KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — South-Doyle was one win away from a spot in the 5A state championship game last season.

Expectations are sky high for coach Clark Duncan and his guys in 2021. The Cherokees return 15 starters from last years semifinal squad and drop down to 4A this year. Anything less than a second straight semifinal appearance would be a disappointment.

South-Doyle returns eight starters on offense, including three-year starter Nick Martin at quarterback.

“He’s a leader, great character, a student of the game, wants to do well, works hard at what he’s doing, he tries to develop his craft all the time and he has a strong arm,” Duncan said. “He’s got a lot of weapons to throw to, but he can get the ball out and get it to them, and he just manages the game. He understands our system and that’s a game changer for us.”

South-Doyle opens the season on Thursday, Aug. 19, in a state semifinals rematch at Oak Ridge. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.