Fulton’s plan is to play freshman QB Xavier Malone against Maryville

Fulton High School football coach Rob Black said on Thursday he expects freshman quarterback Xavier Malone to play against Maryville on Saturday.

“Our plan right now is to play him,” Black said. “Unless something happens, he’s going to play. Unless something pops up, he’s good. Everything has checked out.”

Malone was taken off the field on a stretcher during Fulton’s Week 1 win over Morristown West and taken to a hospital as a precaution. The 6-foot-2, 193-pound freshman underwent a series of evaluations for a concussion and neck soreness before being cleared to go through drills during the middle of this week.

“He’s had the Saturday night evaluation, and he’s seen a couple different people,” Black said. “Everything has checked out so far. Unless something drastic happens, I expect him to play.”

Fulton, which has won 37 consecutive games and the past three Class 4A state championships, travels to play two-time defending state champion Maryville on Saturday at 8 p.m. (TV: WVLT).

The Rebels have won 31 straight games.

Morristown West’s Jonathan Fluker loses cancer battle

Jonathan Fluker, a beloved member of the Morristown West High School football team, died Monday morning after a prolonged cancer battle.

His passing was announced in a post on the Morristown West High School Facebook Page.

“With heavy hearts the Trojan Nation has been informed that Jonathan Fluker passed away this morning,” the post states. “The Fluker family wanted to express their appreciation to everyone that showed their family so much love during Jonathan’s battle. We will share the details of the Celebration of Life when arrangements have been made.”

Morristown West football coach Lamar Brown also said late Monday that funeral arrangements were still pending.

“He died from complications of the cancer,” Brown said.

Fluker was diagnosed with a peripheral nerve sheath tumor in 2009. After remising the cancer, classified as a sarcoma, the disease returned in 2013 by attaching to his spinal cord and confining him to a wheel chair.

Still, Fluker was a fixture in the Morristown West football community. He was listed as a senior defensive lineman on the Trojans’ football roster this season.

Morristown West plays host to Greeneville on Friday at Burke-Toney Stadium.

“Jonathan’s smile is shining bright in Heaven today,” Brown wrote in a post on his Twitter account on Monday. “The faith and love that he showed every day taught me so much. Pray for his family. #76.”

More updates later online and in Wednesday’s News Sentinel.



High school football jamboree schedules in PrepXtra coverage area

Knoxville Orthopedic Clinic’s Kickoff Classic
Thursday’s Games
At Central High School, 7 p.m. start
Austin-East vs. The King’s Academy
Halls vs. Anderson County
Central vs. Gibbs
Powell vs. Carter
Friday’s Games
At West High School, 7 p.m. start
Kanrs vs. Webb
Hardin Valley vs. Farragut
South-Doyle vs. Fulton
Bearden vs. Lenoir City
West vs. Campbell County

Maryville Orthopedic Clinic Jamboree
Friday’s Games
At Alcoa High School, 7 p.m. start
First Quarter: Maryville vs. Alcoa
Second Quarter: Punt, pass, kick and spring competition
Third Quarter: Greenback vs. Alcoa
Fourth Quarter: William Blount vs. Heritage

Smoky Mountain Kick-Off Jamboree
Friday’s Games
At Sevier County High School, 7 p.m. start
First Quarter: Northview Academy vs. Gatlinburg-Pittman (JV)
Second Quarter: Seymour vs. Gatlinburg-Pittman (JV)
Third Quarter: Pigeon Forge vs. Sevier County (JV)
Fourth Quarter: Northview vs. Seymour
Fifth Quarter: Gatlinburg-Pittman vs. Seymour
Sixth Quarter: Pigeon Forge vs. Sevier County

Roane County Jamboree
Friday’s Games
At Harriman High School
Rockwood vs. Cumberland County, 7 p.m.
Kingston vs. Midway, 7:50 p.m.
Harriman vs. Oliver Springs, 8:45 p.m.

