Cougars Dance Their Way to Homecoming Victory

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Copper Basin takes the field. Photo by DJ Underwood


       On Friday night in Copperhill the Cougars suited up to take on the Bradley Knights for their homecoming game. The Cougars were ready to shake off a tough loss at Meigs and get back to business as usual. Sometimes a homecoming game can be daunting. After a full week of the different festivities that go on at school, like dressing up in different themes or choosing which students will be on the homecoming court, having your mind in the right place when the lights come on can be difficult. This time around that was not an issue for the boys in red and grey.

       The game started with the Cougars kicking the ball off. The Knights return man was not able to get any positive yards off of the return and they began their offensive evening around the 30 yard line. For the Knights, this would turn out to be a very difficult night. They struggled all game to move the ball against the home team’s defense. Their first drive was a three and out and the punt team took the field. The punt snap was high and the kicker was unable to snag it. This resulted in him falling on the ball at the Cougar’s six. This is when Sebastian Baliles began work. On the first play from scrimmage, Baliles blasted through for six yards and his first touchdown of the evening. This would set the pace for the rest of the game.

       Baliles ended up racing his way to six touchdowns before halftime. For the Copper Basin Cougars defense, they played equally as strong as their opposites. The Cougars defense finished the evening with a perfect shutout. The front line played strong, fitting into their assignments and making tackles. The secondary did the same. They made the right reads and played coverages like they were supposed to all night, even pulling a couple of picks. This is something that has not always been the case this season for the young Cougars. They have struggled in different situations to know their roles as well as they needed to, which is expected when playing people that do not have as much experience as they have in past teams. The way that the Cougars played Friday, however, shows that these growing pains may be winding down. It is a good time for that to happen, too, with the season doing the same.

       The Copper Basin Cougars finished the night with a blowout score of 62-0 over the Bradley Knights and were able to get some young guys some fantastic game experience. They are looking to keep this momentum moving forward as they head out on the road this coming week to face the North Georgia Falcons who proved themselves to be a difficult game last season. After the Cougars face the Falcons this coming Friday (10/22), they will come home for one final home game for the 2021 regular season against regional foe South Pittsburg which will be one of their toughest games of the year with South Pitt being a perennial front runner for the gold ball.

Cat Fight In The Basin; Polk Takes Home W

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       At 7:30 pm this past Friday night, the lights were on, the seats were full, and with one swift kick of a football the season was officially underway. For Copper Basin and Polk County, the first game of the season has rekindled an old flame that still burns as bright as it ever has between these two county rivals. Though this rivalry has been going on for decades, a break between the two teams facing each other had been taken for around ten years. This game was the fifth since the contests have been back underway and Polk County was looking to sway the record back their way with it sitting at an even 2-2 at kickoff following Copper Basin’s wins last year and the year before.

       Polk County won the toss and elected to kick. That is all it took to get this game going. Once the ball was kicked off, both teams came out of the gate strong and aggressive and ready to play. Polk County’s defense held Basin and forced a punt on the opening drive. However, Basin’s defense was ready. Polk County’s offense tried to attack through the air but Basin’s Johnathon Johnson was ready and was rewarded with 6 points for his theft. Kick was good and Basin was in the lead. This would stay the score until the start of the second quarter. Polk had the ball on Basin’s side and on the first play of the quarter was able to break a run off the edge to make their mark on the board and bring the score to an even 7. After Polk’s kicker put one of many kickoffs into the endzone, the Cougars took the field. On their first offensive play, quarterback Joe Boggs reached out to Kadan Williams for an 80 yard touchdown to answer back and put the Cougars back up 13 – 7 after a missed extra point. Following this, both teams fought hard for yardage and their defenses fought to keep their ground. Polk found a receiver from just inside midfield and after the extra point pulled into the lead for the first time of the evening at 14-13. Before the half was through, the Wildcats were able to punch in a short yardage run for pay dirt and then capitalize on a fumble by the Cougars deep into their own territory a couple of series later. Polk returned the fumble to about midfield but a personal foul tacked on extra yards and put them in scoring position, which they took advantage of just before halftime. The boys went into the locker room with Basin trailing 28-13.

       Once the second half kicked off, Basin showed a new renewed strength as both teams set in for war. Yards were hard to come by and no one would find pay dirt until almost the end of the quarter. With under 2 minutes left the Cougars executed a beautiful reverse and Johnathon Johnson was able to find the endzone making the score 28-19 after an unsuccessful PAT. With 1:17 left in the quarter Polk took back possession. After some tough yards gained, the Wildcats were able to score with 7.9 seconds left in the third to widen the lead to 35-19. Polk would be able to put one more in the endzone during the fourth quarter to bring the final tally to 42-19.

