Lady Pioneers grab conference lead

David Crockett High School’s Lenzie Jenkins adds to the Lady Pioneer offense that overcame conference opponent Science Hill in the 5-4 win for the Washington County team.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Kara Weems pitched a complete game, right fielder Maddie Roy threw a runner out at the plate to help thwart a sixth-inning rally and David Crockett’s softball team held on to defeat Science Hill 5-4 and avenge its lone Big Seven Conference loss Thursday at David Crockett.

The victory assured Crockett (7-1, 22-7) control of its own destiny in the race for a league title. Science Hill had beaten Crockett 2-1 on March 19 thanks to a two-run, walk-off home run.

It was the Pioneers that had to overcome a one-run deficit in the rematch. They tied the score in the fourth and took a 4-1 lead with a three-run sixth – a frame that included two critical throwing errors by Hilltoppers infielders.

Crockett added an invaluable insurance run in the sixth when Sydney Fox followed Mackenzie Blankenship’s one-out double with a one-out RBI double. Otherwise, Science Hill would’ve tied the score on Mia Edwardson’s two-out, two-run home run in the seventh.

Sydney Fox was a leader for the Lady Pioneers during their victory against Science Hill on Thursday.

“We definitely knew that we were gonna have a fight coming in, and we were ready for it today,” said Fox, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles. “Science Hill’s a good team, but we’re right there with them. And we were ready to do the work to be first in the conference.”

Weems, a junior right-hander, allowed eight hits, walked one and struck out four en route to the complete-game victory.

“Science Hill has a good team,” Crockett coach Carla Weems said. “I think she was hitting her spots today.”

Indeed, after counterpart Sejal Neas led off the second inning with a home run to open the game’s scoring, Weems had retired 13 of 14 batters prior to Edwardson’s one-out flare single in the sixth.

Ensuing batter Mackenzie Powell was hit by a 3-2 pitch, and Makenzie Smith followed with a sharply hit single through the right side of the infield that appeared certain it would score Edwardson from second base. But Roy made a long, accurate throw from right field to retire a sliding Edwardson thanks, in part, to a quick tag from Fox.

It looked like the ‘Toppers would be trailing 4-2 with one out and runners at second and third. Instead, Roy preserved the three-run lead with an impressive assist for the second out of the inning.

“That was an awesome play,” Carla Weems said. “And it could have been a tied ballgame had she not made that great throw.”

Science Hill interim manager Bob Dempsey (head coach Jerry Higgins has missed a significant portion of the season due to his wife’s illness) said Roy’s throw, as well as two errant ones from his players, were the keys of the game.

“It was a huge play (by Roy),” Dempsey said. “She made a great play – great play.”

Crockett scored a run in the fourth to tie the score. Weems led off the frame with an infield single, and after speedy courtesy runner Maddie McKee stole second and third base on back-to-back pitches, Roy scored her with a one-out single.

The Pioneers added three unearned runs in the fifth. A frame that included the pair of Science Hill throwing errors was also fueled by hits from Baldwin, Roy and Reagan Miller, and stolen bases by Lenzie Jenkins, Miller and Baldwin.

“It took us a little while to get going, but once we started hitting the ball and getting the momentum behind them I think we were okay,” Carla Weems said.

“We didn’t hit it as good as we have been. Sydney hit it good today, but my (Nos.) 2, 3 and 4 didn’t hit it as good as they have been hitting it. It took us a little while to get going, but I was proud of them for their effort. They did a good job.”

Roy was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Baldwin was 2-for-3 with two runs.

“Mackenzie (Baldwin) is a freshman,” Fox said, “and she’s really stepped up for our team.”

Jenkins went 2-for-4 with a run and two stolen bases. She also bounced up quickly from two jarring collisions.

“She is tough,” Carla Weems said. “I’ve got a bunch of tough girls.”

Crockett went 3-2 in the Wayne Hodge State Farm Classic in Elizabethton. It suffered one-run losses to Sullivan East and Sullivan South on Friday, and defeated Happy Valley (12-4), South (11-4) and East (3-1) on Saturday. Intensity might’ve ebbed a bit between the win against Science Hill and an April 24 first-place showdown at Daniel Boone.

“We struggled Friday night after the big win over Science Hill,” Weems said. “But we settled back down and won three straight on Saturday. I really like the way the girls are playing right now.”

Fox is leading the Pioneers with a .462 batting average. She’s second on the team with 26 RBIs and is tied for the team lead with fellow Walters State signee Reagan Miller, the shortstop, with three home runs. Miller has 27 RBIs and is hitting .411.

McKee, a freshman, is hitting .432 and has established herself as the No. 2 pitcher. The ace, Weems, is 17-3 with a 1.66 ERA.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Crockett Baseball’s Luke Larkins. Luke has been a force on the mound and at the plate for the Pioneers. Check back for next week’s New Peoples Bank Player of the Week.

Player of the week

Our recent Player of the week is Daniel Boone High School runner Katie Cutshall. Katie recently placed first in the pole vault event for the Trailblazers while also landing a new school record.

Crockett baseballer ready to continue the work

 

Pioneer baseball player Brodie Fox (front, middle) signs with Milligan in the company of his mother Amy Fox (front left), his father Royce Fox (front right), DCHS Coach Nick Lingerfelt (back left), sister Ashlin Fox (back middle) and Milligan Coach Steve McMillan.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

For David Crockett High School b[Baseball’s Brodie Fox, Wednesday, April 11 was a dream fulfilled as he signed to continue his academic and athletic career at Milligan College.

“Always as a kid that’s what everybody dreams for,” Fox said. “You know, you think of the bottom of the ninth and coming up big — you just want to play in college and at that next level.”

Fox was surrounded by his teammates on his signing day.