Tennessee Orthopedic Clinic Jamboree
Friday’s Games
At Clinton High School, 6 p.m. start
Grace Christian vs. Claiborne
Grace Christian vs. Clinton (JV)
Clinton vs. Union County

IMAC Jamboree
Friday’s Games
At Morristown’s Burke Toney Stadium, 6 p.m. start
First Quarter: Jefferson County vs. Cocke County (Freshmen)
Second Quarter: Jefferson County vs. Cocke County
Third Quarter: Morristown East vs. David Crockett (Freshmen)
Fourth Quarter: Morristown East vs. David Crockett
Fifth Quarter: Morristown West vs. Daniel Boone (Freshmen)
Sixth Quarter: Morristown West vs. Daniel Boone

All games varsity unless noted

Sevier County decides not to file hardship for Dorian Banks

Sevier County High School does not plan to file a hardship for senior football standout Dorian Banks, Smoky Bears football coach Tony Linginfelter said this week.

“We decided not to file a hardship at this time,” Linginfelter said on Thursday. “His mom is looking for a job here so she can move up here.”

Banks, a Tennessee commitment who plays running back and defensive back, transferred to Sevier County after playing at Gallatin last season. He played at Sevier County as a sophomore and Ezell-Harding as a freshman.

Linginfelter said in July a move by Banks’ mom from Gallatin to Sevierville should pave the way for eligibility. Sevier County has until Aug. 21 to announce Banks as an eligible player to the TSSAA.

“(Banks’) mom is moving according to Dorian,” Linginfelter said in a text message on Saturday. “We don’t have a chance of winning (a) hardship. We plan on listing him on (the) eligibility roster as a transfer as soon as she gets an address.”

According to the TSSAA Handbook, a transferring player may become eligible if:

“There has been a bona fide change of residence by the student’s entire family unit in which (1) the old residence is outside the territory of the new school, (2) the new residence is outside the territory of the old school, and (3) the new residence is inside the territory of the new school.

“If such a change of residence occurs between school years, the student must transfer at the beginning of the school year to be eligible. If the change of residence occurs during the school year, the student may transfer without loss of eligibility (1) at the time his/her parents change residence; (2) at the end of the next report card period; (3) at the close of the semester or term; or (4) at the close of the school year.”

Banks, who transferred back to Sevier County in January, is rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports Composite, and is considered the No. 52 athlete nationally and No. 19 overall player in Tennessee for the 2016 class.


First round pairings, tee times announced for PrepXtra Masters

First-round Tee times and pairings for the PrepXtra Masters were announced on Friday. The two-day tournament, set for Monday and Tuesday at Tennessee National Golf Club in Loudon, features the top golfers from the News Sentinel’s coverage area.

Monday’s First Round

Tee No. 1

8:30 a.m.: Chip Thomas (Farragut), Ryan Hall (Halls), Steven Bagwell (Maryville)
8:40 a.m.: Tyler Johnson (Farragut), Jake Hall (Halls), Matt Copeland (Maryville)
8:50 a.m.: Brian Clark (Farragut), Cameron Yeary (Halls), Andrew Herman (Maryville)
9 a.m.: Steven Haremski (Farragut), Alex Hodge (Halls), Bryce Beeler (Maryville)
9:10 a.m.: Spencer Dye (Farragut), Anthony Basillio (Halls), Luke Bagwell (Maryville)
9:20 a.m.: Cade Russell (CAK), Sam Jones (Hardin Valley), Turner South (Webb)
9:30 a.m.: Mitchell Deeson (CAK), Dylan Vieyra (Hardin Valley), Nathan Allen (Webb)
9:40 a.m.: Chad Homan (CAK), Spencer Dodson (Hardin Valley), Blake Moore (Webb)
9:50 a.m.: Tyler Young (CAK), Derek Green (Hardin Valley), Ben Wofford (Webb)
10 a.m.: Preston Burleson (CAK), Will Heater (Hardin Valley), Palmer Bradshaw (Webb)
10:10 a.m.: Parker Simpson (Lenoir City), Kyle Cottam (Catholic), Luke Scealf (Grace Christian)

