By Steve Williams

Marshaun Bowers of The King’s Academy continues to turn heads as a young but talented football player.

The 5-9, 175-pound sophomore slot receiver and defensive back stood out in the Knoxville Classic 7 on 7 tournament Thursday at Powell High.

But it wasn’t the first time.

Two years ago, as an 8th grader, he played well in the Classic and 7 on 7 preseason action, holding his own against talented players older than him from Powell, Knoxville Catholic and South-Doyle, to name a few.

In last week’s 20-10 win over the CAK junior varsity team, Marshaun had two spectacular interceptions and a touchdown catch.

It didn’t matter that it came against younger JV players. Bowers was no older than they were. But he is more experienced.

“We think pretty highly of Marshaun,” said TKA Head Coach Jonathan Sellers after that contest. “He played for us as an 8th grader, started varsity and was an All-State player. And then played last year as a freshman and was an All-State player. So we expect him to continue to get better and he’s working his tail off in the weight room and on his craft. We’re looking for another good season out of him.”

Bowers was able to play on the high school team as an 8th grader because his grade level was on the same campus with the high school age students.

Marshaun had six interceptions his 8th grade season.

If he keeps it up, Coach Sellers said, “He might be one of the first kids I’ve ever known to be a five-time All-Stater.”

As for the Lions’ play overall, Sellers was well satisfied.

“I thought it was good,” he said. “We executed some things really well. Obviously, it’s early in the year, so we still have a lot of things we have to clean up, but the kids were out here playing with a good effort and attitude and that’s all we can ask from them at this point in the season.”

The host Panthers defeated Corbin, Ky., 22-6 in the championship game to take top honors in the 14-team field. Campbell County placed third and Hardin Valley fourth.

Despite an 18-12 loss to CAK in pool play, HVA Coach Mike Potter talked about some bright spots he saw from his Hawks.

“We’re playing hard and we’re playing physical,” he said. “We have a lot of energy and competing. And that’s what I’m looking for from them today – just getting out here and competing.

“We’re working on timing with our quarterbacks and receivers and our quarterbacks getting good reads. And the same on the defensive side of the ball – being able to adjust to the routes based on what coverage we’re in. Just getting a lot of work on that before we get into our shells (this) week.”

Powell offensive coordinator Josh Jones said, “It’s great to get to come out here and compete for one thing. Since we also play so many different teams during this tournament, we get to see different looks and coverages, so for our quarterback (returning starter Jordyn Potts), it’s great.

“Now you don’t have contact, but you can still get pretty physical,” added Jones, following Powell’s pool play win over Cocke County. “They can get some hands on you.

“But it is really good for your passing concepts. The passing game takes so much more maintenance than the running game, so it’s really good reps for us.”

An interception is worth three points in 7 on 7 and Connor Atkins’ pick with 45 seconds to go gave Gibbs a 25-24 win over CAK in pool play.

Other teams in the tournament were Campbell County, Jefferson County, Oneida and Unaka.