Self Blair handoff

Sequoyah's Ethan Blair (10) takes a handoff from Cooper Self (3) during the Chiefs' 20-0 loss to Tellico Plains on Aug. 20 in Madisonville.

Sequoyah hoped to get off to region play a week ago when the Chiefs visited Hixson, but that hope faded with a slew of cancelations across the state.

Instead, Sequoyah opens up Region 3-4A action Friday night when they host East Hamilton.

The Hurricanes (3-0) have won the six previous meetings over Sequoyah and are expected to capture the region championship — Red Bank will have something to say about that — after finishing as runners up in 2019 and 2020.

Heading into the week, the Chiefs have had a different challenge — prepping for a talented Hurricanes team on a short week.

“It was kind of tough. We were told we could not practice up until Tuesday. We originally had a practice scheduled for Monday morning on Labor Day, but because of the circumstances we couldn’t,” Sequoyah Coach Ryan Bolinger said. “The coaches met as a staff on Sunday like we normally would just to gameplan and get everything ready. We knew we were going to be a day behind, but, honestly, we had a pretty good couple days of practice. We got the newer guys up to speed and had the opportunity to heal up a little bit and get some guys back.”

East Hamilton’s offense is averaging 41.3 points per game heading into Week 4 and has had no issues in finding success with the ball.

“They are good across the board. They’re a really good offensive team with some dynamic players and good athletes. They have a good line with a solid quarterback. They are a spread team and like to verify the quick game with an RPO and screens,” Bolinger said.

Headlining the Hurricanes will be junior running back Juandrick Bullard.

“They have a really, really good running back. He is elusive and pretty strong — he has really good speed. In the two games we have film on him, we think highly of East Hamilton. Grant Reynolds has done well down there. He is a well respected coach and has a good staff. They have that thing rolling right now,” Bolinger said.

Despite their early success, East Hamilton has not cracked the Class 4A AP poll. The Hurricanes have received votes, but jumping into the poll has been elusive.

Defensively, East Hamilton has allowed 23.5 points average through their first two games — compared to the seven points through two games last year.

“I know Grant is going to do a 4-4 cover three the best that he can. He likes that defensively and in the two games (we’ve seen) this year that is what they play. Honestly, the teams they have played offensively have been a little similar to us. We are kind of expecting the same thing and they’ll try to stop the runs,” Bolinger said. “We will have to be a little multiple and hit the runs when we have them. Then make them pay when we throw it.”

Working in the Chiefs’ favor, a number of basketball players joined the team ahead of Week 2 as well as players who were out injured becoming available again.

“We have a lot of kids back,” Bolinger said. “We still have a couple out, but for the most part most of them are back. We feel pretty good from that perspective, so it is about getting them back up to speed and back into practice. It gives us a little more depth, so we are pretty excited about that.”

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. in Madisonville.

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