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Scott Blade returning to Midstate as Independence coach

12:00 AM, Jan. 17, 2013 EST

Hillsboro Coach Scott Blade and his players including Marvin Hughes (53) celebrate a 10-7 victory over Maryville during the TSSAA Class 4A Championship at MTSU in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008. Hillsboro won 10-7. (JAE S. LEE / THE TENNESSEAN) / JAE S. LEE / THE TENNESSEAN

Scott Blade, who led Hillsboro to a Class 4A football championship in 2008, is leaving Oak Ridge to become Independence's coach.

Blade replaces former Titan Kevin Dyson, who resigned last month to become assistant principal and athletics director at Stewarts Creek, which opens in August in Rutherford County.

Blade left Hillsboro following the 2008 season and went to Oak Ridge, where he was 35-15.

"These moves are always hard, on everybody involved," said Blade, 39. "This one is especially difficult, since we're leaving behind a program that we had returned to relevancy. But my parents are (in Williamson County), my brother and his family are there. I've got kids starting high school next year, and we sure didn't want to be moving once they get started. If we were going to do it, this was probably the best time to do it.

"It just so happened that Independence was open. I talked to (Independence principal) Todd Campbell and I felt a good connection there. I'm very excited."

In three years at Hillsboro after replacing current Riverdale Coach Ron Aydelott, Blade went 37-5, including a 13-2 mark and a 10-7 title win over Maryville in his last season.

"We are thrilled to have Coach Blade join the Independence family as our head football coach," Campbell said in a release. "I think his overall record of 72-20, as well as a state championship and other outstanding awards in a seven-year span as a head coach, speaks volumes about him and his formula for success."

Independence, which opened in 2004, advanced to the Class 5A final in 2007. The Eagles went 8-3 and won District 11-AAA in 2011 then went 6-5 last fall.

The team will feature a pair of highly touted seniors this season in Tennessee commitment Vic Wharton III and former Brentwood Academy standout Rashaan Gaulden.

"They've got a couple of exciting athletes," said Blade, who coached at the high school and junior college level in California prior to taking over at Hillsboro. "We're looking to take whatever's there and make it jump, and fast. We know the turf, the landscape, and we're excited about the opportunity."



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