Macie Culbertson gets ready to go to Belmont



H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone junior basketball player Macie Culbertson has a rare ability to spot opportunities in advance on the court, and she quickly seized a chance to score a career goal, too.

Culbertson committed last week to play at Belmont University in Nashville. Belmont has an impressive young coach and is coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance. So with a number of other schools also interested, including Middle Tennessee, there was no need, Culbertson suggested, to overthink it.

“Belmont was my top school from the very first time I visited there,” said Culbertson, whose father Chad played football at Sullivan North. “It’s a great university and the coaching staff and players are vDSC_1022 Girls Varsityery cool and fun people to be around. I know freshman Maddie Wright from AAU and school ball some. I got to spend some time with her and the players outside of basketball, and they were just girls that I wanted to be around and play with.”

Belmont had the best season in program history last year in coach Cameron Newbauer’s third season. The Bruins went 24-9, beat Wake Forest and offered much resistance against fourth-seeded Michigan State in an NCAA Tournament loss.

“And the coach at Belmont was just elated that she’d committed,” Boone coach Travis Mains said. “He didn’t think he could get Macie. … They’re on the uptick. They’re getting highly rated players that would rather go there and play and live in Nashville and play in that environment. They’ve got a girl there that played at Stanford. They’ve got a girl there that played at Vanderbilt.

“He’s a difference maker. That guy will be your next big-time coach somewhere. I just hope he doesn’t leave before she leaves. …. Out of all the coaches I met, there’s a bunch of really impressive coaches, but that guy’s just got an ‘it’ factor.”

Culbertson, a 5-foot-11 guard who missed her freshman season due to an ACL tear, is averaging approximately 11.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game for the Big 7 Conference-leading Lady Trailblazers. Those averages have come in a relatively low amount of minutes, as the Lady Trailblazers have won plenty of games by comfortable margins. Unselfishness also stunts Culbertson’s stats.

“She plays reserved,” Mains said. “She still wants to please her teammates a lot of times, I think, instead of just taking over. That’s her next step in development – just taking over games. And we’ve seen that here down the stretch.

“She took over against Sullivan Central, scored the last 10 points of the game. She kind of took over at Science Hill late, rebounding the ball and handling ball. Her rebounding’s went up from, like, five a game to 10 a game here recently. If we need a rebound she goes and gets it.”

A higher level of play, such as AAU, has generally elevated Culbertson’s play.

“She’s just scratching the surface,” Mains said. “She sees the game two or three passes ahead. We’ve got really good players, but sometimes they don’t actually see what she sees. She’ll get a couple of turnovers a game where, if they would make the right cut or see what she saw, they’d be points instead of turnovers. She loves to pass. She’s a pass-first shooting guard.

“She’s very advanced. You don’t see many kids like that – and to have the selflessness to make those passes. She’d rather throw a half-court bounce pass than to shoot a game-winning 3-point shot, I’m afraid. She’s fun to watch.”

Mains anticipates the killer instinct surfacing down the stretch, particularly in the postseason. Certainly, Culbertson has a good role model as a closer.

“My favorite player when I was a kid was definitely Kobe (Bryant),” Culbertson said. “I liked how easy he made everything look and how he saw the floor and

found his players when they were open. Growing up, I really looked up to Angie Bjorklund, who played for the Lady Vols a while back ago, and just the whole Lady Vol basketball program.”

Culbertson could still conceivably be courted by a number of other college programs, though commitments are generally respected much more than they are in college football or men’s basketball.

“MTSU was really, really involved,” Mains said. “They told her during one of her visits she was the No. 1 freshman on the board at the one, two and three positions, and that had never happened before. They had her at three different positions and that was the No. 1 want out of the summer evaluation.

“She loved Belmont that much. Her mom told me she wanted to commit as she was coming back from the first visit, that she just fell in love with it. They’ve got a nice living situation. It’s almost like a $250,000 scholarship after four years. They do overseas trips. It’s pretty legit. They’ve got a nice facility to play at. It’s a good situation. …

“They got four kids that were Top 100 kids coming out of high school. This guy’s picking up studs. I’m excited for her.”

Player of the week

Heglar Rigsby POW 2-13

Congratulations to our co-players of the week, Daniel Boone High School basketball players Chad Heglar and Eric Rigsby. The two were leading scorers for the Boone Blazers and combined their efforts to defeat David Crockett’s squad.

Boone senior commits to Austin Peay

bowman 3

Left to right standing, Roy and Mitzi Bowman, grandparents; Lainie Bowman, sister; Donna and Mike Carter, grandparents. Sitting, parents Brad Bowman and Misty Bowman with son Christian Bowman at center. (Photo courtesy of Brad Bowman)


Staff Writer

Austin Peay State University will gain Daniel Boone offensive lineman Christian Bowman starting in the fall of 2017. Bowman signed to continue his football career with the Governors on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Boone.

The high school senior has been the impact offensive player of the year, all-conference for two years and the impact lineman of the year for two years. But when the Boone Blazer visited one of the schools that gave him a college football scholarship offer, the feeling he got from Austin Peay convinced him. 

“I feel I really connected with them (the coaching staff),” Bowman said. “They’re really young, upbeat. I went last Friday for my official visit and I just fell in love with it so I decided to commit and sign the papers.”

Bowman said his family wanted him to find a family-like atmosphere. The high school senior’s father Brad Bowman also said Clarksville will be a fitting home away from home for his son after the family spent time at Fort Campbell while Bowman’s father was stationed there.

When asked about his son’s accomplishments, Bowman’s father connected the future Austin Peay Governor’s success to his family ties, specifically to his mother.

“His biggest accolade and stat is his heart,” Bowman’s father said. “He is one of the most compassionate, caring young men I have met—thanks to his mom.

“She is where his success comes from. I spent most of his early life in the Army and in Iraq so he gained his strength and learned what is important in life through her.” 

But Bowman says his father was also an inspiration. His father was  a football scout as well as a former college football player and he motivated Bowman to play the game and continue to the next level.

“Dad played at the next level. It’s just always been a dream,” Bowman said. “It’s just always made me work because I’ve just always wanted to do it. And I think God played a major role in that too. I feel like I’ve been led to play at the next level and keep on going.”

Crockett student signs with UVA Wise


Daniele Martin and Isaac Martin pose with son, Ievan, center, at the signing.


