The final week of spring football practice was a busy one for Greenback, wrapping with the orange and black instrasquad scrimmage.
The team traveled Wednesday to Pigeon Forge where they were able to successfully unleash their up-tempo offense on an opponent for the first time.
"We went to Pigeon Forge on Wednesday and ran 86 plays," head coach Jason Hicks said. "That's a lot of plays for us. In a game last year I'm not sure we ran more than about 50."
Greenback outscored Pigeon Forge 26-16 in the game and Hicks felt the tempo played a role.
"We went out and went fast," he said. "I think that they got a little bit tired after the third or fourth series, just by their body language."
The Cherokees did turn the ball over a couple of times in the red zone, but the coach felt like it was something they could correct as time goes on.
During Friday's orange and black game, the scoring system was a little bit different, reflecting something more similar to a college spring game.
Teams were awarded points for first downs, touchdowns, plays of 20 or more yards, forcing turnovers, three and outs, defensive touchdowns and for the defense making a stop following a turnover.
One team wore white and the other black. It was the white team coming out on top 62-29.
Hunter Cope was a big part of the white team's success. The rising senior scored on two interception returns for a touchdown, one for 53 yards and one for 65. Each score was worth 10 points in the game's scoring system.
Cope also scored on a 70-yard pass from Samuel McCloud, who was the primary quarterback for the white team.
Jaden Harris also came away with an interception for the white team, picking off a pass in the end zone to end a second-half drive by the black team.
The black team was able to force a few turnovers of their own. Zac Martin and Brock Moore each intercepted a pass, and Dillan Jones was able to recover a fumble by Tanner LaForce to end a drive by the white team.
Jordan Anderson led all ball carriers with 112 rushing yards, including a 53-yard touchdown run that saw the rising junior weave in and out of black team defenders.
"It's hard to grade an orange and black game," Hicks said. "We'll go back to film and look at it. We played a lot of kids tonight. A few were playing out of positions. We had some kids at tackle that usually play guard.
"The effort was good. I think the 15-minute run of the quarters was probably a little bit too long," he said. "I thought if we put 15 up there and we ran it, it would be all right. I think we got a little bit tired at the end. We only have 42, 43 kids, so it's kind of hard to break them up."
At times, players struggled with the up-tempo offense, having to call time out twice, lining up incorrectly on a few plays and drawing one illegal motion penalty. Hicks said it's all about adjusting to the new style.
"You can run any offense you want, but if the kids buy into it, you're going to be successful," he said. "We've got good kids. We've got some pretty good athletes. The kids are having fun running it and I think that's the most important thing right now."
The product Hicks put on the field Friday night is not what the first year coach expects to see in August.
"I'm looking for us to snap the ball every 12 to 15 seconds. That's what I was telling the referees; they were asking me about it," he said. "We didn't do that tonight. I didn't expect us to do that tonight."
Greenback's coaching staff was happy to get in the number of reps they did this week. Hicks said the more reps his team can get in the system, the more it will help.
In the offseason, the coaches will be limited in what they can do with the players, but Hicks has a plan to keep them in an up-tempo mindset.
"We do stuff in the weight room too, to try to simulate the tempo we run out here," he said. "We started that in the offseason before the spring and that's definitely helped us."
Greenback will open the 2013 football season Aug. 23 at home against Sweetwater.