AFTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Ben Murphy-era in L.A. (Lower Afton) has come to an end. After his retirement, the torch has been passed to Matt Ripley, who has been on the coaching staff for 15 years.
He’s waited for his moment and now it’s here, and his first official game with the primary headset on: at Knox Catholic.
After that brutal assignment this team will get ready for a strong slate of games and feel pretty good, while about anything will feel better than last season. Four games were scratched due to COVID cancellations, some due to other team’s interruptions and they had an outbreak at one point as well.
That derailed a season where they had high expectations with a strong senior class but they did perform well in the conference, finishing 2nd in Region 1-3A to Claiborne. With some new guys up this year they’re hoping to make some things happen.
“These guys have stepped up and really embraced the change and our word this summer has been evolve so these guys we really like what we did in the past and now we’re trying to take that to the next step and these guys have done that and I’m really proud of what we’ve done in a short amount of time and look forward to starting camp next week,” Ripley said.
This team is fairly young, graduating double-digit seniors including star quarterback Matthew Palazzo, who’s now on the Tusculum football team. Ripley said junior Cadin Tullock looks to be the starter, a talented player and there’s another QB to keep an eye on: Nicholas Palazzo, Matthew’s younger brother who is a sophomore.
The Black Knights have a number of starters back: six on offense, seven on defense so it’s all about buying in.
“Feel pretty good, I think we can have a pretty good year if we all work together I think we can we have the ability to do that but I’m confident in us this year I believe we’re gonna have a pretty good season,” Chuckey-Doak senior linebacker Colton Smith said.
“We expect to be able to pass the ball well, we have a lot of good receivers and we’ve got some big boys up front so we should be able to have a decently balanced offense and our defense should be fine we’ve got some big guys up front and linebackers so overall we should be fine we just gotta come together,” Chuckey-Doak senior tight end and linebacker Hayden Anderson said.
Chuckey-Doak opens the season on Friday, August 20 at Knox Catholic before traveling to Happy Valley in Week 2.