Staff Writer

David Crockett High School senior Ievan Martin signed Thursday to play football for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Martin is an offensive guard and offensive tackle as part of the Pioneer football team.

For Crockett’s assistant football coach Stephen Jackson, it wasn’t just Martin’s size and strength that stuck out in the coach’s mind—it was his reaction to pressure.

“This is one of the first guys I met when I got here. I thought, ‘My lord, I hope everybody’s that big at Crockett’,” Jackson said. “But this guy right here, I challenged him one of the first days I got here. And he stood up to the challenge. I would put Ievan Martin in front of anybody right now.”

Though Martin said the money he will receive for his athletic scholarship is part of what motivated him to sign with UVA Wise, he also said a similarity to Crockett’s squad convinced him to join the Cavaliers. 

“They have a nice campus,” Martin said. “And their football team is really close, like we are here.”

Martin has hung up his cleats for the Pioneers, but for Martin and Coach Jackson, the excitement of the high school senior becoming a Cavalier and forever being a Pioneer is an accomplishment that continues.

“This kid is going to do great things with his life,” Jackson said. “And we just look forward to having him come out there and represent Crockett for the rest of his future.”

Five athletes sign at Boone


Front row, left to right: Lexi McDowell, Makayla Ledford and Makenzy Bennett. Back row, left to right: Zac Branham and Caleb Sells.

See our photo gallery from the signing here


Staff Writer

The little theater in Daniel Boone High School erupted with applause on Friday as each athlete walked toward the stage—and a few steps closer to their future.

The five athletes who have officially committed to continue their athletic career at the collegiate level were Zac Branham and Caleb Sells with Tusculum College for cross country and track, Makenzy Bennett with King University for basketball, Lexi McDowell with Walters State Community College for softball and Makayla Ledford with University of Virginia’s College at Wise for volleyball.

Though these Boone athletes will be venturing off to their new college home by the fall of 2017, two of the signees will get to be teammates for bit longer; Branham and Sells will both run for the Tusculum Pioneers after spending most of their childhood together.

“We’ve known each other since first grade,” Sells said. “He moved here from Maryland so we’ve known each other since we were little. So being able to go to the next level with him is going to be really cool.”

Both Branham and Sells were named all-conference and all-region twice and were part of the Big 7 Conference and Region 1 champions. They were also members of the Boone teams that placed third and sixth at the state meet and Branham was a member of the 2014 state champion team. He placed fourteenth at Nike National Championship.

Branham believes he owes a large part of his success to the Daniel Boone program.

“I always wanted to (play at the collegiate level),” Branham said. “It started to become a reality once I switched to Boone because their training here is so intense. It really prepares you for college.”

Next up was Bennett who signed to join the King University basketball team. Bennett has tallied 435 points, 153 assists, 89 rebounds and 130 steals so far in her Daniel Boone career and is a member of the Lady Trailblazer basketball team that is currently 9-0 in the Big 7 Conference. However, head coach Travis Mains said her skill set and understanding of the game is what sets Bennett apart.

“I have put in a countless amount of hours,” Bennett said. “I’ve worked every single day on trying to be a better player and a better person. And I’ve worked with many coaches who have pushed me. My teammates have pushed me and they’ve been with me through all of it.”

Bennett wasn’t the only Lady Trailblazer to ink her name on Friday; McDowell is headed to Walters State to continue her softball career after earning all-district tournament with the Boone team that won regular season, district and sub-state titles. Though McDowell said she felt some pressure when she transferred in from North Carolina, she’s ready to continue her college career.

“I was beyond excited (to sign),” McDowell said. “I’ve been a Blue Devil and I’ve been a Trailblazer and I’m really excited to be a Senator.”

Rounding out the day of Boone signees was Ledford who signed with UVA Wise. Ledford had 25 aces, 147 kills and 30 blocks last season, has been first team all-conference and all-academic for three years, was all-tournament and all-region, as well as the conference setter of the year.

During Ledford’s speech, she had a specific someone to thank — teammate Kaylee Rabun who passed away in September. The Boone squad was motivated by Rabun during the season and her memory is still a part of Ledford’s time on the court.

“I wouldn’t be the player I am, if it weren’t for you all,” the setter said to her teammates during the emotional speech. “The sister that we shared is what drives me to my best potential.”

“Me and her were always competitive against each other,” Ledford said after the signing. “She always pushed me to be better. Now every time I step out on the court, I’m like, ‘This is for her. I have to do this for her.’”

Player of the Week

paige 2-2 POW

Congratulations to David Crockett High School’s Paige Snapp on earning the spot as this week’s player of the week. Snapp has led the Pioneer’s wrestling team this season and is now a regional champ. Look for next week’s winner in the following edition of the Herald & Tribune.

Daniel Boone High School athletic signings


Front (left to right): Lexi McDowell, Makayla Ledford and Makenzy Bennett. Back (left to right): Zac Branham and Caleb Sells.

Five Daniel Boone High School athletes signed to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level on Friday Jan. 27, 2017: Lexi McDowell signed to play softball at Walters State Community College, Makayla Ledford signed to play volleyball at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, Makenzy Bennett signed to play basketball at King University, Zac Branham signed for cross country and track at Tusculum College and Caleb Sells signed for cross country and track at Tusculum College.

Sensabaugh walks a new path



Staff Writer

It took him a second to remember the quickest way to the football field. But in all fairness, for the 6-foot, 1-inch former safety for the Dallas Cowboys, the walk from the David Crockett High School front office to the stadium is somewhat new. And so is his new position as the Pioneer’s head football coach.

“I walk around the school and everybody’s so happy-faced,” Gerald Sensabaugh said smiling at how welcoming the community has been. “People were just offering me their lunches while they were eating. They’re like, ‘Are you hungry? We don’t have anything, but you can have this.” Man. It’s just a real warm welcoming.”

Jonesborough has been buzzing with the news of Sensabaugh’s new post since it was announced on Jan. 16. Crockett held a meet and greet the following night in the school library where folks peeked over bookshelves to get a look at the new head coach. Meanwhile, two billboards in town show the former NFL footballer in his Dallas jersey with large letters saying, “Welcome to Pioneer County.”

