Yellow Jackets’ season kickoff harkens to yesteryear

Opening night of the 2017 high school football season will probably have an old-timey feel to fans of both the Trousdale County and Lebanon programs.

Officials at both schools agreed earlier this year to a two-year renewal of a football rivalry that dates back nearly a century, but has been on hold since 1970.

The teams will meet at Lebanon on Aug. 18, with the Blue Devils making a return trip to Trousdale County in 2018.

Photo courtesy of Davy Cothron
Trousdale County and Lebanon will meet on the football field for the first time since the 1970 season.

“At the end of last season, I knew part of bringing back some Yellow Jacket tradition, I needed to address the schedule. We needed to play rival opponents and games close to home,” said TCHS assistant principal Ben Johnson, who worked on the schedule while serving as interim coach in late 2016. “This was as much for our fans as much as anyone. I started contacting neighboring schools and some old rivals.

“After learning this would restore a series dating back from 1970, I contacted Lebanon’s AD and after a few weeks of communication, we were able to set the game.”

According to Lebanon Democrat sports editor Andy Reed, the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils are believed to have begun their gridiron matchups in 1919, with Trousdale County coming out on top in a pair of games.

Research by Reed and by The Vidette shows that the two teams met most years up until 1954. Many of the results were not available, but both teams enjoyed their share of victories during that run, including Hartsville in 1930 (12-0), 1931 (14-13), 1936 (12-7) and 1949 (13-12). Lebanon won games in 1935 (25-6), 1938 (41-0), 1939 (6-0), 1943 (32-7) and 1945 (37-0).

Trousdale County and Lebanon last met in 1970, when the Yellow Jackets won 24-0 under the direction of Jim Satterfield.

“I felt Coach Satterfield had a great game plan and us old country boys executed it,” said Billy Linville, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for another for the Yellow Jackets in that 1970 game.

That win capped a four-year stretch in which the Yellow Jackets came out on top three times. Lebanon won 10-0 in 1967, while Trousdale won 14-7 in 1968 and 30-0 in 1969.

“I remember when my dad was coaching, he let me ride back on the bus when they won,” said Clint Satterfield, who later served as Yellow Jackets coach for 24 years. “Dad really emphasized the importance of beating your neighbors. They played Lebanon, Gallatin, Lafayette, Springfield. Those were the big games the Yellow Jackets needed to win.”

“We played them in 1968 (in Hartsville) when Lebanon was No. 2 in the state,” recalled Jerry Richmond, who has served as the ‘Voice of the Yellow Jackets’ since 1983 and has been part of the Hartsville radio broadcasts since 1975.

After the most recent TSSAA reclassification, Trousdale County is now competing in Class 2A while Lebanon will be in Class 6A, the largest classification. According to the TSSAA, Trousdale County has an enrollment of 388 while Lebanon is at 1,905 students.

“I think it’s great for both communities and both football programs for the large number of fans that could potentially turn out for the game this year and for the upcoming year at home in Hartsville,” Johnson said.

In 2013-14, Trousdale County played a home-and-home series with Gallatin, another old rivalry in which the two teams had not faced off since the 1960s. Each team won on its home field.

“It was obviously a big series in the day because of the closeness of the two communities. Since the classification system got put into effect, the two schools could not play each other anymore,” Richmond said. “It’s nice to see the rivalry renewed, if only for a short time.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Season Preview: 2017 Trousdale County Yellow Jackets

As is typical for this time of year in Trousdale County, there is plenty of talk about the upcoming 2017 season for the Yellow Jackets.

But this year there is a different feeling in the air as Jacket fans are excited about a new coaching staff and the hard work they have seen, both on the practice field and in two scrimmages to date.

That new staff is led by Coach Brad Waggoner, who was named the Jackets’ head coach in December, replacing David Barker after one-plus seasons. Waggoner came from Georgia Tech, where he had served as Assistant Director of Player Personnel since May 2014. Prior to that, he spent 10 years coaching at the high school level in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, where he compiled a 59-48 record.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County coach Brad Waggoner, left, and Lebanon coach Chuck Gentry

Waggoner’s assistants will be Scott Booth (defensive coordinator), Davy Cothron (quarterbacks), Paul Pierson (defensive line), Brandon Eden (slots/special teams coordinator), Kyle Gregory (offensive line), Jordan Harper (slots) and Ben Johnson (secondary).

The Yellow Jackets, coming off an 8-3 season in 2016, return six players who were named to the All-Region 5-1A team. Those players are quarterback Keyvont Baines (who was Special Teams Player of the Year), Isiah Harper (RB/DB), Jake Gregory (OL/DL), Xavian Seay (OL/DL), Dustin O’Saile (OL/DL) and Braison Raney (TE/DE).

Baines (6-foot-2, 165 pounds, junior), proved to be a threat at multiple positions last year, as he was the Jackets’ leading receiver with 13 catches for 306 yards and four touchdowns, while also ranking as the second-leading ball carrier with 65 rushes for 503 yards and seven TDs. Baines also returned four kicks for touchdowns (three kickoff, one punt) and threw for 414 yards and eight TDs while playing quarterback.

