Page has high hopes for a banner year after falling to Powell High School in Knoxville in the 5A football state championship last season.
Since scoring their first state championship appearance in school history in 2021, the Page Patriots still believe they have some unfinished business as they are hungry to claim their first title in program history this fall.
“I keep telling our guys, if you keep talking about last year then your future is going to be a bad one,” said Page head coach Charles Rathbone. “Our goal is to go back to the state championship, and this time win it. Is that going to be difficult? Yes, it is very hard, but I am confident in our guys and staff.”
The Patriots lost key pieces in UTEP quarterback Jake McNamara, defensive lineman Owen Sacks who recovered two fumbles last year, and running back Michael Meyer. Meyer led the team in receiving yards averaging 68.5 yards per game.
Page will return senior quarterback and linebacker Colin Hurd. Hurd is likely to be in the conversation to replace McNamara, but Coach Rathbone did not want to count out junior Jonathan Palmer and sophomore William Wiebush.
“Being a backup and getting to learn what the starting quarterback is helped me out for this year,” said Hurd. “I feel like (actually) playing defense helped me read the defense well and have a better understanding for the game.”
“I think we got everything we need in Colin Hurd, but, with that being said, we need to be really good on defense,” said Rathbone. “We’ve got a junior in Jonathan Palmer and William Wiebush, a sophomore, that both have a skill set that can help us. We hope they come along and push Colin. Any time you get competition to push players it makes your players better. We do not want them just sitting on their hands thinking they have a job wrapped up.”
The Patriots will also return senior wide receiver Max Collins. Collins was second in receiving yards last year with 65 yards per game. They will bring back a not--so-secret weapon in senior wide receiver Boyce Smith who led the team with eight total touchdowns last season.
Page will open up the season like they do every year, renewing the Battle of 840 rivalry with Fairview.
“Fairview is a well-coached team,” said Rathbone. “They play a style of football that we do not match up well with, running three yards with a cloud of dust, when we want possessions to play up tempo. It is a good matchup for both schools.”
“They are a hard team to start off with, and they do give us a dog fight,” said Page senior Max Collins.
“If we lose this game it is not going to be good, but it helps us know how the game is going to be (played),” said Hurd. “If we win, we can carry that momentum through the rest of the season.”