Wildcats round up Mavericks, win AAA District Championship

Oak Ridge Wildcats Undefeated 2014 Season

The Oak Ridge Wildcats football team went undefeated 10-0 in the regular season in 2014 for only the 12th time in school history and the first time since 1999. The Wildcats also won the District 3-AAA title in a Thursday night game against the Anderson County Mavericks at Anderson County High School in Clinton. (Photos by Julio Culiat)


CLINTON—Many players on the Oak Ridge football team don’t remember the last time the Wildcats went undefeated back in 1999. But now, 15 years later, they all have something to hang their hats on: an undefeated season and a district championship.

The Wildcats (10-0, 8-0 District 3-AAA) outlasted the Anderson County Mavericks (8-2, 7-1) to win the district title 28-16 on Thursday at Anderson County High School in Clinton. Oak Ridge was led by the two touchdown catches of sophomore wide receiver Tee Higgins.

Both teams scored one touchdown each in the first quarter, but the usually reliable Brandon Nickle missed a field goal for Oak Ridge. The Wildcats’ touchdown came on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Gavin Warrington halfway through the first quarter.

However, the Mavericks soon proved they deserved to be playing in the District 3-AAA championship. Anderson County faked a handoff up the middle, and quarterback Garrett Johnson, who filled in for injured QB Zane Smith, threw a touchdown pass to Cale Brock.

But the Mavs missed the extra point, making it 7-6 Oak Ridge after the first quarter.

Oak Ridge stepped up on offense and defense in the second quarter. With 8:53 left in the second, senior cornerbacks Jemiah Hall and Ted Mitchell combined for a bone-crushing tackle on Anderson County running back Matt Fox. Mitchell recovered after Fox fumbled, but the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize on the following drive. [Read more...]


Roane State men’s basketball team works to overcome early adversity

Roane State Men Basketball Team 2014


Roane State Community College men’s basketball coach Randy Nesbit appreciates his team’s effort in the preseason.

He just needs his players to stay healthy.

“The key is depth,” Nesbit said. “We had four forwards on the roster that we thought would play big roles, and three are out with injuries.”

Sophomore forward Antonio Gardner is expected back soon. Freshman forward Tayte Kitts could be back by mid-November, and sophomore forward Greg Murphy, who scored 15 points per game last season, is week to week. [Read more...]


Despite championship loss, coaches tell Rams to ‘hold your head high’

Chris Jackson of Robertsville Rams Makes CAK Tackle

Chris Jackson (7) of the Robertsville Middle School Rams tackles Brandon Spencer (4) of the CAK Middle School Warriors during a TVAC Championship game at Blankenship Field on Thursday. (Photos by Luther Simmons)


RMS Ram Football Coach James Branson

Robertsville Middle School Rams head coach James Branson with the TVAC Middle School Runner Up trophy.

It was a painful loss, a tearful way to end the season.

But the Robertsville Middle School Rams coaching staff tried to console their football team after a 20-16 championship loss to the CAK Warriors at Blankenship Field on Thursday night.

If you put everything you had into the game, the coaches said, then “hold your head high.”

The Rams finished the year with a 6-2 record. They lost one game in the regular season to Rhea County, and they beat CAK 14-8 during the regular season, said first-year head coach James Branson.

“This whole season, I don’t think there was a lot expected of them,” Branson said. “They compete. They came ready to play. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge has second Clark Center Park meeting on Monday

Clark Center Park Water View

A view of Melton Hill Lake near a boat ramp and between two picnic areas at Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge.

The City of Oak Ridge is hosting a second public meeting to discuss the possible transfer of Clark Center Park from the U.S. Department of Energy to the City of Oak Ridge. The meeting will be held on Monday, October 27, at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Building Courtroom, located at 200 South Tulane Avenue.

At the meeting, City Manager Mark Watson and staff will provide an overview of the Federal Lands to Parks Program as it relates to Clark Center Park and the federal acquisition process. The Department of Energy is undertaking an evaluation of their property on the Oak Ridge Reservation—where Clark Center Park is located—to identify parcels that may be excess to the agency’s mission.

“The Oak Ridge community has had Clark Center Park become an important asset of our city over the years,” said City Manager Mark Watson. “Our meeting is meant to explore the pros and cons of absorbing the park as part of our Oak Ridge park system. We welcome interested residents to share their thoughts with city officials.” [Read more...]

