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Tribble has ‘chip’ at Centre
Former BHS standout comes home, team edges MC Scots

Watch out for Michael Tribble — the Centre College defensive end standout and former Bearden Bulldog said he’s got an ax to grind.

Or, to be exact, “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder.”

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Tribble was a 2005 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Honorable Mention defender at the Division III school in Danville, Ky.

However, “Coach [Rick] Fox, our offensive coach, told me that he believed I was the best or second-best defensive end in our conference, and that was a snub, honorable mention,” Tribble said after his team’s heart-stopping 17-14 win versus Maryville College at MC Saturday, Sept. 9. “I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder, honorable mention wasn’t good enough for me. I thought I performed a lot better than a lot of the D-linemen that were ahead of me. Anything short of first-team All-conference will be a disappointment.”

While Tribble’s afternoon on the gridiron against the Scots Saturday wasn’t exactly a one-man show, the 2003 BHS graduate came up big when it mattered.

Of Tribble’s six total tackles and one pass deflection, his biggest stop came at perhaps the most critical time in the game — midway into the fourth quarter with Maryville near the Colonel goal line threatening to go up by 11 points.

The ex-Bulldog assisted for a no-gain stop up the middle on third-and-two at the Centre 4 with the Scots ahead 14-10. Maryville then misfired on a 21-yard field goal and Centre seized momentum to eventually win the game.

As for Tribble’s one-on-one battle with MC tackle Chase Roper, “I think I was really able to handle him speed-wise, and physically he wasn’t able to drive me off the ball. … I thought I was able to control him very well.”

A Centre team captain, Tribble said he’s also eyeing region honors, “And if I step up my game, All-American.”

Centre improves to 2-0 overall while Maryville falls to 1-1.

Tribble is one of six Farragut area players representing both schools and is joined at Centre by 6-foot, 177-pound freshman quarterback Jimmy Fleming, a former Knoxville Catholic standout who twice led the Irish deep into the playoffs and “was the winningest quarterback in school history.”

Fleming said he chose Centre “because they’re definitely going to make me a better person,” both in football and academically.

Saying he plays to compete for the starting quarterback job in 2007, Fleming said he was immediately impressed with Centre because head coach Andy Frye sold him on the program’s lofty goals. “He looked me in the eye and he said, ‘We’ll win a conference championship and we’re going to compete for a national championship,’” Fleming said of Frye. “As a competitor that gets your fire going, that makes you excited to play.”

West siders representing Maryville College include 6-foot, 230-pound sophomore defensive end Spencer Clancy, a former KCHS standout who played several snaps at defensive end, recording one solo tackle.

Three other west side high school standouts with MC are freshman runningback and Farragut High School alumnus Nick Moore, freshman wide receiver and BHS alumnus Phillip Dampf and KCHS graduate and senior quarterback Daniel Dunn.

Moore said he faced a rude awakening about Division III college football.

“The speed of the game is definitely the biggest difference,” Moore said. “I came in here thinking that I was going to do really well and run over everybody, but just because it’s Division Three it’s still really good competition here and you can’t take anyone for granted.

“I came into camp and I didn’t do as good as I had wanted to do, so I got moved back on the depth chart a little bit,” Moore added.

“But I truly like the experience and the environment here at Maryville College. The coaching staff is great, all the players are great. I already have a bunch of friends on the team. It’s making it a lot of fun for me being at Maryville College.”


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