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Defending state champ Spartans bite off ‘Large’ Division II slate

For Webb School of Knoxville, the 2007 football season just got tougher. The defending Division II-AA champions may face some adversity this fall after TSSAA restructured Division II and placed Webb in Division II Large.

Webb was previously in the middle of three Division II classifications for football, but this season will face much steeper region competition.

“We are playing schools that are a lot larger than us,” Webb head coach David Meske said. “When you talk about playing Baylor, McCallie and Father Ryan you are talking about playing schools that are in the realm of a Maryville.”

Even though it will be a challenge, Meske feels that his team his ready for the task at hand.

“It will be a new experience,” the coach said. “We’ve gone through this before and we have always met that challenge and I expect this school to meet the challenge again.”

In order for Webb to continue its success, it will rely heavily on senior running backs Derek Boyce and Brandt Campbell in the Wing-T offense.

“We only have about three or four starters back on offense and about three or four on defense,” Meske said. “We have two exceptional running backs coming back from last year. Both of them can fly and make big plays.”

Senior tackle Andrew Daly will also play a huge role in the Webb running game.

“All three of those kids have a chance to maybe play at the next level,” Meske said.

The remainder of the team is inexperienced, especially at the quarterback position.

“We have four guys that are working at quarterback,” Meske said. “I’m not going to make a decision about that until after we have had a couple of scrimmages. Maybe we will play more than one quarterback at the beginning of the year and see how it goes.”

In the Wing-T offense, the quarterback’s main objective is to manage the game, so Meske feels that he will be able to find the right player for the job.

“These quarterbacks haven’t really taken any varsity snaps, but at the same time in the Wing-T we don’t put a lot on our quarterback,” the coach said. “We aren’t going to go five-wide and throw the ball all over the place so we just need to find someone that manages the game well, manages our football team well and can make plays when we need them to make plays.”

Senior tight end/safety Matt Mitchell looks to have an expanded role this season, as will senior center/defensive end Tate Naylor.

“Tate Naylor didn’t play a lot last year but he is going to have a lot on him this year,” Meske said. “Matt Mitchell is going to play on both sides of the ball. He is a great athlete.”

Sophomore linebacker/running back Jason Berube is another player that Meske feels will step up and have a solid season.

Despite the challenging schedule that lies ahead, winning is still the number one goal.

“Our team goal is always to win every football game we play,” Meske said. “We have played for four state championships in the last 11 years so our goal is to make it to the playoffs where we play maybe the toughest schedule in the state of Tennessee for a school our size. It’s going to be difficult, but our kids expect to meet that challenge and I think they will.”

It starts in the off-season, and according to Campbell, the workouts have gone as well as he hoped.

“We have been working really hard because there is a lot of pressure on us,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be a tougher year so we have to be in the best shape of our lives.”

Despite having only nine seniors on the roster, this year’s team doesn’t lack any leadership.

“Our senior class has a lot of good leaders and we have been pushing the younger class to get in the weight room in the off-season,” Boyce said. “Since we have such good leadership it will give us an edge on everybody else.”

For a team that has won as much as the Spartans, Daly feels his team doesn’t get as much respect as it deserves. He hopes the 2007 season will change the way some people view Webb.

“We want to win state again but we want to try and prove that we can compete with these bigger schools,” Daly said. “A lot of people don’t think we can and we want to show them. We are playing with a chip on our shoulder like we always have.”


Spartan assistant coaches are Robby Collier, assistant head coach/defensive backs; Kevin Catlett, defensive coordinator; Jay Moore, offensive line/defensive line; Clark Wormsley, offensive coach; Ryan West, junior varsity defensive coordinator; Heath Brownlee, junior varsity head coach, and Vic Wharton, receivers.


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