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Message to youth: Belong to something other than your smartphone

Douglas Fritz • Oct 1, 2018 at 9:22 PM

Bernard Childress and Karissa Niehoff have co-authored an opinion piece about kids growing up in the digital age, and their solution hits the target square in the center.

Childress is the executive director of the TSSAA and Niehoff is the executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations. Their main point is today’s young people face significant challenges because of technological advancements, particularly with regard to social media and smartphones.

They used the following items to support their concerns:

• Seventy-three percent of all American teenagers spend almost nine hours a day on their smartphone.

• Kids can have their confidence diminished if they have fewer online friends than their peers.

• More than 31 percent of American teenagers are overweight, and Tennessee is the most obese state in the nation.

• Today’s teenagers are more lonely, anxious and depressed than ever before.

Moving toward the solution, Childress and Niehoff advocate participation in high school sports — or other activities such as band, choir or debate. They said participation can bring opportunities for meeting new people and developing meaningful friendships — along with helping in the establishment of nutritional and exercise habits that can carry them for a lifetime as well as in the development of a greater sense of self-esteem.

Therefore: Get up, get out, put the phone down, play, participate and be a kid while youth is on your side. Seriously, that whole “adult thing” will still be waiting when you graduate.

MAKING PROGRESS

When a team is in a region with two of the best squads in the state, it can be difficult to get recognition. Such has been the case for Sullivan South, but the Rebels have done their part to earn a second look.

After a season-opening loss to Daniel Boone, the Rebels have ripped off five straight wins and battled their way into the conversation with Greeneville and Elizabethton for the Region 1-4A title.

STANDOUT STATS

Greeneville quarterback Cade Ballard continued his incredible season Friday night when all five of his passes went for touchdowns.

Ballard has 21 TD passes with only 13 incompletions (70-for-83) and has not been intercepted. He’s thrown for 1,383 yards.

Football games of the week

Dobyns-Bennett at Farragut

Cherokee at David Crockett

Tennessee High at Cocke County

Greeneville at Sullivan South

Hampton at Cloudland

Indians vs. Admirals — It’s hard to think of a 2-4 team having a shot at a region title, but D-B is still in the mix. But slowing Farragut’s offense could be quite difficult for the Tribe.

Chiefs vs. Pioneers — Crockett can’t afford to peek ahead because Cherokee has enough weapons to threaten an upset.

Vikings vs. Fighting Cocks — One of these teams will likely be dismissed from the Region 1-5A title chase.

Greene Devils vs. Rebels — It’s not expected to be as tight as the records might indicate. Greeneville is probably a four-touchdown favorite.

Bulldogs vs. Highlanders — It’s dad versus son once again in the annual Lunsford Bowl (Michael at Hampton and Mike at Cloudland). Both teams have a lot of momentum going into the rivalry showdown.

Pick of the Week

David Crockett 42, Cherokee 26

The Pioneers should be able to reach their usual level of offensive explosiveness, but the Chiefs have ability on that side of the ball as well.

Picks record: 3-3.

Player of the Week

Kody Lewis, Unicoi County

The Blue Devils’ junior running back made life miserable for Chuckey-Doak on Friday night. He rushed for 325 yards and had touchdowns runs of 83, 82, 32 and 23 yards in his team’s 49-17 victory. Lewis carried 18 times, averaging 18.1 yards per attempt.

The Hogs Award

Hampton Bulldogs

It’s a young bunch, but the “Dog Hogs” played like veterans in a 30-8 victory over Sullivan North.

The offensive line blocked a path for 230 yards rushing and added enough pass protection to allow 103 yards through the air.

Defensive unit of the Week

Hampton Bulldogs

In a game where a chance to stay in the Region 1-2A title chase was on the line, Hampton’s defense held Sullivan North to its lowest point total of the season.

Hampton allowed zero yards passing and only 97 rushing. The D-Dogs also came up with a fumble and two interceptions.

Girls soccer

Houston holds the No. 1 spot in the state in Class AAA as the regular season comes to a close this week. The Lady Mustangs — who are eight-time state champions, including last year — are 14-1 with their only loss coming against an out-of-state opponent.

Science Hill (13-2) is ranked No. 6. The Lady Hilltoppers close out with David Crockett (Tuesday at home, 6 p.m.) and Greeneville (Wednesday at home, 7 p.m.). ... 

Knox Catholic (12-2) is ranked No. 1 in Class AA. Greeneville is No. 6. ...

Defending state champion Alcoa is top ranked in Class A. Chuckey-Doak is ranked No. 3.

Football rankings

Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill slide to spots No. 6 and No. 7 in this week’s High School Top 10. Sullivan South takes advantage of three teams losing to gain three spots to No. 5 (only teams in the Johnson City Press/Times News coverage area are ranked).

Team (W-L) ― Last Week

1. Elizabethton (6-0) — 1

2. David Crockett (6-0) — 2

3. Daniel Boone (5-1) — 3

4. Tennessee High (5-2) — 5

5. Sullivan South (5-1) — 8

6. Dobyns-Bennett (2-4) — 4

7. Science Hill (2-5) — 6

8. Johnson County (5-1) — 9

9. Unicoi County (6-1) — 10

10. Hampton (3-3) — NR

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