David Crockett’s Taylor Roy signs with UT Martin

Senior runner Taylor Roy (front middle) was surrounded by her parents, younger sister and coaches during her Monday, Nov. 12 signing.


Staff Writer


Before too long, the Roy family will probably be able to host a family reunion at the University of Tennessee at Martin.

Senior runner Taylor Roy signed to continue her cross country and track career at UT Martin, where she will be joined by her older sister, Breanna, who signed with the Skyhawks last year.

“I feel really great,” Taylor Roy said at her Monday, Nov. 12 signing at David Crockett High School. “I feel really good to get to run with Breanna again and all the girls seem really nice there. I’m excited. I was trying to decide between King (University) and UT Martin and I just fell in love with everything at UT Martin. It’s just really good.”

As much as Taylor is looking forward to running with her sister, she said at first, she wasn’t totally sold on the idea.

“At first, no,” Taylor said with a laugh in thinking about her initial reaction to following her sister to UT Martin. “But once I got talking to her about me going there and running with her, she was really excited so I decided I really, really wanted to go there even before she signed with UT Martin.’

Taylor Roy spent her signing day with her teammates.

Before she signed to become a Skyhawk, Pioneer Athletic Director Josh Kite said Taylor, along with her sister Breanna, “changed the image” of cross country at David Crockett.

Taylor is a four-year state cross country runner and had the second fastest time in Pioneer history in girls cross country. But as far as changing the image of Pioneer Cross Country, Taylor said it took a focus on encouragement and leadership.

“It makes me feel really good (hearing what Kite said at the signing.) I try to be a leader and I try to encourage everyone, tell them when they’re having bad days that they can do it,” Taylor said. “I just try to make us a really close family so we can improve together and not be against each other. I know there are some girls who are really close in times. So helping them makes me feel really good.”

Taylor isn’t just leading the cross country team at Crockett; she’s also a state track runner who, in addition to going to state as an individual runner, was part of the first girls track team to make it to the state meet from Crockett since 1982. The team not only finished in the eighth spot in the state meet, but also tallied the fastest time in school history.

The future Skyhawk is also on the wrestling team — and is ranked at the top of the state.

Taylor Roy holds her favorite award, the Bristol Cross Award.

“I’m ranked first for wrestling in the state, so I’m hoping to get the state title,” Taylor said. “I didn’t want to wrestle at first, but I made a bet (with Coach Lauren Murr) and I lost. But I tried it and I actually really, really liked it. Everyone’s a team there, so I have two separate teams. Everyone is always there to help you go and move forward.”

But of all the accolades and awards she’s received, her favorite might just be one of the only awards her older sister didn’t get first.

“I’m most proud of the Bristol Cross Award because it’s a trophy Breanna never got and I got (before her),” Taylor said, laughing. “I was really excited. So that was probably my most proud moment.”

For Crockett cross country and track coach Mark Jennings, Taylor leaves behind a successful running career at Crockett after winning numerous cross country races.

“She’s won many races here,” Jennings said. “A lot of people run cross country. Not many people win a race. It’s hard to actually win a race and she’s won several since she’s been here. She’s had an outstanding career.”

Crockett tops Tennessee High, Boone falls

David Crockett High School’s Prince Kollie (21) and Mark Seidler (9) take down the Tennessee High offense. Next, Crockett will take on Knox Central as the Pioneer postseason continues.


H&T Correspondent

David Crockett’s football team is a quarterfinalist and its quarterback is a finalist, and now it must take on the team that caused Washington County rival Daniel Boone’s final hurrah.

The Pioneers improved to 12-0 while reaching the quarterfinals for the first time with an impressive 32-0 defeat of Tennessee High on Friday in Jonesborough. Cade Larkins, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior, passed for 292 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, and was subsequently named as one of three TSSAA Class 5A Mr. Football finalists on Monday.

Daniel Boone’s season came to an end Friday when it lost 49-7 at Knox Central (10-2), which will host Crockett on Friday at 7 p.m. This is the first time the Pioneers’ season has lasted longer than the Trailblazers’ since 1971 – the first year of the programs – when the Sandy Johnson-led Pioneers played Sevier County in a bowl game after a regular season that included a 74-0 Crockett victory in the inaugural Musket Bowl at East Tennessee State’s Memorial Stadium.

This has been a season for the ages for Crockett under 25-year-old first-year head coach Hayden Chandley.

“Like I’ve told our kids, ‘What you guys have done for this community – they’ll never forget it,’” Chandley said. “To come out and make a statement like we did (against Tennessee High) – I’m just so happy for our kids. They don’t realize it now, but 10, 15, 20 years down the road they’ll look back and realize what they were able to do. And that’s so special.”

It was rainy, muddy and cold Friday at Crockett, but the elements didn’t slow the Pioneers. Crockett outgained Tennessee High, 415-96, in the blowout after needing overtime to outlast the Vikings, 24-21, during the regular season in Bristol.

“We talked about it all year that we hadn’t put together our best game yet,” Chandley said, “and I think (Friday) was as close as we’ve come if we didn’t.”

Donta Hackler, a 6-foot-4 junior, had eight receptions for 127 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown. Senior Micah Robinson (two receptions, 130 yards) connected with Larkins for an 84-yard touchdown.

Larkins has passed for 3,728 yards, 40 touchdowns and seven interceptions, which is why he’s a Mr. Football finalist along with Oak Ride’s Herbert Booker and DeShawn Page of Fulton.

“It’s an amazing honor and I’m very grateful that God gave me the ability and that I was selected,” Larkins said Monday night. “All the credit to my coaches, my O-line, my receivers and my backs for making me look good out there.”

Larkins’ backs helped open some holes in the secondary. Junior Ronquille Joyner (17 carries, 71 yards, two TDs) dashed through the middle for a 41-yard touchdown to open the scoring with 2:08 left in the first quarter.

“I have to give that all to the line, man,” Joyner said. “They came ready to block the run. Coach told ‘em we were gonna run because it’s slippery out here. So we had to.”

Joyner smiled when the Pioneers’ 12-0 record was mentioned.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “We’ve been waiting to come together since middle school. We’re all together now. Cade – that missing piece came in freshman year – and that was like, ‘Man, it’s meant to be.’”

Sophomore Prince Kollie’s 27-yard TD run made it 13-0 with 11:49 left in the second quarter.

“We blocked extremely well up front and busted a few runs there in the first half,” Chandley said. “It set up the play-action for us in the second half.”

Tennessee High coach Mike Mays credited Larkins in the dismantling of his defense.

“We’ve faced him three games now – four games – and he’s always been spot on,” Mays said. “Cade’s a good quarterback. … They’ve got some outstanding players and he gets the ball in their hands. He’s got an excellent arm and puts it right there.”

Senior linebackers John Kollie and Mark Seidler were instrumental in the Pioneers defense pitching a shutout. So was sophomore lineman Tony Davis.

“Our coaching staff does a great job getting our kids ready to play and the kids came out and executed the game plan exceptionally well tonight,” Chandley said. “Defensively, I think I heard somebody say that we held them to under a hundred yards of offense, which is just unbelievable with the caliber of team that Tennessee High is to be able to do that.”

Hackler has 67 catches for 1,205 yards and 15 TDs. Robinson (53 catches, 1,252 yards) also has 15 touchdown receptions. Joyner has rushed for 898 yards.

Seidler (121 tackles ) and John Kollie (101 in 11 games) are the Pioneers’ top two tacklers. Hackler has a team-high four interceptions.

The Pioneers anticipate their stiffest test of the season when they visit the Knox Central Bobcats on Friday.

“They’re big and physical and they get after you,” Chandley said.

Indeed, Central rolled to its 10th straight victory with the rout of Boone. Junior Charlie Cole’s TD run gave the ‘Blazers a fleeting lead. Cole was held to 35 yards, and finished the season with 1,850 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.

Senior Easton Harrell completed an impressive season as a first-year starting quarterback. Harrell led Boone with 50 yards rushing, and ended the season with 1,070 yards rushing and 17 TDs. He also passed for 854 yards, seven TDs and three interceptions.

Sophomore Devon White led the Trailblazers with 96 tackles. Senior Logan Rivers was second on the team in tackles.

The Trailblazers won nine games during a season when they were replacing quarterback Noah Shelton, the conference’s reigning offensive player of the year, as well as lineman of the year Bailey Presnell, leading receiver C.J. Carter and defensive end Zach Taylor (Carson-Newman).

Player of the week

This week’s Player of the Week is Daniel Boone High Schoo’s Cross Country Team. Both teams fared well in the regional tournament and qualified for the state meet. Check back next week to see who earned the Andrew Johnson Player of the Week.

Pioneer Softball’s Kara Weems signs with Milligan

Surrounded by family, coaches and friends, Kara Weems (front, middle) signed to continue her athletic and academic career with Milligan on Thursday, Nov. 1.


Staff Writer


For Kara Weems, the feeling of having her mom, Carla Weems, along with her family and friends there to watch her sign her scholarship papers was exciting. She also enjoyed having her softball coach, Coach Weems, there as well.  The fact that her mother also happens to be her softball coach couldn’t make the day any less special, nothing could.

Weems, who signed with Milligan on Thursday, Nov. 1, also felt some relief knowing where she would be for the next chapter in her life.

“It felt good to know that I knew where I was going to go and that I didn’t have to worry about getting a scholarship from somewhere else and have to worry about finding a college that wanted me as Milligan did,” Weems said.

“(Milligan) has what I want to do and it’s a good atmosphere. It was really exciting to be able to see the coaches and everybody there to watch me.”

While some may be wary of having a parent as their coach, the senior pitcher said she knew the benefits it offered.

“It’s been good. Obviously it’s been kind of hard because she’s my mom, but it’s also been easy because she is my mom and she knows me better than anybody.”

Weems said that Milligan was the right fit for her after she went on a tour of the campus and felt she would grow in more ways than just education.

“I thought it was beautiful and thought all the people were super-nice and inviting. Their coaches were also really nice and it is a good Christian-based college. I knew that if I went there, that not only my education would grow stronger but so would my faith.”

Last year, Weems and her Crockett teammates were co-champions in the conference with Daniel Boone and district champions, but they were knocked out of regionals in the first round to Morristown East. While this year will be her final hurrah with Crockett, she said she wants to finish her career on a high-note, while continuing to improve her own game and outlook.

“I would love to get to state, or at least past the first round of regionals … also just working on staying positive the whole time. Not getting down on myself because I know that last year, I had some times where I wasn’t as calm, so it’s harder for everybody else to be calm if your pitcher in the circle isn’t calm, as well.

“From where I used to be, I used to think it was just speed and it was all on me, but as I got older it was easier to see that you have a team behind you. And it’s not just about speed, it’s all about all your movements and what you’re going to do with it.”

While Weems will attempt to make her senior softball year memorable, she said there was a few things she would be looking forward to when her time at Milligan begins.

“(I’m ready for) the atmosphere and the classes. I want to be a nurse so it’s a great spot to learn more about that. Making new friends and having lots of new experiences.”

Boone, Crockett headed to second round

David Crockett High School’s Adrian Boles (67) and John Kollie (2) prepare to take down Knox Halls’ offense in the fight for a first-round victory in the playoffs.


H&T Correspondent

David Crockett survived and advanced while Daniel Boone thrived to advance in a historic opening round of the football playoffs for Washington County.

The Pioneers (11-0) and Trailblazers (9-2) each won a playoff game on the same night for the first time. Of course, Crockett’s 20-17 overtime thriller at home against Knox Halls was the program’s first playoff win.

Senior Micah Robinson caught a second-down, 12-yard touchdown pass from Cade Larkins to end it after Halls had kicked a field goal on its opening possession of overtime.

Daniel Boone’s senior quarterback, Easton Harrell, rushed 16 times for 106 yards and three TDs and was 7-of-10 passing for 82 yards and a touchdown in the Trailblazers’ 32-14 win against Gibbs at Nathan Hale Stadium.

Boone will visit Knox Central (9-2) on Friday while Crockett will host Tennessee High (8-3). If the Washington County rivals each win, they’d meet in a Musket Bowl rematch on Nov. 16 in Jonesborough. The Pioneers defeated the ‘Blazers, 34-27, at Crockett on Oct. 19.

It appeared Crockett’s season might come to an end Friday when Halls (5-6) began overtime with a field goal. Former Pioneers head coach Jeremy Bosken (2013-16) is in his first season as Halls’ head coach, and although he was suspended for the game due to his ejection in a win against Seymour the previous week, his Red Devils had a good game plan.

A cold, wet night wasn’t favorable for the Pioneers’ passing game either, and junior quarterback Cade Larkins completed 15 of 35 pass attempts for 261 yards.

But he connected twice with Robinson for touchdowns, including one on the game-winning route to the right edge of the end zone. Robinson made a sliding catch on the lofted timing throw.

“Very proud of the way we battled – not only Knox Halls, but the weather, the conditions,” Crockett first-year coach Hayden Chandley said. “We weren’t really able to open up the entire playbook based on those things and it kind of hindered us on offense. Credit to our kids, Cade and Micah, making a play down the stretch when we needed one.

“The defense got a huge stop for us and we were able to score in two plays and Micah came up with the big catch. … We scored on the same play a little bit earlier. Our second touchdown was the same play and we knew that we liked that matchup that Micah had in the slot. Micah set him inside and was able to get some separation. Cade couldn’t throw a better ball and Micah was able to hold on.”

Harrell went over 1,000 yards rushing during the game. He also threw a 22-yard TD pass to Logan Rivers. Sophomore Devon White provided the Trailblazers’ other score – a 4-yard TD run.

Boone junior Charlie Cole rushed 23 times for 86 yards. He has 1,810 yards rushing on the season.

Peyton Nickles and Daniel Lusk had nine tackles apiece for Boone. Isaiah Quaintance and Austin Cunningham each recovered a fumble.

White leads Boone with 88 tackles. Rivers has a team-high 13 tackles for loss. Nickles has forced three fumbles and recovered three fumbles, which are each team highs.

Boone lost 16-0 to Knox Central in the first round of the playoffs last season. The ‘Blazers were without Cole, defensive lineman Austin Cox and, for three-plus quarters, leading receiver C.J. Carter.

Central began this season 0-2 with losses to Tennessee High (19-16) and Fulton (18-9), but has since won nine straight in convincing fashion. All were by double digits, and among Central’s impressive victories were routs of Halls (49-17) and South-Doyle (35-0), and a 35-20 win against Hardin Valley.

The Bobcats had four turnovers with a young quarterback in the season-opening loss at home to Tennessee High.

“Knox Central is a very athletic team that plays really physical in the line of scrimmage,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “They are primarily a two-back gun team that comes right at you and will go play-action and try to hit you deep. On defense their front is really active with lots of stunts and blitzes.

“We have to move the ball consistently and stay out of negative plays. We have to meet their physicality in the line of scrimmage and tackle really well. I really like our preparation and I expect us to go down there and play well.”

Crockett defeated Tennessee High 24-21 in overtime at the Stone Castle on Oct. 12 thanks to AJ Boyd’s 27-yard field goal. Larkins threw 74- and 73-yard TD passes to Robinson in that one, and connected with Prince Kollie for a 9-yard TD.

“We know Tennessee High is going to come in here fired up and ready to go,” Chandley said. “Our last meeting could have went either way. We just happened to edge them out in the end. They have a good football team, are extremely well coached and very disciplined. Offensively we have to protect Cade and let our playmakers make plays in space. Defensively we have to win first down and make it tough on their play-caller and create some second- and third-and-longs.”

Larkins has passed for 3,433 yards, 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Robinson has 51 receptions for 1,120 yards and 14 TDs. Donta Hackler has 59 catches for 1,076 yards and 14 TDs. John Kollie (36 receptions, 552 yards, five TDs), Mark Seidler (23-390-2) and Prince Kollie (21-263-3) are also popular targets of Larkins.

Junior Ronquille Joyner leads the Pioneers with 824 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.

Seidler leads the Pioneers with 111 tackles in 11 games. John Kollie has made 94 tackles in 10 games. Seidler (18.5) and sophomore Tony Davis (12) are first and second in tackles for loss. Hackler has a team-high four interceptions and 18 touchdowns.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Crockett Football’s AJ Boyd. Boyd was vital in the Pioneers’ regular season, overtime win against Tennessee High. Check back next week to see the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.

Could a Musket Bowl rematch be ahead?

The Washington County rivals, as pictured above in this year’s Musket Bowl, could meet again in the postseason.


H&T Correspondent

David Crockett and Daniel Boone put on a show during the Musket Bowl on Oct. 19 in Jonesborough, and the 10,000-plus that surely attended are eager for an encore performance.

The Pioneers (10-0) and Trailblazers (8-2) will each host an opening-round Class 5A playoff game on Friday. Crockett will host Halls (5-5) and Gibbs (6-4) will visit Boone.

If both teams win two playoff games a, Musket rematch would take place at Crockett in the quarterfinals.

Shortly after Boone concluded the regular season with a 49-15 home win against Cherokee on Friday, someone told Traiblazers coach Jeremy Jenkins he’d sure like to see a Crockett-Boone quarterfinals matchup.

“I think that’s what everybody wants,” Jenkins said with a chuckle.

Certainly, that’s the case for Boone senior quarterback Easton Harrell.

“That’s our No. 1 goal right now,” Harrell said.

Of course, Jenkins and Crockett first-year coach Hayden Chandley, who played for Jenkins at Boone, don’t want to peek ahead to what would be an epic rematch.

“We’ve gotta execute this week,” Chandley said, “and take it one week at a time.”

Crockett will host a playoff game for the first time. It’s opponent, Halls, is coached by Jeremy Bosken, who was Crockett’s head coach (2013-16).

Bosken was ejected during a season-ending win against Seymour on Friday, and must leave Crockett once the players get off the bus and enter the locker room.

Bosken coached the Pioneers when the current seniors were sophomores. And Pioneers starting quarterback Cade Larkins, a junior, began starting for Bosken in the second game of his freshman season.

“How many times in life do you get to coach in a game where, like, every kid on the field is your guys,” Bosken said. “I was excited about it. … I get devotionals every day from Cade Larkins’ dad. It’s a group that we’re close with.”

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Larkins has passed for 3,172 yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. His favorite target is 6-foot-4 junior Donta Hackler (54 catches, 1,002 yards, 14 TDs), but he utilizes a variety of weapons that includes Micah Robinson (45 catches, 991 yards, 12 TDs), John Kollie (33-504-5), Mark Seidler (22-380-2) and Prince Kollie (21-263-3).

If Halls doesn’t play well, Bosken knows his former players will end his current players’ season.

“They throw it to everybody,” Bosken said. “So you can’t really not pay attention to anybody, and they’ve got the best quarterback in Tennessee. It’s like, my goodness, you’ve got Baby (Ben) Roethlisberger back there picking people apart.

“And, gosh, I love Donta. He’s that quiet leader, but he’s so passionate when he gets on the field or the court. He’s respected by everybody. … There’s nobody that doesn’t respect Donta. He’s a guy that you’d want your daughter to marry. He’s just a good kid who plays hard. He’s coachable.”

Seidler (94 tackles) and Kollie (82 in nine games) are the Pioneers’ leading tacklers. Hackler and Robinson have also greatly contributed to the 10-0 start on defense, leading the team with four and three interceptions, respectively.

“I’m very excited for the school – and community – for taking the season one game at a time and focusing on the next game each and every week,” Chandley said. “We’ve told our kids to soak this in and don’t take for granted what we’ve done thus far. (Going) 10-0 isn’t an every-year thing. Our kids have worked their tail off and deserve it.

“But we still have more left to prove. While our season has been great thus far, none of that matters starting Friday night. As long as you get into the ‘big dance’ the great record now only means anything because of getting to host some playoff games. Thirty-two teams control their own destiny in 5A and we are fortunate to be one of those and have left our kids with that.”

Chandley doesn’t expect anything to come easily in the trenches against Halls, which was still awaiting word on whether or not three players will be suspended for the Crockett game due to an altercation against Seymour.

“Halls is extremely physical at the line of scrimmage,” Chandley said. “They have great size and strength and do a good job of running the football to set up their play-action and screen game. Defensively, they get after the quarterback extremely well and do a good job of getting pressure with just four rushers. We have to do a good job defensively of stopping the run and putting them into sure passing situations.

“Offensively it’s the same old story: we have to protect Cade and give him time to find the open guy. Our offensive line has gotten better each and every week with last week being their best performance of the season. We must block and tackle, fly to the football, and take care of the football for 48 minutes.”

Boone is led by 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior running back Charlie Cole, whose impressive combination of size and speed have helped him rush for 1,574 yards and 23 TDs on 173 attempts.

Harrell has been solid from the get-go and gotten better each week this season. He’s rushed for 914 yards and 14 TDs on 100 carries. He’s also passed for 732 yards, six TDs and two interceptions – not bad for the guy that was supposedly the question mark on a potentially solid squad.

“It feels really good,” Harrell said. “I knew there was a lot of people doubting me because of a couple of games last year. But I got thrown in the fire quite a bit and people just thought I wasn’t capable of doing it. And I just came out here and showed ‘em what I could do.”

Cole (15 carries, 131 yards, two TDs), Harrell (9-125-2) and sophomore Devon White (9-101-2) each rushed for in excess of 100 yards and two TDs in Friday’s win against Cherokee.

“Devon’s a great running back,” Harrell said. “He’s gonna step up and make big-time plays like that.”

White also leads the Trailblazers in tackles (82), whch will be critical against ground-oriented Gibbs.

“Gibbs runs the flex-bone offense like Georgia Tech,” Jenkins said. “So you have to play assignment football. First-down defense will be huge for us, to get them into some long-yardage situations.

“They have a real opportunistic defense that loves to get penetration with their front and force turnovers. We have to take care of the ball and move it consistently and make them play catch-up. They are a ball-control offense. So we have to force them into some negative plays and get them off the field on third down.”

Jenkins is proud of his ‘Blazers for winning eight regular season games during a season in which they were replacing Region 1-5A’s offensive player of the year in Shelton, lineman of the year Bailey Presnell and key players such as receiver C.J. Carter and Zach Taylor (Carson-Newman) from the program’s first conference championship team.

“I’m happy for our kids and our coaching staff – to be 8-2 and have some big wins this year and finish runner-up,” Jenkins said. “This bunch has won 16 games the last two years. We’re tickled with the way we finished. Now, we’ve gotta start again in the postseason.”

Boone to host regional race

Boone will host the regional competition this Thursday.


The Region 1 Cross Country Championship will be held on Thursday, Oct. 25, at Daniel Boone High School.

Daniel Boone has hosted the Region 1 Championships for over 45 years — the only regional meet in the state that has never had a change in the host course.

There also several teams, girls and boys, ranked in the top 10 of the state competing to advance to the state championships next Saturday in Nashville.



1:00 Girls Small School

1:45 Girls Large School

2:30 Boys Small School

3:15 Boys Large School

3:45 Combined JV

4:30 Coaching Meeting followed by Awards

Crockett takes Musket Bowl victory

Coach Hayden Chandley holds the musket high as David Crockett High School’s Pioneers brought in a win Friday, with a final score of 34-27. Though in the past, rival Daniel Boone High School seemed to walk away with the musket one too many times for Crockett fans’ comfort, this year it was all about DCHS and a team that has so far proven unbeatable.


H&T Correspondent

David Crockett’s football team will be taking aim at the program’s first undefeated regular season Friday, and now it has a musket to finish the job.

In a Musket Bowl exceeding the hype that helped fuel cars being lined up from David Crockett to downtown Jonesborough some 80 minutes before kickoff, the Pioneers improved to 9-0 on the season and clinched Region 1-5A’s top playoff seed with a 34-27 defeat of Daniel Boone on Friday at Pioneer Field.

The David Crockett High School Pioneer Football Team topped Daniel Boone High School in a thrilling Musket Bowl match up. The home win keeps Crockett undefeated as they continue their season with a 9-0 record, a program best.

The victory also assured Crockett (5-0, 9-0) at least a share of the Mountain Lakes Conference championship, which it can clinch outright with a win at Morristown East in the regular season finale on Friday. Boone (4-1, 7-2), which will also host a first-round playoff game as the No. 2 seed, will host Cherokee on Friday.

Crockett’s defense was missing leading tackler John Kollie against Boone. The timing of his suspension created as much controversy as Washington County’s heated rivalry has seen since the 2015 Musket Brawl that landed both teams postseason bans.

The Pioneers also lost fellow captain J.R. Giles – a disrupter on defense – to an injury in the first half.

But the Trailblazers and Pioneers each appeared focused and composed, and there were no shenanigans in a critical game despite the body-jarring hits of players such as Crockett’s Tony Davis and Prince Kollie.

Cade Larkins completed 33 of 47 passes for 410 yards and four touchdowns and fellow junior Donta Hackler tallied 12 receptions for 167 yards and three TDs.

“This is the happiest I’ve been in a long time,” Larkins said.

Hackler’s 41-yard TD catch with 2:38 left on a second-and-10 gave Crockett a 32-27 lead, and Mark Seidler’s two-point conversion reception from Larkins concluded the scoring.

“It feels great,” said Hackler, who is being recruited steadily by Cincinnati. “All we’ve been hearing is Boone this, Boone that. We were playing for John, playing for J.R. It’s emotional.”

Crockett’s quarterback, Cade Larkins, gets ready to pass during the Musket Bowl game as Boone’s Charlie Cole (4) and Peyton Nickles (2) prepare to block.

Crockett seemed to be in control when Hackler’s 15-yard TD reception gave the Pioneers a 26-14 lead with 7:31 to go.

But junior Charlie Cole, a bruising speedster, dashed 74 yards for a TD on the ensuing play from scrimmage. Crockett blocked the PAT kick to preserve a 26-20 lead.

However, three plays later, the Trailblazers’ Daniel Lusk made a diving interception at the Boone 42-yard line. Two plays after the turnover, quarterback Easton Harrell dashed 56 yards for a TD. The PAT gave the ‘Blazers a 27-26 lead with 5:18 left.

“We were up two touchdowns in the second half and everything’s going our way,” said first-year Crockett coach Hayden Chandley, who played on back-to-back quarterfinalists at Boone as a junior and senior (2009-10). “And the next thing you know, we’re down a point. And we marched right down the field after that and retook the lead. …

“I tell you, man, our kids have battled so much adversity in the past year or so. They just never quit and never give up. Even up through this week, you know, we’re still battling stuff, and the kids never lost sight of what the task was at hand.”

Senior receiver Micah Robinson had eight catches for 106 yards and a TD. Sophomore Prince Kollie made eight catches for 90 yards.

Boone was led by Cole, who rushed for 170 yards. Harrell added 133 yards and two TDs, and Brennan Blair’s 6-yard TD run via a reverse got Boone within 20-14 with 10:24 to left.

“They had a lot of fight,” Robinson said. “Easton and Charlie did a great job doing what they do best.”

Boone’s coach was impressed with a Crockett squad that didn’t quit or panic when Boone rallied to take a one-point lead.

“My hat’s off to Hayden,” said Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins, who coached Chandley at Boone (class of 2011). “His kids played hard and showed a lot of resiliency right there. In the past sometimes when we go up there they’ve had a tendency to fold. They came right back at us. We just didn’t make the plays when we had to on defense, and that’s all on me. That’s my side of the ball. That’s what we pride ourselves on. …

“I’m proud of Hayden and what he’s done, and they’ve got a good thing going down here right now. Hopefully, both of us can make a run in the playoffs and we can get back against each other.”

Certainly, a rematch would make for a massive gait. There was surely more than 10,000 at Crockett on Friday.

“You don’t really realize how many people it was until you’re up there at halftime and you take a look around, you know,” Chandley said, “just all of Washington County coming out to support this great rivalry game. Hats off to Boone. They played an excellent game. Coach Jenkins does a great job – him and his staff – getting his kids ready to play. We maintained ‘em there pretty good in the first half and then Charlie and Easton got us late there in the second half.”

But Larkins and company always answered. Robinson’s 28-yard TD catch.

“Cade checked us into some good plays there,” Chandley said. “He threw a touchdown on a check. Just an overall great performance by him. Probably the best half of football that he’s played all year there in the second half and he was able to lead us to victory.”

Gridiron stars get ready to bring it

Donta Hackler finds a way past two Seymour defenders. Hackler made a 45-yard touchdown to put the Pioneers up 15-7 in the first half.


H&T Correspondent

Junior achievement appears to be paving the way for bright college futures at David Crockett and Daniel Boone.

The Pioneers’ Donta Hackler and Cade Larkins and fellow junior Charlie Cole of Daniel Boone are all generating Division I college interest.

Cole, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound running back-defensive end, said he has heard from the likes of Texas A&M, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Western Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky and Purdue. He visited Georgia Tech on Saturday after visiting South Carolina on Oct. 6, and could potentially visit Tennessee the day after the Musket Bowl.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Hackler, a receiver-defensive back, hears regularly from Cincinnati and Kentucky. And Larkins, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback, visited Miami (Ohio) on Saturday and has invitations to visit Memphis and Tusculum. He also hears from former Daniel Boone quarterback Ben Fox, the offensive coordinator at Centre College.

Boone’s Charlie Cole has also been drawing attention, especially for his role in defeating Science Hill.

Cole became Daniel Boone’s first freshman to rush for 1,000-plus yards in 2016. He was slowed by a hamstring last season that he later attributed to an imbalanced weightlifting regimen, and has bounced back to rush for 1,423 yards and 20 touchdowns during Boone’s 7-1 start this season.

Cole is a mixture of speed and strength that’s often overwhelming, particularly in the latter stages of games. He was a force in the fourth quarter of Boone’s 14-10 win at Crockett in 2016, going over 1,000 yards during a 191-yard, two-TD performance. His second score was a 42-yarder that gave Boone a 14-3 lead in the third quarter.

“Every time I watch it I get chill bumps,” Cole said, “because I knew that was the game-winning touchdown and I was so happy and grateful for that.”

Cole rushed for 141 yards and two TDs in the Trailblazers’ 28-21 victory against the Pioneers last year.

“The thing I like about Charlie is he runs the ball hard,” Hackler said. “It takes more than one person to bring him down.”

Cole rushed for 322 yards this season in a win at Science Hill.

“Charlie does a good job of finding space,” Crockett Coach Hayden Chandley said. “And when there’s not space, he does a good job of making space. …  And something that not a lot of people may realize about him – a lot of times he’s the fastest kid on the field.”

Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins noted Cole’s speed.

“When you see him, his size jumps out at you,” Jenkins said. “And he is a really physical specimen looking at him. But the big key to him is his speed. Nobody really realizes how fast he is until you see him in person. He’s done a great job of working at that this year. His speed has really picked up and I think that’s what’s taken him to the next level.”

Cole and Hackler are blessed with similar 4.5 speed. The long-armed Hackler is also a good leaper.

“I remember in the eighth grade, we high-jumped against each other,” Cole said. “I beat him by one inch and I went over and talked to him and I said, ‘Dude, you should’ve won.’ He was like, ‘Why do you think I should’ve won?’ And I said, ‘Because you didn’t have any form. You jumped straight up over the bar.’

“And I think that’s what makes him really, really deadly to various teams, because he’s really tall, he’s got the hands, he can jump and he’s fast. I think him and Cade are a good match together.”

Crockett’s Cade Larkins is known for his speed and agility.

Indeed, Hackler is on pace for 1,000-yard season as a receiver. He has 10 TD catches and is tied for the team lead with Micah Robinson with three interceptions. And Larkins has already passed for 2,394 yards and 29 TDs this season.

“It’s great when you have a quarterback like Cade,” Hackler said. “You can run the route and even if it’s not the best route, he’s gonna put the ball in the best spot for you, where the DB can’t make a play on it.”

And Hackler has also made catches on throws it appears no one would reach.

“I think the ceiling for Donta is extremely high,” Chandley said. “As far as athletic ability goes, I don’t know that there have been many to walk the halls of Davy Crockett more athletic than Donta. He’s a very gifted athlete and just an incredible kid as well. He’s a pleasure to coach and does whatever we ask him to do. … The recruiting will really pick up for him, I suspect, here when the spring rolls around.

“Cade is a 4.0 (GPA) kid and has a high ACT score. He does anything you ask him to do as well – a ‘yes sir, no sir’ kid and a great pleasure to be around. He’s a leader for us on and off the field. He’s one of our captains as a junior. It makes our job a lot easier as coaches when we’ve got people like Cade running the show on offense.”

Larkins enjoyed the visit to Miami.

“It was cool to see how Ben Roethlisberger and other guys that the program has sent to the league (NFL) have bettered the program and left tradition there,” Larkins said.

For Larkins and Hackler, who are seeking their first triumph against the Trailblazers, the future is now.

“The atmosphere that the Musket Bowl brings has to be as good as any other high school football game out there,” Larkins said. “And games like these are the ones we live for and will remember the rest of our lives. Just knowing that makes us even more hungry for the Musket.”

Musket Bowl wins Titans Game of the Week

UPDATE: The Daniel Boone at David Crockett football game won the Game of the Week competition at 57 percent of votes, beating the second leading game, Shelbyville at Page, by 20 percent.


Daniel Boone and David Crockett High School are up for the Tennessee Titans Game of the Week.

Each week throughout the season, a panel of media members select the top matchups from around the state. These nominations are then eligible to be selected as the Titans High School Game of the Week.

For week nine, the David Crocket and Daniel Boone‘s Musket Bowl is up against three other high school games Tennessee — Shelbyville at Page, Memphis Central at Germantown and Montgomery Bell at Brentwood Academy. The Musket Bowl currently leads the poll with 60 percent.

Fans are encouraged to vote for their preferred matchup throughout the week. The game with the most votes will become the Titans High School Game of the Week, with the winning head coach being named the Titans High School Coach of the Week. Each Coach of the Week will receive a grant from the Tennessee Titans in the amount of $1,000 to benefit their school’s football program. To vote go to https://www.titansonline.com/news/vote-for-the-titans-high-school-game-of-the-week-10-19.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is David Crockett Football’s Micah Robinson who has been a leader for the Pioneers on the gridiron. Check back next week for the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.

Crockett continues undefeated trail

The David Crockett High School Pioneer Football Team is on a high after a seven-game winning streak, the best in Crockett’s history. Now the team will prepare to face conference opponent Tennessee High on Friday, Oct. 12 in Bristol.


H&T Correspondent

The David Crockett football team’s season-opening winning streak was stretched to a school-record seven games Friday at Pioneer Field thanks, in part, to a school-record 99-yard reception in a 41-10 victory against Cherokee.

Pioneer receiver Donta Hackler made the record TD grab on a pass from fellow junior Cade Larkins on the first play after Cherokee was denied on a fourth-and-goal. Of course, the outcome already seemed to have long been decided. Hackler’s 99-yarder gave the Pioneers a 35-3 lead.

The athletic 6-foot-4 Hackler finished with three catches for 142 yards and two TDs. He had plenty of help from his skilled friends.

Larkins was 12-of-23 passing for 360 yards and five touchdowns Micah Robinson made five receptions for 135 yards and two TDs. And Ronquille Joyner rushed for 94 yards and a TD on 14 carries.

Cherokee coach Cody Baugh was impressed.

“They have very talented skill players,” Baugh said.

“If they can stay healthy they will give some Region 2, 3 and 4 teams fits in the playoffs.”

Crockett was coming off a bye week, and started flat. The Pioneers trailed 3-0 in the second quarter before a 21-point outburst calmed the Pioneers faithful by intermission. Crockett coach Hayden Chandley wasn’t shocked by the slow start.

“We came out sluggish, and we kind of expected that a little bit coming off the bye week,” Chandley said.

“We busted a few runs there in the second quarter, opened up the passing lanes for us. I’ve gotta give credit to those five guys up front. It was the best we’ve run the ball all year. Credit goes to our offensive line and Ronquille (Joyner) running hard.

“If we’re gonna get to where we wanna get to later on in the season, we’ve gotta be able to run the ball when 16 (Larkins) doesn’t have it. …

“Cade missed a few open guys early on but responded well by hitting some big ones later in the game.”

Chandley coaches the safeties on defense, and was especially pleased to see the secondary produce three interceptions. Robinson tallied 7 1/2 tackles and an interception and Prince Kollie had two interceptions and 5 1/2 tackles.

“We do a good job of mixing up our looks and our kids play extremely hard and do what we ask ‘em to do,” Chandley said. “I was bugging my two safeties. I said, ‘We don’t have a pick all year from you two.’ Like, that’s my position group, so I take that personally. And Prince ended up getting two (against Cherokee).’ He’s a talent.

It makes my job a lot easier when you’ve got a lot of talent like we’ve got.

“Defense played great bend-but-not-break defense. Anytime you force three takeaways in a game that makes things a lot easier for you as a coach.”

Chandley realized he was getting an impressive toy box in terms of athletes when he became Crockett’s head coach this year. And he quickly saw the linemen were more than capable.

But the players’ collective accountability and unselfishness has been a pleasant surprise.

Leadership has come from all corners of the locker room.

“And that’s not just seniors and that’s just not our captains — that’s from everybody,” Chandley said. “If a captain is slacking, you know, we’ve got another senior or even a junior that will pick him up and tell him to get his butt in gear.”

Larkins has passed for 2,089 yards, 26 TDs and three interceptions. Hackler has 33 catches for 735 yards and 10 touchdowns. Robinson, a senior, has tallied 26 receptions for 506 yards and seven TDs.

Joyner, a junior running back, gives the Pioneers’ offense balance. He has rushed for 604 yards and five TDs after missing his sophomore season with an ACL tear.

Senior Mark Seidler, who caught a 15-yard TD pass against Cherokee, has recorded 62 tackles, including 12 1/2 tackles for loss this season.

Crockett has a key Region 1-5A clash at Tennessee High in Bristol on Friday. The Vikings (3-1, 6-2) lost 26-21 to Daniel Boone and 35-21 at Elizabethton.

Tennessee High won 48-28 at Cocke County on Friday. Among its six victories is a 19-16 season-opening triumph at Knox Central.

“Looking forward, we can’t afford to start slow like we did against Cherokee,” Chandley said. “The Stone Castle is a tough place to play and we know we’ll have our hands full with those guys.

“Coach (Mike) Mays does a great job down there and we know he’ll have his kids fired up and ready to go. We will have to play physical, disciplined football for 48 minutes.”

Chandley said the high-flying Pioneers are still soaring toward their potential ceiling.

“I still don’t think we’ve played our best game on both sides of the ball,” he said.

But the Pioneers are trending toward it, which has generated a buzz around Jonesborough.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Chandley said, “for this community and these kids.”

Trailblazers take homecoming victory


H&T Correspondent

It was homecoming at Daniel Boone on Friday, and Charlie Cole continued to parade through defenses.

Cole, the Trailblazers’ 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior, rushed 22 times for 236 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-20 victory against Morristown East.

Boone improved to 2-0 in Region 1-5A and 5-1 overall. East fell to 1-2 in the league and 1-6 overall.

Cole ran for an 85-yard TD for the second straight game. He also scored on runs of 36 and 12 yards and increased his season rushing total to 1,145 yards.

The stellar performance came on a night when Daniel Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins was told a representative from Michigan was watching. East Tennessee State and Eastern Kentucky were there to see Cole, who’s also getting interest from Georgia Tech and Memphis.

“He’s worked on his speed and he’s a pretty good-sized runner, too,” Jenkins said.

“He’s running really hard right now for us and really determined.”

Veteran Morristown East coach Dewayne Wells’ career has included being the head coach at Tusculum College and an assistant coach at the University of the Cumberlands. He’s impressed with Cole.

“He’s a hard runner that you have to tackle at the line of scrimmage,” Wells said. “If he breaks the line of scrimmage he is very difficult to bring down one on one.”

Senior quarterback Easton Harrell rushed for 142 yards and two TDs against Morristown East. It was the third time Harrell has exceeded 100 yards rushing in a game this season. He also achieved the feat against Science Hill and Tennessee High.

“We run a little bit of option with him and Charlie,” Jenkins said. “But we’ve got some designed runs for him. We don’t like to run him a whole, whole lot. We don’t like getting him hit a whole lot. But at the same time, he’s gonna stick it up in there, too. And you can see his eyes light up when they call that option for him and some of those designed runs that he has.”

Harrell, who has rushed for 484 yards this season, has engineered Boone to a 5-1 start, which includes a 2-0 mark in Region 1-5A. He was the primary question mark this season while taking over for productive Noah Shelton.

“He’s done a good job leading us all year, just being the leader on the football team,” Jenkins said. “We kind of go with the heartbeat of him. He’s doing a good job of getting us in and out of plays. We’re just really, really blessed we’ve got him with us.”

Jenkins was especially pleased to see Boone come out focused against the Hurricanes. The combination of homecoming activities and coming off an emotional upset win at Science Hill could’ve produced a letdown. But Boone built a 42-7 lead before letting the reserves play the final quarter.

“We tried to really establish the line of scrimmage early on,” Jenkins said. “Our offensive line really performed well.”

The offensive line includes seniors Jeremiah Sullivan (right guard) and Isaiah Quaintance (left tackle) and three sophomores – center Matthew Masters, right tackle Jake Sipos and left guard Chandler Masters.

“That group’s really jelled together and coach (Ethan) Good does a really good job of keeping them grounded as far as getting a hat on a hat and getting off the ball,” Jenkins said. “That’s the thing with high school football – if you can just get off the ball and get a hat on a hat and give your backs a chance, then you’ve got a chance. That’s what we preach and what we kind of live and die with.”

Senior Austin Cox (6-4, 320) played well against East on the defensive line after sitting out the wins against Science Hill and Gate City with a shoulder injury. Seniors James Richardson (defensive end) and Peyton Nickles (outside linebacker) also bolstered Boone’s physical performance against the Hurricanes.

“Morristown East scared us to death because they’re so athletic and had been in virtually just about every game,” Jenkins said. “We were concerned about their athleticism. But I thought our kids played well, especially in the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

“That’s the best defensively Austin Cox and Peyton Nickles have played for us all year. … Austin’s been dinged up with a shoulder and we finally get him back healthy. Nickles missed the first game against South. He’s been banged up with a hamstring and shoulder as well.”

Sophomore inside linebacker Devon White leads Boone with 71 tackles. Senior Joe Jones, who leads Boone with two interceptions, had an interception and scored a TD against Morristown East.

“Our kids have really been playing with a lot of confidence,” Jenkins said. “Colton Adams continues to play well in the secondary, being a leader for us there. It’s really somebody different every week. That’s what you want – a total group effort.

“Offensively, if we can get a hat on a hat, I really like our chances with our backs and our quarterback running the ball at you. And then our play-action game has been good to us as well.

“Hopefully, we can keep this going.”

Boone will visit Volunteer (0-3, 2-5) on Friday.

In Photos: Roy takes it all

David Crockett High School’s Taylor Roy (above) was awarded the over-all winner at the Bristol Cross Country Meet. Taylor was first out of 179 high school girls. Crockett’s Rachel Dulaney placed fourth and the Lady Pioneers finished third out of 25 teams. The boys team finished sixth with 29 high school teams competing.

Boone runners take top spots in Bristol

The Daniel Boone High School Cross Country Team recently competed in the Bristol Cross meet. The boys team took the top spot in the competition.


Daniel Boone High School competed in the Bristol Cross meet at Steel Creek Park on Saturday, Sept. 22.

The Varsity Boys won the team title over Hardin Valley Academy, led by Conner Wingfield (eighth), Matt Huff (eleventh) and Chance Bowman (twelfth) in the top 12.

Other varsity members were Mason Lewis, Max Austin, Austin Mallory and Evan Bruce.

The girls varsity took second behind Hardin Valley Academy, led by Erin Bruce’s eighth place finish.

Other varsity members were Patricia Chellah, Grace Sheldon, Alanna Cloud, Marley McCoy, Judy Chellah and Nicole Griffith.

The junior varsity teams split with Hardin Valley. The Girls JV took first place with a sweep of the top five spots —  Alysse Rowland, Gracie Murray, Chloe Brown, Abbie Hopson and Natalie Fellers.

The Boys JV placed second, led by Graydon Hull’s fourth place finish.

Other scoring runners were Jameson Cline, Brett Arnold, Keaton Smith and Andrew Davis.

The ‘Blazers are halfway through the cross country season. The teams’ next meet will be held in Oakville, Alabama at the Jesse Owens Meet on Saturday, Oct. 6. The next local meet will be held on Saturday, Oct. 13 at the 46th Trailblazer Invitational Meet. That meet will start at 9 a.m. in Gray.

Boone, Cole stun Hilltoppers

Daniel Boone High School’s Charlie Cole is on the carry for the Trailblazers during the Friday night match up. The ‘Blazers topped Science Hill 35-28 in Johnson City.


H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone junior running back Charlie Cole missed last year’s blowout loss to Science Hill with an injury. This year, he hurt the Hilltoppers’ pride.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Cole made up for lost time Friday, rushing 26 times for a Tipton Stadium-record 322 yards and three touchdowns while helping the Trailblazers stun Science Hill, 35-28. He scored on runs of 80 and 85 yards after the Hilltoppers’ Drew Morrison had twice tied the score with TDs in the final 12:58.

Science Hill overcame a 14-point deficit to beat Boone 19-14 when Cole was a freshman.

“We were winning by 14 again this year,” Cole said, “and we pulled it out whenever I said, ‘It’s not happening again. … I’m here to win this game.’”

A big game from Cole, who is equal parts strength, speed and determination, wasn’t a surprise. Before being hamstrung by an injury the majority of his sophomore season, Cole became Boone’s first freshman to exceed 1,000 yards rushing in a season. His father (Charlie) rushed for 1,000-plus yards in 1991 and played at Emory & Henry, and East Tennessee State Head Coach Randy Sanders is his great uncle.

Charlie Cole and Coach Jeremy Jenkins shared a victory in Johnson City after defeating the ‘Toppers.

But a Boone victory caught seemingly everyone, save for the Boone players and coaches, by surprise. After all, Science Hill won 63-6 last year in Gray and hadn’t dropped a decision in the series since David Crockett head coach Hayden Chandley played for coach Jeremy Jenkins’ Trailblazers in 2010.

“That’s what’s great about football,” Jenkins said. “Our kids believed all week. We challenged our kids to get better in the line of scrimmage and I thought we did tonight. We really challenged Charlie to run more physical and drive through the first guy and then when he makes it through the line of scrimmage, look to make the move and go instead of trying to run over somebody. … Charlie, right now, is really running hungry.

“Two years ago we were in the same spot up 14 and kind of just let it slip away. Tonight I thought our kids really persevered and took it over as far as physically at the line of scrimmage. Ethan Good does a great job with our line and really did a good job of getting ‘em going.”

Cole said upsetting Science Hill was more exciting than winning at rival David Crockett to seal a playoff berth when he rushed for 192 yards as a freshman in 2016.

“I feel like this is a better feeling,” Cole said, “because this team was supposed to beat us – apparently in the papers by quite a bit.”

Several times it appeared Science Hill would rally to escape with a victory. Cole’s 2-yard touchdown leap and two TD runs by quarterback Easton Harrell gave Boone a 21-7 halftime lead. Harrell, who rushed for 167 yards, ran for a 99-yard TD that gave Boone a 21-7 lead with 57 seconds left in the first half.

“Coach called it: quarterback run to the right,” Harrell said. “And my two up-backs – I mean they just did a perfect job on blocking and then I had a seam and then I just took off as fast as I could.”

Preston Miller made a diving interception at the Daniel Boone 1-yard line on the previous play.

“Preston makes the interception and then we’re just trying to get it out of there,” Jenkins said. “And then he just busted loose and was gone. A great job by our guys up front. We had five sophomores up front at times in there.

“We’re getting really solid quarterback play. We lost a good one last year (Noah Shelton). Easton’s doing a good job of leading our guys and fighting me on the side wanting to play defense.”

 Cole was like a boxer working the body most of the contest before landing a couple of big punches late. He piled up yards after contact, keeping his legs churning for four quarters. And there were times late in the game when you couldn’t help but wonder if Science Hill defenders couldn’t tackle him or didn’t want to.

Perhaps most impressively, Cole’s record night came against a defense designed to stop him by crowding the line of scrimmage and daring Boone to pass.

Cole credited Logan Rivers, Peyton Nickles and the offensive line with effective blocking. Harrell also noted Nickles’ blocking.

Indeed, Boone’s work in the trenches was solid. But Cole was arguably the most physical player on the field.

“He’s a horse,” exasperated Science Hill Coach Stacy Carter said. “He’s a good running back. He’s a hard-nosed kid and he’s stronger than everybody on the field. And we couldn’t catch him.”

The Trailblazers host Morristown East on Friday. It’s the first of five straight Region 1-5A games.

“I’m just really proud of our kids and proud of our program to come up here and beat them away from home,” Jenkins said. “Coach Carter does a great job and I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his program. … This can really jump-start us for the second half of our conference season. But we can’t be satisfied.”

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Daniel Boone High School’s Volleyball Team. The squad took down conference opponents including, Volunteer, Tennessee High, Science Hill and David Crockett. Check back next week to see the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week online and in print.

Pioneers stay ‘humble and hungry’

The David Crockett High School Pioneer Football Team is on a high after a five-game winning streak, the best in Crockett’s history since the program’s start. Now the team is gearing up for the second half of their season, starting with an on-the-road game at Hampton High School on Friday, Sept. 21.


H&T Correspondent

First-year David Crockett football coach Hayden Chandley is quick to tell you his Pioneers haven’t played two complete halves in a game this season.

But the Pioneers’ record indicates they’ve played a perfect half of a season.

Crockett improved to 5-0 when it outlasted previously unbeaten Cocke County, 41-20, in Newport on Friday. The last time Crockett started that fast was when future Virginia Tech Hokie Sandy Johnson was carrying the ball during the program’s first season in 1971.

Cade Larkins passed for four touchdowns and ran for another at Cocke County, and fellow junior Donta Hackler had two TD receptions and two interceptions as the Pioneers improved to 2-0 in Region 1-5A.

“Like I’ve said many times, I thank the good Lord every single day for putting me in the position that he did,” Chandley said. “You take any successful coach in any sport at any level whatsoever, and you could sit there and name some really good players that that coach had. That’s the case with us. We’ve got guys up front and at the skill positions that are just really good football players.

“And not only that, but they’re coachable. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you’re not coachable, it means absolutely nothing. It’s a credit to our kids buying into what we’re doing here. They’ve taken it and it’s translated to the field. We’ve started to see some success, and I think we’re getting better every single week. But the good part for us is we’ve yet to play our best on both sides of the football (an entire game).”

Hackler, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound highlight reel already receiving interest from the likes of Cincinnati and Kentucky, has been instrumental in the fast start. He had seven catches for 174 yards at Cocke County. He elevated to complete a fade pattern on one of the TD catches.

“He makes tons of amazing catches all the time,” Larkins said. “Last year against Tennessee High he made a one-handed catch. Last year against Morristown East he laid out (for a diving catch). He’s just an amazing receiver, to be honest.”

Chandley was most impressed in Newport by Hackler’s diving interception.

“It was one of the best high school plays I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Chandley said. “It was a slant and he broke on it, and him and the guy went to the ground at the same time and they were facing each other. And the next thing you know, they roll over and Donta’s got the ball. It was almost like he wrestled it away from him in midair.”

Hackler said there were four hands on the ball simultaneously when he snatched McKayne Ramsey’s would-be catch.

“I just ripped the ball out of his hands,” Hackler said. “I knew the middle of the field was wide open and I just read it and made a play.”

Hackler has 28 catches for 511 yards and eight TDs this season. He credits his productivity to defenses having to account for fellow receivers John Kollie, Micah Robinson and Mark Seidler, as well as effective pass protection from an offensive line that includes Doc Coffey, Tony Davis, J.R. Giles, Tyler Estep, Gabe Hendricks, Blaine Greer and Adrian Boles, who was injured against Gibbs on Sept. 7 and is expected to return either Oct. 5 (Cherokee) or Oct. 12 (at Tennessee High). There’s also a potent ground game with Ronquille Joyner and Prince Kollie keeping teams honest.

Larkins heartily agrees.

“I’d trust my life with those guys (on the O-line),” Larkins said. “This is my third year with Doc Coffey, the center, and I’ve just got all the faith in the world in him. Tony is a big dude. And J.R. and Blaine and T-Step – whoever’s in there I know they’ve got my back.”

The 5-0 start has fired up the Jonesborough community, not to mention the student body.

“There’s a lot of hype, I think, around us right now,” Larkins said. “Whenever we got out of the locker room against Cocke County Friday night everybody that made it to the game was just surrounding us. It was a lot of fun.”

Hackler noted students making posters and shout-outs via Twitter.

“We just have a lot more people coming to our games and stuff like that,” Hackler said. “We have a lot of energy from the crowd.”

Even nose-to-grindstone Chandley has taken a moment to smell the flowers.

“The buzz in the school is awesome,” Chandley said. “And the support from the faculty and the student body – you turn around in the stands at Cocke County and look around, and we had beaucoups of kids there supporting us in the student section. Our fans are awesome and they travel so well.

“It’s a good feeling and the energy’s high and right now we’ve got it going in the right direction. But as I’ve always said we’ve gotta stay humble and hungry.”

Crockett will visit Hampton on Friday. A bye week will follow.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is David Crockett Soccer’s Londyn Horton. Londyn helped bring the Lady Pioneers to victory against West Greene and Unicoi. Check back next week for the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.