Harper (5-9, 155, senior) returns at wingback after leading the Yellow Jackets’ ground attack last season with 858 yards and 11 touchdowns on 105 attempts.

Seniors Raney and Trace McGuire should be the favorite targets for Baines as they grabbed 13 and 11 passes respectively during the 2016 season.

O’Saile, also a senior, is the top returning tackler, recording 55 tackles (six for loss) from his linebacker position before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the ninth game of the 2016 season.

The Jackets have moved this year to Region 4-2A, where they received every first-place vote by the region coaches in picking who would win the region. Behind the Jackets, the coaches ranked Watertown, Jackson County, Westmoreland, Cascade and East Robertson.

Trousdale County is also getting some preseason love across the state, with the coaches’ preseason poll ranking the Yellow Jackets fourth in Class 2A behind Union City, Adamsville and Marion County. Rounding out the Top 10 are Waverly, Peabody, Mitchell, Tyner, Forrest and Lewis County.

The Yellow Jackets will open their season on Aug. 18 with a trip to Lebanon to play the Blue Devils. It has been 47 years since these two schools have met on the gridiron.

“We have a very tough schedule,” Waggoner said. “Lebanon will be a tough opening opponent who will have close to 60 more players than us and will present us with some problems.

“Like I told our players, 2A schools don’t get the opportunity often to play 6A schools, so we look forward to the challenge.”

The following week, the Jackets will have their home opener when they welcome a past region rival in Friendship.

Trousdale County will kick off its region schedule on Sept. 1 at Watertown and have non-region matchups with Gordonsville on Sept. 8 and at Macon County on Sept. 22.

“We just have to stay focused and keep working so that we are hitting on all cylinders when our region schedule begins,” Waggoner said. “I think this tougher schedule will definitely prepare us for our region.”

Yellow Jackets blank Smith County in jamboree

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets continued their preparations for the 2017 football season on Friday night with the 29th annual Tobacco Bowl Jamboree presented by BodyGuard Sports Medicine.

The Yellow Jackets did not take the field until nearly 9 p.m., but came away with a tough 13-0 victory over the Smith County Owls after two quarters of play.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County freshman Sebastian Linarez (12) scored both touchdowns in a 13-0 jamboree victory over Smith County.

Both teams played their starters in the first quarter, which ended in a scoreless tie.

With backups on the field in the second quarter, Trousdale County freshman Sebastian Linarez scored on a 9-yard run. Junior Keyvont Baines kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, Linarez scored again on a 14-yard pass from freshman Cameron Rankins. Freshman Heath Chasse misfired on the PAT, leaving the score at 13-0.

“It was another great opportunity to get everyone in the game and on film,” Coach Brad Waggoner said. “It was the last dress rehearsal before the real one.

“I saw some good things out of our younger guys in the second quarter, but besides that I thought it was a typical scrimmage.”

Yellow Jackets set to open season at Lebanon

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets will open their 2017 football season on Friday with a trip to Clifton Tribble Field to face the Lebanon Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils are fighting to change their football culture that saw them post a 1-10 record last year and go 9-53 over the previous six seasons.

Lebanon hasn’t had a winning season since Bobby Brown left Trousdale County in 2006 to become the Blue Devils’ coach, where he led them to a 6-5 record.

Chuck Gentry has accepted the rebuilding job at Lebanon and, along with some new assistants, has brought a renewed enthusiasm to the program. This is Gentry’s first head coaching job after spending the previous 18 years as an assistant under Jimmy Maynard at Smith County and Cookeville.

The Blue Devils have some talent at quarterback in junior Chandler Crite (6-foot-1, 170), a returning starter. Last season he threw for 681 yards and five touchdowns while running for 445 yards and two scores.

The featured ball carrier will be senior tailback Tyrique Cooper (6-0, 170), who ran for 467 yards and eight touchdowns on 71 carries last season.

Leading the Blue & White defense will be all-region senior linebacker Preston Parks (5-11, 200), who recorded 109 tackles in 2016, including 14 for loss.

“Lebanon will definitely be an extremely tough opponent,” said TCHS coach Brad Waggoner. “They are a 6A school with almost 2,000 more students than we have. They are much bigger than we are and have twice the numbers we have. But it is a great opportunity for our football team to get the chance to play in a big venue and have the chance to compete with one of the bigger schools in the state. We just need a great week of practice and to continue to get better as a team. We look forward to the opportunity.”

The Jackets and Blue Devils have not met on the gridiron since 1970, when Trousdale County won 24-0 on the Creekbank. In that game, junior quarterback Billy Linville ran for two touchdowns and threw another to Stan Robinson.

Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. in Lebanon. It will be the first time Trousdale County has ever faced a 6A team.

The game can be heard live on WTNK-93.5 FM, 1090 AM and online at funradiotn.com. Live scoring updates are also available from The Vidette via the free ScoreStream app.

Hunters try to explain turkey decline

Hunters in some areas of the state – including parts of Wilson County – are concerned about an apparent decline in turkeys, although figures indicate only a slight drop in the spring harvest.

Lebanon’s Tim White, a veteran wildlife biologist with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, recently provided a chart showing 610 turkeys were killed in Wilson County during the 2017 spring season.