And now, looking out onto the patchy, almost-green Crockett football field surrounded by pasture land, it isn’t exactly a glorious scene on a Thursday morning in January. But for Sensabaugh, he doesn’t see the field or the program as something small or needing to be fixed—he sees it as an opportunity.

“I know the repertoire around here at Crockett,” Sensabaugh explained, still gripping the football used as a prop for a photo earlier. “They say, ‘It’s just Davy Crockett. It’s a small school. Why would you go there?’ And it’s really not a small school. The community is doing their best to put a lot of enthusiasm in their athletics. And that’s what I really like about this program.

“I wanna come to Crockett and bring a winning tradition to Crockett. I wanna win as many games as possible. I can’t promise anything, but I can tell you—I’m gonna give it my all. We can do big things here.”

Sensabaugh spent his NFL career playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Dallas Cowboys. He also has a cousin, Coty Sensabaugh, who now plays for the New York Giants and who has worked with organizations like the nonprofit “Soles 4 Souls” to grant aid to children in the Dominican Republic. But of all the places the new Pioneer head coach has lived and could have chosen to begin coaching, the Kingsport native was drawn back home.

“I have a pretty good name here,” Sensabaugh said. “I‘d kind of rather influence a community that I’m from before I wanted to venture out. That’s why I like to talk to my cousin Coty. He does a lot of stuff overseas. I’m like, ‘I’ll handle back home. We can do what we can with our hometown and you go overseas and do what you can and impact the whole world.’ I try to focus on keeping our community up and letting everybody know about Kingsport and the Tri-Cities area.”

But Sensabaugh’s time in the NFL holds unforgettable memories—like the time he intercepted a pass from Peyton Manning during Jacksonville’s game against the Indianapolis Colts (a story he shared with the crowd during the night of the meet and greet at Crockett). He said the play launched his career and meant so much to him, he had the moment painted and it now sits proudly in his home.

His career also included the moment he discovered another dream of his—one he hadn’t completely realized until an interview with a college student in Jacksonville.

“He asked me what I plan to do after my career’s over,” Sensabaugh recalled. “And I started thinking, ‘I really wouldn’t mind getting into coaching.’ I still have it on DVD. My oldest son, he was like 6 months at the time. My 10-year-old, he was so little. I could see him in the background and he was tiny. There’s actual video footage. But I was just like, ‘Man. I really want to get into coaching one day.’”

From the moment the Crockett coach realized his new aspiration, playing among the world’s top football players and coaches gave him a new perspective—and those plays still swirled around in his mind as he led the way back towards the front office.

“I started paying attention to more details of both sides of the ball, learning ‘Why are we doing this?’”, Sensabaugh explained. “My first three years, I was just trying to make a big name for myself as much as possible. My last three years I was more focused on, ‘Hey, why is Jason running these routes like this? Why do they keep attacking me every time I get in this formation?’ You learn the ins and outs of the game—that’s what I was doing those last three years.”

Sensabaugh is well-aware his students aren’t playing on the professional level from which he absorbed so much information, but he’s ready to use it in a way that will apply to his athletes.

“It’s my responsibility to make sure these kids are coached well and that I implement a system that they can adapt to,” Sensabaugh said. “If some kids can be pushed harder than others, I’m gonna try to max them as much as I can. I don’t want to have a ceiling on any kid.”

But the head coach’s sights aren’t just set on football in his new role; before the NFL, Sensabaugh was a Kingsport kid trying to figure out his life. Now he’s also ready to instill the lessons he learned before playing professional football became a reality.

“When Coach Clark and Coach Barrett (of Dobyns-Bennett) talked me into playing football, my one goal was to get to college. With a 1.5 GPA, that’s pretty unlikely,” Sensabaugh said. “Colleges weren’t giving me scholarships because I was borderline. I quit when I was in tenth grade. I absolutely had no love for the game. I hated the game of football. They just said, ‘You have some talent, maybe you can get a scholarship, maybe not, but if you come out here, it’s at least an opportunity.”

“It’s more about the kids It’s not about football. Football is just another tool. It’s not everything. That in there is more important than out there on that field,” Sensabaugh said, pointing to the school. “If you’re not getting the grades, that means more than some football game.”

When asked what that young man who was deciding if he wanted to keep playing football was like all those years ago, it wasn’t far off from the students that periodically passed the new coach.

“Probably like a lot of these high school kids nowadays; you’re just young, you’re still taking on the world,” Sensabaugh said. “You’re pretty lost at that time. You really need some good guidance to show you the right ways. It’s great to bring in people that have successful lives because those will be your major influences. At that age, you’re really a sponge.”

By the time Sensabaugh had covered the story of his career, from quitting football to talking with his first team as a head coach, he had made it back around to the front of the building. Just like his career, part of the conversation had ended—and part of it was still going.

“I wanna practice with them. You’ll see me out there on days when I’m wearing cleats as well, to where I can show them how to get it done and show them how I’m doing it. And they’ll say, ‘Oh that’s how it’s done.’”

“I wanna live it with them. I wanna live it with them.”

Boone girls blaze trail toward conference

Boone v SC girls


Staff Writer

The Lady Trailblazers may be shooting for the moon, but there’s no one star on the team—and that’s just part of what has made the state-ranked basketball squad so successful this season.

The Boone team is 5-0 in conference play and 12-6 overall. They’re the tenth ranked team in Class AAA but head coach Travis Mains couldn’t pin the team’s success on one player—he praised them all.

“It could be any one of seven kids every night that’s scoring,” Mains said. “They’re very deep. They’re very talented. I’m very blessed to be able to coach them because we probably have six or seven kids that have the opportunity to play college basketball when they get out of high school. I think we’ve exceeded expectations.”

Though the team has been a top contender for the conference title this season, Coach Mains knew that his squad had to put pressure on when it came time to face Sullivan Central during an away game for the Lady Trailblazers Friday night.

“They’re an up-and-coming team. They’re really big,” Mains said. “We’ll have to do a good job rebounding the ball and providing pressure to turn the ball over. Anytime you’re on the road to play conference games, you don’t shoot very well. But we’ll hang our hat on what we do well which is play defense. Hopefully that will carry us.”

The Gray, Tennessee squad topped the Lady Cougars 48-40. Sydney Pearce and Bayleigh Carmichel contributed to bring Boone to 33-32 over Central in the fourth quarter and Macie Culbertson made a 10-0 run in the remaining four minutes of the game to clinch the win for the Lady Trailblazers.