Fox is a senior outfielder for the Pioneers and plans to join the Milligan Buffalo team in the fall. Though he said it’s been a dream of his to play at the collegiate level, more specifically, he said the team’s potential future is what prompted him to take the college offer and join the Johnson City team.

“Opportunities,” Fox said, “Everyone’s seen all the guys we’ve got. We’re going to be good.”

If you were to ask DCHS Baseball Head Coach Nick Lingerfelt what set Fox apart to compete at the next level, his answer would be simple; it’s all that extra hard work.

“We do a lot of talking about what it’s going to take to get this program to the next level,” Lingerfelt said, “and anytime I leave here, I see people in the building hitting or sneaking into the girls softball cages to hit. I’d say there’s times when his parents are like, ‘where in the world is he at?’ but he’s in the cages, in the barn hitting. That’s what it takes. He’s a leader on this team by his actions. And I’m just really excited for him.”

Though Fox will be trading brown and gold for orange and black come the fall, for now, he’s focused on his final season as a Crockett Pioneer.

The boys in brown recently clinched their first conference win of the season the day before Fox’s signing where they claimed the 13-12 win against Cherokee High School in the sixth inning. And that win is one Fox is hoping the team can feed off of as they continue their season.

“Right now we’ve just got to get things going,” Fox said. “We got that big conference win last night. We’ve just got to capitalize on that.”

But it hasn’t only taken a team mentality and work in the cages for Fox to get to his signing day; it’s also taken patience.

When asked what obstacles he’s had to overcome to get to signing day, the senior outfielder quickly said the ankle injury that put him on the sideline was a roadblock.

“That injury that happened, I had to sit out for I don’t know how long,” Fox said. “It just killed me. It was a really, really bad ankle sprain. I pulled some tendons in my ankle and couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t completely back until like a month and a half. It was a while.”

But now, Fox is ready to continue the work and wrap up his senior season with his team before joining his fellow Milligan Buffaloes, which are days that, according to his Crockett head coach, will be his best yet.

“Brodie is always here and working to improve,” Lingerfelt said. “But Brodie’s best baseball days I think are ahead of him.”

Crockett softball eyes conference lead

The David Crockett High School Lady Pioneers are tied for the conference lead so far this season. Junior pitcher Kara Weems (back middle) has also thrown no-hitters against two conference opponents so far this year.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Dealing rival Daniel Boone its first Big Seven Conference defeat in dramatic comeback fashion last week provided a thrill second to none thus far for David Crockett’s softball team, but a home win Thursday against Science Hill would produce a first-rate result.

Crockett (5-1, 17-5) and Science Hill (5-1, 20-7) entered Wednesday tied for first place. The Pioneers’ lone league loss was a 2-1 setback at Science Hill on March 19, and the Pioneers led 1-0 before Kasey Bennett spoiled Kara Weems’ shutout with a one-out, walk-off home run.

“We pitched to Kasey Bennett,” Crockett coach Carla Weems said. “She’s a really good hitter and Kara threw her way outside and she went and got it. Our girls are really excited to play Science Hill, because they feel like they should’ve won that game and didn’t finish it.”

Indeed, Crockett had the bases loaded in the top of the seventh with veteran hitters Sydney Fox, Reagan Miller and Lenzie Jenkins coming up.

“We go to Science Hill and it always seems like something happens in the last few innings and we don’t pull through,” Weems said. “We’ve had the bases loaded several times and weren’t able to come through. We had the bases loaded in the top of the seventh with three freshmen and we had Sydney, Reagan and Lenzie – my three seniors – coming up with no outs. And we didn’t score. It was just one of those things.”

It was Crockett that snatched victory from defeat at home against Boone on April 11. The Pioneers trailed 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, but answered with a run in the fourth and six in the fifth for a 7-5 victory.

Weems, who went the distance on the mound for the victory, was beginning to lose faith while Boone created the five-run deficit that included a two-run home run from Nickolette Ferguson. But she settled down on the mound and delivered a one-out two-run single during the decisive six-run frame — which included a game-tying RBI single from Kat Pfiefer and a two-run, two-out single from Maddie Roy that capped the game’s scoring.

“Maddie had hit the ball hard all day long,” Carla Weems said. “So I was excited for her. Every time she came up I was expecting her to get a hit because she’d just hit it so well.”

Erasing a five-run deficit against an archrival is about as good as it gets.

Kara Weems

“It was Boone and we were down 5-nothing and thought that it was over,” Kara Weems said. “But we rallied behind each other and we finally got one hit. Then we kept cheering and chanting and it obviously boosted us to get more hits and runs. … It was all a blur after we won. I was excited.”

Weems, a junior, is 12-2 with a 1.28 ERA. She’s added an offspeed curveball this year to complement her low-60s velocity. She no-hit Dobyns-Bennett last week after no-hitting Cherokee earlier in the season.

“She was really good against D-B,” Carla Weems said. “She was working the corners and getting those close calls that she gets a lot of times. Also, D-B is more of a go-up-there-and-try-to-hit-the-ball kind of team. She threw it close enough to ‘em where they were swinging, whereas Boone wasn’t swinging at her pitches that might be a little bit outside.”

Unlike last season, Weems doesn’t have to shoulder the entire load thanks to freshmen Maddie McKee and Mackenzie Baldwin, who have pitched 39 and nine innings, respectively. McKee is 3-2 with a 2.51 ERA.

“Coming into this year I was more confident because I knew we had some freshmen coming up that could back me up,” Kara Weems said. “And just having the seniors that we have this year stepping up to be leaders helps a lot with me on the mound, because I know I have the defense that I need behind me to win games.”

Miller (.486) and Fox (.448), each of whom has signed with Walters State, lead the Pioneers in hitting. Miller leads the team with three home runs and 23 RBIs. Weems is hitting .362 and tied for the team lead with five doubles.

