Austin-East Roadrunners expecting experience to pay dividends in 2021

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Austin-East Roadrunners are looking to turn a corner this season, searching for their first win under coach Antonio Mays.

Mays took over for Jeff Phillips after spending five seasons with the Roadrunners as their defensive coordinator.

“We want the kids to just show up and work,” said Mays. “Show up, commit to working, and build one day after another.”

The Roadrunners were young and inexperienced last season and Mays hopes the experience they gained under Friday night lights will help produce better results this year.

“We played a lot of young guys last year a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” said Mays. “We’re going to be a fairly young team, with a little game experience, so hopefully that will be one of our strengths”

The Roadrunners defensive line coach duels as the program’s strength and conditioning coach, who has invested in the weight room this preseason.

“Hopefully that will help as well,” said Mays.

Injuries plagued Austin-East’s quarterback room last season, including losing their starting quarterback in the second quarter of Week One against Knoxville Webb. This year, LeShaud Holloway is back in the saddle.

On the other side of the ball, the Roadrunners are hoping speed will be their strength, working to fly around to the ball and make it tough on opposing offenses.

“I’m a Hurricane and a Cowboy fan, so I love Jimmie Johnson,” said Mays. “One thing he said you can’t substitute is speed, so I want guys that can run. I don’t care if you play nose tackle to cornerback, I want guys to run…so hopefully, our teams’ speed will be one of our strengths.”

Austin-East opens the season against Fulton on Friday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m.

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