Community honors, pays tribute to Kocak in candlelight vigil at ORHS

Joey Kocak Candelight Vigil Balloons

Sophomores release balloons as other football players watch during a community candlelight vigil at Oak Ridge High School on Sunday for student-athlete Joey Kocak, who died at home on Wednesday. (Photo by Julio Culiat)


Note: This story was updated at 4:32 p.m.

The Oak Ridge community honored sophomore James Joseph “Joey” Kocak during a candlelight vigil at Oak Ridge High School on Sunday.

Friends and coaches shared their memories of Kocak, who had played on the football and basketball teams this year, during the candlelight vigil at Ben Martin Track at ORHS.

They encouraged the large crowd that attended to preserve their precious memories of Kocak, a 16-year-old sophomore who passed away at his home on Wednesday, March 4.

“I really hope that this isn’t the last time we’ll honor him,” said Mollie Turner.

Friends and coaches recalled Kocak’s memorable smirk, his playful moments, and his high-pitched singing on the back of the bus, belting out tunes like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” [Read more…]

Fans ask for dunks, Mitchell gives them two

Ted Mitchell of the Oak Ridge Wildcats Dunks Against Gibbs

All year, fans had been asking senior guard Ted Mitchell (4) of the Oak Ridge Wildcats to dunk the ball, and Tuesday night, he obliged. Mitchell dunked twice in his last regular-season home game at Wildcat Arena. (Photo by Melissa Livesey)


All year, fans have been asking Ted Mitchell to dunk it. On Tuesday, the senior gave the fans what they wanted—and more. He dunked the ball twice in his last regular-season home game at Wildcat Arena.

It was a dramatic finish in a high school career that included trips last year to the state championship game in basketball and the state quarterfinal game in football. The Wildcats’ basketball team finished first in District 3-AAA this year and will advance to the playoffs.

Mitchell, who has plans to play football in college, was the only senior to play for the Wildcats on either the boys’ or girls’ team at home on Senior Night against the Gibbs Eagles on Tuesday.

Here’s more on those games from freelance contributor Trenton Duffer:

Oak Ridge celebrates Senior Night with two victories over Gibbs

Tuesday night, the Oak Ridge Wildcats and Lady Wildcats celebrated Senior Night in the home finale at Wildcat Arena. However, only one senior would be playing his last game in the arena: Ted Mitchell. In some ways, it seemed like “Ted Mitchell Night,” as both sets of Wildcats rolled to easy victories over the Gibbs Eagles and Lady Eagles. Neither set of Eagles had the lead the entire night.

Oak Ridge Lady Wildcats Mykia Dowdell against Gibbs Eagles

Freshman Mykia Dowdell (34) had 15 points against the Gibbs Eagles on Tuesday at Wildcat Arena. (Photo by Luther Simmons)


Lady Wildcats Stomp Lady Eagles

The Lady Wildcats (17-9, 12-3 District 3-AAA) were the first up to play, and they did not disappoint. The Lady Wildcats would go on to crush the Gibbs Lady Eagles (6-18, 5-10) by a score of 65-29. A one-two punch of offense and defense helped the Lady Wildcats walk away with this victory unscathed.

The first quarter was actually very close. Within the first 1:30, Oak Ridge jumped out to an 11-2 lead before the Lady Eagles came storming back, making it 18-14 after one quarter. [Read more…]

CHS offensive coordinator to take over Powell football program

Information from WYSH Radio

Clinton High School football offensive coordinator Rodney Ellison has been named the new coach at Powell High School in Knoxville.

He previously was head coach at Wartburg for one season in 2011 before coming to Clinton, where he helped revitalize the Dragon program with an up-tempo, spread-style offense.

Football players add depth as Wildcats basketball improves to 8-0

Darel Middleton

Darel Middleton

On Monday, Oak Ridge Coach Aaron Green said the football players who have started playing basketball showed a “little bit of rust” in a 75-36 drubbing of Clinton. By Tuesday, it appeared that those players had shaken off some of that rust in a more competitive 77-65 win over Powell.

The biggest improvement, at least in terms of scoring, came from 6-foot-6 junior center Darel Middleton, who was playing against his former team on Tuesday. On Monday at Clinton, Middleton had six points total, or less than one basket per quarter. On Tuesday at home against the Panthers, he had 18 points, a team high.

Middleton, who missed the opening games this season because of the football playoffs, also picked up six rebounds on Tuesday. Green said Middleton, who plays defensive end and wide receiver in football, is very athletic, can score inside, and is a great passer.

“His presence in there is a factor,” Green said. [Read more…]

All-District football accolades announced: Gaddis is Coach of the Year

Oak Ridge Wildcats Coach Joe Gaddis and Team

Oak Ridge Wildcats Coach Joe Gaddis and his football team celebrate an October win in a post-game huddle. (Photo by Julio Culiat)


Information from WYSH Radio

The All-District 3AAA football team for 2014 was announced last week as were individual postseason honors.

The Coach of the Year is Oak Ridge’s Joe Gaddis.

