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.

Crockett continues gridiron victory


H&T Correspondent

Winning is becoming old hat for 25-year-old rookie David Crockett head coach Hayden Chandley.

The Pioneers have reached 55 two straight games to turn the big 4-0 for the first time since they began 5-0 in the program’s first season in 1971.

Junior quarterback Cade Larkins threw five touchdown passes and junior receiver Donta Hackler had two TD receptions and returned an interception for a score in the Pioneers’ 55-28 dismantling of Gibbs on Friday in Jonesborough. That came on the heels of a 55-0 rout of upstart Volunteer.

“If we’ve got our kids ready to play and prepared,” Chandley said, “I feel good about our chances most nights we line up.”

Larkins, working well with former Crockett quarterback Ryan Burger, is 64-of-103 passing for 1,073 yards, 14 TDs and two interceptions. Chandley said he sees a “night-and-day difference” in Larkins since a 21-7 win against Seymour in the season opener.

Hackler leads Crockett with 21 catches for 337 yards and six TDs. Many of his catches are of the crowd-pleasing variety.

“I’ll tell ya, there’s not many guys the good Lord built 6-4, 205 pounds and can jump and run like Donta can,” Chandley said. “We’re very blessed to have him on our side. I tell people all the time, ‘I’m just glad he’s on our side and I’m not having to line up across from him and figure out how we’re gonna cover him.’”

Despite having two other dangerous receivers in John Kollie (16 catches, 308 yards, three TDs) and Micah Robinson (16-299-3), the Pioneers are starting to see Hackler get double-teamed more and more. Volunteer did some of it, and Gibbs even more. Chandley sees a pick-your-poison conundrum for opponents.

“We’ve got two pretty good ones,” Chandley said, “on the other side of the formation too that can go get it in Micah and John.”

Indeed, Kollie caught an 81-yard TD and Robinson had a 21-yard score against Gibbs. Mark Siedler – the Pioneers’ leading tackler (35.5) – also caught a TD pass against Gibbs, which made it a game for a half.

“We got down there in the first half and we just kept battling,” Chandley said. “It was good to see our kids come back and respond how they did … to a little bit of a adversity. I know we scored three touchdowns in the last four minutes of the first half, which was huge. And they got the ball to start the second half and we were able to get a turnover on downs and march right down and score. That was a big answer to their big second quarter.”

Hackler’s pick-six wasn’t the Pioneers’ lone defensive score. J.R. Giles returned a fumble 31 yards for a Crockett touchdown.

“We gave up 28 points, which is a lot more than we’re used to giving up,” Chandley said. “But you’ve also gotta think the defense scored 14 points on their own. So that was huge for us.”

Adrian Boles, a 6-7, 240-pound senior lineman, left the Gibbs game with a knee injury. Chandley is hopeful that it’s only an MCL, and that Boles could return for the Cherokee game on Oct. 5 after a bye week.

Gabe Hendricks, Blaine Greer and Tyler Estep, Chandley says, have reeled in much slack left by Boles’ absence. They’ve helped a ground game that’s led to 54 carries for 313 yards and four TDs for junior Ronquille Joyner and 21 carries for 131 yards for sophomore Prince Kollie.

“Up front we’re doing a good job getting the right protection and opening up some holes for Ronquille and Prince,” Chandley said. “We’ve kind of hit our stride. So hopefully we can keep things rolling and keep moving forward with the offense.”

The Pioneers will need to hit on all cylinders Friday in Newport. Cocke County (3-0) is also unbeaten and has an impressive pitch-and-catch tandem in quarterback Jarren Ensley and receiver Carson Nichols. The Fighting Cocks are coached by Caleb Slover, a record-setting quarterback at Tusculum College.

“He (Ensley) is definitely a talented quarterback,” Chandley said. “When they give him time to throw he surveys the field well and he reads defenses extremely well. We’ll have to do a good job of getting pressure with three or four (pass rushers). You’ve gotta mix up your looks with him. When you blitz you can’t always show it. He’s a heady kid and coach (Caleb) Slover does a good job with him, having him and his team prepared.

“And they’ve got a very solid receiver in the Nichols kid. I would say that he is probably the fastest kid that we would’ve played thus far and maybe the fastest kid we’ll play all year. We’ll definitely have to keep an eye on him and know where he’s at at all times.”

Bluegrass Half Marathon back in Johnson City

The Bluegrass Half Marathon is back in Johnson City at the end of the month. The Last Mile Kid’s Run will also be taking place for young runners to get involved.


