By Collin Brooks
Local senior high school football players will get one more chance to take the gridiron during the Fellowship for Christian Athletes contest on Saturday, Dec. 17 at Tennessee High’s Stone Castle with a 1 p.m. kickoff.
The game took a hiatus last season from Northeast Tennessee as two Southwest Virginia teams got the chance to duke it out. This year, the teams will consist of close to 30 schools from Virginia and Tennessee. The East team will be made up of Tennessee schools Tennessee High, Sullivan East and Sullivan Central along with a number of Virginia schools. While the West squad will have the majority of the Tennessee Schools and some Virginia schools like Gate City and Union. FCA Representative Gary Maggard said he was happy they chose to combine the teams this way.
“We’ve never mixed the guys together and we thought that would be something kind of neat to try,” he said. “This will be the first time we have ever tried to do this, so I think it is kind of neat.”
The teams had banquets on Monday night, which gave them an opportunity to get to know one another over a meal before they started three days of practice.
Science Hill will be represented by Bryson Tolley, Chad Gage, Austin Cox and Tate Overbay. Tolley said he was to bring pain to some of his opponents that he will now call teammates, but he looks forward to taking the field one more time.
“I’m excited,” Tolley said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to play alongside some of the guys that I have competed against since middle school.”
The Toppers will team up with players from Dobyns-Bennett, including quarterback Cole Maupin. Daniel Boone and David Crockett players will also suit up on the same side. Boone will be represented by Justin Turner, Jacob Arnold, Leelan Flannigan and Ethan Harrell. The Pioneers will be represented by Justin Wade, Darian DeLapp and the schools all-time leading rusher in TK Hill.
Turner said that he is happy that he will be able to take the field one more time as a high schooler before he makes his college decision.
“It’s a blessing to be able to play one more game,” said Turner, whose played against teammates from Science Hill, David Crockett and Elizabethton this season. “With all of those guys, we are definitely going to be scary.”
For Wade, it will provide him with one more opportunity to play for his high school coach Jeremy Bosken, who recently resigned to become offensive coordinator at Cleveland High School. Bosken will be the offensive coordinator for the FCA contest.
“It’s an honor and a blessing to get the opportunity to compete in another high school football game,” Wade said. “The thing I’m most looking forward to is playing alongside my David Crockett teammates one last time and reviving the relationship that coach Bosken and I have, one last time. It’ll truly be a special experience.”
Elizabethton will also be represented by Russell Carter, Logan Norman, Brandon Vilaseang and Conner Johnson. Trinity Academy — a Christian high school in Blountville — will be represented in the contest by Keshaun Robinson, Terrance Previlon and Jacob Kearns.