Youth teams close to kickoff

Jake Lewellyn carries the ball Monday during practice with the Loudon Quarterback Club.

Teams from the Lenoir City Youth Football Organization and Loudon Quarterback Club unofficially kicked off their seasons over the weekend with scrimmages against Knoxville teams.

The QB Club hosted Karns on Saturday, and three of the four teams competed. The Hoppers and Mustangs came away with wins.

“We were glad to have Karns come down,” Brian Kelch, QB Club president, said. “It was a good crowd and a good fundraising day for us. It gave our teams a chance to see what we need to work on — what areas we were strong in, what areas we were weak in. It was a very good learning experience. We got two out of three.”

The Crickets lost in a close battle, but the experience helped coaches spot areas of improvement.

“We’re a young Cricket team, so they’re learning to tackle,” Kelch said. “They’re starting to pick up on the differences. I think it was a little bit of a wake up because the game’s different from tackle to flag.”

LCYFO also hosted a pancake breakfast and scrimmage Saturday against Tellico Plains.

“I feel like all teams are very well balanced,” Luke Noe, LCYFO president, said. “I think we definitely have an opportunity to make the playoffs and the possibility of making it to the championship game. We had two fundraisers that day. We had raised over $5,000 for the club because we’ve committed to spending over $12,000 for buying new helmets for the kids this year. It was a good fundraiser for us and all the teams looked sharp.”

All three LCYFO teams participated in the Rocky Top Classic on Sunday. The Cutters tied with Knox Central and the Hoppers defeated the East Knoxville Athletic Association Road Runners.

“Our Hoppers, surprisingly, whipped Austin-East (EKAA) 12-0,” Noe said. “That tournament right there has teams from 11 different states and had over 70 teams entered in it, so we were real happy to go up there and get those results considering we’ve only been practicing for a week.”

Loudon will host the Sequoyah Youth Conference Jamboree on Saturday, where both LCYFO and QB Club teams will face one off in a preseason rivalry matchup.

“We want to see them execute,” Kelch said. “They’ve been working on correcting their mistakes, so we want to see them execute, score points and not give up points. We want to be tough on defense this year. We feel like we’re fast on every team, and we want to have a defense that doesn’t give up any points. We’ve got some good competition.”

“We’re just excited to go play and it’s not necessarily about winning or losing at the jamboree because we’re just trying to get reps in,” Noe added. “Win or lose, we’re going to be happy with just getting the work put in. We’re excited to go across the bridge and support them anyway we can. While we’re rivals once a year in a big game, we’re still close allies and want to support one another.”