That’s only 18 fewer birds than were bagged in the county in 2016 (628).

The most turkeys killed in Wilson County in the 12 years covered by the chart were in 2010, when 666 gobblers were bagged.

Although turkey numbers have mysteriously declined in some areas, in other areas the population remains strong.

The fewest killed were 461 in 2009.

This spring marked the eighth straight season in which over 600 turkeys were taken in the county. That number has been exceeded in 10 of the past 12 years.

That up-and-down trend in Wilson County reflects a similar trend statewide. Although the numbers have fluctuated, in each of the past 13 years Tennessee’s harvest has exceeded 30,000 birds.

There is concern within the Agency that the harvest figures do not reflect the total number of turkeys killed. Since most hunters nowadays check in their turkeys and deer online or with mobile apps, the reporting is basically on the honor system. One TWRA biologist believes the kills are vastly under-reported, but says there is no way to know by how much.

Back to the turkey concern: there is no question that populations have declined drastically in some areas. That decline prompted the TWRA to cancel the fall season in some counties, and to reduce the fall bag limit in all others while it conducts a study to try to find the problem.

White says he doesn’t doubt reports from hunters that they are seeing fewer turkeys in some areas, and offers some theories about why that is:

Maybe some of these long-time hunters don’t spend as much time hunting as they did in years past.

Maybe the areas they hunt are the same places year after year, and flocks are changing their patterns and moving onto other places with less pressure.

Maybe there are more turkey hunters out there nowadays, and although the harvest is mostly stable, success per hunter is going down.

Another theory is that baiting is becoming more widespread. Turkeys can be lured off a given property by baiting, which is legal 10 days prior to hunting.

Some believe that an increase in the predator population – especially coyotes, feral cats and nest-raiding raccoons – is taking a toll on turkeys.

There has been speculation that diseases were spread to wild turkeys through commercial poultry farms and the use of chicken manure for fertilizer, but biologists have been unable to substantiate it. There is no known disease that can infect turkey flocks, the way diseases sometimes do with deer herds.

So far nobody knows for sure what the problem is, but the search – and the theories – continue.

Jr. Jackets open 2017 season with tough loss

The Jim Satterfield Jr. Jackets opened their 2017 football season last week with a 22-16 loss at home to the Stone Memorial Panthers.

The Jr. Jackets trailed 14-0 at halftime before getting on the scoreboard with 10.9 seconds left in the third quarter on a 2-yard run from quarterback Mason Maddox. Bryson Claiborne ran in the 2-point conversion.

The Panthers would raise their advantage to 22-8 in the fourth quarter before JSMS closed out the scoring with 2:47 left on a 2-yard run by Claiborne. Maddox ran in the 2-point conversion for the final score.

The Jr. Jackets hosted Walter J. Baird on Tuesday but results were not available at press time. They will plat at Macon County on Aug. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Yellow Jackets dominate Portland in scrimmage

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets welcomed Portland on Aug. 2 for a practice/scrimmage.

However, the Jackets proved to be a tough host as they scored 10 touchdowns while giving up none to the Panthers, who will play in Class 4A this season.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Jake Gregory (52) and Kobe Ford (2) take down a Portland ballcarrier during last week’s scrimmage.

“It was good to have Portland come over and scrimmage,” said Coach Brad Waggoner. “It was another chance to play everyone and get them on film to grade.

“I thought our effort was good, but we still have to get better at a lot of little things. Just got to keep working every day.”

Jamboree is Friday: The 29th annual Tobacco Bowl Jamboree presented by BodyGuard Sports Medicine will be played Friday at John Kerr Field.

The schedule of games is as follows:

5 p.m. – Red Boiling Springs varsity vs. Station Camp junior varsity

6 p.m. – Station Camp vs. Fort Campbell, Ky.

7 p.m. – Cannon County vs. Fort Campbell

8 p.m. – Trousdale County vs. Smith County.

Admission to the jamboree is $5.

Middle school: The Jim Satterfield Jr. Jackets opened their season Tuesday at home against Stone Memorial. Results were not available at press time.

JSMS will host Walter J. Baird on Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 6:30 p.m. and then travel to Macon County for an Aug. 22 matchup.

QB Club: The Hartsville Quarterback Club is in the midst of its annual membership drive.

President April Holder encourages Yellow Jacket fans to show their support by purchasing a regular $10 membership or a $30 Gold Card membership. The Gold Card also includes a parking pass in the lot next to the stadium.

Both levels of membership are eligible for the giveaways that will take place during halftime of all home games.

TWRA takes steps to keep deadly deer disease at bay

A disease that has infected deer in 25 states would be “disastrous” to Tennessee’s $100 million deer-hunting industry if it makes its way here, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is working hard to keep it out.

A large portion of last month’s Game & Fish Commission meeting was devoted to a discussion about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), its impact on deer in other states, and measures the TWRA is taking to try to keep it from spreading into Tennessee.

Included in the presentation by TWRA officer Chuck Yoest were graphic photos of piles of deer that had died or been killed by wildlife officials in one state to try to contain the disease.

So far Tennessee’s deer herd remains disease-free.

