Haney picking up where Young left off

Jacob Steimer

Many in the Bearden community wondered during the offseason how the Bulldogs would replace Devrin Young, last year’s Mr. Football in Tennessee. In just three weeks, though, Josh Haney has put most of those concerns to rest. The senior’s talents were on full display in a 223-yard, three-touchdown performance against William Blount last week. “It was impressive, that’s for sure,” Bulldogs quarterback Nicky Frizen said. “I didn’t know he had that breakaway speed that he showed.” Haney splits carries with fellow tailbacks Christian Robinson and Trent Waters. “It’s kind of smash and dash and dash, with Trent obviously more of the power runner,” Frizen said. Whenever multiple athletes are competing for playing time, competitive egos are on the line. “It creates a sense of competition amongst them that in turn helps our team,” tailbacks coach Morgan Shinlever said. “They have to put their egos aside and work as a unit.” Haney, who rushed for 322 yards and five touchdowns last year as a backup to Young, said he enjoys the competition. “It’s fun,” Haney said. “It’s like a friendly competition. If one guy has a good run out here, you go out and try to do better than he did.” Does that make this backfield more dangerous than the one from a year ago? Maybe not, but having a stable of running backs adds an element of deception to the Bearden offense that was not there last year. “Last year, if Devrin was on the field, you knew where it was going if it was a run situation,” Coach Shinlever said. From this stable, however, Haney has emerged as the lead tailback. “He has been hitting the hole hard,” Frizen said. Frizen said he expects more of that from Haney and Bearden’s offensive line in Friday night’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff against Rhea County. “I think our offensive line will blow them off the line,” Frizen said. “I think you’ll see more of the same from (Haney).” The Golden Eagles (0-3) are coming off of a 34-14 home loss to McMinn County. Bearden won last year’s meeting in Evensville 33-0 behind an explosive second half from Young. The Bulldogs (2-1) won’t be able to rely on Young on Friday, but with Haney leading a talented group of replacements, the backfield is in capable hands. “We’ve got a lot of talent back there collectively,” Coach Shinlever said. “I think that makes us a little harder to defend.”