Young secondary looks to improve against Mo. East

Wyeth Wilson, Staff Writer

Despite losing a majority of its starters from last season and using many young players during its first three games, the Bearden secondary has continued to grow as a unit during the beginning of the 2014 season.

Starters Isaiah McDaniel and Hunter Henry are gone from last year’s defense, being replaced by sophomores Ty Warren and Jordan Ferguson, along with senior Taylor Blaine, who played valuable time last season.

Even with several new faces, the Bulldogs (0-3) still bring back starters Jack Shires and Blake Ironside.

“I think Jack Shires, being a senior, and playing a lot last year and Blake Ironside, a junior, who played a lot, have really helped the sophomores,” defensive coordinator Brian Tanner said. “Ty Warren, Jordan Ferguson, they’ve really helped them grow and learn the position.

“Coach (Paul) Shelton has done a good job teaching them as well.”

Bearden and its secondary will get a chance to show their talent and avenge last year’s loss against Morristown East (1-2) on Friday night at 7:30.

New players usually mean mistakes and errors, but Bearden’s transition from experienced upperclassmen to fresh faces has gone relatively smoothly.

This can be attributed to returning players helping out and guiding younger players through different game-time experiences.

“Leading by example, leaving it out on the field every play, that’s our philosophy,” Shires said. “We just want to be a good influence on (the new players).”

But even with new players playing well, and upperclassmen leading, improvements in the secondary can still be made.

Bearden has allowed 11 touchdown passes in three games this season, while totaling only one interception.

“We definitely need to be more aggressive, and attack the ball,” Blaine said. “Everyone needs to fly to the ball.

“If we do that, we should play a lot better.”

Coach Tanner has also been happy with the secondary’s performance, but realizes that his young players need to improve and will have to learn on the run during this season.

“They’ve worked at it, and they’re getting better each week, and I think they’ll continue to get better,” Coach Tanner said.