Youth football teams reach midway point

Parker Dunlap, left, sprints to grab the opponent’s flag Saturday in the Lenoir City Youth Football Organization Super Crickets’ 44-20 win over Sweetwater.

With the 2019 youth football season half over, teams from the Lenoir City Youth Football Organization and Loudon Quarterback Club are looking to finish on a high note.

All four teams in the LCYFO program picked up wins Saturday against Sweetwater.

“All four teams got wins, so it was a clean sweep,” Luke Noe, LCYFO president and Hoppers head coach, said. “Last year, Sweetwater put four teams in the championship. I was talking to many of the old-timers there, and they can never recall a time where Lenoir City completely swept Sweetwater.”

Three of the four LCYFO teams are in first place in the Sequoyah Youth Conference standings.

“Our Super Crickets are undefeated and are tied for first,” Noe said. “Our Crickets are tied for second, the Hoppers are unbeaten and No. 1 and our Cutters are tied for first place right now, so we’re very, very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.”

Noe praised the Hoppers’ effort and ability as two key reasons that have led to an undefeated season.

“This team is all heart,” he said. “They’ve been in some tough predicaments where they’ve been behind or they’ve just really meshed together and become one big family. They just play good together, and there’s no quit in them. You can hit them in the mouth the first half, and they’re going to respond to find a way to win. They’re just a dream team.”

The LCYFO cheer program also had a successful weekend when two squads won the Sequoyah Youth Conference Region Championship.

“They always get overlooked so much, but the cheerleaders had a phenomenal weekend also,” Noe said. “Our Crickets and Hoppers cheer (teams) won the regional, they were first place in the regional competition at Tellico Plains. Our Cutters placed second, and our Juniors cheer squad placed third in the regional. That’s a huge improvement for us, so they’ll go on and compete at the grand cheer championship at the end of the year in Etowah.”

The Loudon Quarterback Club saw mixed results over the weekend. The Crickets and Mustangs came away with wins against the McMinn County Youth Football Chargers.

The Super Crickets and Hoppers fell 40-18 and 12-0, respectively.

“We’re having a pretty good year,” Brian Kelch, LQC president and Mustangs head coach, said. “The Mustangs are doing the best of the four teams, but we’re having a pretty good year. The teams are all still fighting for playoff spots.”

The Mustangs are 6-1 overall and tied for first along with the LCYFO Cutters, but possess one of the best offenses in the league led by dual-threat quarterback Talon Costner.

“We’ve continued with a very productive offense,” Kelch said. “We’re still putting up a lot of points, and our defense is still holding most of our opponents pretty low, so we’ve not given up a lot of points. If it wouldn’t have been for a couple of penalties, Talon Costner would’ve thrown for 300 yards. He was still right at 200 after two big passes were called back. Taylor Rogers-Black, he scored two touchdowns, Levi Russell had a touchdown and I think Talon had one on the ground.”

Both programs have three more regular season games left on the schedule, including a final showdown between the two Oct. 19 in Loudon.

“All four of our teams are going to have some of their toughest games all year in two weeks,” Noe said. “The last week, we’ll finish off with Loudon, which will be a great game between the Cutters that will kind of decide who will get to sit in first place.”

“I’m expecting after the Lenoir City game to be 9-1,” Kelch added. “I think we’ve got the best team, I really do. I feel like we’ve got the top team. We’ve got a top quarterback that’s throwing for a lot of yards, and we’ve got a lot of really good running backs and receivers. I feel like we should have the top team in the league when it’s all said and done.”

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