“It’s fatal to every infected deer, and once it’s here, it’s here to stay,” Yoest told the Commissioners. “We don’t have it in our state, but it is a serious threat.”

CWD attacks the brain and nervous system of the animal, and there is no cure once it is infected. The disease is limited to cervids (deer, elk, caribou and moose) and is not transmitted to humans or domestic livestock.

CWD should not be confused with Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) which struck deer herds in several Tennessee counties a few years ago. That disease, also known as “Bluetongue” occurs naturally, usually during periods of prolonged drought. It is limited in scope and eventually runs its course.

CWD on the other hand, can’t be cured or eradicated, only somewhat contained.

Yoest said CWD can be spread in a number of ways, including the unsupervised movement of captive deer and elk into new areas.

The disease can also be introduced through the importation of carcasses, heads and hides. With deer season at hand, hunters who plan to hunt out-of-state are reminded about strict regulations regarding bringing their kills into Tennessee.

The basic rule prohibits importing a complete carcass. The meat must be boned out and the heads and hides cleaned. Detailed regulations are listed in the Tennessee Hunting & Trapping guide and on the TWRA website, tnwildlife.org

Yoest said any hunter caught bringing an “unclean carcass” into the state will be prosecuted.

Yoest said there are studies indicating that the disease can also be spread through feeders and commercial deer-urine attractor scents used by many hunters. Some states prohibit the use of such scents, but so far there is no such ban in Tennessee.

How does the TWRA check for illegal imports and monitor the state’s herd to make sure the disease is not already present?

Carcasses are randomly inspected at processing plants and taxidermist shops, and field officers take samples of dead specimens found in the wild for lab inspection.

Each deer taken to a processing plant or taxidermist must have a “kill tag” certifying when and where it was killed. Animals killed out-of-state are carefully inspected.

Some 1,500 deer were inspected last year, no CWD was found, and Yoest is confident that the state’s herd is disease-free – so far. But, he warned, just one infected animal can introduce CWD into the state.

“It is something we have to stay on top of,” he said. “If we wait to address it until it’s here, it’ll be too late.”

Yellow Jackets shine in scrimmage vs. Forrest

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets put on the pads last week and finished with a solid performance in a home scrimmage Friday night against Forrest.

Granted it was a scrimmage, but the Jackets pretty much had their way with the Rockets as they needed only three plays to score a touchdown and crossed the goal line nine times to only three for the visitors from Chapel Hill for the night.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Coaches look on as Trousdale County’s Braison Raney sacks Forrest’s quarterback during Friday’s scrimmage.

The Rockets went 11-2 in 2016 and won 21 of their last 25 games, Forrest was picked by state coaches to win Region 5-2A this year.

“It was a good opportunity to get our players on film and see them compete,” said Trousdale County coach Brad Waggoner. “We have a ton of things to work on, but I was pleased with our effort.”

“We have got to do a better job of protecting the football and controlling our emotions. The good thing is that it is all fixable and will be addressed in practice.”

“Looking forward to getting back to work and continue to improve. That’s what’s important right now. Get better every day.”

Meet the Jackets: A “Meet the Jackets” event will be Friday at 6 p.m. in the Trousdale County High School gym. All high school, middle school and youth-league players, coaches, cheerleaders, managers and ball girls will be introduced.

Jr. Jackets open Aug. 8: The Satterfield Middle Junior Jackets will open their 2017 football season Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m. when they play host to Stone Memorial.

Brandon Eden and Paul Pierson coach the Junior Jackets.

Where have all the turkeys gone?

Where have all the turkeys gone?

That’s the question more and more hunters in Wilson County and some other areas around the state are asking, and so far they aren’t getting any answers.

Lebanon’s Dustin Dowdy said he and two fellow hunters – one of whom is a 35-year turkey-hunting veteran – hunted hard throughout the spring season and bagged a total of one small jake.

Submitted Dustin Dowdy bagged this jake during an otherwise dismal spring turkey season.

“It was a bad season,” Dowdy said. “We didn’t see any birds. It was very disappointing.”

Roy Denney, whose Gladeville farm in years past had been a turkey haven, also experienced a dismal spring season. Even more disconcerting in terms of the future is the fact that Denney has seen no newly hatched turkeys this year.

“I haven’t seen a single poult for the first time in five or six years,” Denney says. “And I’m seeing maybe one-fourth of the hens and gobblers I used to see. I’m very concerned.”

Such dismal reports are not exclusive to Wilson County. A veteran turkey hunter in East Tennessee who normally limits out killed only one gobbler last spring, and his hunting partner got none.

I hunted nine times – seven times in Wilson and twice in Trousdale County – and killed one bird. That was the only shot I fired. On most hunts I didn’t see or hear a turkey.

It is not known how many turkeys were killed in Wilson County and adjacent counties. Even though the season ended in mid-May, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has yet to announce the harvest numbers because of “growing pains with the new license vendor.”

Going into the final week of the season, the TWRA announced the statewide harvest had exceeded 30,000 birds for the 13th consecutive year. Nevertheless, says nationally renowned hunter Clarence Dies, “There is no question that around here we don’t have near the number of birds we had a few years ago. I’ve seen a steady drop-off the last two or three years.”

