Sequoyah's Josh Stakely has All-State caliber potential in him. Just ask him or his coach, Bobby White.
"I just took into consideration that high school's almost over," Stakely said. "You've got to start working hard. I'm just trying to have a breakout season."
So far, so good. Stakely has totaled 807 all-purpose yards in his first three games; most recently, he combined for 383 yards and two touchdowns in Sequoyah's loss to Chattanooga Central.
"If he keeps doing what he's doing on a consistent basis, week in and week out, he's an All-State caliber player," Coach White, who's in his third year as head coach, said. "That's what we expect out of him and that's what he expects out of himself."
Stakely doesn't talk very much. White describes him as a silent leader, one whose example sets the tone for the rest of the Chiefs.
"He loves to compete, very competitive," White said. "He does not like to lose. It doesn't matter if it's a game, rep, or any situation, he's always wanting to compete."
Last year, Stakely suffered a concussion that made him sit out two weeks of the season. His freshman year, he separated his collarbone from his shoulder during a game that caused him to miss a month.
He remembers scoring his first touchdown against Tellico Plains his sophomore year. It was a zone right call for a short yardage touchdown. Stakely knew he was back.
"It hyped me up," Stakely said.
Stakely's older brother, Alex, was on the most recent Sequoyah team to make the playoffs, in 2013. Josh and Alex still talk after games and break down his performance. His cousin, Tua Tagovailoa, is a backup quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide. So the bloodline this there for a football future at the next level; Stakely aspires to play college ball.
First, the junior running back wants to take the Chiefs to the playoffs, as his brother did.
"It'd be awesome," Stakely said. "Hopefully we'll do it this year."
Stakely described his team as a very loose bunch of guys, who also share the same competitive edge.
"We're just a very chill team that comes out and plays hard," Stakely said. "People underestimate us, and we just play."
Sequoyah will look to improve to 3-1 on the season Friday when they host the Loudon Redskins.
"You get a lot of support here," Stakely said. "It's definitely energetic. We got a big student section, and they just come out and support us every Friday."