There isn’t much time off for high school football teams. Within weeks after one season has ended, players and coaches are typically back at work, preparing for the following season.
For Scott High, the preparation for the 2018 football season begins now. The Highlanders, which wrapped up the regular season in Pigeon Forge on Friday, went back to work on Monday, getting ready for a bowl game against North Greene in Knoxville on Saturday. The goal, according to head coach Keith Shannon, is to get ready for next year.
“Nobody in Scott County is happy that Scott High is 1-9,” Shannon said. “And everybody in Scott County wants Scott High to do everything we can do to make sure that we don’t repeat this next year. Well, an added scrimmage, an added week of practice, it makes a lot of sense.”
The Highlanders accepted the bowl invitation on Thursday, just one day before they were scheduled to close out their season at Pigeon Forge. TSSAA allows teams not qualifying for the playoffs to play in a bowl game. Scott will kick off at 11 a.m. on the campus of Grace Christian Academy in the Karns community.
The focus, Shannon said, will be on the underclass players.
“I promise you, you can come to practice and watch, we’re going to work the seniors here and there but it’s going to be a lot less,” he said. “It’s going to be that group that’s going to be coming back collectively next year that’s going to get the lion’s share of those snaps, offensively, defensively and even special teams.”
Offensive coordinator Josh Terry applauded the seniors’ willingness to take a step back for the bowl game.
“I felt like our leadership, I feel like they handled it the right way,” he said. “I felt like it is a testament to their character that they’re kinda opening the door to allow us to look forward.”
Terry called Saturday’s game against North Greene “almost an early preseason game,” saying it will give the Highlanders a head start on the 2018 season.
Shannon said that while the underclass players will receive plenty of attention this week, the seniors will be given their dues, as well.
“We’re going to bring them out there and it’ll be the best of both worlds, we hope, and we’ll get to play this great game of football that the good Lord has given us one more time,” he said.