It was suggested at a Tennessee Game & Fish Commission meeting earlier this year that the four-gobbler spring limit should be reduced. The liberal six-bird, either-sex fall limit has already been reduced to one per county.

The motion to reduce the spring limit was rejected by the Commission. A six-year turkey study was launched last year by the TWRA in partnership with the University of Tennessee to try to find the cause of the turkey decline, and there was concern that changing the limit now would disrupt the data.

A previous three-year study by the TWRA into possible turkey diseases was inconclusive.

Although professional wildlife biologists don’t know the cause of the problem, they finally acknowledge there IS a problem; a few years ago they were in denial.

For over 25 years I have hunted on a farm in Giles County that was once covered in turkeys. About eight years ago they vanished. I told the TWRA’s turkey specialist, and he said I was mistaken. He said the turkeys were still there, I simply wasn’t seeing them.

I knew that wasn’t the case. I not only wasn’t seeing any birds, I wasn’t hearing any, or finding any droppings, tracks, scratching or dustings. The farmer who lives there used to see flocks of turkeys in fields all around his house; he said they suddenly disappeared.

It wasn’t my imagination. The turkeys weren’t there. Finally the TWRA admitted it, and discontinued the fall season in Giles and a couple of adjacent counties.

Now turkeys are vanishing in other areas and, as was the case in Giles, nobody knows why. So far the experts are stumped, and until they figure out the cause they can’t come up with a cure.

Yellow Jackets host 7-on-7 passing event

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets hosted a 7-on-7 passing event on July 18 in preparations for the 2017 season.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Jackets tight end Braison Raney heads for the end zone after catching a pass against Red Boiling Springs.

Station Camp and Red Boiling Springs also took part in the competition.

“We had another great evening in 7-on-7 to get better,” said Jackets coach Brad Waggoner. “We worked on ourselves and trying to get better at what we do.

“We practiced our kids for 2½ hours beforehand, and I wanted to see our guys push through the 7-on-7 when tired. I thought we did a good job of handling that. Our motto is to get better every day. Take one day at a time.”

The Jackets are scheduled to host the Forrest Rockets on Friday evening for a 7 p.m. scrimmage.

A ‘Meet the Jackets’ event will be held on Friday, Aug. 4 at Trousdale County High School in conjunction with the county fair. A time had not been set as of press time.

The Jackets will host the 29th annual Tobacco Bowl Jamboree presented by BodyGuard Sports Medicine on Aug. 11 and face Smith County, before opening the 2017 season at Lebanon on Aug. 18.

Jr. Jackets to hold jamboree on Saturday

The Jim Satterfield Jr. Jackets will host the Tobacco Bowl Middle School Jamboree on Saturday at John Kerr Field.

Eight teams are scheduled to join JSMS in the competition, which gets under way at 10 a.m. They are: Macon County, Southside, Upperman, Gordonsville, Smith County, Carroll-Oakland, Winfree Bryant and Portland East.

Play will take place on each half of the field and each game will utilize a 20-minute running clock.

The schedule is as follows:

10 a.m. – Macon County vs. Gordonsville; Upperman vs. Southside

10:30 a.m. – Upperman vs. Portland East; JSMS vs. Winfree Bryant

11 a.m. – Smith County vs. Southside; Macon County vs. Carroll-Oakland

11:30 a.m. – Winfree Bryant vs. Smith County; Gordonsville vs. Portland East

Noon – JSMS vs. Carroll-Oakland

Admission will be $5 with proceeds going to benefit both the JSMS and Trousdale County High School football teams. The main gate and Yellow Jacket Victory Bridge entrances will be open, but there will be no access from the baseball field. Concessions will also be available.

Streetball Tournament held at City Park

Saturday’s hot weather didn’t match the heat of competition on the basketball courts of Hartsville City Park.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

Southern Dixie Dolls held the second annual Streetball Tournament, which was organized by Rick Moore and Tamara Marshall.

“There’s just basically never anything to do in Hartsville,” Marshall said when asked what was behind organizing the tournament. “We’re trying to create something for kids and teenagers to do.”

Teams came from as far as Cookeville to participate for bragging rights in the competition, which was also a benefit for Team Reagan, a group named in honor of a Hartsville girl and which raises funds to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

The tournament had been scheduled originally for July 15 but was delayed a week because of rainy weather.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Trousdale County getting new game warden

Trousdale County is getting a new game warden in Ethan Davis, and Lebanon’s Michael Bobel has been named wildlife manager at Old Hickory Wildlife Management Area.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency made the announcements last week.

Davis will be assigned to Trousdale County as soon as a mandatory nine-week law-enforcement training course is completed.

Photo submitted by TWRA
The class of 2017 TWRA wildlife officers, left to right: David Holt, Michael Bobel, Kendall Fletcher, Ethan Davis and Jamie Greenwood. Bobel, of Lebanon, has been named manager of Old Hickory WMA and Davis is assigned to Trousdale County.

Davis will replace Danielle Neal, who left the TWRA to join the Tennessee State Highway Patrol. Neal, from Gainesboro, had a background in law enforcement when she became a game warden two years ago.

