RHEA COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — The TSSAA made some region changes in the off-season this year. For Rhea County, that means an automatic playoff bid before the first game is even played.
However, according to the team, this changes nothing.
“Obviously it takes a little bit of pressure off,” Coach Mark Pemberton said. “Now we can just concentrate on ourselves and how to get better going into the playoffs.”
Getting better for the playoffs means spending more time in the weight room for Rhea County.
“I think we’re going to try to push teams around a bit,” senior linebacker Bradley Goodwin said.
“They had a great off-season in the weight room, probably the best one since I’ve been here so hopefully that will translate on the field,” Pemberton said.
“There’s been a few changes in the weight room to get us stronger and ready to peak in the playoffs but besides that there’s not much that’s changed,” senior lineman Jacob Stringfellow said.
The Eagles continue to see success with the same basic system they’ve ran for years.
“I think we have a good team mentality. We’ve got a good group of experience. It’s going to help us a lot because everybody’s come up through our system. We’ve run the same offense since middle school,” Goodwin said. “It’s not that teams don’t know what we’re going to do. I mean, it’s deceptive but it’s not really that we’ve changed anything, but we do it right and we get it done.”
“I like the attitude of our kids. I think they’re all on board and ready to work at it,” Pemberton said.
Even though Rhea County is guaranteed a playoff spot, the regular season goal stays the same.
“It’s still just ‘fight’ because usually we’re in the fight for the number one spot in the region anyways, so we’re still going in looking to win,” Goodwin said.
“I think we have a pretty good thing going on here. I think we all come together as a team when we need to,” Stringfellow said.