Riley Hope is second in home runs (two) and RBIs (17). Hope, McKee and Baldwin help comprise a promising freshmen class. Baldwin is third on the team in hitting (.382) and is tied for the team lead with five doubles.

“I was expecting Riley Hope to come in and be a really good hitter and outfielder,” Carla Weems said. “Of course, she is – and she’s done a great job. But Mackenzie – I don’t know how many chances she’s had at third base and she only has five errors the whole year. And she has took shot after shot down that third base line and made play after play. And she’s batting over .360 right now. … I expected her to do well, but I didn’t expect her to do as well as she has. It’s really made me happy, to say the least.

“Maddie McKee is another one that’s kind of surprised me. She’s come along and done very well for us, kept people off the bases. In the Eastman tournament she gave Kara some breaks and she did a great job. It’s nice that Kara knows there’s somebody else that can come out there and hold her own. She throws pretty hard and she’s got a real pretty knuckleball that most girls don’t throw. It has a lot of movement and it’s a lot slower than her fastball.”

Another freshman, Alyssa Suits, is contributing at catcher. In fact, her smooth transition has allowed Fox, who has caught Weems since they were eight years old, to spend more time in center field.

“Sydney’s a really good leader out there in the outfield,” Kara Weems said.

Indeed, Weems added, this Pioneer squad has an abundance of leadership, as evidenced in the comeback win against Daniel Boone.

“I think that with the team that we have and how we’ve been playing,” Kara Weems said, “that we could definitely make it to substate (sectional), and hopefully even to state.”

Her mother sees the potential for a special season shaping up as well.

“I’ve been very pleased with the way we’ve been playing,” Carla Weems said. “Even when we’ve fell behind like we did in the Boone game, they’ve found a way to scrap their way back. We did it against Unicoi over at the Eastman tournament.

“They’re just not wanting to give up, and that’s a good thing.”

Crockett is scheduled to host Science Hill on Thursday, April 19 at 4:30 p.m.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is David Crockett High School Soccer’s Gio Ortiz. Gio has led the Pioneers this season on the field. Check back next week or the following New People’s Bank Player of the Week.

DCHS Pioneers name new head football coach

Hayden Chandley has been named the new head football coach at David Crockett High School.

From STAFF REPORTS

Washington County Director of Schools Kimber Halliburton announced the hiring of Hayden Chandley as the new Head Football Coach at David Crockett High School. 

“We are excited to announce the appointment of Coach Chandley as our Head Football coach at DCHS,” Halliburton said. “ Besides being an excellent football coach, Hayden is an outstanding young man and will be a great role model for our students and our athletes.” 

Principal Peggy Wright said, “we want our faculty, our students and our community to know that we have selected the best possible candidate for our school and our football players. Hayden brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our program which the students and faculty will love.  We are excited to know we have found a great coach for our football team!”

Chandley graduated from Daniel Boone High School in 2011, where he played football, baseball and basketball. He attended UVA-Wise on a football scholarship to play linebacker for three years. He served as a student assistant, coaching linebackers, during his final year as a student at UVA-Wise. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, he was offered a part-time position on staff to continue coaching linebackers in the fall of 2015 along with being a special team’s assistant. In December of 2015, he enlisted in the United States Air Force National Guard. He graduated Basic Training and Technical School Training and returned home in November of 2016. Chandley was then offered a position at Bluefield College by Head Coach Dewey Lusk in February of 2017 where he coached running backs, fullbacks, tight ends, and was co-special team’s coordinator.  A few of his hobbies include hunting, fishing, and playing golf. 

The Pioneers will head into next season with a new head football coach.

Coach Chandley has three overarching goals for his football team:  “One, we will do things the right way and will conduct ourselves in a respectable manner on and off the field. Two, we will pride ourselves on playing fast, physical, and being extremely disciplined. Three, we will work extremely hard and we will respect our opponent.” 

Chandley is also excited to announce that former DCHS quarterback Ryan Burger will be joining his staff. 

Halliburton said she would like to thank the following members of the interview and selection committee for recommending Hayden Chandley for the Head Football Coach position: Peggy Wright, Principal at DCHS; Jarrod Adams, Special Projects Manager for Washington County Schools; Josh Kite, athletic director at DCHS; Cody Patterson, Assistant Principal at DCHS; John Good, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at DCHS, Sharon Clark, teacher at DCHS, and Lauren Murr, teacher at DCHS. 

A press conference was held after this edition of the Herald & Tribune went to press. The event was held in the library of David Crockett High School on Tuesday April 10 1:30 pm. to formally introduce Coach Chandley.

Boone baseball sweeps Pioneers

Boone hurler Matt Cox takes on the next David Crockett hitter.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Effective starting pitching and timely hitting propelled Daniel Boone to a two-game home-and-home sweep of rival David Crockett last week.

Matt Cox scattered six hits and walked one while striking out nine en route to a complete-game victory in Boone’s 2-1 triumph at Clarence Mabe Field on Monday. Hunter Adams pitched 5 2/3 innings for the victory in Boone’s 6-3 win at Warren Miller Field on Tuesday.

“Matt and Hunter pitched well … and saved some arms,” Boone coach Rob Hoover said. “Any time our starters can go six or seven innings is great.”

Cox outdueled Crockett’s Devin Foster, who was a hard-luck loser for the second straight week after tossing a gem in a 1-0 loss to Dobyns-Bennett.

“It was a good battle,” Hoover said. “Both of those guys changed speeds really well. Foster – the week before – got beat 1-0 by Dobyns-Bennett. So he knows how to pitch.

“I thought we could’ve done a little bit better job of staying back and changing our approach hitting a little bit. But to his credit he continued to throw a changeup and worked us away. He never gave us anything good over the middle to hit.”