Mains said that part of the reason his team is so competitive is due to their non-conference schedule. The team is 16-4 following their victory in Blountville on Friday, but they’ve also battled teams from other parts of the region including a team ranked at no. 17 in the nation.

“We’ve played a lot of really really good teams which has prepared us for our conference schedule and getting us hopefully ready for the state tournament,” Mains said. “They gained confidence by playing the best and going against the best. When we get around here, everything’s a little slower and we’ll be a team that speeds everybody up.”

The team also sees themselves as a team Mains said. During the season they’ve not only played conference outsiders, but they’ve also grown alongside one another as teammates and athletes.

“They’re a really close knit group. For one thing, they’re very dedicated to the sport,” Mains said. “There are five or six kids that play year round. So we have a lot of committed kids which is really rare for a small community to have kids that play year round.”

The Lady Blazers know what they do well; from working as a whole and playing on their defensive strengths, Coach Mains is aiming to maintain what has worked for The Lady Trailblazers this season.

“Our pressure’s been our bread and butter this year. We’ve gotten a lot out of it. We turn teams over probably 22, 23 times a game,” Mains explained.

“That really gives us an advantage and allows us to use our depth too—and wear teams down. We’re gonna keep doing what’s made us good.”

The Boone squad may want to bring their strengths Friday night when they head to Johnson City to tackle Science Hill.

The Lady Hilltoppers are 4-1 in conference and 16-3 overall going into the game against the fellow conference opponent.

“They’re going to have a huge crowd there. And if they beat us, they’ll be tied for first,” Mains said. “We’ve gotta take care of business and we have a good chance to win the conference championship.”

Player of the week


Congratulations to David Crockett High School’s Paul Arrowood on earning the spot as this week’s player of the week. Eric played a large role in Crockett’s game against Unicoi. Look for next week’s winner in the following edition of the Herald & Tribune.

Releford continues to carry the torch



H&T Correspondent

Patrick Good passed him the torch and Josh “Rico” Releford has maintained the hot hand.

Releford has given David Crockett a puncher’s chance during a season in which the Pioneers are replacing seven of the top eight players from a team that reached the state tournament last season for the first time in program history.

The 5-foot-9 senior guard has averaged 26 points and five assists per game during the Pioneers’ 8-7 start. He hit game-winning 3-pointers in two victories versus Daniel Boone to complete 33- and 28-point performances against the Washington County rival.

Releford is quick to credit Good, who set Crockett’s scoring record last season and has scored 21 points twice as a freshman during Appalachian State’s first 15 games.

“I learned a lot from Patrick,” Releford said. “He taught me what to do and what not to do. I really just took that and ran with it.”

Releford made a contested trey over two defenders to beat Boone for third place in the Hardee’s Classic and hit a pull-up 26-footer off the dribble to push the Pioneers past the ‘Blazers in their first conference meeting last week.

“I didn’t anticipate him shooting that far out,” Crockett coach John Good said. “It was (a good 26 feet). And he just goes right into it. It wasn’t like he forced it or anything like that. It was an in-a-rhythm shot. And he’s not afraid to miss ‘em; that’s why he can hit ‘em.

“I mean it makes a difference. There are some kids that are scared to death. They try to pass that thing, get it out of their hands as quickly as possible. But he steps up there and he’s taking it, and if he hits it, he hits it. If he doesn’t, you know, he’s okay with it. And that’s the way you have to be.”

Boone coach Chris Brown just shakes his head while complimenting Releford’s talent and success under pressure.

Releford has logged many hours alone in Carver Recreaetion Center.

“In the offseason I would just go to the rec and work on those tough shots,” he said. “I picture my moments. Like the game-winners against Daniel Boone – I just pictured that. When I’m in the gym alone I put myself in game situations.”

Releford’s father Randall played for Buck Van Huss at Dobyns-Bennett (class of ’84). Josh has heard how tough it was to score 1,000 points without a 3-point line and how playing for Van Huss was as tough as playing for former Science Hill coach George Pitts.

“I’ve heard (Science Hill Hall of Famer) Damon Johnson explain how Coach Pitts was and they kind of sound familiar,” Releford said. “They get in you.”

Good’s intensity is a reminder that he played for Pitts, too.

Releford left Science Hill for Crockett his freshman year. His brother, Jeremiah Greenlee, had played at University High, and Releford’s mother, Johna Robbins, is friends with Good’s wife Tracy. (Releford said his mother is about the only one who doesn’t refer to him as Rico, a nickname he picked up from rapper Cam’ron’s character in “Paid in Full.”)

Releford said he was a “hothead” his freshman year, but has found fewer potential distractions at Crockett.

“This was the best move for me,” he said. “I love it.”

Becoming the go-to guy was essentially a process of elimination that began during summer camps.

“I started to realize quickly if I didn’t make the shots that I like to take at a high rate then we was gonna be in trouble,” Releford said.

A fan of defensive-minded NBA player Patrick Beverley, Releford isn’t a stats-happy gunner.

“I could score two points a game,” he said, “and as long as we’re winning I’m happy.”

Big Seven coaches didn’t anticipate Crockett winning much following last season’s graduation floodgates. The Pioneers were picked sixth.

“Every day we look at that (preseason poll),” Releford said. “I make sure we look. That gives us motivation going into practice or a game.”

Releford has college interest from Lees-McRae, Florida Southern, Roane State and Marvyille. Tennessee Wesleyan coach Mike Poe, who coached Crockett to the substate in 1990, made Releford his first offer.

“I know Coach Poe wants him bad,” Good said. “He offered him two years ago.”

Releford is a weapon at both ends of the court. He guarded opponents’ top perimeter player last season, and gave Oak Ridge star Tee Higgins trouble much of the way in the Pioneers’ two-game sweep.

“Coming from East Tennessee you only hear about kids from Memphis, Oak Ridge – you only hear about those kids (outside this area),” Releford said. “Every time we played somebody like that it was always a challenge going after their best player. That was my role last year to defend him. I think I did a good job. He got a little loose, though, at the end on those fast-break, pull-up threes. But I mean, that’s hard to stop. … He could play in the ACC easily (if not for playing football at Clemson).”

Releford must pick his spots on defense now that he’s almost indispensable on offense.

