Rivercsports.com Tuesday Mailbag: Which Non-Playoff Team Is Most Likely To Make The Playoffs In 2016?

November 10, 2015

Which non-playoff team is most likely to make the playoffs in 2016?

 

Walker Valley

 

RCS Assistant Sports Editor: Patrick MacCoon

 

Glen Ryan has come into perhaps one of the best situations any head coach could imagine.

 

In 2016, the Mustangs will return every starter on offense except for their starting center, which will be lethal considering how well the youthful offense played this season in averaging just under 40 points per contest.

 

As only a sophomore Kolten Gibson put forth a strong showing at quarterback and finished with 26 total touchdowns while throwing for 2,112 yards (64.3 completion rate) and rushing for 496 yards (5.1 yard per carry).

 

All four wide receivers that Gibson targeted the most will be upcoming seniors. Cooper Melton led the group with eight scores, while Bryce Nunnelly led the team with 607 yards receiving and caught six touchdowns. Zach Eslinger (356 receiving yards) and Tucker Mendenhall (159 receiving yards) are reliable threats as well.

 

However, what could push this team over the top is versatile running back Alex King, who will also be a senior. King totaled 1,297 yards and 20 touchdowns. (17 rushing, two receiving, one special teams return).

 

The Mustangs future is extremely bright, but they will have to put all the pieces together and win close games next year to fully gain the respect of all in 5A football.

 

Which non-playoff team is most likely to make the playoffs in 2016?

 

Walker Valley

 

RCS Assistant Sports Editor: Eric Sisson

 

For me, this is an easy one. Walker Valley, on paper, is the easiest pick as someone to finish in the top four of their region next season. Yes, the Mustangs are in a tough one with Ooltewah and Rhea County usually running things, but I would not be surprised to see Walker Valley have a season next year like Soddy Daisy did this year or even better.

 

The Mustangs roster in 2015 was absolutely loaded with sophomores and juniors. Heading into 2016, Walker Valley will have had lost only one starter on the offensive side of the football, and return all of their key skill players.

 

Quarterback Kolten Gibson will be back as just a junior and all of his go-to weapons will return as well in Cooper Melton, Bryce Nunelly, and Alex King.

 

Despite going 4-6 this season, the Mustangs offense averaged 35.7 points per game. Walker Valley continued to progress as the season came to a close as they showed us a glimpse of what next year might bring with a one-point 45-44 double overtime loss to region champion Ooltewah the final week of the season.

 

Head coach Glen Ryan has been molding these guys the last two to three years, but as juniors and seniors in 2016, the Mustangs could be a real threat in Region 4-5A.

 

Which non-playoff team is most likely to make the playoffs in 2016?

 

Walker Valley

 

RCS Insider: Shaun Webster

 

Although they will undoubtedly be disappointed to finish the season under the .500 mark (4-6, 2-4), Walker Valley has good reason to be upbeat about the future. The Mustangs lost close shoot-outs against Soddy Daisy (41-34), Bradley Central (34-27) and, in one of the games of the season, Ooltewah Owls (45-44) – all of which are play-off caliber teams. If head coach Glen Ryan can help his team learn from these losses, it will not be long until one or two of these contests fall in their favor.

 

The Mustangs may also seek solace in the fact that some of their most explosive players on the roster will return as seniors. Running back Alex King (969 yards, 17 TDs), wide-out Cooper Melton (46 receptions, 553 yards, 8 TDs) and Bryce Nunnelly (34 receptions, 607 yards, 6 TDs) will all be eager to put up even bigger numbers in their final year.

 

The team’s playoff credentials, then, is not a question of talent or passion, but consistency – something Walker Valley will need to improve as they put together consecutive wins just once this season.

 

Which non-playoff team is most likely to make the playoffs in 2016?

 

Walker Valley

 

RCS Insider: Anthony Sigismond

 

For the Mustangs, it is a season where they just fell short of being a playoff team. While they had their share of inconsistencies and bad games, Walker Valley showed a lot of promise throughout the season.

 

Sophomore quarterback Kolten Gibson proved he is the real deal and will only improve when he returns next season. The gunslinger will also have his entire supporting cast return next season, which includes running back Alex King and receivers Cooper Melton, Bryce Nunnelly and Tucker Mendenhall.

 

With another season of experience under their belts this team could not only be in the playoffs next season, but could possibly be one of the best teams in the state.

 

Which non-playoff team is most likely to make the playoffs in 2016?

 

Meigs County

 

RCS Insider: John Mitchell

 

With key guys like Clint Oliver and Zy Moore returning for their senior seasons, Meigs County has a good chance of rebounding and making the playoffs in 2016.

 

With a 2-5 record within Region 3 2-A, the Tigers suffered an overtime defeat to Tyner and a close loss to  Bledsoe County to end the regular season.

 

A few adjustments in the offseason can take this Meigs team from the outside-looking-in to finishing in the top-half of a difficult region.

 

Which non-playoff team is most likely to make the playoffs in 2016?

 

Grundy County

 

RCS Valley Insider: Chandler Morrison

 

Casey Tate has his squad believing, or at least he did midway through the season when the Yellow Jackets had a legitimate shot at making the playoffs leading Region 4-3A No. 2 seed Dekalb County in the 4th quarter.

 

Do not count out the Jackets.

 

If Tate can regroup the troops in 2016 and pull some players from the halls, and maybe have an address change or two go his way, he could be staring down the barrel of that fourth spot in the region. If everything comes together and the offense gets rolling a little more, Tate could have Grundy County back on track.

 

Which non-playoff team is most likely to make the playoffs in 2016?

 

Hixson

 

RCS Insider: Rob Kosky

 

Hixson will make the playoffs next year. 

 

Here is the argument for the best 2-8 team in the state in 2015.  

 

This team was 9-3 last year and endured close losses all year including a seven point loss to East Hamilton and twelve point loss to East Ridge. Their district is certainly winnable next year and the team returns enough to be competitive once again. The team loses two of its top running backs in Tarik Twitty and Justin Nicholson, but returns who I believe to be the best of the three in Myles Ratliff. Keep your eyes on this running back for next year, his running style is fun to watch.

 

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