BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Mike Mays decided to step down as Tennessee High head coach, but the Vikings didn’t need to look far for his replacement.
The program turned to Matt Chandler, who is about to enter his 20th season with the squad. He’s spent most of that time as the defensive coordinator, including last season. The Vikings held opponents to just under 20 points a game during that time.
Chandler added that this type of awareness with the program is a huge positive.
“Familiarity helps. We installed everything in the spring. Our offense and our defense, we didn’t have to change anything, we’re going with what we did all the way back to the spring,” Chandler said.
All the players on this squad are excited there’s a familiar face at the helm, including senior running back and linebacker Micah Kennedy.
“For it to be anybody, I’m really glad it’s Coach Chandler. He brings it everyday intensity wise and I feel like practice has stayed the same consistently as what it has for Coach Mays and I feel like that’s all we could’ve asked for.”
One thing the Vikings won’t have though are some familiar faces. Virginia Tech signee Jaden Keller was a lockdown defensive back that could do everything on the offensive side, along with returning kicks. They also lost Bryce Snyder and Austin Mann, who were both key factors on both sides of the ball.
Just because there’s some crucial production from last years team missing from the squad, doesn’t mean the Vikings are ready to roll over every Friday night.
“We bring size, a lot of size this year, especially up front, so that helps a lot and we’ve got some skills guys that can do some stuff too,” senior wide receiver and defensive back Nysaiah Foote said. “Defensively we lost Jaden Keller, Bryce Snyder, all those guys, but that means these guys need to step up.”
One player that will look to take a bigger step this season is senior quarterback Steven Johnson. The 6-5, 200 pound senior can let it fly on any play and that’s caught the attention of some colleges. The second-year starter already has an offer from Charlotte. The offense also features Foote and Kennedy, but no matter who handles the rock, this team is ready to bring the nasty.
“We’re going to out physical everybody, that’s our goal and I feel like if we don’t succeed at that then we failed that Friday night,” Kennedy said. “If we can out physical somebody, we can win any game in our schedule.”