“Last year I was gonna rip you; that was my mindset,” Releford said. “This year I’m gonna try to get my five count and not let them score. I’m not as aggressive.”

Good often is tempted to advise ambiguously – be aggressive but don’t take too many chances.

“It’s good if we can have three or four fouls in the fourth quarter to play with,” Good said, “and then he can guard whoever.”

Releford said sophomore John Kollie is quickly emerging as a sturdy defender. Other teammates whose improvement has impressed him this season include 6-foot-6 post Paul Arrowood and shooting guard Ethan Burger.

Releford’s smooth transition into the bread-and-butter role has impressed his coach, and Good can be a tough sell.

“Josh just kind of picked up where Pat was at for us,” Good said. “I mean he’s been really good for us. There’s sometimes you’re like, ‘We probably could’ve got a better shot. But I don’t know if we could’ve or not.’ He makes tough shots. …

“I’m gonna tell you what, his maturity and leadership qualities – he’s really rallied this team together. When we get a loss or game-winning time or whatever, he’s been the same. He’s got upset a time or two, but I think that’s just the competitive nature of the kid. I’ve seen him pull kids to him in practice and talk to ‘em and kind of get ‘em on the same page. …

“He doesn’t back down from any challenge. And that’s what you want. Josh is not only physically tough, but he’s mentally tough, too. And I think that’s more important.”

Player of the week


Congratulations to Daniel Boone’s Eric Rigsby on earning the spot as this week’s player of the week. Eric played a large role in Boone’s games against David Crockett and Sullivan South. Look for next week’s winner in the following edition of the Herald & Tribune.

Crockett’s holiday hopes dashed at Arby’s Classic


Josh Releford


Staff Writer

The Pioneers were outscored at the Arby’s Classic Basketball tournament at Tennessee High School by the Christ School Greenies.

The Pioneers suffered a 80-54 loss to the Arden, North Carolina squad. Crockett’s Josh Releford led the Pioneers with 21 points while Florida native and Pioneer newcomer Abe Strunk had 10, and Mchale Bright came in with 9.

The Pioneer loss could be chalked up to missed free throws or 31 of the 36 missed 3-pointers attempted by Crockett, but Kingsport native Matt Halvorsen for the Christ School Greenies may have played the largest part in the the Pioneer’s defeat.

Halvorsen scored 25 points for Christ School and went 4 for 4 from the free throw line. Meanwhile, shooting was the Pioneer’s downfall.

“We competed well but unfortunately did not shoot the basketball as well as we would have liked,” Pioneer head coach John Good said.

During day two of the Arby’s Classic, the Pioneers then went on to play Tabernacle Baptist Academy from the Bahamas. The Tabernacle Falcons defeated Crockett 74-31 in the Wednesday game at Viking Hall.

However, Good chalks up the losses to another opportunity to further his team’s experience.

“[The games were] great competition that will help us in the second half of the year,” Good said.

Sports season for 2016 filled with wins, losses


Tears blurred the scope of the 2016 sports scene, where a kaleidoscope of passion projected visions of triumph and tragedy that’ll last a lifetime.

David Crockett’s boys basketball team went to the state tournament for the first time in its 45 seasons thanks to a 73-70 overtime win at Oak Ridge in the Class AAA sectional. Patrick Good’s contested, off-the-dribble 3-pointer from the right corner with three seconds remaining was the game-winner that sent a raucous sellout crowd home emotionally drained.

Good, his coach/father John and his mother Tracy all clinched tightly afterward in a tearful embrace while Oak Ridge coach Aaron Green was shedding tears at the sight of it, recalling playing for his father at Sweetwater High School 21 years earlier.

Good scored 29 points, and fellow seniors Dustin Day (26 points) and Brendan Coleman (11 points, 13 rebounds) were invaluable in defeating Green’s talented Wildcats. It was the Pioneers’ second win of the season against Oak Ridge, who finished the season 34-3.

Crockett beat Oak Ridge 87-85 in double overtime in the Arby’s Classic quarterfinals. With a capacity crowd exhausted from the entertainment and eagerly eyeing him, Good made two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to win it. Day (26 points), Good (24) and senior Peyton Ford (20) led the scoring charge for Crockett in one of the area’s all-time great wins at Arby’s.

The Pioneers lost in the state quarterfinals to Station Camp, 78-68, but Patrick Good wasn’t through with a year for the ages. He signed with Appalachian State after becoming Crockett’s career scoring leader, visited Italy for an exhibition tour during the summer and scored 21 points in Knoxville against the University of Tennessee in his second career game.

Daniel Boone and David Crockett each made the football playoffs for the first time in the same season, and it happened in dramatic fashion.

Boone had to win the Musket Bowl at Crockett in the regular-season finale to clinch its berth, and running back Charlie Cole made certain it happened. Cole rushed for 192 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Trailblazers’ 14-10 victory and became Boone’s first freshman to rush for 1,000 yards in the process.

Senior TK Hill rushed 15 times for 98 yards for the Pioneers, adding to his tally as the Pioneers’ all-time leading rusher.

As it turned out, it was Crockett head coach Jeremy Bosken’s final regular-season game. Bosken, an ex-military man and excellent promoter with as much passion for players as football, surprised many when he made the emotional decision during the first week of December to resign and become offensive coordinator at Cleveland.

Bosken energized the Pioneer program and the community while going 20-23 during a four-season span that included two playoff berths. It would’ve been four playoff berths if not for a two-season ban Crockett and Daniel Boone were given by the TSSAA for the “Musket Brawl” in 2014.

Crockett hadn’t won 20 games in a four-season stretch since 2002.

A couple of solo acts stole the show at Daniel Boone.

Freshman wrestler Isabella Badon pinned Hendersonville’s Jessyca Mumaw in 5:46 to win a state championship in February at the Williamson County Expo Center in Franklin. Badon defeated Madeline Davis (Siegel) and Nena Chrestman (Sycamore) in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

Junior Ben Varghese won a state championship in the 3,200 meters in Murfreesboro. It was part of a bittersweet meet for Varghese, who was tripped when he got together with Science Hill’s Noah Charles in an entanglement that cost Boone a first-place finish in the 4×800 meters.

The ‘Blazers still managed to finish second in the relay thanks, in part, to an exceptional recovery by Varghese and an impressive finish from anchor Josh Routh, who is now at East Tennessee State.

