ACHS cheerleading tryouts March 21-24

Cheerleader tryouts for upcoming freshmen who will attend Anderson County High School will be held from 4-5 p.m. March 21-24, in the ACHS gym.

Registration packets are available at Anderson County High School, or are available from the ACHS cheerleaders’ Facebook page.

Please wear a white shirt, black shorts, white bow, and cheer shoes.

Also, it is time to place orders for the ACHS cheerleaders to “egg” your yard.

This Easter egg fundraiser costs $20 for 25 eggs; $35 for 50 eggs; or $50 for 75 eggs.

All are candy-filled plastic eggs, and yards will be “egged” Friday, April 7, or Saturday, April 8 (you will receive a text before they arrive).

You may get more information by e-mailing CNIDIFFER@ACS.AC. Order deadline is April 1.

Even without a senior on the team, Mavs expect to compete for soccer district title

As Chris Curtin prepares to begin his second season as Anderson County High School’s boys soccer coach, he expects the Mavericks to compete in District 5-AA.

This, despite not having a senior on the 2023 roster.

“We don’t have any seniors,” Curtin said. “But we have some youthful experience, and the one thing we do have is depth. We have talent and experience on all areas on the pitch and we have some promising freshman talent.

District 5-AA features the Mavericks and Clinton, which both took their share of lumps last season, along with Scott and Kingston.

The Mavs went 1-3 in district matches during the 2022 campaign. But Curtin is looking for things to go a little better in 2023.

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Much-improved Clinton Dragons will continue to grow as season progresses

When Gene Chunn took the reins of the Clinton High School boys soccer team last season, he knew that his first order of business was to change the culture.

And the Dragons, despite not having a ton of depth, slowly responded and became more competitive as the 2022 season wore on.

Clinton endured growing pains last season as it finished with a 2-12 record. But Chunn said he hopes that those days are behind the Dragons.

The program has 23 payers, including eight returners.

“We have 15 new faces out there and I think we’ll be competitive in our district,” Chunn said.

The coach knows that there’s nothing like time on the pitch to help his side improve.

“We should be stronger offensively this year; Every time we play, we want to get better,” said Chunn, who previously served as the head boys coach at Carter High School and was also an assistant with Powell High’s girls team as the Lady Panthers became a powerhouse program in District 3-AAA.

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A chilly night for The Mavericks

ACHS can’t get bats heated up in 5-1 opening loss

Anderson County High School’s Morgan Clark waits for the pickoff attempt as Oak Ridge’s Alex Franklin dives back to safety Monday night at Oak Ridge. - Ken Leinart
It was unseasonably cold late Monday afternoon when Oak Ridge High School opened the 2023 baseball season.

So, Wildcats Head Coach Travis Free knew he’d have a stellar performance from his pitching staff, and the hurlers delivered.

Starter Tyler Pickens teamed with reliever Alex Franklin to toss a combined no hitter as Oak Ridge toppled Anderson County 5-1 in Oak Ridge.

“Our pitching depth is going to be a strong point for us while our offense works to get going,” Free said.

“It helped us get off to a great start.

“I knew we were going to have to have a solid pitching performance on a day like this because it was cold and the ball wasn’t going anywhere.”

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Clinton Middle School diamond play is underway

Clinton Middle School’s Hawks baseball had a reverse of fortunes to start the 2022-23 season.

After taking a 10-4 scrimmage win against Norris Middle on Feb. 20, and a 6-5 scrimmage win against Wartburg Feb. 21, the Hawks dropped the first games of the season — to the same teams.

The Hawks lost a 2-0 decision to Norris on March 6 — the JV Hawks pounded out a 17-4 win — and then a lost a 3-2 pitching showcare to Wartburg on March 10, while the JV Hawks’ game ended in a 6-6 tie.

The Wartburg game was tied at one with Wartburg batting in the top of the sixth when an error scored two runs.

The pitching was strong on both sides. Clinton starting pitcher Brennan Tipton and reliever Aden Golden combined for 16 total strikeouts, eight each.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Clinton tied things up at one with a sacrifice groundout RBI from Landry Jennings.

Hawks catcher Reed White led the Hawks at the plate, going 2-2.

Clinton Hawks varsity baseball will host Norris at home at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 16.

The Lady Hawks will open the season at 6 p.m. Monday, March 20, when they host Campbell County.

The March 20 contest is one of only five home games for the Lady Hawks (future Lady Dragons).

Following Campbell County, the Lady Hawks will travel to Norris for a 6 p.m. tilt Tuesday, March 21.

Home games March 27 (Rutledge) and April 3 (Hancock County) are followed by a three-game road stretch before an April 17 game against Norris.

The Lady Hawks’ final home game will be April 28 against Cleveland.

‘Defend Blankenship’

Oak Ridge High School Head Football Coach Derek Rang speaks to the ORHS Football Booster Club. - Tony Cox
Derek Rang had “officially” been on the job all of seven days when he chose to address the Oak Ridge High School Wildcat Football Boosters Club.

He’s been busy, he noted, but he needed to address a few things.

Rang was hired in January, after Oak Ridge High School officials parted ways with Scott Cummings.

Rang, a graduate of Maryville High School, returns to East Tennessee after spending the 2022 season at Lewis County, where he guided the Panthers to an 11-2 record and an appearance in the Class 2A quarterfinals.

He previously coached at Powell and Gatlinburg-Pittman.

Rang won a Class 1A state championship at Dresden in 2016. He went 32-8 as Dresden’s head coach.

“We want to be the last team standing at the end of the year,” Rang told the Wildcat faithful. “But you have to win the region, you want that home field in the playoffs.”

A big step in being the last team standing, Rang said, was simple: “Defend Blankenship. Defend our home turf.”

Rang said winning the region, securing a home- field playoff advantage, “and beating our rivals,” were high priorities.

“And we want to win those rivalry games,” he said. “Oak Ridge has a number of rivals, and we want to win those games.”

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Donnie Green ready for next challenge: Build RSCC women’s soccer program

Donnie Green has always embraced a challenge. And he’ll soon embark on a new one.

Green was recently named the first women’s soccer head coach at Roane State Community College, where he will build a program from scratch.

That’s nothing new for the Oak Ridge High School girls soccer coach,as he started the girls program at Knoxville’s Grace Christian Academy several years ago.

“I’ve always liked a challenge and I’ve always liked to start programs,” Green said. “I started my club team and I started the women’s program at Grace.”

While he didn’t build a program from scratch at Oak Ridge, he inherited a Lady Wildcats program that had fallen on hard times. Now, he’s returned ORHS to being a constant competitor in District 3-AAA, a league that includes West High, Powell, Knoxville Central and Karns.

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On deck this week

Dragon Andrew Warshaw makes the throw to first in a recent scrimmage. The Dragons opened the 2022-23 season Tuesday night on the road at David Crockett. The Lady Dragons softball team is scheduled to open Wednesday at Hardin Valley Academy. - Tony Cox