Oak Ridge boys, girls cross country sweep region, prepare for state

Oak Ridge Boys Cross Country 2014 Region 2-AAA Champions

The Oak Ridge boys cross country team won the regional championship during a Region 2-AAA meet at Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville on Thursday. (Photos by Nichole Zawisza)


KNOXVILLE—For the first time since 2008, the Oak Ridge boys and girls cross country teams swept the regional championships, and the two high school teams will compete in the state meet in Nashville next Saturday.

Boys Team

The Wildcats saw some stiff competition at the Region 2-AAA meet at Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville on Thursday, but the Oak Ridge boys’ team had no trouble collectively running past all challengers in the 5,000 meter run. Although Dartanian Oakley of Hardin Valley took home first place, three Oak Ridge runners followed right behind him. Gashaw Duhamel finished second with a time of 16:22:08, Wesley Robinson finished third with a time of 16:25:57, and Tyler Boullie finished fourth with a time 16:32:36. Both Duhamel’s and Robinson’s finishes met the national silver standard, which is finishing a race before the 16:30:00 mark.

The rest of the Oak Ridge boys’ team finished strongly as well. Jacob Etheridge finished seventh with a time of 16:52:39. Shortly behind him were Daniel Beckett running at 16:54:74 to finish 10th and Thomas Colburn running 16:57:14 to finish 11th. Rounding out the seven runners for Oak Ridge was Jose Villegas, who finished 17th with a time of 17:13:91. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge obliterates Knox Central on Senior Night

Gavin Warrington Oak Ridge Wildcats

Backup quarterback Gavin Warrington (11) sparked an offensive outburst early in the third quarter, scoring on a 47-yard quarterback keeper, as the Oak Ridge Wildcats dominated the second half in a 48-7 win over Central on Friday. (Photos by Julio Culiat)


Wildcats open up large lead in second half

The Oak Ridge Wildcats came into Friday night’s game against the Knox Central Bobcats undefeated and hungry to pick up one last home victory for the seniors on Senior Night. The Wildcats fed that hunger and went back for seconds against the Bobcats, trouncing Knox Central 48-7, with 45 of those points coming in the second half.

The first quarter was very defense-centered for both teams, with neither team scoring a point. Even the second quarter was quiet for both teams, with the only points coming from a 40-yard field goal from Brandon Nickle with 5:40 left in the second quarter. The score at halftime was 3-0 Oak Ridge.

But during the halftime break, running back T.J. Allison said, head coach Joe Gaddis gathered his team and told them to do one thing: “Execute.”

The whole team took that message and ran with it. Allison broke out a long TD run to start out the third quarter, but the play was ultimately reversed on a holding penalty. However, just a few short plays after that, backup quarterback Gavin Warrington snuck the ball up the middle and evaded multiple defensive players on his way to a 47-yard touchdown run. With 11:19 to play in the third, the score was 10-0 Wildcats. With 6:17 left in the third, Allison broke through for a 17-yard touchdown run, this time with no penalty flags to stop him. At that point, it was a commanding 17-0 lead for Oak Ridge (9-0, 7-0 District 3-AAA). [Read more...]

Clinton 5k on Saturday raises money for splash pad playground

The Clinton 5k race scheduled for Saturday morning in Clinton will raise money for a splash pad playground to be built in the City of Clinton.

The Clinton 5k and One-Mile Fun Run start at 9 a.m. Saturday, October 25, at Lakefront Park in Clinton.

Organizers said the 5k and one-mile race are walker-friendly. [Read more...]

Van Druff, McGhee finish No. 4, No. 8 in state cross country meet

Jordan Van Druff

Jordan Van Druff, an eighth-grade student at Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge, finished fourth in a state cross country meet in Knoxville on Saturday. (Photo by Nicholas Rhodes)


KNOXVILLE—It wasn’t the result that Jordan Van Druff wanted.

He trained diligently at the beginning of the season for this state cross country meet, hoping to finish first. Van Druff also put in extra miles, running up to 25 to 30 miles per week at his peak.

On Saturday, the eighth-grader at Jefferson Middle School led all runners near the one-mile mark in a two-mile boys race during the Tennessee Middle School State Cross Country Championships at Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville. But then, one by one, three runners passed him.

“I didn’t get what I wanted,” said Van Druff, who was undefeated in all of Jefferson’s regular season races during his three-year middle school career. “I wanted to finish first.”

Still, it was an improvement from his fifth-place finish last year and a sixth-place finish the year before, said his mother, Reneé Van Druff.

