Wildcats look to bounce back at Tellico
Like Andrews, Tellico Plains was quickly ready to move on from its opening game, too.
The Bears lost 41-13 to rival Sequoyah in their annual opener, managing just one score after returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
“I think some of the best improvement in a high school team is from the first week to the second,” Tellico coach John Mullinax said. “I expect that both teams will improve their level of play this week.”
The games between Andrews and Tellico Plains have been close the last five years, with a total margin of 23 points and last year’s nine-point win by the Bears being the only one of more than one score. The Wildcats won in 2015 and 2016, including the last meeting in the Tennessee hills.
“It has been a very competitive ball game and I expect it to be again,” said Mullinax, who is in his sixth year at Tellico. “Andrews’ coach does a good job with their veer offense, and we have to play assignment football if we are going to slow them down.”
Andrews coach James Phillips said the Bears have a lot of juniors who saw time as freshman, putting them theoretically a year ahead of the Wildcats in a similar developmental process.
“They have a good group of core players,” Phillips said. “Coach Mullinax coaches them well and they are scrappy. We typically match up well with them and we expect a tough game.”
Mullinax was hoping to see his team move the ball better than it did in the first game, including attempting just two passes.
“We need to play a whole lot better than we did,” Mullinax said. “We would like to try and throw the ball more and mix it up better so we will certainly try to do that.”
The Bears’ offense is led by three-year starter at quarterback Dale Rinehart and tailback Levi Roberts, who were the team’s two leading rushers last week. Roberts broke the opening kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown for the Bears.
Phillips said his squad had a strong opening to the week of practice and is feeling good.
“This is resilient group,” Phillips said of his Wildcats. “They just want to win.”