       Basin’s biggest struggle on the night appeared to be their ability to stop the outside run. The defensive line did a good job with runs up the middle and the linebackers were able to keep any short passes in the middle knocked down or covered. Polk County did find a couple deep balls productive for the evening but the air attack is not what cost the Cougars the game. As for Basin’s offense, Joe Boggs showed that not only is his arm up for the challenge of hitting deep throws, his shoulder was up for it too as he was able to help move the ball himself on the ground when needed. Boggs, who is the starting quarterback and starting middle linebacker, is not one to be scared of contact. Sebastian Balliles looked good, especially with yards after contact. He was faced with having to prove that too often during the contest, though. The offensive line struggled to get movement up the middle on runs which forced Balliles to “meet and greet” Polk’s middle men too often. The standout on the evening though was Johnathon Johnson who had two trips to the house, one on offense and one on defense, and also contributed to keeping the deep ball by Polk from being too much of a threat on the night.

       Moving forward, Basin will have to be more solid on the edges in their run defense and they will need to have the big boys move forward more on their runs. Once this happens and the Cougars cut down on useless penalties and mental mistakes, they should be able to really hit their stride. Come out and watch your Copper Basin Cougars and they face another local rivalry across the state line this Friday in the Fannin County Rebels.

Copper Basin & McMinn Central show promise in scrimmage

Team FYN Sports

Written by DJ Underwood


The heat was up and the sun was out Friday afternoon at Loudon High School as the summer tried to hold on, but there was no doubt that fall was in the air. The stands were full as a collection of teams from around southeast Tennessee gathered together to take part in one of the best parts of the football season. To those watching, the jamboree consists of multiple teams taking turns squaring off for a quarter of football. From the viewpoint of the players and coaches however it is much more. The jamboree signifies that football season is finally really here.


Copper Basin and McMinn Central took the field for the third quarter of the evening. This was a rematch that both sides have looked forward to since the heated bout that took place last fall down the mountain in Englewood and it showed. Central had the ball first and from the start showed a much different approach to moving the rock down the field than they did the last couple of years. Central’s offense was very dynamic and the play calling was diverse, which is very different from the run heavy stylings seen over the last few years. The new head coach, Matt Moody, brings with him a more aggressive and varied playbook and it seems to pair very well with the athletes at Central.


Though Central came out firing they struggled to hold back the experienced defensive front of Copper Basin. The Cougars were able to keep pressure on Central’s quarterback and running back which made the Chargers stretch plays laterally much more than desired. Basin’s run defense played strong on the day and looks as if it will carry over its ability to dominate the line of scrimmage from last year. Where the Cougars struggled on defense however were the edges. Central was able to find most of its yardage in the flats and on the sidelines with runs that were pushed out to the sideline. This can be attributed in part to having a young secondary and still developing certain positions. This can be expected to be strengthened though as the year continues and these players get some more game time experience.


Copper Basin’s offense looked very sharp from the start. The offensive line did a great job of fitting up on runs and keeping a pocket on passes. The run game looked great as well. The Cougars are returning a strong core unit on the scoring side of the line and have multiple options of who to go to. The receiving corps looked good on the evening. They were able to run crisp routes and get some separation to open up to some down-field darts. The run game looked great as well. With one of the most under-recognized running backs in the area, Basin was able to get some major yards on the ground.


Central’s defense was no push-over though. The Chargers showed that they are not scared to make something happen. The play calls consisted of multiple blitz that were able to put pressure on the quarterback or disrupt a run. The defense played strong and covered deep passes well but did leave some holes open underneath. They will be hard to beat deep and will force teams to go for the small gains.


Key players for McMinn Central this season are going to be Novice Cox, Jarel Arnwine, and Darius Cardin. Cox is very athletic and made solid decisions with the ball. He was forced out of the pocket on multiple occasions and did very well adjusting on the run. He also did not seem to be bothered by this and was able to keep his composure. His arm looked strong and accurate, connecting with Cardin for both of the touchdowns. Arnwine is going to keep defenses worried about the ground game and is quick with good vision of the field. He had a few big carries on the day and really showed that he is capable of covering a lot of ground. Once his line is able to make some lanes he will have some huge runs. While Arnwine is keeping defenses focused about the run, Cardin is going to be lighting up the scoreboard deep. He is a tall, athletic receiver with good hands and an ability to get separation. He will make many teams pay dearly if they do not body him up and force the ball elsewhere.