Van Druff, who finished with a two-mile time of 11:42.55, was one of two Oak Ridge runners who made All State during the state cross country championships on Saturday. The other was Faith McGhee, a fourth-grade student at Woodland Elementary School. She finished eighth in the one-mile girls race during the Tennessee Elementary School State Cross Country Championships. McGhee had a time of 6:19.50. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge finds many ways to score in 66-0 rout of Powell

Oak Ridge Wildcats T.J. Allison against Powell

Junior running back T.J. Allison (6) of the Oak Ridge Wildcats scored two touchdowns on the ground against the Powell Panthers on Friday night and ran for 46 yards on seven carries. (Photos by Julio Culiat)


Note: This story was updated at 2:05 a.m.

Undefeated Wildcats pick up eighth win, fourth shutout

All week long, Oak Ridge simply wanted to beat Powell and stay undefeated on the season. With students on fall break this week, players were able to focus solely on football, and it showed on Friday night.

Things weren’t so simple for Powell however. On Friday afternoon, it was announced that John Allen, their head coach, had been placed on administrative suspension.

There was obviously a lot to talk about going into the game on Friday, but when things finally got going on the field, it was all Oak Ridge. [Read more...]

Oak Ridge cross country competes in Cherokee Invitational

Cherokee Invitational Cross Country

Cross country runners pictured above are, starting at left, Megan Peters of Oak Ridge, 10th place; Esther Gallmeier of Oak Ridge, 9th; Maddie Zawisza of Oak Ridge, 8th; Selena Robinson of William Blount, 7th; Lauren Cole of Maryville, 6th; Aislyn Peacock of Oak Ridge, 5th; Sara Bowden of Maryville, 4th; and Katharina Gallmeier of Oak Ridge, 3rd. (Photos by Nicole Zawisza)


KNOXVILLE—The Oak Ridge High School cross country teams competed in the Cherokee Invitational in Knoxville on Saturday.

Here is an edited version of notes from the meet by Coach Allen Etheridge:

Cherokee Invitational is a small meet that follows up the Knoxville schools’ KIL meet, which was held on Thursday, October 9.

We generally run well at this meet because it’s not as crowded or as intense as the big meets we attend, like the Great American Cross Country Festival earlier this month. [Read more...]

Save the Date: Second public meeting on Clark Center Park on Oct. 27

Clark Center Park Water View

A view of Melton Hill Lake near a boat ramp and between two picnic areas at Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge.


The second public meeting on Clark Center Park will be held during the Oak Ridge City Council work session scheduled for Monday, October 27, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be at the Oak Ridge Municipal Building at 200 South Tulane Avenue.

The first meeting was in August. The 80-acre park could be transferred from the U.S. Department of Energy to the city.

The DOE’s Oak Ridge Office is in the process of reviewing the agency’s land holdings across the Oak Ridge Reservation, including Clark Center Park (formerly known as Carbide Park). [Read more...]

Updated: Oak Ridge sunk by Admirals; Farragut wins Region 2 tournament

Mattie Livengood of Oak Ridge, and Anne Abernathy and Alexis Parker of Farragut

At left, Mattie Livengood of Oak Ridge, the District 3 champions, goes up against defenders Anne Abernathy (11) and Alexis Parker (6) of Farragut, the Region 4 runner-up, during semifinals at the Region 2-AAA championship at Bearden High School on Tuesday. Farragut beat Oak Ridge and went on to win the regional championship in the finals match against Bearden. (Photos by Nicholas Rhodes)


Note: This story was updated with stats at 10:10 a.m. Oct. 16.

BEARDEN—The first matchup of the night featured the Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats battling the Farragut Lady Admirals. Oak Ridge fought hard against Farragut, but was eventually beaten in straight sets: 25-8, 25-10, and 25-11.

The first set was all Farragut. After putting up the first six points of the set, the Lady Admirals kept piling on the score. At one point of the set, they commanded a 15-3 lead on the Lady Wildcats. Before the Wildcats knew what happened, Farragut had won the set 25-8.

The second set was closer at first, but Farragut seemed to overpower Oak Ridge with every serve, kill, or block. The Lady Wildcats brought it to 4-3 before the Lady Admirals went on a 10-3 scoring run to pull the lead to 14-6. After that, Farragut didn’t look back.

After the second set, Coach Carmen Foster huddled her girls up and she told them to calm their nerves.

“Stay together,” Foster encouraged. “Concentrate on the pass, talk to each other out there, and stay positive.” [Read more...]