TWRA officers in surrounding counties will patrol Trousdale County until Davis goes on the job.

Davis and four other new officers were commissioned by TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter on July 7 at Agency headquarters in Nashville, but they cannot assume their duties until they graduate from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy. The Academy course is required in order for the new officers to be bonded to carry a weapon and make arrests.

A TWRA spokesman said the officers are not permitted to do media interviews until they graduate from the Academy, and no additional information was provided about Davis.

Lebanon’s Bobel, who according to the TWRA press release had been serving as a “wildlife technician” at the Old Hickory WMA, will become manager of the sprawling 6,000-acre area that spans parts of Wilson, Trousdale and Sumner counties. The Old Hickory WMA, which includes stretches of the Cumberland River, is best known for its waterfowl hunting.

Last year’s crop of new TWRA officers included one assigned to Wilson County, Tanner Romsdale.

Most Tennessee counties have at least one game warden, and some larger counties have more than one. Wardens are responsible for patrolling their area to be on the lookout for poachers such as road hunters and other violators of wildlife regulations.

They check hunters and fishermen to make sure they have proper licenses and are obeying bag and creel limits, and respond to calls from citizens with wildlife-related complaints.

Holders of hunting and fishing licenses are required to comply and cooperate with game wardens. They have the authority to conduct field searches, issue citations and even make arrests.

Game wardens are on call around the clock, and in rare instances the duty can be risky. Serious violators, fearing arrest or fines, sometimes attempt to flee or otherwise resist complying with the officer.

Most game wardens, such as Romsdale, say they are drawn to the profession by a fondness for the outdoors and a commitment to help preserve and protect the state’s wildlife resources.

JSMS’ Maddox puts up QB skills against nation’s best

Trousdale County’s Mason Maddox recently got to display his quarterbacking skills against some of the best youth talent in the country.

For the second straight year, Maddox, 13, was invited to attend the Quarterback Academy’s Duel QB Skills Competition, which was held July 7-8 in Fayetteville, Ga.

“It’s chosen from several different camps that quarterbacks go to,” said Maddox, an eighth-grader at Jim Satterfield Middle. “It has kids from all over the country.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
JSMS quarterback Mason Maddox is shown at practice alongside coach Brandon Eden.

Maddox competed and received invitations based on his performance earlier this year at camps in Arkansas and in Nashville.

According to the QBA’s website, the camp allows players to “showcase their skills competing against other elite athletes in their age group from all over the country and internationally.”

At the national competition in Georgia, Maddox placed fourth overall among 38 eighth-grade quarterbacks. The competition was more than just physical, including tests on decision-making and assessments of speed, strength and stamina.

“The scoring system takes place from a series of different targets, written tests on coverage,” he said. “How you perform on those decides how you do.”

Kendra Maddox, Mason’s mother, described watching her son go through the various drills, including three- and five-step drops and hitting moving targets.

“This was the biggest Duel turnout they’ve ever had,” Kendra said.

Mason described himself as “better at throwing than I am running the ball.”

“Coach (Brandon) Eden says I’m smart; he believes I can do very well,” Mason said. “I just love being out there with my team and leading.”

Maddox is currently going through preseason practice for JSMS, and is looking forward to leading his team as the Jr. Jackets chase a fourth straight conference championship.

“Last year was probably the best (offensive) line I’ve ever played with in my life,” he said. “If we keep it together, we’ll be fine.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Meet my new ‘pet’ raccoon – Rosemary Cooney

I probably shouldn’t tell my hunting buddies, but I’ve got a pet raccoon.

She’s not a “pet” in the sense of being confined – she’s free to come and go as she pleases. Back in the spring she wandered up from the creek in our backyard to mooch goodies from our bird feeder.

I began feeding her bread scraps, first tossing them to her at a distance, then enticing her closer and closer. Now she will stand on her haunches and take the bread out of my hand with her ladylike paws.

She also likes grapes and watermelon.

Rosemary Cooney is a regular backyard visitor at the Woody residence.

I named her Rosemary Cooney.

You can see the intelligence in her big bright eyes.

I told my buddy Clarence Dies about her. He said if I run short of coons there’s some that are raiding his sweet-corn patch that I’m welcome to.

I realize that for farmers, raccoons can be pests. The same goes for city folk, whose garbage cans are tipped over by the masked bandits during midnight raids.

Still, I find them fascinating critters.

Coons have been foraging in our backyard for years. The main lure is a bird-feeder that sits on the deck railing. They consider it a coon-feeder.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency advises against feeding coons, noting that they sometimes carry various viruses and diseases. Well, so do birds – their hygiene is much worse than that of raccoons – and yet people feed them.

I’d rather have a coon on my back porch than a flock of starlings.

It’s against TWRA regulations to capture and confine a raccoon, and I agree with the rule. But there’s no regulation against feeding one.

A few years ago a man in Gallatin nicknamed “Coonrippy” ran afoul of the TWRA regulation when he posted a video of himself and his pet coon Rebekah. It wasn’t just that Coonrippy had a pet coon that was so eye-catching – it was the fact that he was showering with her.

I enjoy feeding my little ring-tailed bandit, but I draw the line at inviting her into a bubble bath.