Anderson County’s Matt Fox was named Player of the Year, while Campbell County’s Ethan Jeffers was named Offensive Player of the Year and Gibbs’ Hunter Lane was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Lineman of the Year honors went to Oak Ridge’s Alex Alcorn, the D3AAA Newcomer of the Year was Oak Ridge’s Tee Higgins, and the Specialist of the Year was Oak Ridge’s Brandon Nickle. [Read more…]

Goal-line stop saves Wildcats’ win, sends Oak Ridge to Class 5A quarterfinals

Oak Ridge Wildcats Tommy Kaczocha and Cleveland Blue Raiders

Oak Ridge safety Tommy Kaczocha (4) tackles Cleveland wide receiver Isaiah Beaty (10) in a 10-6 second round Class 5A playoff win at Blankenship Field on Friday night. Kaczocha, a senior, had five tackles, two assists, an interception, and a blocked pass. Also pictured is junior linebacker Adam Manookian (35), who led the Wildcats with eight tackles and 10 assists. (Photos by Julio Culiat) 


Note: This story was last updated at 2 p.m.

The whole season boiled down to these last four plays. Down by only four points, Cleveland had the football on a first-and-10 at the Oak Ridge 11-yard line with 1:17 left to play.

The Wildcats were ahead 10-6, but the Blue Raiders only needed a touchdown to take the lead—and end Oak Ridge’s season in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.

But a crucial goal-line stop at Blankenship Field on Friday night preserved the win for the undefeated Wildcats. They now move on to the quarterfinals, playing against Rhea County at home next Friday and setting up a showdown between two 12-0 teams. [Read more…]

TSSAA approves football regional realignments for 2015, 2016

Information from WYSH Radio

On Thursday, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Board of Control finalized its realignment of the state’s high school football teams, and there are plenty of changes affecting local teams.

The state’s new Class 6A will be made up of the 31 largest schools in the state by enrollment, except for Maryville, which successfully petitioned the state to move from 5A to 6A. All 32 6A teams will qualify for the postseason, while the remaining Division I classifications will send the top four finishers in each region to the postseason.

The realignment will remain in effect for at least the next two academic years, beginning in 2015.

Locally, the Clinton Dragons are in the new Region 3-5A with Campbell County, Oak Ridge, Farragut, Karns and Lenoir City. Anderson County has moved to Class 4A and will play in Region 2 with Fulton, Carter, Catholic, Central, and Union County. The list of regions served by this radio station is below, with local teams in italics. [Read more…]

First Atomic City Bowl at Boys and Girls Club on Saturday

The first Atomic City Bowl will feature football games at the Boys and Girls Club on Saturday, November 8. The games will be played on the football field at 102 South Jefferson Circle.

“We would like to invite the community to come out and watch the future of Oak Ridge football,” a press release said.

Here is the schedule:

  • Oak Ridge U10 versus Farragut—3:15 p.m.
  • Oak Ridge U7 versus Fulton—4:45 p.m.

Admission is $3 for adults and $1 students.

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 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…]

‘Fight like Mikey’ inspires schools, community

Information from WYSH Radio

It has been an emotional week in Oliver Springs as Norwood Middle School, Grand Oaks Elementary School, and the community have been honoring a 13-year-old boy who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Mikey Carter was a member of the Norwood Middle School football team, and when his teammates hosted Grace Christian Academy on Tuesday night, his younger brother Isiah was named honorary captain, allowed to wear his brother’s jersey and even scored a touchdown on a special play designed just for him. Mikey, who was a lineman for the Jaguars, is now too sick to play football and is at home in hospice care.

Tuesday night’s game also included the presentation of a check to the Carter family from Grace Christian to help with the family’s medical expenses, and both teams signed a football for the family and gave them posters of encouragement for Mikey.

The tributes did not end there, as on Wednesday, the football field at Grand Oaks Elementary School was named in his honor. If you would like to help the family offset the costs of Mikey’s care, you can donate by visiting their GoFundMe page at

After sluggish start, Wildcats double scoring output in second half

Oak Ridge Wildcats Malik Hardy and Halls Red Devils

Senior wide receiver Malik Hardy (15) runs for a 16-yard touchdown in the third quarter as the Wildcats beat the Halls Red Devils 42-0 in Oak Ridge on Friday. (Photos by Julio Culiat)


Note: This story was last updated at 11:35 a.m. Sept. 13.

The Oak Ridge Wildcats got off to a sluggish start in the first half on Friday, but doubled their scoring output in the second.

All of the second-half points—four touchdowns—came in the third quarter of the 42-0 win over the Halls Red Devils, the second shutout of the season for the Wildcats.

Junior running back T.J. Allison (six carries, 53 yards) rushed for three touchdowns for the Wildcats, one in the first half and two in the second.

Red Devils coach J.D. Overton said Halls is a young, inexperienced team that was playing without a half-dozen starters on Friday night at Blankenship Field in Oak Ridge. He declined to say why the players were sitting out the game. Two of those starters play offense and defense.

“They didn’t play tonight,” Overton said. “That’s all I’m going to say.” [Read more…]