Tee No. 10

8:30 am.: Rachel McMahan (Farragut), Shelby Liford (Halls), Kelly Herman (Maryville)
8:40 a.m.: Emily Keeling (Farragut), Harper Cherry (Halls), McKenzie Davis (Maryville)
8:50 a.m.: Jenally Nolan (Farragut), Savannah Johnson (Halls), Sarah Hartsell (Maryville)
9 a.m.: Emma Click (Lenoir City), Dani Swaggerty (West), Kalina Scarbrough (Webb)
9:10 am.: Caroline Cavin (CAK), Ella Morton (Lenoir City), Lexi Shaw (South-Doyle)
9:20 a.m.: Alexis Hartwig (Webb), Emma Wasson (CAK), Victoria Noles (Lenoir City)
9:30 a.m.: Savannah Szozda (Kingston), Natasha Hughes (Anderson County), Kennedy Smith (CAK)
9:40 a.m.: John Sims (Lenoir City), Andrew Briggs (Jefferson County), Zeb Rogers (Anderson County)
9:50 a.m.: Wyatt Morton (Lenoir City), Jake Barnes (Patriot Academy), Caleb Milligan (Powell)
10 a.m.: Tanner Cook (Lenoir City), Brady Davis (Kingston), Kaegan Hackworth (Anderson County)
10:10 a.m.: Mason Moser (Lenoir City), Eli Cox (Catholic), Bo Fischer (West)

Alcoa pitcher Redmond Walsh to be preferred walk-on at Tennessee

Redmond Walsh is getting an opportunity to play SEC baseball, thanks to his high upside and impressive showing on this summer’s baseball circuit.

Walsh, a senior left-handed pitcher from Alcoa High School, committed to Tennessee on Wednesday as a preferred walk-on, announcing the news on his Twitter account.

“I played with Diamond Simcox 17U Blue, and had just a great summer, great team and great coaches,” Walsh said. “(Recently hired Tennessee assistant) Larry Simcox was really on my side through the whole thing. He coached our team for part of the summer, and then got with (UT coach Dave) Serrano.”

Walsh, who’s 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, is a high-upside pitcher who relies on location and execution rather than an overpowering fastball. He mixed his off-speed stuff and a low-80s fastball to finish 3-2 with a 1.64 ERA last season at Alcoa, striking out 57 in 51 1-3 innings.

“If you look up sleeper in the dictionary, it’s his picture,” said longtime area pitching instructor Brian Hochevar, who works with Walsh during the offseason. “He can command two-seam, changeup, breaking ball anywhere in the count. He’s an excellent competitor, and he can flat execute pitches. His best pitching is ahead of him. He’s about 5-foot-10, and … he’s a thin guy. If he gets bigger and stronger in that Tennessee program, he could be special. The biggest thing about him is he just flat gets guys out.”

Walsh said he chose UT over a scholarship offer from Tennessee Tech. He also considered Wofford College.

“What they told me is: ‘You’re going to have to earn everything once you get on campus,” ’ Walsh said. “They’re going to give me the opportunities, but my performance will determine whether I do end up on scholarship or not.”

Zach Reese promoted as Jefferson County baseball coach after Gaines Cox resigns

Jefferson County baseball assistant Zach Reese has been promoted to lead the Patriots’ program, school athletic direct Randy Rogers said Thursday.

Reese replaces Gaines Cox, who resigned for health and personal reasons. Cox, who was hired in February 2014, released this statement regarding his resignation:

“I would like to thank Dr. Walker and Mr. Rogers for the opportunity to fulfill a dream job two years ago. Having to step away from this job was difficult, but having physical problems that involve both hips, as well as neuropathy in both legs, made carrying out the responsibilities of the job extremely difficult. The symptoms began 6 months after being hired in February of 2014. I received cortisone shots in both hips this past March to make the baseball season bearable.  Hip surgery was done on one hip in late May. The other hip will need surgery sometime in the near future. I have a diagnosis of neuropathy, but have yet to find out the cause, which has made treatment difficult.

