A new football schedule is a welcome sight for fans of the Cumberland County Jets.
“I think our schedule is perfect for us,” said first-year Jet head coach Eric Belew. “There’s not any teams that you feel like there’s a huge separation. I feel like every team on the schedule we have an opportunity to be competitive with.
“We have six home games, which is an advantage. One of our road games is Stone Memorial, so we really have three away games.”
A season ago, CCHS had the toughest schedule in Class 4A, according to Coacht.com. Nine of the 10 teams they played reached the playoffs.
In 2019, CCHS will face a much more manageable slate of opponents. Scott, White County, Clay County, Walker Valley, Rockwood and Bledsoe County make up the non-region schedule.
Belew has a unique challenge. He coached in Georgia last season and has limited information on this year’s opponents. Belew credits his staff for their role in scouting.
“It’s been important that we get out in 7-on-7s and see some teams,” Belew said. “We got to see DeKalb, which is a region game and is big for us. They’ve got some athletes. They throw the ball a lot.”
Game one of the Belew era will take place Aug. 23 at Scott High School in Huntsville.
“We got to see Scott, and they’re a perimeter team as well,” Belew said. “We’re developing a game plan for them right now. We already know we’re going to have to keep their offense off the field.”
White County, an old Cumberland County rival, will come to Crossville week two.
“I’m glad to see White County,” said Belew. “They’ve got great numbers through their transition. I expect there to be a huge number there. That being our first home game is exciting.”
Week three will see the Jets open Region 4AAAA play at Livingston Academy.
“Livingston has some great perimeter guys as well as their quarterback,” Belew added. “He’s the frontrunner for the region player of the year. They have the most returning experience. It will be important to be competitive.”
CCHS returns home Sept. 13 to host Clay County and Macon County Sept. 20 in their second region contest.
The Jets hit the road week six when they travel to Walker Valley before a bye week Oct. 4.
“Walker Valley always has a lot of speed,” said Belew. “They’ve got some talent.”
Cumberland County hosts Class 2A powerhouse Rockwood Oct. 11.
“I got to meet Coach (John) Webb at Tech this summer,” said Belew. “They’re really physical and going to be big up front. What Rockwood has going on is what we want to establish. That will be an exciting matchup for us.”
CCHS returns to region play Oct. 18 when they make the 4-mile trip to Stone Memorial to face the Panthers.
The Jets will finish the season with back-to-back home games as they host Bledsoe County and region foe DeKalb County.
In preseason action, the Jets will host a scrimmage with Wartburg and Oliver Springs Aug. 2.
CCHS will also scrimmage Columbia Academy Aug. 8 at Columbia University.
The Jets will play in York Institute’s jamboree Aug. 16.