Two-sport Boone standout Jaclyn Jenkins also moved on to college after a productive senior year. Jenkins concluded her basketball career as a 1,000-point scorer and then helped the Lady Trailblazers reach the Class AAA softball sectional by compiling a 28-9 record and a 0.99 ERA. Jenkins tallied 217 strikeouts in 241 innings. She batted .426 with five home runs and 35 RBIs.

Now, Jenkins is following in the footsteps of her mother, Tonya Bailey Jenkins, a record-setting pitcher at Milligan who was also a 1,000-point scorer in basketball. Bailey Jenkins is in the Milligan College Athletics Hall of Fame.

David Crockett senior volleyball player Addisyn Rowe was named the Big Seven Conference player of the year. Rowe, a middle blocker who has committed to Marshall, also finished runner-up in the state in the pole vault as a junior last spring after coming in third in the state as a sophomore.

The everlasting impression of 2016 for many in Gray surely came during Daniel Boone’s inspiring volleyball and football performances following the Sept. 10 death of junior setter Kaylee Rabun, who was killed on her 16th birthday in a single-car accident that also injured Trailblazers football player Ryan Sanders.

A moving pregame tribute was paid to Rabun in the first football game after her death, and Boone responded with a 46-29 victory against Tennessee High.

“I didn’t know how that was really going to affect us mentally. It’s been a tough week here for us,” an emotional Daniel Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said after the game.

In Jenkins’ hand was a laminated game plan that included pictures of Rabun.

“I wanted her to be with us,” he said, “and she was.”

A large crowd also gathered in Bobby Snyder Gymnasium to watch the Lady Trailblazers’ initial match following the death. And after Boone outlasted Dobyns-Bennett for an epic 25-15, 26-28, 25-19, 22-25, 17-15 triumph of human spirit, spectators repeatedly chanted, “Three!” in reference to Rabun’s jersey number.

The Lady ‘Blazers went on to finish second in the Big Seven Conference, advancing to the regionals.

Coach’s resignation pushes discussion of athletic needs


Jeremy Bosken


Staff Writer

When Jeremy Bosken resigned as the head football coach at David Crockett High School on Dec. 7, it was the shot heard across Washington County.

Not just because the Pioneers would be losing one of their most successful coaches in school history, but because as he left, Bosken brought to light what he viewed as crucial athletic facilities needs at Crockett.

Bosken, who will soon be joining Cleveland High School’s coaching staff as an offensive coordinator, said he has been trying to get air conditioning in the locker room and even rallied a team of alumni and boosters to repaint locker room floors and replace the lockers themselves. Bosken said Crockett’s lack of an auxiliary gym has left numerous sports without a place to dress out before games and practices.

“Those are concerns that I honestly believe that at a 5A school, they need to be addressed,” Bosken said.

He also said he felt like the best way he could help his student athletes was to leave.

“I feel like as I do leave,” Bosken said, “the way I can help the kids there and the coaches there is just to simply bring awareness that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.”

However, Crockett isn’t the only high school in the conversation; Daniel Boone High School athletic director Danny Good said he thought Boone needed an update on their facilities as well.

“I think we need some attention on our athletic facilities,” Good said. “I think you can look at most of our opponents that we compete against and you can see their outside facilities compared to ours and we could be a step behind in that aspect of things.”

To fix this problem, Good believes it takes more than just Boone and Crockett; he believes it would take unity within the county.

“We all need to come together,” Good said. “That’s the school board, that’s the community, that’s the county commission, that’s our director of schools, that’s the mayor. Let’s all us come together and let’s set a goal. Let’s decide what we want as a community.

“I’m talking about Washington County, I’m not just talking about Boone and Crockett. I’m talking about all of us. What do we want? What do we need? There’s a need and there’s a want — what do we need. If we come together as one, we can achieve that.”

Board member Todd Ganger said Bosken’s comments have brought the discussion of updating these athletic facilities to the forefront along with recent Board of Education priorities such as the new K-8 Boones Creek School’s layout that was recently discussed at the latest school board meeting and the new technology that will soon be implemented in Washington County Schools.

“It’s just things that this board has got to continue to look at and the county commission has got to continue to look at,” Ganger said. “As board members, all we can do is relate our needs to the county commissioners and they’ve got to fund it. They’ve stepped up with the Boones Creek School and we’re trying to fulfill Mrs. Halliburton’s vision for Washington Way and implementing technology into the schools. So it just comes down to a matter of balance. “

It’s a broad spectrum of needs we have in the school system and all of our needs come with a price tag.”

The price tag on the construction of the new Boones Creek School also included a conversation about athletics; an auxiliary gym is included in the layout for the school that was presented by architect Tony Street at Thursday’s called school board meeting. Street’s presentation stated that removing the gym from the plan would save $400,000. During the board’s discussion of the plan, board member Keith Ervin brought Crockett’s athletic facilities into the conversation.

“This is a K-8,” Ervin said. “I don’t even have an auxiliary gym at Crocket, and I need one there worse than I do anywhere.”

School board members aren’t the only ones noticing the construction of these new and soon-to-be-built schools in the area.

“You’re going to have 60 percent of these kids that are going into these nice middle schools that have these facilities,” said Good. “And then when they go to high school, they’re going to kind of step down a little bit.”

For Ganger, these topics are all about finding a balance.

“Granted, there is a huge need at Crockett for an auxiliary gym,” Ganger said. “And it’s been brought up and talked about. To add an auxiliary gym to a new school, it is an issue the board will have to look at. Is there a true need there?

“That’s just one of those things that the board, once we can get down to the nitty gritty to be at the new school or not to be at the new school, it’s something you have to really look at and focus at. But just because you do not put an auxiliary gym in the new Boones Creek School, does not automatically mean you’re getting one at Crockett. You have to have that balance. You don’t not give one school something just because another school doesn’t have it.”

Ganger also said the issues the board faces take time before improvements come to life. In the meantime, rolling up their sleeves for fundraising is something that Good said Boone wouldn’t shy away from. The work put into programs such as Crockett’s football team during Bosken’s time there also didn’t go unnoticed.

