For the past few years, certain first-year developmental football teams from Tennessee have fared very well right out of the gate. In 2018, the Clarksville Airborne will look to continue that trend in their inaugural season, as members of the Tennessee Football Alliance.
Emerging in a competitive league like the TFA won’t be easy. In fact, right now the Airborne is focused first on becoming the best team in their city.
“Honestly, we’re going for the Clarksville teams,” co-owner Tara Scales told Developmental Football USA. “They are our locals, our rivals, and we know a lot of players on both teams. If we can beat the Wolfpack and the Rattlers, we’ll be happy.”
First-year developmental teams can be as unpredictable as the weather: some are dominant, some are competitive, some are happy with showing up, and some fold before ever playing a game. Knowing the trends, the Airborne is staying level-headed about the expectations for Year 1.
“Basically we just want to get established,” Scales said. “We want to at least break even. If we win half, lose half, we’ll be ok. That’s basically our goal. We don’t want drama on our team. We want to stay humble, organized and professional.”
The Airborne, which will wear purple, gray and black, has approximately 40 players on board so far. Offensively, the Scales will look for a familiar face to help kick-start the Airborne in the passing game in wide receiver Jerry Carnell Jr.
“He’s very humble, he’s played for a lot of years,” Scales said. “We started with him in middle school. He’s made it through high school, now he’s back with us. He’s very dedicated.”
Carnell is joined offensively by fellow wide out Daren Ross Jr. and running back Mariae Turner. Those three and the rest of the Airborne will look to ignite the offense behind quarterback Justin Vela.
“He’s actually from California,” Scales said. “He’s played college ball and he’s up here stationed with the military and now he’s playing with us.”
Defensively, Clarksville will look to a group of young playmakers, led by defensive linemen Jamal Howard and Jordan McGee, middle linebacker Chris Ruth and cornerback Anthony Dyson.
“I’m looking for dedication, determination and the will to win and just to come out of every game 1-0,” owner Willie Scales said.
A brand new team in a brand new league, the Scales have felt embraced so far as they embark on this new journey with the Airborne.
“We’re definitely pleased with the TFA so far,” Scales said. “We actually heard about it from the Rattlers. He introduced it to us and we’re very pleased with everything so far. Sponsors, all the amenities offered, we’re excited about the film. They have a lot of good things going.”