By Jerry Richmond, Sports Staff Writer

Trousdale County football fans saw their Yellow Jackets advance all the way to the Class 2A BlueCross Bowl last year.

The Jackets came up short in their bid for an 11th state championship, but many prognosticators think this year’s squad could challenge for another gold ball.

Trousdale County is already receiving some statewide recognition in the preseason as longtime high school football sage Murphy Fair has the Yellow Jackets as one of his top five teams in 2A, along with Fairley, Meigs County, Peabody and Tyner Academy.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Tarvaris Claiborne (7) and Cameron Rankins (5) will be two key performers for the Yellow Jackets in 2019.

The Jackets are also getting respect from coaches, who have picked them second in 2A behind last year’s champions from Peabody. The remainder of the coaches’ Top 10 picks are Meigs County, Union City, Tyner, Waverly, Fairley, Watertown, Lewis County and Oneida.

The Jackets have been picked by league coaches to reclaim the Region 4-2A title ahead of Watertown, Westmoreland, East Robertson, Jackson County and Cascade.

After serving as defensive coordinator last season, Blake Satterfield has been elevated to head coach and will again oversee the defensive side of the ball.

Paul Pitts has joined the Trousdale staff as offensive coordinator. Potts served as offensive coordinator at Cumberland University in 2018 and previously filled that same role at the University of the Cumberlands. He also honed his coaching skills for eight seasons at Shorter University.

“Heading into a season after ending the 2018 one with a loss in the championship game is tough,” Satterfield said. “However, our players have responded very well this summer and have allowed me and the coaching staff to push them to get better.”

Defensively, the Jackets are led by two all-state senior linebackers in Tarvaris Claiborne (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) and Jay’Dynn Hayward (5-9, 175), who each recorded 80-plus tackles last season for the Jackets.

On offense, Trousdale County must replace 58 percent of its rushing game after the graduation of Dyson Satterfield (1,530 yards in 2018) and Keyvont Baines (739 yards).

Junior Jayden Hicks (6-0, 165) is the team’s top returning rusher with 584 yards last season while playing at wingback and receiver. Hicks will be called upon to take over at quarterback for the Yellow Jackets this season.

Also expected to get their share of carries will be senior Kobe Ford (6-1, 185), junior Cameron Rankins (6-2, 230) and junior Sebastian Linarez (5-10, 175).

Nine seniors headline a Trousdale County roster than features 51 players.

“Having 51 players on our roster is the most I can ever remember playing or coaching with at Trousdale County High School,” Satterfield said.

The Jackets will start the season with perhaps their two toughest opponents with trips to Friendship on Aug. 23 and to Watertown on Sept. 6.

Trousdale County defeated Friendship 27-21 last season and split with Watertown, losing 22-21 in Hartsville during the regular season and winning 15-8 on the road in the quarterfinals.