KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Bearden Football is a staple in the west Knoxville community, and anyone who has had the chance to catch one of the Bulldogs games recently knows that quarterback Collin Ironside is just as much of a staple in the Bearden Football program. The senior quarterback will be called on early and often during the 2019 campaign, and Ironside’s offensive coordinator thinks that he and senior wide receiver Hayden Candela will be major factors this season if the Bulldogs want to reach their potential.
“Everybody knows about Collin. Everybody knows about Hayden,” offensive coordinator Brian Milan said. “Now is the time for them to go out and make a bunch of big plays this year against the teams we’re going to face. So, if we want to go where we want to go, it’s because those two are leading us.”
Last year the team put an emphasis on getting stronger in the weight room. As the Bulldogs went through their offseason training this year, the emphasis was just the same. Senior quarterback Collin Ironside told WBIR “We put a lot of emphasis on the weight room again this year and we’ve got a really strong team.”
Last season Bearden had a strong season, tallying eight wins. Unfortunately for Bulldog fans, the 2018 season was ended in the first round at the hands of the Maryville Rebels. Although some teams might shy away from playing a perennial powerhouse like Maryville, Bearden knows that in order to compete at the highest level they have to play those kinds of teams.
“A lot of schools try to dodge them as much as possible. We went out in the offseason and got them on the schedule. We know that if you want to win a state championship it goes through them, so we’re always trying to face the best competition,” said Milan.
As Bearden gets set for the start of another football season, offensively fans should expect to see a familiar look. Collin Ironside will enter his fourth season as a starter, which is a feat rarely attained from any player, much less from a quarterback at the high school level. Offensive coordinator Brain Milan hinted that this year, Ironside may be even more of a dual threat than he has been in past seasons.
The Bearden Bulldogs will take the field for their first game on Saturday, August 24 as they travel to West High School to kick off the 2019 season.