CHURCH HILL, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Volunteer High School football team might have had a first-year head coach last year in Jesse McMillan, but the team had its moments looking like a polished product.
The Falcons increased their win total with a 3-7 record, including a massive victory over Cherokee in the Battle of Hawkins County. Now, McMillan says it’s time to build on that with this year’s team.
“It’s just a good group and that has carried into this year, very competitive group of kids and they are trying to play the best they can,” McMillan said, who spent two years as an assistant coach before taking over the lead role last season.
It makes a team’s job easier to build on such a performance when their starting quarterback returns for the next season, and that’s what the Falcons have going with senior Garrison Barrett back under center.
“I think it’s more or less just getting more comfortable with the offense and figure out what we like and what we can do best what worked last year and what we’re gonna bring into this year,” Barrett said, who also plays basketball and baseball for Volunteer High.
While moving down in district classification can be beneficial at times by facing lesser competition, that’s not quite something this Falcons team gets to enjoy. They move down from Region 1-5A, a strong conference, to Region 1-4A which is smaller but still facing some powerhouse programs like Elizabethton and Greeneville, who both have combined to win the last four Class 4 state championships.
Volunteer opens with a brutal two games against Region 1-6A opponents, hosting West Ridge in the opener before traveling to Dobyns-Bennett.