Lenoir City football on the rise

LENOIR CITY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It can't be a surprise to see schools like Maryville, Alcoa, Oak Ridge, and CAK in the state prep football rankings.

Lenoir City, on the other hand, might be.

"Around the school and around the community, it's the talk. Everybody is talking about Lenoir City football," senior Lucas Hamilton said Tuesday at football practice.

And more than just Lenoir City has noticed the Panthers this year. The entire state has. The Panthers have climbed to number two in the Class 5A state football poll.

The team is currently 3-0, making this season one of the Panthers' better starts in school history. All three wins have been by double digits.

"The school is starting to realize that we are a good team this year. Everybody is just kind of surprised that we started off 3-0," quarterback Jordan Hall said.

It's been a steady work in progress, but head coach Mike Zeller is seeing the results he expected to see when he was named Lenoir City's head coach in 2008.

"We've been building this program for five years now," Zeller said.

"We've got some kids that have been here for four years thru the system. A lot of them played when they were young, so they're veterans now. We've got a veteran team and they just believe in what we're doing."

Lenoir City will try to improve to 4-0 Friday night when the Panthers host Bearden. The Bulldogs are ranked number eight in Class

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