Campbell County’s Wells is impressed with Sevier County team
A lot has changed since the last time Campbell County head coach Dewayne Wells brought his Cougars to Burchfield Stadium to face their Region 1-5A rival Sevier County.
It’s not exactly been the good kind of changes, according to Wells.
The Cougars enjoyed one of their most successful football season’s in school history in 2004. Led by seasoned group of seniors, the long-struggling Campbell County squad of ’04 came into Burchfield Stadium and shocked the Smoky Bears 8-0.
When asked about his thoughts on his team’s upset while exiting the field immediately following the game two-year ago, Wells looked back over his shoulder and exclaimed “What upset? This wasn’t no upset. We came here expecting to win this ball game.”
How things can change in 24 months.
The win over Sevier County in ’04 was followed by a 34-0 Cougars’ shutout of Bearden a week later. Campbell County then went on the road to Johnson City and shocked Science Hill 30-28.
The Cougars wound up 7-4 that season, including a 20-6 first-round playoff loss to Farragut.
After Campbell County dropped that monumental playoff game to the Admirals, several seniors that made up the core of the team moved on to other things. The Cougars, meanwhile, went back to their ways of old.
Wells’ team dropped its first contests a year ago before picking up a 42-35 win over non-region Union County. The Cougars then lost the next five games and finished the campaign with a 1-9 record.
A spark was seen in mid-August when the Cougars opened the current season with a 13-12 squeaker over non-region Lenoir City. Campbell County then dropped its next three—to Heritage, at region-foe Jefferson County and at home to non-region Clinton—before last weeks 20-7 victory over Union County.
Wells has been on a roller-coaster since the night two years ago when he walked off the field at Burchfield Stadium with such pride and confidence. He’s pretty sure, though, that he’ll eventually witness those kinds of nights again. Eventually, that is.
“We’ve changed a lot as a team since that year,” Wells stated. “We went from a senior-laden team to a sophomore-laden team.
“We don’t have any team-strengths now,” Wells said. “Our best football is down the road, a year or two away. When our sophomore class gets to be seniors we should be back to where we were in (2004),
“The bulk of our team is sophomores.”
Looking at film of the 4-1 Smoky Bears doesn’t make Wells feel any better about his squad’s chances Friday night in its second region game of the year. The coach said the young Cougars team just has a hard time lining up with the bigger, more mature Sevier County squad this year.
“It seems like Sevier County is always big and sound,” Wells commented. “It seems like they always have a good defense that is full of seniors.
“This year’s team has several good players that we have to be aware of. Their quarterback (Corey Watson) is the co-Region Player of the Year (in 2005), and he makes them go, so it starts with him.”
Wells, perhaps using a little gamesmanship, is perplexed at how Sevier County can put such a big and physical team on the field year-in, year-out.
“We don’t grow ‘em like that around here,” said Wells. “I don’t know where (Sevier County) gets those big guys every year. I think they just pluck them off the vine when they get about 6-foot-2 and about 220-pounds. We just don’t grow them like that around here.”
Although the Cougars have been competitive in each of their first five contests this season except a 42-0 loss to Clinton, and have already doubled their total of wins last season, Wells still looks at the cup as half-empty.
“Our best chance of winning would be if they spot us about 28 points,” Wells said, only half joking.