Boone’s Eric “Doc” Rigsby, who recently committed to Carson-Newman, led the Trailblazers in the county rivalry game.

Daniel Boone senior Eric “Doc” Rigsby went 3-for-3 with a double, triple, two runs and two RBIs in the 6-3 victory. Rigsby, who announced his commitment to Carson-Newman last week, is the lone ‘Blazer batting better than .400 on the season.

“He had some great at-bats at Crockett,” Hoover said. “I think it was the second one where he may have fouled off eight or nine balls. And he ended up with three hits.

“He’s seeing the ball well. That’s kind of what we expect from him and he’s gonna have to continue to do that for us to score.”

Sophomore Cade Elliott had a pair of RBI doubles in the 6-3 win. Senior Zach Taylor was the man of the hour in the 2-1 victory. Taylor doubled and scored on Brody Goodman’s single to tie the score, 1-1, in the fifth and followed Rigsby’s double with a game-winning RBI single in the sixth.

“We hit it just enough,” Hoover said. “We left some runners out there again. But we swung the bats better Tuesday than we did Monday. We’re looking for other guys (besides Rigsby) to step up and swing the bats better than we have the last two weeks, for sure.”

Crockett’s Foster allowed six hits, walked four and struck out six in six innings. Senior southpaw Tanner Treadway struck out eight in six innings in the Pioneers’ 6-3 loss.

“Seven of our last 11 games have been decided by three runs or less,” Crockett first-year coach Nick Lingerfelt said. “Our pitching coach, Coach (Dustin) Clawson, has done a great job with our pitchers. We’ve got them throwing strikes and our defense is playing well. We just haven’t come up with that timely hit.

Crockett’s Tanner Treadway prepares for the pitch during the Washington County match up.

“The last two outings for Devin have been really good against Kingsport and Boone. Tanner Treadway’s thrown well. He threw well against Oceanside down in Charleston (S.C.) and he threw well against Boone. Cade Larkins has come on and been throwing well and throwing strikes. Luke Adams, a junior left-hander, has given us some good innings.”

Crockett catcher Will Long (Tennessee Tech) went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI in the 2-1 setback. Long has needed patience while being pitched carefully this season.

“They’re pitching Will like you normally would a good hitter,” Lingerfelt said. “He’s made some adjustments. He led off the other night with a home run in the top of the first against a really quality pitcher. He’s coming along. I’ve gotta give him kudos, because he was struggling early on.”

The Pioneers’ Landon Quillen hit a 3-2 pitch for a three-run double in the sixth inning of the 6-3 loss.

“We’ve been struggling with runners on base,” Lingerfelt said. “Quillen’s hit was our first in five or six games with runners in scoring position. It was a big hit for him. There’s a lot of potential for him there.”

The Pioneers (0-8, 1-15) will host Wolcott (Conn.) on Saturday at 4 p.m. Wolcott is coached by Pioneers great Tary Scott, who will be in town on a day when Crockett recognizes its 1978 state tournament team, which included Scott’s older brother Dale.

Tary played in a JUCO World Series for Walters State and Dale played in the JUCO World Series while at Roane State.

Daniel Boone (5-3, 9-5) is scheduled to play at Sevier County on Friday at 6 p.m.

Daniel Boone runners shine during indoor state meet

The boys distance relay team took the top spot.

 

From STAFF REPORTS

Daniel Boone High School athletes competed in the state indoor track championships at Vanderbilt on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Jeremiah Sullivan won the 25-pound weight throw. Meanwhile, Boone’s boys distance medley relay team, comprised of Matt Huff, Joe Jones, Austin Galloway and Chance Bowman took first in their relay race.

The girls distance relay team set a new school record and placed third.

The girls distance medley relay team, comprised of Maria Chellah, Patricia Chellah, Judy Chellah and Grace Murray, placed third and set a new school record. The girls also placed fourth in the 400 meter relay.

Meanwhile, Maria Chellah placed third in the 800 meter run — she now holds the new Daniel Boone High School record for the event.

Katie Cutshall placed sixth in the pole vault while Alanna Cloud competed in the two-mile run with a personal best time.

The boys team placed fourth overall and the girls placed seventh as a team out of over 40 scoring teams. All of these athletes were named all-state in their respective events.

Maria Chellah placed third in the 800 meter run and was a part of the girls distance team.

Jeremiah Sullivan won the 25-pound weight throw for Boone at the meet.

Lady Pioneers split East Tennessee Classic

Unicoi’s Allee Griffith gets caught in a rundown as Crockett’s Lenzie Jenkins attempts to earn an out for the Lady Pioneers.

From STAFF REPORTS

David Crockett High School Softball fell 0-2 against non-conference opponent Unicoi High School on Friday, March 23 at the East Tennessee Classic at Winged Deer Park in Johnson City.

The Lady Pioneers gave up two runs in the first inning against the Lady Blue Devils, which were the only runs scored throughout the game.

Crockett’s Lenzie Jenkins, Mackenzie Baldwin, Maddie Roy and Kat Pfiefer each collected one hit, but were unable to cross the plate in the matchup.

Pitcher Kara Weems earned six strikeouts for Crockett, allowing six hits, two runs and two walks. Unicoi’s Halie Padgett earned four strikeouts, allowing four hits, zero runs and one walk.

Unicoi’s Rylee Stiltner, Sydney Miller and Grace Ann Clark and Allee Griffith earned hits while Stiltner and Miller tallied for the Blue Devil’s two runs.

Crockett first baseman Kat Pfiefer goes for the catch as the Crockett defense earns an out against Unicoi County.

Later that evening, the Lady Pioneers rallied to outlast non-conference opponent Sullivan East High School 5-4.