The TWRA, alerted by the video, made Coonrippy give up Rebekah, who according to him was later euthanized.

Some raccoon trivia:

In 1971 the raccoon was designated Tennessee’s State Animal. A coon appears on the TWRA logo.

In most portraits Davy Crockett is wearing a wildcat-hide hat, not a coonskin cap.

Colonel Cas Walker, “The Ol’ Coon Hunter,” gave Dolly Parton and the Everly Brothers their big break on his 1950s Knoxville TV show.

Contrary to popular myth, coons don’t “wash” their food before eating it.

Raccoons are so tough they can often defeat a coon-hound in a fair fight, and are known to lure pursuing hounds into deep water and drown them.

Rosemary Cooney is a nursing mom, with a den in a hollow tree down on the creek. We haven’t seen her young’uns, but maybe eventually she’ll bring them along for a visit.

My wife tolerates Cooney, although she doesn’t share my fascination with her. If I want to invite a coon over for a snack, she doesn’t object. However, she says she draws the line at possums.

Yellow Jackets hit the passing circuit

With the two-week dead period over, the Trousdale County Yellow Jackets have resumed their preparations for the upcoming football season.

Chris Gregory / File / Hartsville Vidette
The Yellow Jackets will host their own 7-on-7 passing event next week. This photo is from the 2016 event.

On Thursday in a 7-on-7 passing event at Riverdale, the Jackets advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Wilson Central, a team they had beaten earlier in the day. The Jackets also recorded victories over Page, Forrest and Clarksville Academy.

On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets will travel to Gallatin for another 7-on-7 competition.

Next week, the Jackets will host their own 7-on-7 event on Tuesday from 5-8 p.m. at Jim Satterfield Stadium. Scheduled to join Trousdale County in the competition are Station Camp, Red Boiling Springs, Portland and Cannon County.

“We are using these days to work on our passing offense and to get reps going against another defense, and get better with our routes and timing, while defensively working on our pass defense and coverage responsibilities,” said TCHS coach Brad Waggoner.

“I’m not a big 7-on-7 guy because I think it’s different and sometimes unrealistic when you don’t have pads on. But I do think it’s good to get timing and reps on responsibilities in.”

Reelfoot Lake boasts wondrous natural beauty

I’ve always said you could enjoy a trip to Reelfoot Lake without bothering to take any fishing tackle, and my wife and I proved it one day last week.

We spent the day hiking the myriad of nature trails and boardwalks along the lake, visited the Reelfoot State Park nature center/museum, ate at a couple of the famous lakeside restaurants and wrapped up the outing by taking in a breath-taking sunset from the veranda of the Blue Bank Resort.

For over 30 years, fishing buddy Bob Sherborne and I made an annual May pilgrimage to Reelfoot Lake to fish for the giant bluegill that lurk in the lily pads and gnarled cypress that span hundreds of acres.

Reelfoot Lake sunsets are spectacular.

We missed making the trip four years ago due to the death of Sherborne’s father, and for the next two years we were both tied up with family obligations.

Like anything else, once you break a routine it’s hard to start back.

Last week I decided to take advantage of a couple of idle days to return to Reelfoot and revisit some of our old haunts for old times’ sake. I recommend the trip to everyone, from fishermen to naturalists and historians.

Reelfoot, nestled in the northwest corner of the state, is Tennessee’s largest natural lake. It was created by a series of violent New Madrid earthquakes that rocked the area during the winter of 1811-12. The earth heaved and buckled and the churning Mississippi River overflowed into adjacent hollows and low-lying forests. When the final tremors – felt as far away as Chicago – subsided, a 15,000-acre lake had been created.

The Reelfoot area was originally inhabited by Indians, and later prowled by David Crockett and other early frontiersmen. It would echo with Civil War cannon fire, require state militia to quell murderous Night Riders, spark fierce environmental feuds and provide the setting for several popular movies.

Choked with cypress, lily pads, cattails and swamp grass, the lake and surrounding marshland is one of Tennessee’s most ecologically diverse areas. Reelfoot is home to an estimated different 250 bird species, including a resident population of bald eagles.

Because of its shallowness (average depth, seven feet) and myriad of barely-submerged stumps and logs, no water skiers or speedboats race across Reelfoot.  Small fishing craft putter along, and an occasional pontoon cruise boat negotiates the standing cypress.

“I grew up on Reelfoot as a boy and I’ve lived there all my life,” said Mike Hayes, owner of Blue Bank Resort and a retired member of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission. “If there’s a more peaceful, relaxing, beautiful place on earth, I haven’t found it.”

Among the early explorers who ventured into the Reelfoot area was Crockett. He hunted there in 1822 and later moved his family to the nearby Obion Bottoms.

Crockett described the earthquake-ravaged area as “the harricane,” which was inhabited by deer, wolves, turkeys, bears and other wildlife. Crockett killed wolves for their bounty and bears and deer for their pelts and meat. He preferred bear meat over venison, and in one year boasted about killing 105 bears, enhancing his reputation as a frontier hunter. Crockett eventually departed the Reelfoot region for Texas – and the Alamo.

