Winning feels good, but not good enough

Friday, September 11, 2015
Clay Watson (5) and Joseph Williams (6) converge on the Westmoreland running back last week at Chapel Hill where the Rockets won 35-7 to remain unbeaten on the season at 3-0. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

Football coaches are a rare breed when it comes to winning and keeping their teams focused on the next opponent.

They are internally satisfied with winning, but rarely does the joy of victory last more than a day as they're always looking to keep their teams moving forward.


"We have to continue to get better each week and not be satisfied on what we have done so far," Forrest coach Matt Kriesky said as his team prepares for a non-conference battle with Page Friday night at Murrey E. Holton Field in Chapel Hill.

"We're currently 0-0 this week and by Friday night at 10 we're expecting to be 1-0," the Rockets coach said.

Forrest pounded Westmoreland 35-7 last week to move to 3-0 on the season, but in front of them now is a very good Patriots squad that has beaten the Rockets two years in a row, including a bruising 23-22 overtime win at Chapel Hill last year.

Part of the game

Page (2-1) sent many Forrest players to the sidelines with injuries in the contest, setting the Rockets back for several weeks.

"Well that's just part of football and it just happened. They weren't intentionally trying to hurt our players," Kriesky said. "Coach (Charles) Rathbone and his staff do an excellent job preparing his men and we'll have to be ready for them this Friday."

Forrest has what it takes to beat the 4-A squad from Rudderville, sporting a defense that has allowed just one touchdown this season while the offense is averaging 30.7 points per game.

The Rockets have allowed just 294 rushing yards and 96 passing yards in the three wins.

Through the air

Page is a passing team as senior quarterback Michael Magohcy has thrown for 609 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions so far.

"Defensively, we can't give up big plays and will have to tackle well in open field. " Kriesky said. "We made a lot of mistakes last week against Westmoreland that we've worked on in practice this week. We have to get better at doing the little things for us to improve and accomplish our goals that we have set out to reach for this team."

On offense, Forrest has rushed for 803 yards with 13 different players owning a carry.

Slayton Wild leads the way with 141 yards with Joseph Williams (134) right behind. Jacob Jones (102), Scrappy Osborne (99), Clay Watson (76) and Jake Elkins (76) round out the Rockets leaders.

Senior quarterback David Andrews has done an efficient job in the passing game, throwing for 66 yards and a touchdown with one interception.

Jones' only completion of the season came on a halfback option pass, good for 30 yards at Huntland.

Game plan

"We'll need to have long drives and control the clock on offense," Kriesky said. "Also, we can't turn the ball over and give them any extra opportunities to score."

The Rockets remained at No. 6 in this week's Associated Press Top 10 poll, and Kriesky let a little bit of the inner coach out, saying, "The mood at practice has been good so far this week and this team has been doing a good job so far of focusing on the opponent we're playing each week. We still have a lot of football to play and we need to continue to get better each week for us to reach our goals that we set out for this season."

The Marshall County Tigers, who return home this week for a non-conference game against East Nashville Magnet School, run out at Tullahoma last week. Photo by Sara Sheehen


Marshall County coach Thomas Osteen leads his 2-1 Tigers into a non-region contest this week against a winless East Nashville squad at Preston Hopkins Field.

"The challenge this week is to put two good weeks together and become a program that can perform at a high level on a consistent basis," Osteen said. "We're itching to get back to playing at Preston Hopkins. It seems like we've been gone for a while.

"Our fans and community have supported us in great numbers on the road the last two weeks."

Looming on the horizon is a showdown next week against Giles County, and Osteen won't let the Tigers overlook an Eagles squad that can break out at any time.

Intense work

"The East Nashville game is big because it's the next game," Osteen said. "We face a very dangerous team that has great players and is exceptionally good on defense."

Osteen has turned up the pressure in practice to keep the Tigers focused on one game at a time saying, "We again have had a very physical and competitive week. We've continued to have a lot of first offense versus first defense live scrimmages to get the practice intensity up."

The MCHS defense pitched a shutout at Tullahoma last week and Osteen was pleased with the improvement from the first two weeks of the season when the Tigers gave up 65 points.


"Our defense took great strides last week, they gang tackled and ran to the ball really well," he said.

The Tigers, who moved up one spot to No. 6 in the AP poll, are a well-rounded explosive offensive unit, accumulating 1,381 yards of offense ,and it's no surprise that the passing game behind senior quarterback Ashton Posey has led the way.

Posey has passed for 724 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions. Four of the scoring tosses have gone to Tre Crutcher with three to Jay Howard. Malik Harris has the other scoring reception.

Senior Josh Franklin leads the ground game, rushing for 268 yards and five touchdowns.

"It'll be a huge challenge for our offensive unit. We're going to make East have to defend the entire field," Osteen said. "They have a 4-star inside linebacker and a safety that has D-I (NCAA Division I) offers as well. Fortunately, we're blessed with a lot of good people to get the ball to."

Cornersville's Austin Barron (74) puts some heavy pressure on the Grace Christian quarterback last week in the Bulldogs 30-27 win at Frog Bottom. Photo by George "Pap" Warren


The Cornersville Bulldogs (1-2, 1-0) broke the ice last week, earning their first win of the season over Grace Christian School, and coach Gerard Randolph's squad will have a chance to make it two straight when they travel to Moore County (1-2, 0-1) this week for a big Region 4-A clash. "Moore County is a very hard place to win at and when you think of Moore County football, what automatically comes to mind is a very strong and physical football team, and that will be no different this Friday night," Randolph said.

The Raiders came out of the gate fast, beating Cascade before suffering back-to-back blowout losses against Forrest (22-0) and Columbia Academy (42-7).

Raider rivalry

"We have had the opportunity to watch film on them, and they want to line up and run the ball at you," the coach said. "As coaches we have explained to the guys that they will be playing in hostile territory come Friday night. It is a lot of tradition and pride in Moore County, but our objective is to go in and compete and get a victory."

The Bulldogs offense got in high gear last week, putting up 446 yards of offense, including a stellar performance by Kolbe McMahon, who rushed for a career high 333 yards on 35 carries.

McMahon scored three touchdowns against the Lions, and quarterback Eli Woodard added two more scores in the ground attack.

"I've said from day one that our O-Line has to be the anchor of this team, and if they do what they are supposed to do then Kolbe and any of our running backs can be successful," Randolph stated.


"The good thing about Kolbe is that he is a very versatile player. We can line Kolbe at several different positions, and he has the ability to do well at either. Kolbe McMahon has a lot of athletic ability and we are glad to have him on our side as a playmaker and leader."

The Bulldogs can make big strides this week if they can secure a region win and it only gets tougher as they travel to Mt. Peasant and Huntland, respectively, the next two weeks.

"I am pleased so far with this group of guys. One thing that our coaching staff stresses is getting better each day and every Friday night," Randolph said. "I really think that we have done that so far. Every time that we step on to a football field whether its practice or a game, we want to relish that opportunity and get better as a team."