BLUFF CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The only normal offseason in Sullivan County is happening in Bluff City. Sullivan East is the only school left after South, North and Central all lost their teams when they consolidated to form West Ridge High School.
The Patriots are getting a brand new turf field since West Ridge is also getting one at their new stadium in Blountville. The two teams don’t face each other this year since West Ridge became a 6A school in Region 1-6A.
East had a strong start to its 2020 season, going 2-2 in the first four games with one of those two losses being to eventual Class 4A state champion Elizabethton. As the calendar turned to October, a COVID outbreak ripped two games away from them and the season was derailed from there, only winning one more game after that (Sullivan North).
However, this is a new season and these guys have a lot to look forward too, hopefully COVID-free as well.
“It’s night and day from last year, I mean to be able to get out here and mix it up and actually feel some normalcy to what you’re doing it’s been fantastic we’re just learning how to practice right now and getting back into it and getting ready for Game 1,” Sullivan East head football coach J.C. Simmons said.
East is among many teams figuring out the quarterback position. Ethan Bradford came in last year as a first-year starter and played well, throwing for over 1,000 yards. This is an opportunity for that position, and the entire team to approach every task with a fresh mindset.
“We need to compete a lot more in practice like in one on one drills and just uplift each other as much as we can,” Sullivan East senior running back and linebacker Eli Richardson said.
“Chemistry, being able to talk to each other whenever and not get angry with each other make sure we all keep composure so in 4th quarters we can come back and pull it,” Sullivan East senior tight end and linebacker Manny Milhorn said.
Sullivan East opens its season on Friday, August 20 against David Crockett.