The Sullivan East Lady Patriots struck first when Katelyn Loudy scored Samantha Smith, but the Lady Pioneers ran up the score in the third and fifth innings with two runs from Mattie McKee and Sydney Fox and one run from Mackenzie Baldwin.

Sullivan East rallied in the sixth with a three-run home run from Emily Watkins leaving the Lady Patriots one run shy of topping the Lady Pioneers.

McKee pitched six innings for Crockett, earning four strikeouts and giving up four runs, seven hits and one home run.

Crockett’s Weems threw one inning, earning two strikeouts. East’s Kylee Wolfe earned two strikeouts, allowing eight hits and five runs.

Last week the Lady Pioneers spent their spring break on the diamond, walking away from a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina tournament with four wins, two losses and one tie game from the week.

The Lady Pioneers will head to Kingsport for the Eastman Tournament Thursday, April 5 through Sunday, April 8 before once again facing Unicoi at home on Monday, April 9 at 5 p.m.

The Lady Pioneers will then battle conference foe Dobyns-Bennett High School at home on Tuesday, April 10 at 4:30 p.m.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Daniel Boone High School Baseball’s Zach Taylor. Zach helped the ‘Blazers to victory with a walk-off hit to clinch the win against Knox Halls. Check back next week for the following New People’s Bank Player of the Week.

Player of the week

This week’s H&T player of the week is David Crockett High School Softball’s Kara Weems. The ace pitcher has led her team this season, including in the matchup against conference opponent Cherokee High School when Kara pitched a no-hitter. Check back next week for our following player of the week.

DCHS boasts college signings

 

Hunter Price (Tusculum football)

Above, Hunter Price celebrated his signing with Tusculum College accompanied by his family and coaches.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

David Crockett High School football player Hunter Price will trade brown and gold for orange and black next year at Tusculum College — but he’ll remain a Pioneer.

Price signed on Friday, March 16 to continue his academic and athletic career as a Tusculum Pioneer. But he officially announced his decision to accept Tusculum’s scholarship offer just a few days after first committing with Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia.

“A few days after I committed to Emory & Henry, Tusculum stated contacting me. It’s closer to the house. And they’re a D-2 (Division II) program in the SAC (South Atlantic Conference),” Price said. “That will be a lot of local competition and a great opportunity for me.”

Price said he plans to play offensive guard at Tusculum, but that the option is open for him to switch over to right tackles as well. While at Crockett, offensive line coach Brandon Qualls said Price switched between the two positions without hesitation and has been known as a reliable, hard worker.

“He’s transformed his body to get him to this point. If you’d have seen the picture of him last year compared to this year, you wouldn’t believe how much he’s worked to get to where he is,” Qualls said. “Hunter was there pushing every day no matter what was going on. He works hard and that’s what they need.”

That hard work is something Price said his team mates helped him to get through. And in thinking of all he’s achieved and has ahead, the David Crockett senior said it wouldn’t have been possible without his team of family and friends by his side.

“I just really love being around my teammates,” Price said. “They’ve helped me grind it out over the summer and through workouts. Football’s starting to be a year-round thing and my teammates have really helped push me to accomplish all my goals.

“With out my family and friends and all their support, I wouldn’t be standing here today. I want to thank God for giving me the ability to play this great sport of football — He’s allowed me to continue my football career.”

***

Jordan Hensley (Bristol Prep Academy Basketball)

Above, Jordan Hensley (front middle) signs with Bristol Prep Academy alongside his family, friends and coaches.

David Crockett High School basketball player Jordan Hensley is looking for a little extra time on the court before he heads off to a college or university. And that’s what he said he was aiming to find when he signed his letter of intent with Bristol Prep Academy.

“I felt like it was a great opportunity for me to go build on my craft and possibly get a better scholarship,” Hensley said. “I felt like I needed another year of basketball. I only played two years in high school.”

Before Hensley jumped at his Bristol Prep opportunity, he said Crockett’s head basketball coach, John Good, was a big factor in becoming a Pioneer.

For Good, Hensley has been an asset to the Pioneer squad.

“Jordan is an outstanding shooter. He led us in percentage and in makes,” Good said. “He’s a shooter and hopefully he will continue to develop at Bristol Prep and get a college opportunity as well. We’re proud of Jordan.”

***

Paul Arrowood (Milligan Basketball)

Above, Paul Arrowood (front middle) signed with Milligan College with his family by his side.

 

It wasn’t all that long ago that David Crockett High School basketball player and homeschool student Paul Arrowood’s sights weren’t at first set on playing high school basketball — but, like deciding to play on the hardwood in the first place, his vision shortly changed. And, if you were to ask the 6-foot-five forward, he’d say it was all for the better.

“Honestly, I had no interest in competitive basketball until after eighth grade. I started playing basketball for a homeschool team in Kingsport from eighth grade to my sophomore year and then I came here as a junior,” Arrowood said.

“I started working out with someone who was in contact with Coach Good and after that year, he asked me if I wanted to play high school basketball. I wasn’t sure at first, but I decided to.”

Maybe he didn’t exactly foresee his future as a Pioneer, but for Arrowood, who signed his letter of intent with Milligan College on Friday, Milligan has been on his radar for a while.

“Milligan’s always been my main option,” Arrowood said. “I’ve had the opportunity to play AAU the past couple of years, but playing open gyms and being in contact with the coaches at Milligan, I’ve been around them a lot since before my junior season.

“And I like the way their academics are and that it’s a small kind of tight-knit place. I think I’ll be a good fit there.”

Arrowood joined the Pioneer team two years ago and has been a leader on the court for the Crockett team that recently wrapped its season in the regional playoffs. Good said Arrowood has been a big factor in the team’s success. He also said he’s a kid who has always embraced his opportunities.