“There’s a pride down there at Crockett when you talk about football now,” Ganger said. “I even told Coach Bosken after the football season this year, I told him thank you for helping build the football program — not the football team— he has built a football program down there. And I think that’s huge. And hopefully the next coach that comes in can just build on what he’s done cause he has set a nice groundwork for the next coach to come in. The next coach isn’t going to come in bare-to-nothing; he’s going to come in with something to build upon.”

The foundation the coach has set goes further back than just four years for Bosken. And that’s a story he told his players at Crockett.

“The story I tell my guys is what saved me was a football field/soccer field down the street from me. And luckily, the school always cut the grass,” Bosken recalled. “And if they didn’t cut the grass on that field, I don’t know where I would have spent most of my time. I honesty feel that if they didn’t commit to the simple things like cutting the field, or making sure it was lined and had no rocks on it…I mean I spent most of my childhood on the field. If there was’t a field for me to go to, I probably would have gotten in a lot of trouble.”

“I believe with athletic facilities and nice things, you get more kids out and coaches and parents and teachers working together. It’s a ministry. And its gonna help our community as a whole in the long run.”

In that future, Ganger hopes Bosken will one day see these changes he, in part, left Crockett in order to bring back into discussion.

“Hopefully if he comes back to Washington County 10 years down the road, he’ll see a huge change,” Ganger said. “He’ll see some of these things he was needing and wanting when he was here and hopefully they’ve been implemented.”

“He’ll see those and he’ll feel a little sense of pride because he did have something to do with the changes.”

Crockett crashes in DB match



Staff Writer

Any hopes Crockett’s basketball teams had of coming out on top in the conference opener against Kingsport foe Dobyns-Bennett were dashed Friday night.

The boys team wasn’t convinced by the time their 33-19 lead in the second quarter had the Pioneers thinking they were on the brink of an upset against the fellow Big Seven conference opponent — that is until they hit overtime.

“It was great to watch if you didn’t care who won the game,” Good said. “They played their best game of the year and we competed really hard but made some untimely mistakes.”

The Indians have landed at the second spot in the preseason poll and proved their worth after the Pioneer’s Josh Releford landed Crockett in the lead with 67-66. But Releford had his fifth foul of the night and exited the game with less than two minutes left before the game went into overtime.

As for the Indians, it was up to Marae Foreman to tie the game at 68-68. Foreman then went 4-for-4 at the free-throw line to assist in the Indians’ overtime victory in Jonesborough.

“Josh Releford played well and Paul Arrowood rebounded the way we thought he is able to do,” Good said. “I see growth in this team each time out.”

Dobyns-Bennett also had five double-digit scorers with Zack Griffin and freshman Riamello Wadsworth at 14, Jordin Webb with 12 and Hayden Cassell with 10.

The girls team, however, may have suffered a worse fate.

Dobyns-Bennett took the lead and kept it away from the Lady Pioneers resulting in a 59-30 loss for the home squad.

“We knew it was going to be tough. We got down early,” head coach Marty Storey said. “We come out and we’re sort of lackadaisical and we end up getting behind by 15 points. Then we try to fight but we don’t have that type of scoring punch.”

By the time a 34-9 lead for the Lady Indians ended the second half, the future of the game looked bleak for the Lady Pioneers.

Dobyns-Bennett’s Lily Griffith scored 10 of the 15 points she scored throughout the night in the first quarter to assist the lady indians. Kassie Lowe was the only lady pioneer to reach double digit points throughout the game.

Both Crockett teams will host Tennessee High at home on Friday Dec. 9.

Crockett misses win, but ‘Rico’ stands out


H&T Correspondent

David Crockett no longer has Patrick Good, but it still has a guard that’s arguably as good as any in the Big Seven Conference.

Senior Josh “Rico” Releford carried the rebuilding Pioneers to a third-place finish in the Hardee’s Classic last week at Crockett, punctuating an impressive three-game showing with a difficult buzzer-beating 3-pointer that lifted the Pioneers to a 53-52 victory against Daniel Boone on Saturday.

Releford’s trey was launched over two defenders immediately after he caught an inbounds pass with two seconds left. The ball hit nothing but net, much to the delight of a boisterous student section eager to see the arch rival Trailblazers absorb the dagger.

“It’s always a big deal,” Releford said. “They beat us in football this year so we had to get some get-back after that.”

Releford scored 86 points and made 13 treys in three Hardee’s games, which included a 63-43 quarterfinal win against South-Doyle and a frustrating 67-63 semifinal loss to Morristown East. The Pioneers led East 63-59 with 1:05 remaining when Will Stevens assisted a Cole Ricker lay-in.

But several Crockett miscues ensued, including Releford missing the front end of a one-and-one free throw when he had an opportunity to give the Pioneers a 65-63 lead with 36 seconds remaining.

“It started off with me missing the one-and-one free throw when it was tied up,” Releford said. “That hurt.”

His shot at redemption, however, was sweet. Releford scored 17 of his 33 points against Boone in the fourth quarter. He made difficult drives, step-back 3-pointers and pull-up jumpers.

“My brother was on me yesterday about not being more aggressive in the fourth quarter,” Releford said. “So I had to shut him up.”

Releford commanded, frequently drew two defenders, and was often able to provide shot opportunities for teammates.

“Josh has matured so much as an individual and as a player,” Crockett fourth-year coach John Good said. “That’s why we coach.”

The Pioneers are otherwise essentially brand new. Along with Good, other seniors on last season’s record-setting state tournament team included Dustin Day, Brendan Coleman, Peyton Ford and Ian Martin.

The Pioneers started two freshmen – Donta Hackler and McHale Bright – in the third-place game against Boone. Hackler scored nine straight points for Crockett in its semifinal loss. And the sophomore tandem of John Kollie and Stevens teamed for Stevens’ assisted trey that helped fuel a fourth-quarter rally against the ‘Blazers.

“They’re all in situations they’ve never been in before every time out,” Good said. “They’re learning on the job…Our young kids are giving us everything that they have. And it’s fun. It may not look like it, but it’s fun to be a part of this group.”

Beating the Pioneers was nonetheless gratifying for Morristown East coach Ryan Collins, a former University High point guard.

“I have the utmost respect for coach Good and what he’s done with this program,” Collins said. “I know he’s got some young pieces, but Josh is a phenomenal player. So it was a big-time challenge for us.”

Daniel Boone also has cause for optimism despite losing guards Ryan Keever and Alex Percell from last season.

