Warriors look to continue surge in Baileyton against North Greene

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, October 17, 2023

STAR CORRESPONDENT

Before the season even began, Happy Valley head coach Jason Jarrett admitted that his team needed to learn how to win before they could get Warrior football back to where it needs to be.

After starting the season 0-3 with a close loss to Cloudland 14-12 and then losing two blowouts to Unicoi Co. (37-6) and Hampton (36-0), the Warriors discovered their happy place with a 38-12 win over Eagleton Academy and have not looked back in rolling off five straight wins including a 26-20 overtime victory over a shocked South Greene team before taking the Panthers of Cumberland Gap to the woodshed this past Friday night with a 64-17 victory on the road.

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Once a team that struggled to find the end zone over the last couple of years, the Warriors are averaging 39.5 points over the last five weeks and have outscored their opponents 221 to 142 for the 2023 season.

So what is the secret to the resurgence?

According to head coach Jason Jarrett, it’s following the KISS model of success – Keep It Simple Stupid.

“Offensively, we have really simplified everything, especially our blocking schemes,” said Jarrett. “We have simplified the game to react and play faster instead of being back on our heels. Defensively, we have gotten away from playing zone and gone to playing more smash mouth  football.”

Jarrett admitted that when his team got their taste of victory over Eagleton, they really liked how it felt after seeing and feeling the agony of defeat in so many of their past games. When anything went wrong, it was like Katie bar the door, but now the Warriors are playing with tons of energy which happens when teenagers realize what they are capable of.

In facing North Greene, the Warriors will be facing a much improved team, even though their 3-5 record may not indicate that.

“Coach (Eric) Tilson has done a good job of building their program,” said Jarrett. They are coming off a big win over Unaka and will be celebrating Senior Night and I know they want to send their seniors off in a positive way. They are a sound team up front from what we have seen and junior running back Yeshua Vaught is a very dangerous player. Their quarterback is also slippery and has a very good arm. They have some players coming back from injury this week, which also will be challenging.”

The Warriors also have seen their share of injuries this season playing at least five different centers on offense while the team started with Drew Blevins at quarterback before a shoulder injury brought sophomore Aiden Paul to the starting role. Now, Blevins has regained the starting spot after Paul was injured and the offensive approach has changed and the team has taken off.

The game has been moved to Thursday night due to the forecast for rain on Friday night. Kickoff will be at 7:30 pm.