“(Arrowood) has been a great asset to our program,” Good said. “He came in here without knowing anybody, but he embraced himself in trying to meet people on the team and in the school, cheerleaders, administration — everything. He’s a very fine young man. Milligan is getting a good basketball player, but they’re getting a better person.”

He might have walked through the doors of David Crockett High School as a kid who knew next to no one at a school he didn’t attend, but for Arrowood, it’s been hard to not be a bit sad in finishing his senior season. Nonetheless, his opportunities ahead are something the senior basketball player said he is looking forward to both on the court and off.

“It’s been a great part of my life playing at Crockett. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and all the people here. It’s definitely very sad finishing the season knowing that it’s over. It took a while for it to even be sunk in, just watching people playing a week after we were finished,” Arrowood said.

“I’m sad about it, but I’m glad I’ve made the memories I have here.  I’m excited about college. I look forward to all of it, but I’m also excited to have a fresh start on my basketball career and get to work on my game and improve in any way.”

Player of the week

The H&T’s featured athlete is Daniel Boone High School Softball’s Greyson Stevens. Greyson led her team to victory at the Lady Trailblazer’s tournament play in Hendersonville. Check back for next featured athlete of the week.

Player of the week

This week’s Player of the Week is David Crockett High School wrestler Paige Snapp. Snapp recently won the state championship crown in her weight class for wrestling after winning regionals. Check back at the H&T website for the following Player of the Week.

Lady ‘Blazers fall in state game

The Lady Trailblazers gather before their last home game of the season where they landed their region win against Oak Ridge. The team then lost to Bradley Central in the first round of the state tournament on Wednesday, March 7 in Murfreesboro.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

The Daniel Boone girls basketball program’s first trip to the Class AAA state tournament ended with a 56-27 loss to undefeated Bradley Central in the quarterfinals.

But Boone made it a game for most of three quarters on a day when simply walking on the Murphy Center court at Middle Tennessee was a triumphant thrill that trumped any agony of defeat.

Coach Travis Mains didn’t hesitate when asked about images from Murfreesboro that’ll remain vivid decades from now.

“Just coming out and up the (ramp) and onto the floor and those lights being so bright and those parents and the sounds and how loud they were when the players came on the floor,” Mains said, “and when they announced their names and when we made a run there. Just that environment – you won’t know it until you get to that level. It showed how much it’s worth to work that hard to get to that level.”

Boone didn’t merely show up, although realistically, anything beyond a sectional win against a good Oak Ridge team had the feel of icing on the cake. But Macie Culbertson’s three-point play got the Trailblazers within 29-21 with four minutes left in the third quarter, and Boone was still within nine points with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. That’s when Boone’s short bench suddenly made for long odds.

“They just physically wore us down,” Mains said. “They were really physical on the ball. We got to the foul line so many times (Boone was 16-for-21 while Bradley Central was 3-for-7 at the line), which is good, but they just wore us down. We weren’t deep enough to offset it later in the game. We didn’t shoot the ball very well, either.”

There was solace in statistics. Culbertson led the team in steals (three). Fellow seniors Sydney Pearce and Emily Sizemore led the team in the blocked shots and assists, respectively, while junior Bayleigh Carmichel scored a team-high eight points and sophomore Jaycie Jenkins had a team-high seven rebounds.

“We were very balanced every game,” Mains said. “The kids played so well as a team and played their roles.”

Culbertson’s lead role included leading the ‘Blazers to Murfreesboro, which she did with a 25-point performance in a sectional win against a good Oak Ridge team after winning regional MVP and helping end rival Morristown West’s season.

“Our main team goal this year was just simply to get to state,” Culbertson said. “We worked hard at practice and we just never got satisfied. We just always wanted to get better each day. And I think all that work really paid off and that’s how we got to state. But beating Mo West and Oak Ridge were two accomplishments that we are so proud of.

“Playing with Sydney and Emily the past three years I’ve actually played (Culbertson missed her freshman season with a knee injury), has been so fun. We were the leaders on the team, and to end our careers by going to the state tournament is something we all three loved.”

Anything less than a state tournament berth would’ve been disappointing for a senior class that included a Belmont signee (Culbertson) and a Carson-Newman signee (Pearce). Anything more would’ve been gravy.

“After the Oak Ridge game was amazing,” Mains said, “congratulating the kids and the parents coming up to you hugging you and crying, and the kids crying. It was pretty special. Bayleigh knew it was gonna be her last time with those kids and she was kind of hanging on every moment, it seemed like to me.

“I think they broke through a glass ceiling there that they saw in their sight, but I don’t think they realized that they could win, to be quite honest with you. But they figured it out, which was pretty cool.”

Culbertson sees a bright future despite the departures of her, Pearce and Sizemore.

“I believe the team will do just fine with leaders like Bayleigh and Jaycie next season,” Culbertson said. “They will push the other kids to step up and fill our spots and play.”

To Murfreesboro: Boone girls take playoff win, reach state

Boone’s Macie Culbertson battles two Oak Ridge defenders in the Lady ‘Blazers Saturday night victory. The Washington County team will now head to Murfreesboro this week for the state tournament.

Daniel Boone Head Coach Travis Mains celebrates his team’s playoff win in Bobby Snyder Gymnasium.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone senior point guard Macie Culbertson didn’t have to carry the balanced Lady Trailblazers basketball team to the state tournament.

However, after watching her performance in Boone’s historic 62-51 sectional win against Oak Ridge on Saturday at Bobby Snyder Gym, you got the feeling she could have if necessary.

The 5-foot-11 Belmont signee scored 16 of her game-high 25 points in the second half and finished 10-for-10 at the foul line while helping the Lady ‘Blazers avenge a 2017 sectional loss at Oak Ridge to claim the program’s first Class AAA state tournament berth.

Daniel Boone Head Coach Travis Mains celebrates his team’s playoff win in Bobby Snyder Gymnasium.

