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Lakers start season next Thursday

Lake City Middle School will soon begin its 2022 football season and the Lakers will have a new head coach this year, Eric Tackett.

Tackett, however, is no stranger to the program.

He served as Lake City’s offensive coordinator in 2021.

The Lakers open the new campaign at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, when they host Jellico.

Tackett said he’s looking forward to the new season.

“I’m excited,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of kids come out, a lot of older kids, a lot of eighth graders.

“We have size and we have speed, but we have kids that don’t have a lot of experience playing football.”

Despite the lack of experience, Lake City has some players who will make an impact.

Top players, according to Tackett, include: Mikey Maggi (an eighth-grader who will play both on the offensive and defensive line and provide leadership); Riley Shatterly (a newcomer who will play up front on both sides of the line of scrimmage), Garrett Turner (eighth grade, wide receiver); Tyler Pitsenbarger (running back/linebacker) and Preston Ridenour (a returning eighth grader at tight end and linebacker who is the only three-year player on Lake City’s roster).

The Lakers also have experience at the quarterback position. Both field generals are returning seventh graders. Maddox Tackett (the coach’s son) enters the season as the starter. Easton Owens will be the backup. But he’s also starting at both wide receiver and running back.

While the players may lack experience, Coach Tackett said he has a veteran coaching staff.

“We’ve had a lot of turnover and what I want to do is bring back old-school Lake City Middle School football,” he said. “I want it to be that when you play against us, you have to battle for four quarters.

“We have a great staff with a lot of experience. Jason Leinart is our defensive coordinator and Whitford Bullock has coached a lot of football around here. Kevin Golden is a new assistant that works at the school.”

The Lakers will have a tough slate of games. They’ll play Norris in a non-league game as they renew their rivalry with the Senators on Aug, 25,

“We’re playing Norris again and that will be a tough game for us because Norris sets the bar for middle school football,” Tackett said. “We’re both feeder programs for Anderson County High School and it will be great for the community.

LaFollette and Jacksboro are always good in our league and then we’ve added Horace Maynard and they’re always good.”