Belpre goes for youth movement

BELPRE – When rains came Wednesday afternoon into evening, Belpre took a different tactic with its football practice.

The Golden Eagle grid team lifted weights while it rained, then went out afterwards and ran special teams drills before dividing up into groups for individual instruction.

Greg Adams’ squad, 24 strong, is coming off a 4-6 season last year, going 3-1 in its final four games to hopefully turn around Belpre’s football fortunes after 1-9 and 0-10 campaigns in Adams’ initial two years at the Golden Eagle helm.

Belpre’s numbers this season are more on the underclassmen than the upperclassmen side, with 11 sophomores and six freshmen compared to just four seniors and only three juniors.

However, one of those juniors, Manney Tullius, led the renewed Golden Eagle offense last fall with 14 touchdowns while rushing for more than 1,000 yards – 1,091 to be exact on 148 carries – as a sophomore while 2012’s freshman starting quarterback Tavian Miller, who connected on 49 of 130 passes for 835 yards and eight TDs last year, is throwing the ball with more of a zip and more accuracy so far in August pre-season practice.

And Belpre, when playing at home in Ralph Holder Stadium this fall, will be using a brand-new scoreboard, donated by the Golden Eagle athletic boosters organization.

Roane County Raiders

SPENCER – Roane County head coach Paul Burdette knows qualifying for the Class AA playoffs once again isn’t going to be an easy task this season.

During the first week of camp, the Raiders are just shy of three dozen members on the football team.

“Our freshman class is our biggest. I think we have 11 or 12 freshmen right now,” Burdette said of his 33 total players. “I’m very happy with the progress of our offense at this point.”

Even though it’s extremely early, Burdette was happy with the way things were going.

“I’m very impressed with what I see so far,” he said. “Our guys are working really hard. Usually the first couple days you got to push them along and let them know what is expected.

“But, we got a really good group of upperclassmen who set the tone and our freshman and sophomore guys have really followed.”

Calhoun County Red Devils

MT. ZION – It’s not exactly the turnout head coach Michael Fitzwater was hoping for, but Calhoun County has 25 players out this week for football.

“We are hoping some more guys come out,” said the coach, whose team is comprised mainly of sophomores.

The low numbers puts in serious jeopardy the Red Devils having a junior varsity program this season.

“If we can get about five more kids out, yes, we’ll try to have one,” Fitzwater stated. “As of right now it doesn’t look like we’re going to have one.

“It hurts the younger kids because they can use that time. We might be a couple more kids heading into next week. It looks like numbers are down everywhere.”