Boone reached the 1997 Class AA state tournament during Jerry Jenkins’ final season and returned the following year under Tim Campbell.

Fifth-ranked (30-4) Boone, which made 19 of 20 foul shots against Oak Ridge, will play second-ranked Bradley Central (32-0) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. (EST) in Murfreesboro.

Culbertson, who was named regional tournament MVP on Wednesday after leading the ‘Blazers to a rather easy win against Jefferson County in the championship, was dazzling down the stretch against a quality Oak Ridge team. During a game-ending 16-8 run, she scored 10 points and assisted 3-pointers by fellow senior Emily Sizemore and junior Bayleigh Carmichel.

“I looked at Macie at halftime and she just had that look, man,” Daniel Boone coach Travis Mains said.

Carmichel, who scored 12 points, including a 3-pointer from the left corner via an assist from Culbertson to give Boone a 54-49 lead with 2:01 remaining, noticed Culbertson’s look to.

“I haven’t seen that look in Macie in a long time,” Carmichel said. “I know she didn’t want her season to be over and I knew she wanted to make it to state before her trip down to Nashville for college. So I think that drove her to play outstanding in the second half.”

Culbertson assisted a Sizemore trey that gave Boone the lead for good (51-49) with 3:17 remaining. It triggered a 10-0 run.

“My three years that I’ve played we’d never gotten this far,” Culbertson said. “So I think we kind of wanted revenge from last year – them knocking us out. I just knew I needed to step up for my team and I just helped to get the win.

“It’s really exciting. It was crazy in the locker room – just us as a team celebrating and screaming and stuff. This was really important to us.”

Culbertson and fellow senior Sydney Pearce (11 points), a Carson-Newman signee who blocked her 500th career shot during a six-swat performance against Oak Ridge, were expected to lead Boone to at least one state tournament when they entered the program.

Culbertson missed her freshman season with a knee injury and was burdened by a brace her sophomore year. Pearce sustained a serious ankle injury during the offseason prior to a junior season that was consequently compromised.

Still, anything less than a trip to Murfreesboro and history would’ve judged the tandem’s careers somewhat harshly.

“It’s been a steady climb,” Mains said. “It feels like you get kicked down and the kids – they just keep working. They take butt-chewings and they just keep climbing. This is very sweet.

“Sydney had the ankle injury. Macie tore her ACL. The kids kept going through adversity. And they didn’t want to lose tonight.”

Pearce, whose mother Tammy was a Daniel Boone standout who went on to play at Tennessee and East Tennessee State, scored 10 of her 11 points in the first half against Oak Ridge. She also finished with eight rebounds.

“I feel like every year we’ve gotten better and done better,” Pearce said. “It’s awesome to get revenge on Oak Ridge and to be going to state and in the final eight. And we won our last game on this court.”

Macie Culbertson and Travis Mains talk over some details at the Saturday match up.

Mains also played in high school on the court – for the coach whose name is now on the gym. Mains, an overachieving basketball junkie who won an Arby’s Classic 3-point shootout and was a solid player at King University, had the look of a man who’d reached the top of a mountain Saturday night.

“He’s pushed – I know me – the hardest anybody’s ever pushed me,” Culbertson said. “He’s such a good coach and he’s so important to me.

“I think we kind of all did it for him, because he pushes us and he believes in us.”

Boone sophomore forward Jaycie Jenkins, who should’ve been voted to the all-region team along with Culbertson, Pearce and Carmichel, tallied 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in the sectional. Culbertson had seven rebounds and five assists.

“They all followed behind Macie,” Mains said “She wasn’t gonna let us lose, and neither was Sydney or Bayleigh or Emily or Jaycie.”

Oak Ridge, which was replacing one starter from last season’s team, was attempting to reach the state tournament for the third straight year. The Wildcats probably would have, Oak Ridge coach Paige Redman will tell you, were it not for Culbertson’s performance.

“She showed up and wanted to play and, I mean, she made it difficult for us,” Redman said. “They set up in a big zone and that’s not to our advantage. That’s no secret. We’re better when we are running up and down. We did too much standing offensively against their zone in the second half.

“They’re a good basketball team. They are well-coached. They made shots. And I think they were 19 for 20 from the free throw line. I mean that’s hard to beat.”

It’s hard to beat the chill bumps that rose when seeing the emotion glisten in Carmichel’s eyes afterward. Her mother, the former Kim McInturff, played on back-to-back state tournament teams (1985-86) at Unicoi County before playing at Western Carolina. Bayleigh is undefeated in games when she wears a Western Carolina hoodie.

“It’s an unreal feeling (making state),” Carmichel said with a quivering voice. “It’s everything you’ve worked for since you were a kid. She said it’s unbelievable to go and she wanted me to be able to go. So I’m glad we made it.”

Anything else would be gravy, especially when considering a tough quarterfinal opponent. But Mains said Boone can compete with Bradley Central, which beat the ‘Blazers, 56-43, on Nov. 25 in the championship of a Thanksgiving tournament at Bradley Central. Culbertson and a balanced roster of complementary cogs should give Boone a puncher’s chance.

“Macie’s very special,” Mains said. “She attacked that basket (against Oak Ridge). She’s an all-state player. If she don’t make all-state there’s something wrong. … I can’t wait till Wednesday to see what she does next.”

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Daniel Boone High School’s girls basketball team. The Lady Trailblazers have made it to the state tournament after winning the district and regional crown. Pick up a copy of the H&T next Wednesday to see the team’s results.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is David Crockett High School’s boys basketball player Mchale Bright. Mchale has been a leader on the hardwood for the Pioneers this season with his district and conference honors. Check back next week for the following New Peoples Bank Player of the Week.