Eric Rigsby and Chad Heglar look solid on the wings, Jayden Stevens is an experienced point guard and the frontcourt could be formidable with 6-foot-4 Evan Scanlan and 6-foot-7 Chris Brooks. Gunnar Norris and Justin Turner are among those who appear primed for productive seasons as role players.

“I like what we have,” Boone coach Chris Brown said after suffering his second last-second loss in as many days. “We’ve just gotta be mentally tougher; we’ve gotta be physically tougher…You’ve gotta be able to make free throws. You’ve got a chance to at least give yourself a cushion so those kind of things right there don’t kill you. Granted, you know, Josh hit a phenomenal shot. I mean we had two guys on him, draped all over him.”

Unicoi County defeated East in the championship game. It was the Blue Devils’ fifth title, tying them with Crockett for the most in the 27-year-old tournament.

“We pride ourselves in wanting to win this tournament every time we come down here,” Unicoi County coach Michael Smith said. “That does tie us back up with Crockett with five.

“So I guess we’re gonna have to come back next year and maybe the two of us can play in the championship game and go for the sixth.”

Unicoi County junior guard Trevor Hensley was named tournament MVP. Releford made the all-tournament team, as did Boone’s Heglar and Rigsby.

From Good to great (again): Former Crockett star continues to dominate the court

Patrick Good, who joined the team at Appalachian State University this fall, is already leading in scoring.

Patrick Good, who joined the team at Appalachian State University this fall, is already leading in scoring.

H&T Correspondent
Patrick Good has moved from Crockett to Boone, where he’s wasting no time blazing a new trail.
After becoming David Crockett’s all-time leading scorer and piling up 2,716 points during his high school career, Good headed to the High Country of Boone, North Carolina, where he’s leading Appalachian State in scoring three games into his college career.
The smooth transition was highlighted by tallying a team-high 21 points in the Mountaineers’ 103-94 loss at Tennessee last week. Good made 5 of 7 attempts from 3-point range during the efficient outing.
The performance was all the sweeter with his mother (Tracy) and grandmother (Mary Anderson) in the stands, along with fellow Crockett alums Peyton Ford and Andres Huerta.
Crockett’s basketball team had a game that night, or there likely would’ve been another 15-20 supporters in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Good, of course, was pleased by the turnout.
“For them to take the time on a Tuesday night to come to Knoxville to see our team and support me really meant a lot,” he said. “I want to thank them.”
Appalachian State coach Jim Fox wasn’t surprised by Good’s solid showing against the home-state school.
“I think the one thing with him when we watched him play (in high school) was he always made big shots, he always made plays,” Fox said. “So I think the moment at Tennessee where, you know, you’re playing in front of a lot of guys – a lot your people – could’ve been overwhelming, and it wasn’t. And I think that’s a credit to him and the way he’s always played.”
A 6-foot, freshman guard, Good is averaging 14.7 points per game. He is 15 of 23 from the field (65.2 percent) and has made 11 of 18 attempts from 3-point distance (61.1 percent). Good leads ASU in steals and treys, and he’s tied for third with nine defensive rebounds.
“Patrick is learning to become a complete player,” Fox said. “As a player in high school, he had a different role than he has now. What he needed to do for Crockett was different. It’s not only about scoring for him, it’s about making other guys better. That’s a big thing we need from him, and he’s getting better at that. I’ve been pleased with that.
“Obviously, he’s gonna be able to score, you know; he’s always gonna be able to score.”
Including others should come naturally for Good, who also set Crockett’s career assists mark (780).
“I think what really helps him, basically, is he has a great basketball IQ,” Fox said.
Good will realize another dream this weekend when the Mountaineers play against Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski’s talented Duke Blue Devils in the iconic Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“They have a great tradition and a great coach in Coach K and a great team,” Good said. “Getting to play at Duke is obviously a dream come true.”
Good plans to major in sports management and minor in business.
“I feel like I’m at the place I need to be on and off the court,” he said. “When you have to grow up on your own you really don’t have time for any mistakes. … Obviously, you can call mom and dad, but there’s only so much they can do for you that far away. I can see myself maturing since I’ve been here in June. I just want to be the best player and person I can be – on and off the court and in the classroom.”
With a game in Hartford, Connecticut preceding the visit to Duke, Good won’t be home for Thanksgiving. But he’s arguably more thankful than ever these days.
“There’s a huge difference between home cooking and cafeteria food,” Good said. “And I miss Granny Mary’s lemonade. Mary Anderson makes the best lemonade. …
“I have to make sacrifices now just like my mom and dad have made sacrifices for me. … I love basketball and I’m gonna work as hard as I can at it. There’s always something I feel like I could’ve done better. That’s just the competitor that I am.”

Rowe signs with Marshall


Every time that Addisyn Rowe soared above the net to place her next spike, it was always done with a thunderous clap. So it seems perfect that she will be a member of the Thundering Herd.

Rowe signed a national letter of intent to continue her volleyball and track career at Marshall University on Friday, Nov. 11.

Besides towering over the net to lead the team in kills, Rowe also led the team in digs this season, which helped garner her Big 7 Player of the Year honors. And even though David Crockett coach Jill Daves only had her for one year, she said that Rowe was one of the most impressive players she’s ever seen.

“It was a blessing to be able to coach her,” Daves said. “She is an athlete and she can do anything. I told her that she doesn’t even know what she is capable of, she hasn’t even peaked yet. There is no telling how good she is going to be.

“I am so proud of her, she is such a good kid all around. She is such a leader, she took that team on her shoulders and she never came out of the game.”

The senior knew early on that she wanted to attend Marshall — where she said she plans to major in Biochemistry — she verbally committed to the school before her volleyball season began.

“It felt like home to me and I really like the coaches and the team,” Rowe said. “I just really liked it.”

And while her new home might be in Huntington, W.V., she said that she will never forget the community that adopted her after she transferred to Crockett from University High.

“Everyone has been wonderful to me and the Pioneer community is amazing,” Rowe said. “We are just one big family. We say once a Pioneer, forever a Pioneer.”

But Rowe said that she isn’t quite done representing her school on the athletic fields yet. The senior hopes to better her runner-up finish last year in the state high jump.

“I am ready to get my ring,” Rowe said. “I will be working all the time so that I can get to the top and get that ring.