As it turns out, Coach Bo Cagle has a laundry list of things McMinn County needs to correct following a 42-point blowout of a Region 2-6A opponent.
And focusing on those things may be the key for the Cherokees to avoid a letdown in Blount County. McMinn County continues region play when it takes a trip to William Blount for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Friday.
“It’s really about playing hard. Playing hard through the whistle, finishing plays, not loafing on plays,” Cagle said. “I’ve got too many kids walking around on defense and letting other people make plays when they could make plays.
“Offensively, we’re not finishing blocks and we’re not running though the whistle, and doing those things that, if you’re going to be a good football team, you’ve got to do. And those are things we saw on film from Friday night that we were not doing very good. And that’s not the way you play the game, and we’re going to try to fix that this week.”
Blount County has been treacherous territory for McMinn (3-0, 1-0 Region 2-6A) the last few years.
The last time the Tribe visited William Blount two years ago, it walked out with a 38-31 loss. And the year before that, the Cherokees had also lost at Heritage.
If looking at recent game results, the Governors (2-2, 1-1) shouldn’t be much of a threat to the Cherokees, who held steady at Class 6A’s No. 4 ranking in The Associated Press state poll this week.
Two weeks ago, William Blount lost 38-21 to the same Ooltewah team the Cherokees just throttled 56-14. The Govs also needed a late comeback this past week to overcome region cellar-dweller Heritage 29-22.
Obviously, Cagle isn’t a believer in the transitive property for football.
“We played a really good game Friday, both offensively and defensively, after we settled down a little bit,” Cagle said. “I think Ooltewah probably didn’t play their best game against us, and they’d be the first to tell you that.”
The Govs run a spread offense, and Cagle said they line up in many of the same formations McMinn does. William Blount relies quite a bit more on the pass, however, with quarterback Trey Clemmer having thrown for 870 yards and nine touchdowns so far this season.
“I know in our secondary last week against Ooltewah, we had some breakdowns in coverage and didn’t do things right, so this is going to put a challenge on us throughout the week to get better at being in the right places at the right time,” Cagle said.
“He (Clemmer) throws the ball well and runs it well, and they’ve got a couple of good receivers, and we’re not taking them lightly because it’s all about us right now.”
Defensively, William Blount will bring a 4-2-5 defense, and the Govs often put eight men in the box against the Tribe last year. The Cherokees are coming off a 523-yard rushing performance, but if they can complement that with some passing, all the better. Jayden Miller threw for a 35-yard touchdown last week against the Owls.
“I think we threw it enough last week to give ourselves some confidence going into that game, but we’ve got to have some more, and we’ve got to spread them out and loosen them up some,” Cagle said. “So we’ll focus this week on throwing the ball some more and be a little more two-dimensional so we go into the season with some more tools in our toolbag.”
According to Cagle, William Blount will sell tickets at the gate on Friday and admittance is not being limited.