Copper Basin will be looking for multiple receivers to get some big yardage and to be viable threats with junior Cadan Williams, senior Jonathan Johnson, and freshman Cade Dean being among those top choices. These guys should put up some great yardage this season and really cause defenses headaches. Senior Sebastian Balliles will be the most dangerous threat for the Cougars this season, though. Balliles is an absolute rocket out of the backfield and is by no means scared of contact. His ability to get yards after contact allows him to really cause some damage. Also look for the defensive line to cause issues with offenses all season. Junior Addison Hook and senior Krus Soto are at the ends and put in work flushing out Cox and pushing runs to the sidelines while seniors Kade Foster and Brock Whitaker set up shop in the middle and made the offensive line earn their keep. It should be an exciting season for these four.


McMinn Central came out on top 14-7 at the end of the exhibition but overall both teams looked exceptionally well. Basin has had to adjust to young players or players with little experience filling big roles and Central is revamping their entire system under a new head coach. They have both done well with these changes though and look to be ready for exciting seasons! Make plans to be at Copper Basin High School to watch your Copper Basin Cougars take on county rival Polk County High School to open the season officially this coming friday, August 20th. Basin is up 2-0 since the rivalry has been renewed and the Wildcats will be looking to change that.



Copper Basin: Young But Ready To Go

Team FYN Sports

   Written by DJ Underwood


As the summer months drag on, certain things are guaranteed in the south. Burgers and hotdogs cover grills, lightning bugs dance through the yards and chase away the last slivers of sunlight and kids will squeeze every drop of freedom that summer brings with it before the tardy bell rings school back into session. However, while everyone else is hoping summer never ends, the boys of fall are counting the minutes until it is time to strap that helmet on under the lights again.

Coming off what was as far from a normal season of football as can be remembered, Copper Basin is chomping at the bit to get back to battle. Players and coaches alike cannot wait until it is time to get back between the lines and return life to normal. Though they are excited and anxious, this does not mean that this season will be a walk in the park. Some big shoes have to be filled this year with the exiting of last year’s seniors. They will need some young players to step up and fill vital roles.

Though Copper Basin graduated many key components to their success the last couple of seasons, they are by no means void of play makers. Joe Boggs, an upcoming senior,  will be expected to fill the role of General on offense. Though his style of quarterback play may be different, Boggs is by no means incapable of leading the Cougars to another successful season. Boggs will also return as the leader on the defensive side of the ball by holding down the strong side at linebacker. You can count on seeing Cade Dean put in some work at quarterback as well. Dean is young but has shown tons of growth and potential and he is looking for the chance to prove himself game-ready. Cade will also play an integral role as a receiver. The receiving corps will be ready to run with a plethora of options including Dean, Jonathan Johnson, and Cadan Williams who is poised to have a break-out year. 

Senior Sebastian Baliles will be returning to take some of the workload off of the quarterbacks and receivers. Baliles is one of the top running backs in the area and makes people regret judging him on his stature. Though Sebastian may be a little shorter than some others, he knows how to use his leverage to blow through would-be tacklers. He is also extremely shifty, nimble, and the strongest person on the team by far. He is fun to watch and should be ready to make an even bigger name for himself this season carrying the rock.

In the land of giants, Tucker Shroth, Brock Whitaker, Addison Hook, and Kade Foster will be called upon to contribute heavily. Shroth is currently set to take over the middle of the offensive line at center. Though he may be lacking in game time experience, he is not to be taken lightly. With a huge frame and outstanding work ethic, the Cougars will be well served with him in the middle of the big boys. Whitaker is expected to be the wrecking ball on the defensive side. He has taken a good number of snaps at this position already and is ready to step up and cause problems up front for the opposing teams run game. Hook and Foster are both veteran seniors with countless snaps under their belt. They both played key roles wreaking havoc on the defensive line this past season and Addison will be expected to do that again. Hook will also continue to be a leader on the offensive line where he has already proven himself valuable. Foster, however, will be beginning two new roles helping move the ball down field as he takes over the left tackle position on offense and making his home at middle linebacker on defense.

The Copper Basin Cougars will look slightly different this season but their productivity should continue to grow. They will be young at some spots but will have a large number of upperclassmen along with players that have been in battle after battle to help them come along quickly. Look for Baliles and Cadan Williams to show out this season on offense while Joe Boggs and the defensive line bring the stick with them to thwart offensive movement. You can get a glimpse of what may be to come this season as your Copper Basin Cougars head over to Hayesville, NC on Thursday, June 15th for the FYN 7-on-7 competitions and then at the jamboree on August 13th as they square off with McMinn Central.