Austin Lewis is ready to change perception

Austin Lewis just completed his senior football season, but now he’s ready to continue his career at Liberty University.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

David Crockett High School football’s Austin Lewis has received many awards and honors throughout his high school career. But for the defensive end — who recently signed his letter of intent with Liberty University — the only thing he’s ever really been after was the chance to play football.

Lewis has been a leader for the Crockett Pioneers and might just be the highest ranked football player to come out of Jonesborough. As a three-star recruit and the Crockett record holder for tackles for loss in a single season, Lewis received interest from multiple colleges such as Duke, Army, Kansas State and the University of Massachusetts, among others.

But now, he’s set to join the Liberty Flames in Lynchburg, Virginia where he’ll be met with his new team, new coaching staff and what he considers the best atmosphere of any college he visited.

“People say not to choose colleges based on coaches, but of course that’s one of the main reasons I chose it,” Lewis told the Herald and Tribune . “The atmosphere of the place is unmatched compared to any other place I’ve ever been. And their facilities are amazing.”

But the 6-foot-6, 235 pound defensive end isn’t headed to Liberty without the realization of the lofty expectations that await him in Lynchburg.

“I’m trying to play as a freshman,” Lewis explained. “They’re expecting really big things out of me and I just hope I can live up to that standard, that I can produce as a freshman.”

Lewis might be ready to make a name for himself at the college level, but his name has already been etched in David Crockett High School history as a ring of honor inductee.

Lewis received the news of the honor when former Pioneer Coach Jeremy Bosken, who is now the offensive coordinator at Cleveland High School, drove roughly three hours to speak on Lewis’ behalf — and inform his former player of the high school hall of fame nod.

“That was a big surprise. I didn’t expect it at all,” Lewis said. “I was honestly emotional the whole time. Coach Bosken has been like another dad to me. It just meant a lot for him to be there and it was just really emotional, but in a good way.”

At the signing, however, Bosken was the one who appeared emotional as he told Lewis’ family, friends, teachers and coaches about the impression this young man had made on him and his family.

Austin is joined by his mother Pam Lewis (right) and father Michael Lewis (middle right) and sister Morgan Lewis on signing day.

“Every time he leaves a camp or a practice field, he will come up and shake the coach’s hand and tell him, ‘thank you.’ It may seem silly to a lot of y’all, but I have an 11, 7 and a 6 year old in the house right now,” Bosken said. “Every time they leave their little practices, they go and shake the coaches’ hands. In today’s sports age and how crazy things are, that goes a long, long way.

“He’s made a lasting impression on my family and I wanted to make sure I got here.”

From left to right, Michel Lewis, Austin Lewis, Pam Lewis and Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge gather after the senior football player received his Proclamation of Recognition at a Washington County Commission meeting.

Just a few months after being named a ring of honor inductee, Lewis was also given a Proclamation of Recognition at the Washington County Commission’s Jan. 22 meeting.

But Lewis’ road to athletic achievement hasn’t been a totally smooth one; when asked what obstacles he’s endured through his athletic career, the twists and turns David Crockett High School’s football team has seen immediately came to mind.

“It feels like every year since I’ve been in high school something has happened. Freshman year we had the (Musket Bowl) fight, which made national news. My sophomore year we had the hazing which made us all look bad,” Lewis said. “Junior year Coach B left, which nobody liked that. Senior year was just crazy all the way around. I don’t really care what side anyone is on, it was just crazy. I was just wanting to play football.

“It’s actually been a blessing that all this has happened though so I can look back and be like ‘Okay this can’t be that bad.’”

During Lewis’ senior season, Crockett’s head coach was placed on administrative leave, but throughout the tumultuous happenings off of Old State Route 34, Lewis said his heart of hearts always remained the same — he’s always just been a kid wanting to be on the field.

Austin takes the line of scrimmage against Knox Central in a play off game last season.

“I’ll always feel the same about football and love it,” Lewis said. “I said earlier this season when all that was happening that I would play even if somebody’s girlfriend was our coach. I just like playing. A lot of people look at me negatively for that, I guess because I wouldn’t choose a side. I couldn’t figure it out.”

But in becoming a Division I football player, Lewis has also taken into consideration just what it means to be a David Crockett High School Pioneer. And that, he said, will always offer him a sense of pride and motivation.

“Oh it’s really big (coming from Crockett). We’ve had players like Ian Martin, TK (Hill) and with basketball, Patrick Good — the biggest name out of here probably ever,” Lewis said. “It’s just awesome to be included because I’ve been around those guys all my high school life. Hopefully it changes the perception of Crockett because it’s never really happened, a kid going to play FBS (football bowl subdivision) football.”

Lewis said he’s also hoping that younger athletes dreaming of playing at the next level realize that success can come from any place.

“It can happen anywhere. I really hated when I was younger, people would say, ‘No one has ever made it out of Crockett’, which was true. But it can happen anywhere,” He said. “You just have to work hard and be very disciplined. You’ve gotta make contacts. That’s the biggest thing that I did right. I made good relationships and met a lot of good people. That’s what makes everything work, who you know.”

Austin is hoping to chance the perception of Division I athletes.

Now Lewis is set to put in the work in Lynchburg while working towards his dream of getting to the NFL. He said if that plan doesn’t work out, he plans to go to law school. But in the meantime, he’s hoping to not only make a change in how his high school is perceived, but also the way in which Division I football players are seen.

“I want to be perceived as the kind of guy you can just talk to, who’s not just going to blow you off and be arrogant,” Lewis said. “I don’t really like to be around those kind of people. I’m always happy, I’m always smiling. I don’t really let bad things ruin my day. I’m a very positive person and I want people to look at me in that way.

“In some ways it’s kind of hard to be perceived in that way because there are a lot of kids who are in my position who are very arrogant. I just want to change that stereotype.”