0-4 Rutledge will try to get pick up its first win of 2005 when they visit Benton Householder Field for a Region
1-3A battle with Seymour

The usually strong Rutledge Pioneers are stuck in the muck and the mire of a dreadful start to the 2005 football season.
A perennial playoff team in Region 3A, the Pioneers have embarked on the beginning of a youth movement this season, and longtime coach Mark Hammer is hoping his 0-4 squad can grow up in a hurry, starting Friday night at region foe Seymour.
The Pioneers have been outscored by an average of 24-10 in losses to Cherokee, Cumberland Gap, Pigeon Forge and South Greene. Hammer is hoping his team can pick themselves up and play the physical brand of football that the Pioneer program is known for in Friday night’s matchup with the 3-1 Eagles.
“We better or it will be a long night,” Hammer stated Thursday in a telephone interview. “We need to cut down on the mental mistakes and be more physical. We have to get back to that and we’re working hard at it.”
As far as this season goes, the Rutledge coach knows that the future is now. Five of the Pioneers final six games are against region foes. As unthinkable as it might seem to longtime 3A football observers, the proud Pioneer program could conciviably be staring down at a winless season. They will play at David Crockett on next week, host first-year region foe Gibbs on September 30th, visit Claiborne County after an open date, and close out the regular season with home games against Union County and Carter. None of those games will be cake gimmies, and the region opponents won’t have any sympathy for a Rutledge team that has consistently beaten them in years past.
“It’s been tough,” said Hammer. “We’re young and inexperienced, and just haven’t been playing very good at all. We haven’t made the kind of improvement that I was hoping for.”
Hammer said longtime rival Seymour will be a huge challenge for his young team. In past years his Pioneers could neutralize the swift and versatile Seymour style with a grind it out, hit you in the mouth style that the Rutledge program has came embody. It could be a different story Friday night.
“We’ve exchanged film and they look pretty much like a typical Seymour team,” Hammer explained. “They’ve got a lot of really good athletes on both sides of the ball. There quarterback (Duncan Smith) looks really good, that Parrott kid (tailback Chase Parrott) is dangerous, and their receivers look to be difference makers like Seymour receivers usually are. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
The game will kickoff and Benton Householder Field tonight at 7:30.

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