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Countdown to Kickoff: Austin East

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- The Austin-East Road Runners will learn a lot about themselves in a short amount of time.

That's because they start the season with one of the toughest stretches of any team in the state.

A-E opens the season with games against West, Powell, Fulton and Alcoa. Throw in Brainerd, Gatlinburg-Pittman and Gibbs, and Robert Gilliard's team doesn't get many breathers.

The Road Runners return seven starters on offense and nine starters to a defense that held opponents to about 15 points per game in 2010.

Linebackers Jerrod Henderson and Mark Nolan are going to play a key role if the Roadrunners want to make another run to get into the playoffs.

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