roadrunners
Last Year’s Record- 10-3, lost to Alcoa in Quarterfinals
Head Coach- Jeff Phillips (34-25 in five years at Austin East)
Offensive Coordinator- Jeff Phillips
Defensive Coordinator- Antonio Mays
Region- 2-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 13 (6 Off/7 Def)
Offense- Multiple
Defense- Multiple
Key Returnees- Chris Stevenson (LB, Sr.), Isiah Ligon (WR/FS, Jr.), Trey Foster (QB/RB/DE, Jr.), Aristotle Huffman (WR/DB, Sr.), Elijah Whitten-Jeter (QB/WR/DB, Sr.), Jazine Pelcher (RB, Sr.), Ke’ON Smith (WR/DB, Soph.), Jaiohn Foster (WR/DB, Sr.), Elijha McMillian (OL/DL, Sr.), Darrion Battle (RB/DB, Sr.), Stefan Vonner (OL/DL, Sr.)

Key Losses-Calvin Wilson (OL), Jahson Jackson (RB), Chris Hunter (QB), Kevin Andrews (WR), Robert Allen (LB),Garyion Hamilton (DB), Cobe Smith (S)
Spring Practice- April 23-May 11
Spring Optimism- The Roadrunners could be very stout on defense as they return seven starters on defense including all of their linebackers and secondary
Spring Concerns- AE will have to break in a quarterback as senior Elijah Whitten-Jeter and junior Trey Foster will battle in spring practice to see who will lead the Roadrunner offense


3. Pearl Cohn Firebirds
Last Year’s Record- 11-3, lost to Covington in Semifinals
Head Coach- Tony Brunetti (100-54 in 12 years at Pearl Cohn)
Co-Offensive Coordinator- Damien Harris and Brandon Woods
Defensive Coordinator- William Darnell
Region- 5-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 11 (6 Off/5 Def)
Offense- Spread
Defense- 4-2-5
Key Returnees- Xavier Shepherd (QB, Sr.), Jaydon Harrison (WR, Sr. ), Elijah Simmons (DT, Sr.), Quietin Taylor (LB, Sr.), Marion Liggett (RB, Sr.), Kwame Haynes (WR, Sr.), Darian Jones (LB, Sr.), Deasan Wade (LB, Jr.), Darryl Rogan (TE/DE, Sr.)
Key Losses- Jimmyrious Parker (WR), David Anderson (DB), Jaylan Granberry (FS), Chandon Page (OT/DT),
Spring Practice- May 7-18
Spring Optimism- Quarterback Xavier Shepherd returns after posting 2,344 total yards and 25 touchdowns as the Firebirds made the 3A Semifinals.
Spring Concerns- Pearl Cohn will have to find six starters on defense especially in the secondary


2. Covington Chargers
Last Year’s Record- 13-2, lost to Alcoa in 3A title game
Head Coach- Marty Wheeler (85-54 overall, 71-38 in nine years at Covington)
Offensive Coordinator- J.R. Kirby
Defensive Coordinator- John Katrosh
Region- 7-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 14 (7 Off/7 Def)
Offense- Wing T
Defense- 40
Key Returnees- Sterling Lomax (QB/P, Sr.), Ke’Shun Gant (FB, Sr.), Cordarius Page (RB, Sr.), Jordan Prescott (TE, Jr.), Kylan Fayne (OL, Sr.), Elijah Patrick (OL, Jr.), Bobby Lee (DT, Sr.), Andrew Scott (LB, Jr.), Setrickious Hall (LB, Sr.), Caleb Winfrey (LB, Jr.), Breshun Dyson (LB, Soph.), Donovan Dotson (DB, Sr.), Arbrey Cook (K, Sr.), Rob Hendren (TE, Sr.)
Key Losses- Ethan McDivitt (OL),Tommy Flannigan (OL), Austin Rose (OL), Benton Glass (OL), Octravious Lewis (DL), Marvin Norfork (DL), Quentin Booker (S)
Spring Practice- April 30-May 10
Spring Optimism- The Chargers return quarterback Sterling Lomax and fullback Ke’Shun Gant who rushed for 2,060 yards and scored 23 touchdowns as a junior in the Chargers wing T offense
Spring Concerns- The Chargers will have to find replacements on both lines as they lost four offensive and three defensive line starters from last season.


1. Alcoa Tornadoes
Last Year’s Record- 13-2, defeated Covington in 3A title
Head Coach- Gary Rankin
Offensive Coordinator- David Sweetland
Defensive Coordinator- Brian Nix
Region- 2-3A
Returning Starters on Offense/Defense- 13 (7 Off/6 Def)
Offense- Pro I
Defense- 4-3
Key Returnees- Walker Russell (QB, Sr.), Landon Ray (TE/DE, Sr.), Adonis Salter (DL, Sr.), Kareem Rodriguez (RB/LB, Sr.), Jalen McCord (RB, Sr.), Andrew Coulter (OL, Sr.), K’Vaughn Tyson (RB, Sr.), Zeke Rankin (K, Jr.), Tyler Boyd (WR/DB, Jr.), Eli Mitchell (OL, Jr.), Jakobe Robinson (DT, Sr.), Grey Carroll (DE, Soph.), Isaiah Cox (DB, Soph.), Ahmauud Sankey (DB, Soph.), Malik Hall (OL/DL, Jr.), Conner Canfield (WR, Sr.), J.R. Jones (RB/DB, Soph.)

Key Losses- Davis Maples (LB), Cameron Woody (WR/DB), Jacob Maness (OL), Lucas McKeehan (OL/DL), Jack Warwick (FB/LB), Bryson Perkins (OL), Tristan Woody (DL), George Carter (DE), Diandre Johnson (WR),
Spring Practice- May 7-24
Spring Optimism- The Tornadoes return some talented players at the skill
Spring Concerns- Alcoa will have to find three starters on the offensive line as well as some starters at linebacker as well.

Six More Teams To Keep Your Eye On In Alphabetical Order- Bolivar, Kingston, Raleigh Egypt, Smith County, Sweetwater, Upperman

Contact Donovan at and follow him on Twitter at Examine_Stew

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *