David Crockett High School Baseball secures grant

David Crockett High School Principal Peggy Wright (left) celebrates the baseball team’s Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant. The Pioneers’ facilities will see upgrades after securing the $5,000 grant.

From STAFF REPORTS

The David Crockett High School baseball team received a grant to continue work on the team’s facilities in Washington County.

The Pioneer baseball team was awarded a Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant for $5,000. The grant funds will be used for baseball field house upgrades. Improvements have already been underway at Crockett within the field house and on baseball field at Crockett.

To secure the grant, the team had to apply a  project for either technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, facility renovations or safety improvements.

Lowe’s will donate $5 million to K-12 public/charter schools and parent teacher groups throughout the country this year.

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant program started in 2006 and is funded by the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.

The program is designed to support community and school projects in the communities near which a Lowe’s is located.

Player of the week

Congratulations to our player of the week, Daniel Boone’s Eric Rigsby. Rigsby has been a leader for the Trailblazers on the hardwood this season. Check back next week for our next featured athlete.

DCHS catcher gears up to make memories

Surrounded by his family and coaches, Will Long signed with Tennessee Tech to continue his athletic and academic career at in Cookeville.

By Marina Waters

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

David Crockett High School baseball player Will Long has considered how he’ll be remembered once he graduates and moves on to Tennessee Tech where he will continue his academic and athletic career. But in signing with the Golden Eagles, he’s ready to be remembered as a kid who got to continue playing the game he’s always loved.

“I’ve wanted to play at the highest level since I was 4, whenever I started t-ball,” Long said. “It’s everybody’s dream to keep playing. So I’m getting to move along with it and I’m just really happy about it.”

Long is a catcher for the Crockett Pioneers and is a two-time All-Big 7 Conference player. He’s earned a .354 batting average and has tallied three home runs, 15 doubles, 24 RBIs, 18 walks and 27 runs throughout his junior season.

The senior Pioneer was in contact with Walters State, East Tennessee State University as well as other schools in North Carolina, but when it came time to see the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in action, Long knew the atmosphere was what he was looking for.

“I went down and watched them practice and play games and it just had a different feel than any others,” Long said. “They had a different energy, more enthusiasm about what they were doing. They just seem like they’re playing relaxed and not uptight. The coaches are awesome there. I got along with them really well.”

Before Long will make the move to Cookeville, where he plans to go into mechanical engineering, the senior catcher has one more year left in on the diamond in Jonesborough. With a new head coach, Nick Lingerfelt, and another go around with his teammates, Long said he’s ready to suit up as a Pioneer for his senior season.

“We seem to be doing some really good things. If all the players can buy into what we’re trying to do at Crockett now, we should be pretty good this season,” Long said. “We’ll see what happens.”

To ensure a powerful and memorable last season, Long said he’s been putting in the work in the off season and getting ready to make the most of the whole ride.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time in the weight room and in the batting cage throwing a lot,” Long said. “It’s just that extra practice on your own that’ll really set you apart from the others in my opinion.”

“I’m just trying to make the most of it really. You’re only in high school one time so I want to make it one that I can remember and go out with a bang.”

One of Long’s fondest memories from his time at Crockett might be pretty hard to beat this season, however. When asked who has helped the senior catcher get to where he is today, Long’s mind immediately went to an experience he had due to his former head coach, Scott Hagy.

From left to right, Will Long and former Pioneer Head Coach Scott Hagy celebrate Long’s selection to Team Tennessee.

Hagy was the longtime Pioneer baseball coach and only the second in program history. Before he retired from his head coaching duties, Hagy was instrumental in Long’s selection to Team Tennessee that competed in the Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma.

“Coach Hagy is the one who actually got me there because he was the one who recommended I go,” Long said. “That’s how I was selected to go to that tournament.”

For Long, the experience to play with the elite team is one he’ll never forget. He also said he’s thankful to have met some of the state’s top performers, who became friends, on the trip as well.

“I remember the bus ride down to Oklahoma — it seemed like nobody said a word. Then we got to know each other through the week playing together and we were talking the whole night on the bus ride back,” Long said. “So it was fun to get to know those guys. There are a few that’ll probably be drafted next year and some will be going on to play at SEC schools. So it was cool to play with that kind of talent for that week.”

When the senior athlete looks back on his time at Crockett, however, it isn’t just the games played with his team that comes to mind; overall, Long said he is hoping to leave his mark as a good all-around person on and off the field.

“I feel like I’ve done some good things to be remembered for a long time,” Long said. “Really what I want is to be one that someone can look back and remember as a good student in class, a good friend to talk to and a good baseball player.”

Daniel Boone Trailblazer named to 5A all-state team

Daniel Boone High School lineman Bailey Presnell was selected to the 2017 all-state team for Class 5A.

From STAFF REPORTS

Daniel Boone High School’s senior football player Bailey Presnell has been selected to the Class 5A All-State Team.

Presnell was selected as an offensive lineman in the Tennessee Football Coaches Association’s all-state team. The Boone senior is one of five offensive lineman to receive the all-state title.

The 39-member team was selected following nominations from coaches throughout Tennessee in each class. The 5A team was announced on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

The 6-foot-3, 210 pound senior is an NUC All-American, a first-team all-conference and district selection and the two-time lineman of the year.

Presnell is an offensive guard and defensive tackle for the Daniel Boone Trailblazer team that won the conference title for the first time in program history after defeating the David Crockett High School Pioneers 28-21 in 2017’s Annual Musket Bowl face-off.

Player of the week

David Crockett High School’s Gavin Russell placed second in a recent wrestling tournament in Nashville. Check back for our next featured athlete of the week.

 

The wild ride: A year in Washington County sports

The David Crockett High School Football team saw a controversy in 2017, but it didn’t end the Pioneers’ season. The team made it to the first round of the playoffs where they scored more points than ever before in a postseason game.

By Marina Waters

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

Washington County sports was somewhat of a theme park ride in 2017; there were some fun moments, some surprising turns and even a few points where it seemed everything turned upside down.

And now that 2017 has come to a close and 2018 is underway, all anyone can do is look back at the tumultuous ride that was this past year.

It was David Crockett’s Football program that saw the most turns in this rollercoaster year after Head Coach and former NFLer Gerald Sensabaugh was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Nick Lingerfelt stepped in as DCHS’s interim head coach for the season.

However, after the coaching controversy, and each player’s decision to play or not to play after the suspension, the Pioneers opted to continue their season with baseball head coach Nick Lingerfelt serving as the interim head football coach.

“The easiest thing to do would be to fold up tent and quit,” Lingerfelt said at a press conference at the school following the team’s decision. “I don’t see that in these kids. I don’t. I see the drive and the initiative to go forward.”

The decision came just five days before the annual Musket Bowl rivalry game between Crockett and Daniel Boone High School. With an interim head coach and players who had returned for the game, the Pioneers put up 21 points against the Trailblazers who over came Crockett by just seven points.

The Daniel Boone Trailblazers seized a Musket Bowl victory and conference title all in one game this year.

The Pioneers’ presence on the field was a victory in itself, but for Boone, that night gave the Blazers their second straight conference win and clinched the league title for the boys in red. The conference title was Boone’s first in school history.

Head Coach Jeremy Jenkins’ ‘Blazers went on to defeat Cherokee 27-7 on the road, but then fell to Knox Central in a home playoff game to end their season.

It wasn’t all about football in Washington County sports this year, however. Teams from both Boone and Crockett proved their athletic prowess in 2017, including each schools’ lone female wrestler.

Boone’s two-time state champion, Isabella Badon, and Crockett’s Paige Snapp were both featured in the Herald & Tribune after their appearances in the state tournament for wrestling.

Both girls were featured for their accomplishments, but they also spoke on their journey as pioneers in the sport that seems to be becoming more popular for female athletes.

“For some reason, it seems like there’s a stigma towards wrestling in this area. It’s funny, the first thing they think is like WWF jumping off top ropes and things like that,” ‘Blazer wrestling coach Blake Shropshire said. “With what Bella did, that’s unreal. Just to place twice is hard, but to win a state championship twice, that doesn’t happen. It’s hard to get through a season, much less to be successful.”

Another league of ladies made history this year as well; Crockett had a girls cross country team that competed in the state tournament for the first time in 35 years.

Breanna Roy, Taylor Roy, Chloe Cradic, Emmaline Hulse, Gracie Krell, Rachel Dulaney and Halle Scott finished eighth in the tournament with a record setting-time in Pioneer history.

“I was pretty excited,” senior runner Breanna Roy said. “We haven’t had a team go to state since 1982. It was exciting seeing the potential building as we were going into the season.”

 

Breanna Roy races through injuries to signing day

Surrounded by her family, Breanna Roy (front row, middle) signs to continue her academic and athletic career at the University of Tennessee at Martin on Nov. 20, 2017.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

If you had asked David Crockett High School senior cross country runner Breanna Roy two years ago if she thought she’d be continuing her running career in college, she probably would have given you a “no”.

But on Monday, Nov. 20, Roy was able to prove herself wrong by signing to run at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

“I really wanted to run in college. The goal was the olympics, but college first, get my degrees to become what I want to be,” Roy said. “But I didn’t know if I was going to get it because I’d been out my sophomore and junior year, wasn’t really successful at all.

“I just didn’t feel like anybody wanted me really.”

Roy is a four-year runner and was all conference and all region each year throughout her Crockett career. She also been an all-state runner for three years. But what might be most impressive are the obstacles the UT Martiner was able to overcome.

After earning all conference and making it to state as a freshman, Roy learned she had bursitis and tendinitis in her knees.

From left to right, Rachel Dulaney, Grace Krell, Taylor Roy, Chloe Cradic, Emmaline Hulse, Halle Scott and senior leader Breanna Roy make up the 2017 team that represented Crockett at state.

Then, as she started her junior year, she was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, which is a condition that occurs when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels.

“I had surgery not even two weeks after they diagnosed me with it,” Roy said. “I had it for three months, was up and walking by two and was back running after three. They said that I probably shouldn’t have been out of a wheelchair for eight months.”

But that didn’t stop her.

For head cross country coach Mark Jennings, Roy has been the pinnacle of a hard working cross country runner.

“We’ve just basically built the program around her,” Jennings said. “She’s worked hard and she shows up. That’s the thing with cross country; you gotta work hard and you’ve gotta be there everyday. You’ve gotta show up everyday. You’ve gotta put in the training. Nobody’s born to where they can just go out there and do it. You’ve gotta come out and put in the time. And she does that.”

As if Roy hadn’t achieved enough as an individual, she also led a Lady Pioneer cross country team who, for the first time in 35 years, made it to the state championship meet.

Not only did the girls make it to the meet, but they snagged the eighth spot with the fastest time for any David Crockett girls team in history.

“I feel like everybody had the jitters just because five of them were first-timers,” Roy said. “But overall, I think we did pretty good.”

Apart from what she’s accomplished as a runner, Jennings said Roy is an exemplary person as well.

“Beyond being a runner, she’s just a wonderful person. I had her for AP government,” Jennings said. “She works hard and Coach (Lauren) Murr was talking about how good she was in her classes and how she has her as a teacher’s aide — she’s just a good person. He’s got a big heart and beyond her athletic skills, she’s the kind of person you want to be around.”

She overcame her obstacles and achieved some conference, region and state-competition goals. And now, as Roy prepares to head off to Martin, Tennessee — where she plans to study to become a veterinarian — the senior cross country runner smiles as she looks back on her time as a Lady Pioneer.

“It feels pretty good to be a Pioneer,” Roy said. “It’s been good to be a cross country Pioneer.”

Crockett runners make history

From left to right, Rachel Dulaney, Grace Krell, Taylor Roy, Chloe Cradic, Emmaline Hulse, Halle Scott and Breanna Roy make up the 2017 team who represented Crockett at state.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

None of the girls on the Pioneer team who made it to state this season were even born the last time a David Crockett High School girls cross country team made it to the state championship meet.

The 2017 team, comprised of Breanna Roy, Taylor Roy, Chloe Cradic, Emmaline Hulse, Gracie Krell, Rachel Dulaney and Halle Scott, not only made it to state, but also finished in the eighth spot overall and with the fastest time in Pioneer history.

But before they set out on  their trip to Middle Tennessee, the team said they weren’t quite expecting the historical season they’re now celebrating.

“As we got more and more into season I was like, ‘Okay, we’re pretty decent,’” Cradic said. “I think once we started winning every time we were like, ‘Oh, we’re going. It’s a 99.9 percent chance we’re going’ It was so exciting.”

The team won two meets this season and placed second in three others. The Lady Pioneers also placed second in the Big 11 Conference as well as the TSSAA Region 1 meet.

Breanna Roys state-qualifying teammates were by her side when she signed to continue her running career at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Not only had it been 35 years since a Crockett squad represented Jonesborough in the girls cross country state championship, but it was also the first state appearance for all of the team members, other than sisters Taylor Roy, who’s a junior, and Breanna Roy, the team’s lone senior — who might have also been the first to see the potential in her team.

“I knew that I had some fast freshmen coming in and I knew that I had some fast juniors already,” Breanna Roy said. “So I figured, ‘What are the chances? I think they’re pretty good.’ It was exciting seeing the potential building as we were going into the season.”

To get to the state championship meet, head cross country coach Mark Jennings said it took two basketball players joining the team (Hulse and Scott) to help them make it as a group.

“Athletes, you know? You look for athletes. It’s hard because people don’t want to share their athletes because they’re running when their basketball coach wants them to be shooting,” Jennings said. “That becomes really tough, but I think Taylor and Rachel and Breanna would have gone to state on their own, but we wouldn’t have gone as a team without the basketball players out there. Those girls just helped us tie it together. I mean, we couldn’t have missed any of them.

“Take any of those out of the equation and we’re hurting.”

It took each girl to form the state-qualifying team, but according to the Lady Pioneer runners, it took a group mentality to make it through the season and to their end goal.

“None of us run alone. We all have a running buddy,” Cradic explained. “If one of us is tired, we’re like, ‘Okay, let’s push them a little bit.’”

“The encouragement was key the whole year,” Breanna Roy added. “If one of us was lagging, we’d hold our hand out and say, ‘Come on! You have to high five me or else we’re gonna keep going!”

“If we hadn’t have had each other’s backs,’ Hulse said, “we wouldn’t have made it.”

The 1982 DCHS team from left to right: Kim Sulivan, Jane Garside, Juliet Shelton, Ronda Autrey, Lisa Zornes, Beth Shelton, Coach Santo Cicirello. Not pictured: Dawn Briggs.

The team came together, but for Jennings, the man and the team who came before Jennings’ runners blazed a Crockett cross country trail; Coach Santo Cicirello, the longest-standing cross country coach in Pioneer history led the 1982 girls cross country team to the state championship. And one of Jennings’ favorite moments this season was when he celebrated his teams’ accomplishments with Cicirello himself.

“We ran in regionals and he’s a ref with the TSSAA now,” Jennings said. “He starts the race and I told him, ‘When we got the trophy, we wanted to get a picture with you because you’re a part of this history.’ He’s the one who ran the program here. He was the coach the longest period of time here. You think of cross country and track and you think of Santo.

“He’s the reason that we’re all here today. He laid all the footwork down for us.”

Making Pioneer history wasn’t the only motivating factor, however; the team agreed that the support they saw from the community served as daily inspiration.

“We run this loop around the school and there were people in houses telling us all year that we need to ‘kick Boone’s butt’. That’s all they were saying,” Taylor Roy said. “There was an older man who gave us water as we ran so we weren’t dehydrated. He’d be out there every day with a cooler telling us that we’ve got this.”

But what might have still been the most gratifying part of the whole journey to state was the moment Pioneer Nation saw the Crockett runners off as they headed to championship meet.

“Our school community was so good,” Cradic said. “We had people cheering us on, people we’d never even talked to us came up to us and were like, ‘Wow, great job! Congratulations.’”

“The thing they had for them when they left here and had all the students out there with everyone cheering as they went off to state, that was pretty amazing,” Jennings said. “That was an amazing thing.”

Apart from watching their peers and community cheer them on, for some, the race was also about representing David Crockett.

“It feels really great to me because everyone says that sports are so bad here,” Taylor Roy said. “For us to come out and show them that it’s not and that we made it through this year as a team, it felt really good.”

What might be more exciting yet is the time the team still has together. With the exception of senior leader Breanna Roy who will be running at the University of Tennessee at Martin as a college freshman next year, the team is fairly young.

And it’s youth, along with the amount of effort put in by this team, that likely gives Jennings a lot of hope for the future of the team.

“All these girls, they were always there. They don’t miss practice,” Jennings said. “They show up, they do what you tell them to, they buy into the program.

“They put it together this year and we’re really proud of them.”

Sydney Fox is ready to work

 

Sydney Fox (front row, middle) is surrounded by family on her Nov. 10 signing day.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

It’s taken work.

From becoming a three-year starter for the David Crockett Lady Pioneer softball team to working hard in the classroom in order to continue her academic and softball career at Walters State Community College, Sydney Fox knows what it means to work for a goal.

Sydney Fox said she’s ready to take Crockett team as far as possible this upcoming 2018 season.

“As a young child, I always wanted to play softball. From a young age, I just always wanted to,” Fox said. “For a while I thought I wasn’t going to be able to. I’ve been playing forever, but we reached out to Walters State and they really wanted me and Reagan (Miller). It’s very exciting to be able to go to the next level.”

Fox and Miller will both become Senators after competing on the diamond for the Lady Pioneers, who finished their final game against Morristown East in regionals last season.

The Lady Pioneers hadn’t made it to regionals in over 10 years, but senior leader Fox is ready to get back on the dirt for David Crockett to continue her teams’ season for as long as she can.

“We made it to regionals for the first time in a really long time,” Fox said. “This year, I’m really excited to be able to play with all my teammates and all my friends to try to get as far as we can. Hopefully we’ll get a big ol’ Big 7 Conference Championship. We’re gonna work towards it.”

Fox was all-conference her sophomore and junior season and has tallied a .373 batting average since her start at Crockett. At the plate she’s also earned 54 RBIs and 11 home runs. But she hasn’t just been a leader for the Lady Pioneers softball team; she’s also been a force on the volleyball court.

“I’ve played softball for so much longer and my family has always played softball or baseball. Volleyball was always like to get away from softball,” Fox said. “Volleyball was a big part of my life. I’ll always have it and always go back to it, but softball is my life.”

As she gears up for her final season as a Pioneer, Fox is ready to change it up a bit; though she’s played most games as a catcher for David Crockett, she’s ready to explore the outfield more this season and when she gets to Walters State.

The DCHS senior has been the starting catcher for the Lady Pioneers, but she’s looking to spend more time as an outfielder this season and when she arrives at Walters State.

“This year we’re trying to get to where another catcher will catch and I’ll be able to play the outfield because that’s where I want to play in college. That’s where I play in summer ball,” Fox explained. “I enjoy the outfield a lot more than catching. But if I’m needed as a catcher, I’m more than happy to do it. Whatever helps.”

For Fox it’s not just about where she’s playing, but also about who is playing beside her. Fox played with her older sister, Sam Fox, at Crockett while also getting to still hit the field with her best friends.

“You find out how good of a teammate your family is because I’d never played sports with her. Playing with her, we really just bonded and we played excellent together,” Fox said. “Coming in after her was one of my best friends, Kara Weems. She’s my pitcher. She’s like my best friend. It’s just incredible to go through all the experiences with the people I’m closest to.”

Though having her family, friends and fellow Crockett Pioneers rallying around the senior softball player, Fox wanted to make it clear not only what, but who inspired her hard work as an athlete.

“Out of all of my trials and everything, God is the thing that put me through all of it. That’s the reason why I’m going (to Walters State),” Fox said. “I feel like it’s for the glory of him instead of for the glory of my coaches or parents or my team or anything.”

Reagan Miller finds home at Walters State

Reagan Miller (front row, middle) is joined by family on her Nov. 10 signing day.

By Marina Waters

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

When David Crockett High School senior softball player Reagan Miller steps on the field for the Lady Pioneers, she’s at the place she considers home. And when Walters State Community College gave her that same feeling, her decision to sign with the Senators became simple.

Reagan Miller has been a starter for the Lady Pioneers for the past three years and is gearing up for her senior season.

“When I went down there for my first visit, it just felt like home to me — all the people down there and the coaches, Miller said. “Their softball program is really good so I just thought I’d be a good fit for me.”

Miller is a three-year starter for the Lady Pioneers and was dubbed All-Conference her sophomore and junior year. The shortstop and second baseman has a .338 batting average and has earned 68 RBIs and nine homeruns throughout her career at Crockett.

With her final season up ahead, Miller is ready to get back on the diamond with the team that only lost one senior from last season and made it to regionals.

“It’s been great. Last year was the best season that I’ve had. We went to regionals and we made history at Crockett,” Miller recalled. “I’m looking forward to being a leader on the team.”

Miller is ready to step up for the Lady Pioneers for her final season at David Crockett.

Now the Lady Pioneers’ shortstop and second baseman is ready to build upon the Senators’ program.

“I’m looking forward to how good they usually are. They’re usually the best in the conference,” Miller said. “I’m really looking forward to all the people and making new friends. I just want to get down there and get better and play the best that I can.”

Of those new friends will be a not so new face; Miller will be joined by Crockett’s senior softball player Sydney Fox who has also signed to play for the Senators.

For the Lady Pioneers’ Head Coach Carla Weems, watching both of her players continue their academic and athletic careers was a proud moment.

“It has been my honor to coach them the last four years of high school, but I have actually coached them in travel ball since they were 10,” Weems said. “I have had the privilege of watching them grow from little girls to beautiful young ladies and I couldn’t be more proud. 

“Walter State is getting two of the finest softball players around and I can’t wait to see where the future takes them.”

Though Miller is ready for her future at Walters State, she also acknowledged the support she’s received from her family — including those at David Crockett High School.

“Being a Pioneer has just been such a blessing to me. All the people there, they’ve just been so good to me,” Miller said. “Leaving it behind will be really hard but I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Boone quarterback looks back at season with ‘no regrets’

Senior quarterback Noah Shelton looks back on the ‘Blazer’s 2017 season as a win for the Trailblazers.

By Trey Williams

H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone’s injury-hampered football team exited Nathan Hale Stadium for the final time this season as frustrated as it was disappointed after a first-round TSSAA Class 5A playoff loss.

Senior quarterback Noah Shelton leads the ‘Blazers against Knox Central in their final playoff game of the 2017 season.

But the Trailblazer program’s first conference championship in its 47-year history almost immediately began the healing process for players such as senior quarterback Noah Shelton, who engineered the program’s steady turnaround since a troubling 1-9 season in 2015.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Shelton was missing his top weapons during a 16-0 playoff loss to Knox Central. Exceptional sophomore running back/pass rusher Charlie Cole was out with a hamstring injury that initially occurred in a preseason scrimmage against Greeneville and limited him to four games this season. And leading receiver CJ Carter left the playoff game early after aggravating an ankle injury.

Defensive lineman Austin Cox (back) also missed the game and starting center Walker Burleson (hamstring) was limited to a half.

“Any time you don’t have some of your best athletes at 100 percent it’s gonna hurt,” Shelton said. “CJ was struggling with his ankle and did everything he possibly could have. Kid played his heart out for us.

“Charlie struggled with that hamstring injury ever since the Greeneville scrimmage and just never got healthy. He showed flashes in some games and still somehow ran for 640 yards in just four games which is amazing. Had we been able to use him in the playoff game it could have been different, just with the way we could have had a more balanced rushing attack.

“And losing Austin Cox may have hurt us the worst considering how big their offensive line was. Austin and Bailey (Presnell) were the only guys on the team who size-wise could go toe to toe with their front five. Ya know Austin is hard to move, and had he played I think he would have given their offensive line a fit by just plugging holes.”

Noah Shelton dodges a David Crockett Pioneer in the 2017 Musket Bowl matchup where Boone won 28-21 at home.

Shelton started two seasons for coach Jeremy Jenkins’ Trailblazers. Boone completed a playoff-qualifying rally with a Musket Bowl victory against David Crockett in 2016 and defeated the rival Pioneers again this season en route to a 6-0 record in Region 1-5A.

“Coming from a 1-9 season sophomore year to being undefeated in conference as a senior has been one of the best experiences of my life,” Shelton said. “As a junior I learned as much as I possibly could have and I really learned how to compete. Coming into senior year I knew that it was now my team. Not to say that there weren’t other leaders on the team, but with the position I played I knew that everyone was looking to me.

“And now I look back on the season with no regrets. I played every game with everything I had and am satisfied with the result. Ya know, we made history by winning the conference, first time ever.”

As a senior, Shelton passed for 1,085 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. As athletic as he is strong-armed (4.7 40-yard dash), Shelton also rushed for 1,099 yards and 18 TDs this season.

Like senior linemen Bailey Presnell, Shelton is being courted by a number of colleges at various levels, including Centre College, an NCAA Division III school in Danville, Kentucky. Centre’s offensive coordinator is former Daniel Boone quarterback Ben Fox, who was the valedictorian at Boone. Shelton made a 32 on the ACT.

Shelton is also an accomplished high jumper. He finished fifth in the state as a sophomore and fourth as a junior.

He’s playing basketball this season, and his leaping ability and physicality have caught coach Chris Brown’s eyes.

“As far as recruiting goes, I haven’t been too focused on it with the transition to basketball at the moment,” Shelton said. “And for the most part I’m still undecided on whether I want to do football or high jump or just pursue an education.”

Whatever path Shelton chooses, he and classmates such as Presnell, Carter, running back Mason Mounger and tight end/defensive end Zach Taylor have left deep footprints in Gray.

“Overall, this season was a huge success,” Shelton said, “and I’m extremely thankful that God has given me the ability to play and that he put so many great people around me like coaches and teammates and trainers and fans that have been extremely supportive and have always made Blazer Nation what it is today.”

Pioneers reach playoff best, fall to Knox Halls

The Pioneers were best by Knox Halls 48-21 in the first round of the playoffs.

By Trey Williams

H&T Correspondent

Trite as the notion might be, David Crockett interim head football coach Nick Lingerfelt is convinced that a season-ending four-game losing streak didn’t prevent the Pioneer players from finishing on top in the scoreboard of life.

Crockett scored the most points in program history in a playoff game in last week’s 48-21 first round loss at Halls. The Pioneers scored 20 points in a 42-20 loss to Tennessee High in 2000.

More impressively, the Pioneer players stayed together and voted to continue the season after a promising 5-2 start was followed by first-year head coach Gerald Sensabaugh being suspended after repeatedly criticizing the school system publicly via social media.

The Pioneers, who finished the season 5-6, had three coaches and two coaching staffs during the final five games.

Sophomore quarterback Cade Larkins has lead the Pioneers  with over 2,000 yards this season.

“The lessons that were learned from this season far exceed any lessons that they could have in the classroom,” Lingerfelt said. “They got knocked back down, they got back up. And at the end, our season probably didn’t end the way everybody wanted it to, but those kids got back up and fought until the very last horn sounded.”

Sophomore Cade Larkins passed for two touchdowns – a 20-yarder to Micah Robinson and a 35-yarder to Mark Seidler – and Devante Boozer ran for a 65-yard TD in the loss at Halls. But Halls quarterback Caden Hardin passed for 260 yards and produced TDs.

“Halls was a good team,” Lingerfelt said. “They finished first in that region. I think that they were able to take us away from doing some of the things that we like to do. Up front we had some tough times handling them and their size and their speed on the edge. A defensive end they had – we had some trouble with him.

“The game of football is won up front, especially in the type of offense that we ran. Some of the things we tried to do last week as coaches probably weren’t the best idea. I take responsibility for that.”

The Pioneers have a number of talented underclassmen, but the senior class will certainly leave a void. Lineman Austin Lewis has committed to play at Liberty. Boozer and fellow senior running back Manny Gammon had productive seasons in the backfield, particularly after Prince Kollie and his brother John quit playing while Sensabaugh was suspended.

“Austin’s had a great career,” Lingerfelt said. “The fact that (Boozer) got close to a hundred yards the other night speaks volumes to his character. I think Manny is the epitome of hard work, and hopefully a couple of colleges will take an opportunity and get a good look at him.

DCHS baseball coach Nick Lingerfelt served as Pioneer football’s interim head coach for the team’s final two games of the season.

“The seniors are a really a good group in the fact that they stuck together through all this. They were able to have Senior Night and play in the Musket Bowl and be a part of the playoffs. And we scored 21 points in the playoffs. I know nobody’s all about moral victories, but they have set the foundation for the returning class for these next couple of years. One of ‘em said after the ballgame, ‘Alright, we scored points in a playoff game. It’s your all’s job to go out and get that first victory next year.’ And hopefully they can turn their focus when they get a new coach into doing that.”

Larkins passed for some 2,900 yards and 20 TDs as a sophomore. Prince Kollie, a freshman, ran for over 200 yards against a good Campbell County team. Junior John Kollie was the leading receiver before not playing the final four games, and he might be a better linebacker. And sophomore receiver Donta Hackler looks like a potential Division I receiver at the college level.

Of course, some worry that a number of Crockett’s promising returners might transfer, depending on who the next head coach is. Lingerfelt doesn’t anticipate any programs actively poaching the Crockett roster.

“I think with what the TSSAA sent out, everybody’s gonna do what’s right and everything,” Lingerfelt said. “The bottom line is they’re all good kids. And you could see the way they finished the season that they grew up with each other.

“They don’t want to go somewhere else. They want to spend – just like me and you and the people we grew up with in high school – that’s who they want to be with. I think they’ll be right back down there on that field in Jonesborough next year and I’m looking forward to seeing it.”

Injured ‘Blazers bested by Knox Central

Trailblazer quarterback Noah Shelton fights off the Knox Central Bobcats in Boone’s 16-0 loss.

By Trey Williams

H&T Correspondent

The Daniel Boone football team’s first ever conference championship might’ve been followed with a playoff victory if fate hadn’t hurt its cause.

But Boone was without two of its three most dynamic players when it hosted Knox Central in the first round of the TSSAA Class 5A playoffs Friday at Nathan Hale Stadium, and the Trailblazers limped to a 16-0 setback.

Sophomore Charlie Cole, a talented running back and explosive pass rusher, missed the game with a hamstring injury that’s nagged him since pulling it in a preseason scrimmage against Greeneville. Leading receiver C.J. Carter left the game early after aggravating an ankle injury. Defensive lineman Austin Cox (back) couldn’t play and enter Walker Burleson (hamstring) didn’t play the first half.

It made it appear that 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior quarterback Noah Shelton had the team on his back. Shelton rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries.

Shelton is on the carry for the ‘Blazers during the playoff contest.

“Noah was the big thing we had running the ball, and they knew that, too,” said Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins, whose team finished the season with an 8-3 record, including a 6-0 mark in Region 1-5A. “That’s the hardest bunch we’ve had to block all year. They were big up front and they could move.

“We’re not a real good third-and-out and third-and-nine team. We got (Brennan) Blair loose on the jet (sweep) one time. … They were just loading up where Noah was.”

Senior kicker Ian Cummins stole the show for Central. He made all three of his field goal attempts, kicked all five kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks and delivered a 51- and 44-yarder among his five punts.

Cummins’ 34-yard field goal gave the Bobcats (6-5) a 3-0 lead with 11:12 left in the second quarter. Central stretched its advantage to 10-0 with 8:34 left in the third quarter when Eli Sharp threw a 6-yard TD pass to Seth Armstrong on a third-and-goal. Cummins added a 35-yard field goal with 8:47 remaining and a 24-yarder with 7:15 to go.

“Their kicker was the player of the game,” Jenkins said. “He can kick, he can punt. We had to go 80 yards every time and he punted us inside the 10 twice.”

Knox Central was the state runner-up in Class 4A last season. It’s started four quarterbacks due to injuries this season, but coach Bryson Rosser suspected Boone might be more hamstrung by injuries.

“We knew they had a couple of guys that were gimpy,” Rosser said. “We didn’t know if they would play or not. But we just had a good game plan and wanted to come up here and play as hard as we possibly can.”

‘Blazer head coach Jeremy Jenkins goes over the conference champs’ final game for the season.

Trailing 3-0, Boone had a first-and-goal at the Central 5-yard line in the final minute of the first half. But back-to-back penalties helped prevent the ‘Blazers from scoring.

“Not being able to score there was big,” Jenkins said.

Indeed, Boone managed only one first down in the second half and tallied 125 yards of offense the entire game.

Treysean Moore rushed 27 times for 107 yards for Central. Fellow junior Demetrien Johnson had three receptions for 48 yards and an impressive pass breakup on a fourth-and-five from the Central 18 with Boone trailing 3-0 and 5:23 left in the first half. Zach Taylor had gotten open on a play-action pass route before the speedy Johnson recovered quickly to deny the first-down conversion, if not a touchdown.

Jenkins’ defense, which grew up on the job this season, was solid too, and should be even better next year. Junior Tommy Kolb had a productive season at linebacker, where fellow juniors Logan Rivers and Peyton Nickles also return.

“Tommy’s as good a linebacker as I’ve had here,” Jenkins said. “And Logan – all that bunch over there can really get after you. To hold them to 16 (points) to be on the field as much as we were on the field in the second half – uor hats off to them. … And we’ve got a lot of kids coming back (next season) on defense.”

Jenkins embraces senior Mason Mounger after Boone’s final game for the season.

Shelton rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season and passed for more than 1,000 yards. Mason Mounger rushed for in excess of 700 yards. They’re part of a senior class that went from the outhouse to the penthouse.

“The senior group, to come from 4-6 as freshmen and 1-9 as sophomores to win the first conference championship here since 1971, you know, hats off to them,” Jenkins said. “They’re getting us back to where we need to be. We played ourselves into hosting a home playoff game. It just wasn’t in the cards.”

Boone scores Musket Bowl victory, conference title

The Daniel Boone Trailblazers celebrate a Musket Bowl win and a first-time conference title at Nathan Hale Stadium on Friday Oct. 20.

By Trey Williams

H&T Correspondent

David Crockett’s civil war cost it some firepower in the Musket Bowl, where Daniel Boone set its sight on the Trailblazers football program’s first-ever league championship.

Despite an interim head coach in Nick Lingerfelt at the helm and two of its top players — Prince Kollie and John Kollie — sitting out a half due to the unrest rooted in the suspension of first-year head coach Gerald Sensabaugh, the Pioneers offered much resistance against the preseason Region 1-5A favorite.

But Boone got two touchdown runs from sophomore running back Charlie Cole and one a piece from senior quarterback Noah Shelton and senior receiver C.J. Carter to outlast the Pioneers 28-21 at Nathan Hale Stadium.

A year after beating David Crockett in a do-or-die task to clinch a playoff berth, Boone’s second straight win in the series clinched its first regular season title.

“We’d never won the conference here — never,” said Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins, whose Trailblazers improved to 5-0 in the league and 7-2 overall.

The title steadily took shape over a two-year span after the ‘Blazers stumbled to a 1-9 record in 2015.

“It’s huge for our seniors to come from two years ago when they were 1-9 to this to be conference champions,” Jenkins said. “We talked it about it before the game … you know, what they have accomplished to get to this spot.  … If you’d told me two years ago — after Crockett beats us here 40-26 — that in two years we’d be conference champs, you know, we had a lot of work to do.

“But our kids really bought in. Our coaching staff did a great job with ‘em. And we got our kids prepared each week.”

David Crockett’s Micah Robinson goes for the catch as fellow Pioneer Zeb Holland (left) and Boone Blazers Joseph Ranegan and Easton Harrell prepare to cover their Musket Bowl opponent.

Crockett (3-2, 5-4) scored first when Cade Larkins passed to fellow sophomore Donta Hackler for a 26-yard TD on fourth down.

“Hats off to Crockett,” Jenkins said. “To go through what they’ve gone through and come out and give the fight — we knew they would. It shows the kind of people they’ve got down there. They’re gonna fight you.”

Cole answered with a 59-yard TD run. Shelton gave Boone the lead for good late in the first quarter when he reached the end zone from 74 yards out.

Carter scored a 17-yard TD on a sweep out of the Wildcat formation in the second quarter to give the Trailblazers a 21-7 halftime lead.

The Pioneers cut their deficit to seven points when Zeb Holland caught a 27-yard pass from Larkins in the third quarter.

“The last three weeks we really had not been tested as much as we had that game,” Jenkins said. “We knew we were gonna get their best shot, skill wise, going against them, except for Science Hill, that’s probably the best skill we’ve seen all year.

“We made enough plays defensively to get the job done. We finally got a little bit of a pass rush inside. Charlie got us a good rush there at the end. … It was just a great, hard-fought win for our guys.”

Cole pushed the Trailblazers’ cushion back to two TDs midway through the third quarter when he scored on a 9-yard run that he’d helped set up with a 44-yard rush.

“Offensively, we didn’t do what we usually do — make long drives,” Jenkins said. “We scored on big plays. We’ve not really done that a whole lot this year. They did a good job taking C.J. away, but I thought Charlie — being his first game back — had a big input for us.”

Devante Boozer got the Pioneers back within a touchdown when he scored from five yards out with 2:29 left in the third quarter. The Pioneers couldn’t complete the rally, but the players – forgetting the controversy surrounding Sensabaugh for four quarters – triumphed in the eyes of their interim head coach.

“Man, I’m telling you, 28-21 — I don’t have words to explain it,” Lingerfelt said. “I don’t have any words to explain it. There wasn’t a loser tonight. Those kids gave us everything they’ve got.

“This community came together. Our kids came together. Yeah, they got the Musket Bowl. But I tell you what, our kids — they taught me something this week.”

Crockett experienced coaching controversy the week before the Musket Bowl match up, but came out ready to battle Boone.

Crockett’s last hurrah was turning the ball over on downs after driving inside the Boone 25-yard line with four-plus minutes remaining.

“Hats off to our kids,” Jenkins said. “We made enough plays at the end. I’m really happy for our seniors. I thought our quarterback played well. He didn’t really have a great throwing night. But he got us in and out of some plays. We made just enough plays offensively.

“We were kind of depending on the defense there for a while. … They did a good job of keeping us out there.

“They’re probably the only team so far this that’s really won the time of possession against us.”

Crockett will conclude the regular season on Friday when it hosts Morristown East (3-2, 3-6) while Boone will travel to Cherokee (3-2, 5-4).

“This time of the year you’ve gotta find ways to win a game like that (Musket Bowl),” Jenkins said. “That’s a mark of a good team. We struggled, struggled, struggled, but made enough plays.

“I’m happy for our community. I’m happy for our kids. Now, we’re conference champs. First time that’s happened in school history.

“We need to really build on this next week when we go to Cherokee — a team that’s playing just as hot — and build on that for our playoff run.”

Boone has now won two straight Musket Bowls and 14 of the past 15.

Boone scores 42-7 homecoming win

Boone quarterback Noah Shelton looks to send his team farther down the field.

By Breyanna Blackwell

H&T Correspondent

The excitement was tangible on the field for a big Region 1-5A matchup between Daniel Boone and Volunteer High School last Friday night.

Daniel Boone’s Trailblazers came out firing on all cylinders that for their homecoming game and kept Blazer kicker Cade Gray busy for most of the night, notching 5 extra points throughout the game.

Led by a potent offensive attack with senior quarterback, Noah Shelton, the Blazers offense was moving all night and were able to score 35 points before the end of the first half.

Abby Coward, who has family at Boone High school, said she felt nervous for her Trailblazers at the beginning of the game, with all of the homecoming festivities going on.

“Everyone wants to win their homecoming game”, she said. “It’s always great for our seniors and even better for us in the stands.”

Boone’s student section was decked out in America-themed attire, where earlier that night Caleb Reagan and Josie Roark were crowned Trailblazer Homecoming King and Queen.

Scoring on 5 of their first 8 possessions, the blazers were able to utilize the home field advantage and put on a show for the Trailblazer faithful.

“There is something awesome about being at a football game on a cool Friday night” a longtime supporter of the Blazers, Clark Williams, said. “It always makes it better when we can go home with a win.”

Volunteer finally broke through the Trailblazer defense when Zac Christian was able to guide the Volunteers 72-yard drive, picking up nearly 60 yards himself.

The touchdown was then be punched in by freshman Dane Dikes.

Daniel Boone’s coach, Jeremy Jenkins helped set up the Trailblazers for the game by sending out several successful offensive plays.

“Coach Jenkins has stepped up to be a really great coach,” Coward stated. “He has a lot of offensive plays that are working and we are happy to have him.”

That would be all the Blazer defense would concede , leaving Boone with a 42-7 win for their homecoming matchup.

Daniel Boone is now 5-2 on the season. The Blazers will be on the road next week to face off against Cocke County on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

‘Running Raptors’ land second spot at state meet

From left to right, Gabe Duncan, JJ Bowman, Ethan Eddy, Gavin Leonard, Nate Maples, Trey Austin, Chandler Justice stand proudly with their state trophy.

From STAFF REPORTS

The Ridgeview Middle School Boys Cross Country team traveled to Clarksville in September to compete in the TMSAA State Meet.

The team finished as the state runner-up in the competition.

Ridgeview runner Trey Austin flies for the finish at the state competition. The student athletes took second place at the state competition.

The running Raptors placed first in the Northeast Tennessee Class A Sectional Cross Country meet on Sept. 26.

The team is led by Coach Justin Davis.

To send in a sports, news or community story to the Herald & Tribune, email us at news@heraldandtribune.com.

Player of the week

Our featured athlete of the week is Daniel Boone football’s Peyton Nickels. Nickels helped the Trailblazers to a conference win over Cocke County. Check back for our next featured athlete.

Crockett football opts to continue season

The David Crockett Pioneers had a tough time on the field last week during the ongoing coach controversy, but are determined to finish out the season on top under new leadership.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

On Monday morning, the David Crockett High School football team had a big decision to make.

They could finish the rest of their season, starting with the county rivalry match up against Daniel Boone this Friday. Or they could opt to put the whirlwind season, following the suspension of their head football coach, to rest.

The Pioneers chose to finish.

Now they’ll do so with Pioneer head baseball coach, and now interim head football coach, Nick Lingerfelt leading the pack.

“I felt like it was my responsibility as a person to step up and say ‘hey, if these kids want to play, I’ll be there.’ And if they decide not to, I’ll support them in that too,” Lingerfelt said at a press conference held at the school on Monday.

“It’s not about me. It’s really not. It’s about these kids. They decided they want to play and they told me today I was going to be the coach. And here I am.”

Lingerfelt was hired in July to take over the baseball program at Crockett. He served as an assistant coach at Dobyns-Bennett for seven years and at his alma mater, Unicoi High School, for eight. He assisted with both the baseball and football programs at those schools.

The decision for Lingerfelt to take on his latest role as Pioneer football’s interim head coach came after head coach Gerald Sensabaugh was put on administrative leave last Tuesday. The letter of reprimand from Crockett head principal Peggy Wright to Sensabaugh lists practicing an injured player, verbal attacks and profanity from the coach as concerns from administration.

After the suspension of their coach, the football team was left divided between students who still wanted to compete in last Friday’s game against Tennessee High and those who opted not to play or attend the game, in support of Sensabaugh. The Pioneers lost 35-13 against the Tennessee High Vikings under the direction of  assistant-coach-turned-interim-head-coach Brandon Qualls.

“It’s been an emotional week,” Lingerfelt said. “We were on fall break last week, and I think the lessons these young men have learned exceed any lesson in a classroom.

“The fact that these kids showed some resiliency and went in there this morning and voted to have a season, that speaks volumes. That speaks volumes for their character. I’m ready to take on this challenge.”

Lingerfelt didn’t confirm who would join his coaching staff for Friday’s game and the remainder of the season, but he did say he would be meeting with former Pioneer head coach Kent Green who resigned from the position in 2012.

“After I got word, I went straight to some of the people that I’ve assembled and I said, ‘Listen, we can’t reinvent the wheel. We’ve got two weeks left in the season and then we’ve got playoffs.’,” Lingerfelt said. “We’re going to get in the playoffs. What happens there, we’ll see.”

As for his roster, Lingerfelt said the student athletes present at Monday’s team meeting exceeded the number he had on his updated roster of 51 kids. He also said if players show up at practice, they’re going to play.

Lingerfelt isn’t the only one stepping into an interim position this week; Crockett head basketball coach John Good is currently serving as the school’s athletic director after Josh Kite was put on administrative leave following allegations from Sensabaugh who said Kite offered him prescription drugs. An investigation on the allegation is pending.

For Good and Lingerfelt who are taking on additional roles at Crockett, both say they are ready to concentrate on allowing the Pioneers a chance to take the field.

“Last week we picked up a kid on his way home from practice and took him to eat,” Lingerfelt said. “I said, ‘What do you think about all this stuff?’ He said, “Coach, I’m 15 years old. I just want to play football.’ And I thought, ’It’s really sad that this young man doesn’t get the opportunity to play a game that he loves.’”

Now that the team is officially back in action, the Pioneers will battle longtime rival Daniel Boone for a Musket Bowl victory on Friday night.

“It’s huge,” Good said. “Kids grow up wanting to be a part of this game. It’s bragging rights within the county.”

This year’s 47th annual Musket Bowl game comes after Boone defeated Crockett 14-10 at the Pioneer’s stadium, but Lingerfelt has confidence in the Pioneer squad.

“We’ve got to play Daniel Boone on the road at the Musket Bowl and we’ve got to be prepared to overcome a lot of adversity,” Lingerfelt said. “We know Daniel Boone’s a good team, but I have no doubt our kids can overcome this and they can win that football game.”

Just by looking at the number of kids on his roster and showing up for team meetings and practices, the interim head coach said it’s clear to him these kids are ready to be out on the field for another Friday night.

“The easiest thing to do would be to fold up tent and quit,” Lingerfelt said. “I don’t see that in these kids. I don’t. I see the drive and the initiative to go forward and I’m excited.”

Crockett will face Boone for the Musket Bowl competition on Friday Oct. 20 at Nathan Hale Stadium in Gray. Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Crockett football’s Cade Larkins. Larkins has been a leader on the gridiron for the Pioneers this year. Check back for our next featured athlete.

Player of the week

This week’s featured player is CJ Carter of Daniel Boone football. Carter has been making the connection for the Blazers this season and helped bring his team to victory over Morristown East. Check back for our next player of the week.