BARBOURVILLE — Showcasing a deep array of receiving threats, the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets impressed in winning their first three games at a 7-on-7 tournament at Union College on Wednesday.
“I think we’ve done a good job competing, we’re not as crisp as I’d like to see us but this is only day four and we’ll get there,” Jacket coach Zach Massengill said. “The kids are doing a really good job of listening and learning, and for the most part executing. We’ve had few drops and things like that but that’s just what time of year it is.”
Middlesboro overcame a slow start in their opener to pull out a close win over Knox Central thanks to a couple of late interceptions. Against Pulaski Southwestern the offense got on bit of a roll with Seth Barton scoring one touchdown and helping to set up two more short ones by Logan Capps and Tyler Yoakum as the Jackets took a 21-3 lead and held on to win 21-10. Senior quarterback Major Edwards threw all three touchdown passes.
They wrapped up round-robin play against Pineville. Barton again came up big, scoring a 40-yard touchdown on a pass from Edwards on the first play of that one and then another from about 35 yards out with about 3:00 to play to give the Jackets a 21-14 win.
In between, Jake Brock turned an little out pattern into a wheel route for a long touchdown pass from Yoakum and Pineville scored a pair of long touchdowns with Tucker Woolum hooking up with Robbie Miller on both.
“We want to win every time we’re on the field and every play,” Massengill added. “I think they did a good job of finding a way to win even when we weren’t playing our best and that’s what it’s all about.”
Edwards and Yoakum were both effective leading the offense and the two seniors have been splitting reps at quarterback. Both also spent time running routes from the tight end position.
“We’re giving them both a shot and we’ll sit down and evaluate sometime in August. Right now they’re both doing a good job, there are things to work on but that will come with knowledge of the offense and just getting more comfortable,” the coach said. “Overall I’m pleased. They’re throwing catchable balls and the receivers are going up and catching them.”
Gabe Fuson and Ryan Pittman also had several catches from the out of the backfield and in the slot during the day. Brock looked like usual self as he continued to play through a shoulder injury and gives the team a valuable weapon with experience on the outside.
“He’s joined us and as long as we can keep him healthy he’s going to be a spark plug for us,” Massengill said. “He does a good job competing for the ball and hopefully he’ll turn into one of our leaders.”