“Thank you to my wife, Kristi, and our four children for their support while coaching and as we are addressing these health issues. Many thanks to the coaches, Zach Reese, Zach Long, Charlie Munroe, and Langdon Potts for all of their hard work and help. Thanks to the players for their dedication and the improvement you achieved from 2014 to 2015. Thank you to Steve Devotie and parents for their work in supporting your sons as well as the program.

“I am extremely excited that Zach Reese has been hired. He does a fantastic job and his teams will be successful under his leadership. Coach Reese is a great person and coach. He knows the game and how to teach the game. He has a positive connection with the players and they respect him. He was a tremendous asset in many areas since he has been here as a coach. All the best to him, his coaching staff, and the players.”

— Gaines Cox

HVA’s Ryder Green vying for spot on USA Baseball’s 15U National Team

Hardin Valley Academy sophomore pitcher Ryder Green is one of 40 players still competing for a spot on USA Baseball’s 15-and-under national team.

Green was among the group that qualified on Tuesday for the 15U National Team Trials, a precursor to making the national team’s final 20-player roster. The national team will compete in the COPABE “AA”/15U Pan American Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, starting Aug. 21.  The final roster will be announced on USABaseball.com.

Green, who committed to Kentucky in June, appeared in 36 games as a freshman last season, playing a role in HVA’s run to its first Class AAA state championship.

The 6-foot, 205-pound right-handed utility player, who’s listed as a pitcher by USA Baseball, batted .260 with four doubles and 18 RBIs in 117 plate appearances last season. He made the most of his 12 innings on the mound by finishing 1-0 with one save, 11 strikeouts and a 2.92 ERA.

Jakes Stiles replaces Chad Tate as Grainger’s baseball coach

Jake Stiles was hired as Grainger High School’s baseball coach on July 10, replacing Chad Tate, who resigned from his post to focus on his roles as the school’s assistant principal and football coach.

Stiles rejoins the program after serving as Rutledge Middle School’s baseball coach last season. The former Carson-Newman standout previously served as an assistant on Tate’s staff at Rutledge High, his alma mater, and Grainger from 2007-14.

It’s the first high school head coaching job for Stiles.

“Following Chad is tough. He’s very meticulous and very ordered and a super manager,” said Stiles on Friday. “I kind of see how it goes and go with the flow, ride the waves as they come. I don’t know how my coaching personality will turn out, but I’m excited.”

Tate coached 11 seasons after being hired before the 2005 season at Rutledge, which eventually dissolved to form Grainger. The program won 242 games under his guidance, finishing 23-9 last season en route to the Region 1-AA semifinals.

“I’m glad (Stiles) got the job. I think he’s a great hire for Grainger,” Tate said. “He’s a baseball guy. He was a big asset for us. We hated not having him last season, that’s for sure.”

Tate said his departure wasn’t a surprise to school administrators.

“I just had to keep it quiet. I didn’t want to say it during the season,” Tate said.  “Just doing both sports, football and baseball, I got two little girls, and you’ve got to be dad, No. 1. Plus being an assistant principal and head football coach, it takes a lot of time. … . I’ll miss it, I love baseball. We were able to do a lot of good things. It was a great 11 years.”

Catholic’s Amari Rodgers, son of Tee Martin, offered by Tennessee

Catholic High School junior running back Amari Rodgers has reportedly been offered a football scholarship offer from Tennessee, the school his father, Tee Martin, quarterbacked to a national championship during the 1998 season.

Rodgers, a Southern Cal commitment, announced the news on his Twitter account on Friday. Martin is currently an assistant at USC, serving as the Trojans’ passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach.

Rodgers, who committed to USC in June, is rated a four-star prospect in the 2017 class and the No. 7 player in Tennessee by 247Sports Composite. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound prospect also holds offers from LSU, Vanderbilt, Duke and Wake Forest, among others.