Pigskin Preview: Gatlinburg-Pittman


Gatlinburg, TENN. (WATE) – Fresh off a nine-win season and entering his fourth season at the helm of Gatlinburg-Pittman Derek Rang is encouraging his team to have a “Zoom Mentality” ahead of the 2020 season.

“We wanted to maximize our opportunity,” Derek Rang said. “We went 9-3 and got to the second round fo the playoffs. We feel like with this group right here that they want to do a little bit better than that.”

GP returns six to seven starters on both sides of the ball but is noticeably young at quarterback following the graduation of three-year starter J.D. Shults. The Highlanders have a pair of freshman quarterbacks, Christian Hoffman and Brady Hammonds, battling for the starting job in 2020.

“They both have good strengths to them,” Rang said of his quarterbacks. “They’re both mature kids so I think that’ll work itself out.”

Much of the offseason, and early start of the 2020 season, will be spent getting the young signal-callers comfortable running the Highlanders offense. A learning curve that will likely force the offense to look toward running back Pierce Hammonds to help ease the quarterbacks into their role.

“One strength of our team, we think, will be the upfront and the running back,” Rang explained. “So we feel like we can start out and run the ball a little bit and let them just kind of battle it out. And let us see who the best option is.”

The Highlanders open their season on the road Friday, August 21st facing Hampton.

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