EMMA HENDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY / Twitter: @emma_b_hend13
Carter quarterback Presean Brown, an upcoming junior, takes a snap at one of the Hornets’ spring practices. Carter, under the direction of second-year head coach Justin Pressley, capped its spring drills with a Green and White intra-squad game Friday night.
By Steve Williams
High School football players at Christian Academy of Knoxville may be sleeping in a little longer next week before heading off to school.
Between May 3 and May 14, the Warriors were rising before the sun came up to go to spring practice before their school day started at 8:30.
CAK’s 12 spring drills started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 8. School starts at 8:30.
“That gave the players time to clean-up and eat breakfast that our parents provided,” said CAK Head Coach Travis Mozingo.
“We practiced in the morning due to the significant number of our athletes that participate in spring co-curricular activities. We have players on the lacrosse, soccer, baseball, tennis, and track and field teams, and even musical theater. We are definitely proponents of our players being involved in activities outside of football – all part of producing well-rounded young men.”
Mozingo, whose team put together its first-ever 10-0 season in 2020, noted that “there’s also the logistical side of practice fields / space to consider.
“It’s been a benefit from a recruiting standpoint as well. College coaches, who are pressed for time in the afternoons, are able to stop by and see our players in person, due to the unique practice time slot.”
The Focus wanted to get some news out on spring football practice to local high school fans, so a letter was emailed to each head coach at the local high schools.
Richard Harb (QB coach) and Tommy Defoe (O-Line coach) are new assistants at CAK.
“We were excited to be back on the field for the first time since November,” said Mozingo. “We will be replacing our quarterback and offensive tackles.”
The CAK coach complimented his strength coach, Bart Kareken, who also is the team’s defensive coordinator.
“Bart has done a great job of improving all of our player’s speed and strength measureables,” said Mozingo. “What is the most exciting is that we have had more players training than ever before. Additonally, nearly 90 percent of our football players have participated in a second sport this winter/spring!”
At Farragut, the Admirals moved past the halfway point of spring practice last week.
“We feel that things are moving in the right direction as we build the ‘team’ going into this fall,” said Coach Eddie Courtney, whose Admirals won a Class 5A state championship in 2016. “We have 83 participating in spring practice. Practice sessions have been competitive, high spirited and physical.”
Farragut will wrap up spring drills Tuesday (May 18) with the annual Blue vs Gray spring game at 6 p.m.
David Meske at Webb School said the Spartans are putting in a new offense with (former GCA head coach) Rusty Bradley as offensive coordinator.
“Mark Bradley (Rusty’s father) will coach the offensive line and Darrell Lewis will coach running backs,” said Meske. “Kevin Julian will take over as the defensive coordinator. The rest of the staff is the same.”
Webb’s spring drills ended Friday.
There appears to be excitement in the air at Karns, which held spring practice from April 26 through May 13, took Fridays off and had the TSSAA-allotted 12 practices, according to Lee Warren, an assistant coach as well as head strength and conditioning coach.
“We have made the switch to Nike for this fall football season,” said Warren. “Make sure you purchase your new Karns gear and pack the stands for our games this year! We’re excited about this coming season, and we hope to see our stands full! Also, be sure to follow @KarnsBeaversFB on Twitter for news and updates.”
Warren added that the Beavers “have had a really good offseason in the weight room, and we’ve had a lot of energy and excitement at practice this spring.
“Our players are just excited to put some pads on, run around and hit people. Last season didn’t end the way we wanted it to, and our guys have been eager to get back out there.”
Sounds like the Beavers will be more eager than ever this coming season.
Physicality, relentlessness and positivity are words that have been underlined at Karns this spring.
“We’ve had several guys that have had a really good offseason and gotten bigger and stronger,” said Warren. “We’ve had 18 guys so far that have increased the three core maxes by a combined 100-plus pounds. We have a few linemen that are pushing some really good numbers. Tim Robbins is the guy that stands out the most.”
Two other local teams – Carter and South-Doyle – wrapped up spring practice with intra-squad games Friday.
The Cherokees were scheduled to have their Blue and White game at 2 Friday afternoon, according to Coach Clark Duncan.
And Justin Pressley said his Hornets would play a Green and White game at Carter at 7 Friday night.