During the Civil War Union gunboats attacked Confederate forces at Island No. 10, located in a bend of the Mississippi, a cannon-shot away from Reelfoot Lake. The out-gunned rebels retreated to nearby Tiptonville, where some escaped into the tangles of Reelfoot. Some say the ghosts of ragged Confederates haunt the gloomy cypress swamps.

That’s all part of Reelfoot’s rich history, charm and enchantment. The great fishing is just a bonus.

Natchez Trace is a trip through history

Anyone who enjoys history, hiking, wildlife watching or the outdoors in general owes it to themselves to take a trek down the Natchez Trace.

My wife and I took our annual trip the other day and enjoyed it as much, if not more, than our past trips. On every trip down the Trace we discover something different, learn something new about the centuries-old trail and its travel back through time.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 440-mile two-lane road stretching from Natchez, Miss., to Highway 100 a few miles west of Nashville, cutting through a sliver of south Alabama in the process.

Sections of the original Natchez Trace can still be traveled today.

Designated a national park in 1938, the modern Parkway follows the route of the original Trace, sections of which are preserved and open to foot travel.

It is an almost mystical experience to hike along a stretch of the narrow Trace, worn four or five feet deep in places, and realize you are treading in the exact footsteps of Indians, pioneers, soldiers of Andrew Jackson’s militia, highwaymen and other frontier settlers and adventurers who wrote the early chapters of Tennessee history.

The Trace began as a travel rout for buffalo and other large migrating animals some 10,000 years ago. Various Southeastern Indian tribes used the trail as an early-day interstate, giving the trail the Indian term “trace.”

The first recorded European explorer traveled the Trace in 1742. Frontiersmen from Kentucky and Tennessee floated trade goods downriver to New Orleans, and then followed the Trace home on foot. Some didn’t make it, waylaid by outlaws and highwaymen that gave the Trace a reputation for dangerous travel. (Most of the Indians were non-hostile, and some assisted the settlers along the way.)

Regiments of Andrew Jackson’s troops marched along the route on their way to New Orleans during the War of 1812, led by Old Hickory himself. Monuments mark the lonely graves of many who died from wounds and illness on the trip.

The Trace’s most famous traveler was Meriwether Lewis of Lewis & Clark fame. He was traveling the Trace in October 1809 when he stopped for the night at an inn near present-day Hohenwald. Sometime during the night he was fatally shot; historians still debate whether it was murder or suicide.

The stone foundation of the inn remains today, along with a replica of the log structure. Lewis is buried in an adjacent Pioneer Cemetery. The stretch on which Lewis trod his fateful final steps leading to the inn is preserved and can be walked.

There is no charge for traveling the Trace or for using the picnic areas and rest stops along the way. Restrooms and water are available at the rest stops, but there are no restaurants, gas stations or motels on the Trace. Travelers can consult a map for facilities located at various exits along the way.

Depending on the pace you set and how many stops you choose to make, you could spend a week traveling the entire route. Or you can make an easy day trip by traveling a section of it.

Portions of the Trace are heavily used by cyclists who have the same right-of-way as motorists. Also, deer and turkeys wander across the road, oblivious to traffic.

Most of the road has a 50 mph speed limit, dropping to 40 near the Nashville trailhead. But the point of traveling the Trace is not to go fast – just the opposite.

Slow down, savor the scenery, and allow centuries of Tennessee history to sink in.

Jackets hire Scott Booth as defensive coordinator

Trousdale County football coach Brad Waggoner has rounded out his coaching staff with the addition of Scott Booth, who will serve as defensive coordinator for the Yellow Jackets.

Booth replaces Tony Butler, who left after two seasons in Hartsville to take a job at Battle Ground Academy.

Booth hails from Alabama, and at age 25 coached in the 6A state championship at Central High School in Tuscaloosa. He has also coached at Holt High, Paul Bryant High, Highland Home High, Isabella High and Chilton County High during a 25-year career.

Scott Booth

At Isabella, he coached the only 10-0 team in school history in 2002. That team went 13-1, losing in the state semifinals, and Booth was named Alabama’s Coach of the Year.

Now age 50, Booth has retired from coaching in Alabama. He and his wife, Linda, have three children: Caley, 19, a college sophomore, and twins Cade and Emily, 15, who will be sophomores at Trousdale County this fall.

“The Lord has led me to an impressive situation and I am thankful to Dr. (Clint) Satterfield, Mrs. (Teresa) Dickerson and Coach Waggoner for give me the opportunity to join the Trousdale family,” Booth said. “The Hartsville community and Trousdale coaching staff have been very receptive and helpful to me in the short time that I’ve been around.

“The players have been working hard during summer workouts and have progressed quickly with the defensive scheme. I have seen a lot of talent and ability at practice, and I’m looking forward to the new opportunity and the challenges ahead. I am excited to be a part of a program with such a tremendous tradition.

“I will have big shoes to fill with some of the outstanding and legendary coaches who have walked the sidelines in years past. I will work hard to help Coach Waggoner and the coaching staff to make the program the best that it can be.”

“Coach Booth is a coach I have known for a long time and he is a hard worker that I know will be committed to being a part of this community, and to helping our program to be the very best,” Waggoner said.