Youth football teams from the Sequoyah Youth Conference clashed in a final preseason test Saturday during a jamboree at Loudon High School.
The Lenoir City Youth Football Organization and Loudon Quarterback Club competed in all four age groups.
“I think we really performed well across the board as an organization,” Luke Noe, LCYFO president, said. “Our Super Crickets got double wins, our Crickets got double wins, our Hoppers got double wins, our Cutters got a tie and lost by two points. There’s big improvements on all of the squads across the board, so I think LCYFO is definitely a program to contend with this year.”
Arguably the biggest matchup of the day was between the LCYFO Cutters and QB Club Mustangs, which ended in a tie.
“It’s always fun when Loudon and Lenoir City play each other,” Brian Kelch, QB Club president, said. “We know each other and we see each other, so there’s some friendly rivalry there. Everybody just gets up for it. That’s the second oldest rival in the state, the Loudon-Lenoir City game, and it’s just fun to get to play them guys. In a jamboree, the game doesn’t really count so it doesn’t really matter as much, but you still want to walk out of there winning.”
All four QB Club teams performed well, which has Kelch excited for the season. The Hoppers fell to Lenoir City, but defeated Tellico.
“I thought we did very well,” Kelch said. “The Crickets and Super Crickets made a big step in their improvement of their gameplay, just kind of figuring out how a game’s set up and how to play it. Both the Hoppers and the Mustangs were playing very tough in both of their games. ... I’m happy with the direction all four teams are headed.”
After solid performances, Noe is confident in the program’s potential to bring multiple championships to Lenoir City by the end of the season.
LCYFO teams will kick off the season Saturday with a talented Bradley County organization rolling into town.
“I think across the board, all four of our teams have the opportunity to compete for a championship,” Noe said. “This Saturday will probably be, you know, one of the biggest tests across the board for our organization. We’re playing Bradley County, which has a huge population. All of their teams have close to 30, and their oldest team has 44 kids on it, so they’re bringing a lot of kids. There’s a lot of talent in Cleveland close to Chattanooga, so it’ll be a big time test for us.
“We’ve done our homework, we’re prepared,” he added. “We have spent more time preparing this squad of kids, I would say, than any organization.”
With quarterback Talon Costner, the Mustangs are poised to be a serious contender.
“I think this is going to be a good year for them, we’ve got a lot of kids that have been in the program a long time,” Kelch said. “We’re not the biggest team on the line, but we’re quick at every position. Our first 11 and our second 11 is good too, so we’ve got good depth for our positions. ... Taylor Rogers-Black, he shows his speed every time he steps on the field. Talon Costner showed off his arm a little bit, so we’ve definitely got some good skill players.”
The QB Club will also be in action Saturday at home against Vonore.
“We’re very excited,” Kelch said. “We’ve been waiting ever since we were able to start conditioning in March to get to this point to finally be able to line up. We watched Vonore in the jamboree, and I think they’ve got a really good team. It’s going to be a tough contest, and I watched a lot of teams ... I feel like we’ve got one of the faster teams, and we’re going to use our speed to win as many games as we can and to try and get back to winning championships.”