By: Jim Steele
McKENZIE, Tenn. - Two big TD runs from Chase Norden and two more from Keenan Hutcherson helped spark McKenzie Middle School to a 32-0 victory over Lakewood Saturday night in the McKenzie Middle School Jamboree.
It was Paul Carroll's debut as the Rebel coach, having taken the job just two weeks ago. He takes over for Brad Chappell, who ended his seven-year tenure late last month when he accepted the assistant athletic director post at Bethel University.
Carroll waS pleased with his team's effort.
"We have a ton of talent," he said. "I hate that I just got this two weeks ago because I haven't had a lot of time to figure out what these kids can do."
Carroll said the milder temperatures in the jamboree helped bring out some of the fire in the kids.
"We've been practicing in miserable heat and when it gets like this, we see more out of the kids."
And that was evident rather early. The Rebels mixed it up in the first series. After a loss on the first play, Rebel quarterback Jack Surber hit Chase Kelley on the second play for a 10-yard completion, which set up Norden's 33-yard TD scamper. On the PAT, Surber rolled to his left and patiently waited for the receivers to get open and lofted a touch pass for the deuce.
"Surber is a leader and he can do things you can't coach," Carroll said. "Norden ran hard; we wanted to establish that and show what he can do."
On the next play, the Eagles fumbled and the Rebels took over again.
Norden bolted 13 yards down the left side, then, after an incompletion, raced 27 yards down the right sideline for the TD. He added the two-point conversion and the rout was on. The Rebels led 16-0.
As the second frame began, the Rebels took over and Hutcherson, on the first play from scrimmage, darted straight up the field for a 40-yard score. On the firt play of the next McKenzie possession, the Hutcherson dashed 40 yards for another score. Mitch Merrick's PAT run made the score 32-0.
Carroll said he liked what he saw in the team's execution, but kept things rather bland, as is often the case in a jamboree.
"WE have a plethora of guys who can catch the ball," he said. "We've come a long way but we have a long way to go. I thought our defense did well."
The competition gets a little stiffer Tuesday night when the Rebels visit Rotary Field and the Dresden Lions. Kickoff is 6:30.
"I was pleased with the way we played," Carroll said. "But we've got work to do."
The McKenzie Middle School's JV suffered a 12-0 loss to Paris-Inman, who was physically bigger than the Rebel seventh graders.