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Experienced Red Devils hope to use size, balance to whip FHS in Saturday’s high school football season opener at HHS

Returning its entire offense and most of its defense from a 4-6 team last season, the Class 4A Halls Red Devils certainly have the experience to rack up victories in 2004.

“We didn’t have a senior to start last year on offense after the third week,” said Halls head coach Gary Shephard, entering his 12th year at the helm at HHS. “We’ve got a lot of people coming back that played. The negative of that is that they lost six games. We hope that they’ve improved and matured and gotten better.”

Hurting the development of this season’s team has been a lack of scrimmage time. Having one road scrimmage abruptly cancelled, Halls’ only scrimmage of the pre-season was a victory against Class 3A Gibbs prior to a 6-0 loss to Bearden in last Friday’s KOC Jamboree in Neyland Stadium.

“Shoot, we didn’t have the ball but seven plays,” Shephard said in explaining his team’s lack of offense against the Bulldogs. “We tried one pass and got sacked.”

As for size and speed, “I don’t think we’re ever going to be happy with our speed but we can live with it. Our size is OK.”

According to the HHS roster, eight Red Devils weigh 230 pounds or more, led by senior lineman Bubba Trotter (6-foot-2, 290) and sophomore lineman Derek Waldrop (6-foot-1, 290). Juniors John Vandergriff (6-foot-2, 275) and Justin Cox (6-foot-1, 265) are close.


Junior Jeffrey Lockwood is the main man in the Red Devils’ one-back set.

“He was our leading rusher last year, I hope he’s better this year than he was then,” Shephard said of Lockwood, adding that in 10 ballgames “he was in the eight-hundred-plus range” in yardage.

The Halls skipper said the line is the offense strength, adding that the unit is equally capable of run- and pass-blocking.

“We don’t want to be a one-dimensional team, which we’ve had to be in the past because of talent at certain positions.”

That second dimension — passing — will be done by two Halls quarterbacks Saturday evening according to Shephard.

Junior Trey Lucas and sophomore Korey Meyers will split time against the Admirals. “They’ll both play Saturday night,” the coach said.

Senior receiver Jake Mynatt is the Red Devils primary passing target according to Shephard.


Eight starters return on defense from 2003, with Shephard saying his defense has “a lot of potential.”

Shephard labels “experience” as his defensive unit’s biggest asset.

“I think our two best defensive players are Donavan Lankford (5-foot-9, 230 pound linebacker) and Justin Cox (defensive lineman). Those are the two who have stood out during the course of two-a-days.”


Halls’ keys to success against Farragut Saturday night?

“I think we’ve got to be able to run the ball and throw the ball,” Shephard said. “And I think we’ve got to stop their two tailbacks (Michael Wright and Jovon Miller) and their fullback (Nick Moore).

“And that’s not to say they don’t have other weapons, but from what I saw in the Jamboree (No.) three and (No.) five can run the ball, and (No.) thirty-seven can run the ball.”


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