Copper Basin Remains Undefeated

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Copper Basin

Heading into Friday nights game on September 11th, the undefeated Copper Basin Cougars (4-0) were fired up to take on the also undefeated Tellico Plains Bears.

The Cougars are off to their best start to a football season in 10 years behind Bryson Grabowski’s stellar quarterback play.

The Tellico Plains Bears had not allowed a single point in their previous two games, beating McMinn Central 13-0 and Sequoyah 8-0 to start their season.

From the opening kickoff, it looked as if the Bears were going to give the Cougars a fit, returning the opening kickoff across the Cougars side of the field and then quickly punching it in for 6.

After shaking off the early blow, Bryson Grabowski threw a dime to Timothy Jabaley to get the Cougars on the board and tie it up at 7 all. Copper Basin was also able to recover an onside kick and immediately get the ball back.

Chance Rollins pancakes a Tellico Plains defensive lineman

Grabowski’s arm was on full display all night Friday, as he found Kaden Williams streaking down the sideline for a 55 yard touchdown.

The Basin defense would get then take the ball away from the Bears at the end of the first quarter, which set up another Bryson Grabowski touchdown pass, this time to AJ Miles. The third Grabowski touchdown pass of the night would put the Cougars in front 21-7 at the start of the second quarter.

It was all Grabowski for most of the game as you can tell, and with the next two Copper Basin drives he would find Dawson Worthy in the end zone for his fourth TD pass, and then find the endzone by himself on a quarterback keeper that put Basin ahead 35-7 heading into halftime.

Tellico Plains would not make any adjustments in the locker room, and in the second half they still had no answer for Grabowski and the Cougars offense, and also could not move the ball themselves against a tough Cougar Defense.

Grabowski was able to notch his fifth touchdown pass of the night in the 3rd quarter, finding Dawson Worthy again and putting the Cougs up 42-7.

Copper Basin would eventually win the game 56-14.

Bryson Grabowski was 9 for 12 with 5 passing touchdowns and 232 yards through the air, while also running the ball 6 times for 121 yards and a score, giving him 6 total touchdowns on the day.

Sebastian Baliles was also a force to be reckoned with on the ground, rushing for 132 yards and one TD.

Dawson Worthy was Grabowski’s favorite target last weekend, grabbing 3 catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Jabaley, Williams and Miles also caught TD passes from Grabowski.

Joe Boggs was the heart of the Basin defense, collecting 6 1/2 tackles, 2 of which were for a loss. Timothy Fair also recorded 4 tackles and an interception in the blowout win.

The Cougars will play 0-3 Whitwell in their second conference game of the year on Friday, September 18th as they look to keep their undefeated season alive.

Copper Basin improves to 2-0 for first time since 2012

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Hurricane Laura prompted many High School Games in Tennessee to be moved up to Thursday night throughout the state. Laura, However, wouldn’t quite have the Force to postpone The Copper Basin Cougars and The Georgia Force from squaring off on Friday Night.

Many of our Team FYN Sports Readers are probably curious as to how a Georgia High School Football team was able to play a game on Friday August 28th when the Georgia High School Athletic Association (GHSA) set in their guidelines for games to start the week of Sept 4th.

The Georgia Force Christian Knights received their name from the former Arena Football Team based in Gwinnett County. The former arena football team donated equipment to the current team in 2004 and allowed them to use the “Georgia Force name. 2004, was the year the Georgia Force Christian Knights started playing football. They are a” Homeschool Football team.”  If a student is Home Schooled, goes to a private school that don’t have a football program they can play Football for the Georgia Force Christian Knights. Kids from Gwinnett, Forsyth, Fulton, Hall and Cherokee County play for the Georgia Force Christian team.  The team is a Christian Organization. They don’t play a sanctioned GHSA Schedule. They play other home school organization’s and High Schools in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia. They played Murphy and Robbinsville last season.

Copper Basin entered the game 1-0 following a rivalry victory over Polk County last Friday. Both teams would play great defense throughout the whole games. The Scoreboard really didn’t see any action until the last play of the 1st half. Bryson Grabowski found Dawson Worth for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the back of the endzone as time expired in the 2nd quarter. Grabowksi, would kick the extra point making it 7-0 Cougars going into the locker room.

Georgia Force Christian kicked an onside kick to start the 2nd half and would recover it. It was a huge momentum shift since the last play of the 1st half resulted in a Copper Basin Touchdown. Kyle Mosley, Quarterback for the Force would throw a 15-yard touchdown pass 4 plays later to make it 7-6. The extra point was no good.

The next drive of the game would be the key drive of the game. Copper Basin would have great runs throughout the game by Running Back Sebastian Baliles. Baliles would have 117 rushing yards on the day. Baliles had 2 First Downs runs on this drive that put Copper Basin into Force territory. A holding penalty would put the Cougars in a tough spot facing a 4th and goal from the 25-yard line. Grabowski would hit Timothy Jabaley up the middle and Jabaley would just stretch the ball across the goal line for a touchdown. Cougars would lead 14- 6 with 6:48 left in the 3rd quarter.

The score would remain 14-6 in favor of the Cougars as we entered the 4th. Georgia Force Christian, Quarterback Kyle Mosley, would engineer a drive capped off by a 4-yard touchdown pass. After the Touchdown an Unsportsmanlike penalty was thrown on the Force. Backing up the 2-point conversion to the 18-yard line. The 2 Pt Try failed and the score was Cougars 14 Force 12 with 8 minutes to go in the 4th.

Copper Basin would get a 2 first downs the next drive before having to punt the ball back to the Force.

With 1:50 to go in the game, Mosley would throw a deep pass over the middle, but Copper Basin Cougar Bryson Grabowski would intercept the pass at the 4 Yard line. Securing a 14-12 Win for the Cougars.

The Cougar Offensive line, led by Chance Rollins, opened holes for Running Back Sebastian Baliles all night that really set up the passing touchdowns by Grabowski. It was truly a team effort for the Cougars as they were able to get the win over last season’s #3 Ranked Home School Team in the County. This is the 1st time since 2012 that Copper Basin has started 2-0.

Copper Basin will travel to Sale Creek Friday September 4th . This will start Region play for the Cougars and the winner of this game will more than likely host a home playoff game.

Friday Night Lights Kickoff- Copper Basin @ Polk County

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Opening week of football in the state of Tennessee. The Copper Basin Cougars ventured up HWY 64, or what the locals call “The River Road” and took a right turn on HWY 411. Shortly after being on 411 the Cougars arrived at Larry G Davis Football Complex at Polk County High School. 


The Cougars, defeated Polk County last season 15-7 in Copperhill. Entering the game on Friday, Copper Basin had not defeated Polk at Polk since 2002, when Former Head Coach Mark Stone led the team to a 15-6 victory. 


Polk County won the toss and elected to receive.  On the 1st play from scrimmage Polk County QB, Kole Green, had reservations for 6 as he ran 61 yards for a Wildcat Touchdown. 


Copper Basin would answer. Quarterback Bryson Grabowski, would run into the end zone for a Touchdown run of 5 yards. Grabowksi, also ran in the 2 point conversion as the Cougars would lead the Wildcats 8-7 with 1:04 left in the 1st quarter. 


At the end of 1st, Basin, would still lead 8-7. Polk County would not be able to get anything going on the 1st drive of the 2nd half. Copper Basin’s Timmy Fair, had a long run which set up Grabowski to Dawson Worthy for a 19 yard Touchdown pass. Grabowski again would run in the 2 PT Conversion. Copper Basin would now lead 16-7 with 8 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. 


Polk County would put together a drive into Cougar territory with 1st down runs by Eddie Lamb and Green. Copper Basin’s Joe Boggs, would make a big stop in the backfield to bring up 4th down for Polk County. The Field Goal was missed but a running into the kicker penalty against Copper Basin would give Polk County new life and a 1st down. Polk would convert another 1st down and which set up 1st and goal for the Wildcats. Timmy Fair had a big stop In the backfield on 3rd and goal for Basin.  Polk County would kick a 31 yard field goal to cut the score to 16-10 with 2:23 left in the 2nd. 


16-10 would be your halftime score in favor of the Cougars. 


Copper Basin started to taste victory on their 1 drive of the 3rd quarter. Grabowski, this time from 3 yards out would find paydirt making it 22-10 with 8:02 left in the 3rd. 


Polk County was unable to get anything going on the next possession. Cade Foster would recover a fumble for the cougars. The very next drive Polk County would force a fumble of their own and recover it. 


Rain started to pickup as we entered the 4th quarter. Grabowski would run for a 21 yard touchdown on the 1st play of the 4th quarter. Making it 29-10 after the extra point. 


Polk County would not go away quietly as they would find the end zone from 5 yards out. 2 point conversion was good making it 29-18. 


Copper Basin would recover the onside kick and would run out the clock. Final score Copper Basin 29 Polk County 18 


Copper Basin is now 1-0 and will host Georgia Force Christian in their home opener. Kickoff will be  Friday Night August 28th 7:30pm at Copper Basin High School

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