The 9th Annual Bluegrass Half Marathon, powered by The Wellness Center, is set for Sunday, Sept. 30 with a course that will take participants though some of the city’s best areas for running. Starting at the Pavilion at Founders Park, runners will travel through part of Downtown, Historic Tree Streets, East Tennessee State University and the VA Mountain Home Campus. The event will culminate at the Pavilion and Yee-Haw Brewing Co., with music from ETSU Bluegrass Band.

“The Bluegrass was Johnson City’s first half marathon and it’s one of our favorite races because it’s a showcase of our community,” said Karen Hubbs, founder of The Goose Chase.

“It brings together some of the best of what our city has to offer – beautiful scenery, historic landmarks, Bluegrass music, and of course- running.”

The Bluegrass Half Marathon offers two-and four-person relay component as well as The Last Mile Kid’s Run.

“The Last Mile is really cool because it allows youth to participate without having to run a whole half marathon at once,” Hubbs said. “All they have to do is run or walk 12.1 miles with their family, friends, or school prior to Sept. 28, then come run the last mile that night with family and friends. It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to get their parents excited about running the Bluegrass on Sunday.”

Visit for race map, volunteer registration and more information. Please email questions to

Trailblazers take down Vikings


H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone’s quarterback Easton Harrell also plays baseball, and he combined on the win and the save at Tennessee High on Friday.

The Trailblazers’ senior rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown, passed for 99 yards and combined with Colton Adams to break up Tennessee High’s fourth-and-four pass at the goal line to seal an impressive 26-21 victory in the Stone Castle.

The Vikings (0-1, 2-1) were focused on stopping the Trailblazers’ junior workhorse, Charlie Cole, who nonetheless tallied 100 yards and three TDs on the ground. But Harrell’s clutch play, including three third-and-long conversion passes, paved the way to paydirt.

Harrell’s 74-yard TD run helped tie the score, 7-7. Harrell wasn’t 100 percent in a season-opening win against Sullivan South, but had two weeks to regain strength for the Vikings.

“It was a really good game by our quarterback,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “He was a little bit injured the first game and we couldn’t do a whole lot with him, and then he comes out and busts a long option run and I think kind of caught them by surprise a little bit with his speed. He played well for us all night on both sides of the ball, especially late in the fourth quarter. He played a lot for us at nickel back and he made the hit right there – along with Colton – to end the game.”

Cole’s first 6-yard TD gave Boone a 14-7 halftime lead. He scored again from six yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Boone a 20-14 lead. And his 3-yard TD concluded the scoring with 4 1/2  minutes remaining.

“We know teams are gonna key on Charlie,” Jenkins said, “and I think he still had 25 carries and right at 100 yards. And they were really keying on him. He can do some things with his legs and we’ve just gotta do a good job of keeping him healthy.”

Brennan Blair caught a 41-yard pass from Harrell to convert a third-and-12 on the game-winning drive.

“On the winning drive we had three conversions of third-and-10 or more,” Jenkins said. “(Blair) was kind of secondary on it (the 41-yard reception), but their safety kind of flew out over top to the wheel route and he got behind the guy and we hit him over top. And the (Phillip) Page kid made two really good plays on routes on third-and-10 on the first part of the drive as well.

“Austin Cunningham had a big catch to keep a drive alive. He’s a junior. And Blair and Page are both sophomores. So there were a lot of big plays made from our young kids.”

Adams had a productive game at free safety – right down to the defense’s last play.

“Defensively, all year, Colton Adams has kind of been the steady person for us at free safety,” Jenkins said. “He keeps us going as far as understanding and getting us in the right stuff. He’s kind of been the mainstay for us.”

Jenkins has also been pleased with sophomore running back-linebacker Devon White.

“Devon has really come on for us, especially the first week kind of being the second running back,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t really feature him (at running back) a whole lot last week, but defensively he’s played pretty good for us. Logan Rivers is kind of the main person there in the middle of our defense that’s got the most experience. We’ve gotta keep those two linebackers going. When those two kids play well our whole defense plays well.

“Our two corners have really jumped out at us too – Joe Jones and Preston Miller. Miller, being a sophomore, has really, really played well. If you’ve got corners that can play well you can do some different things with your front.”

Sophomore right tackle Jake Sipos (5-10, 190) and senior right guard Jeremiah Sullivan (6-2, 245) had productive games on the offensive line.

“Those two really had a big second half for us,” Jenkins said, “and we started going that way a lot with them. Up front, defensively, we’ve played good at times. But we’re not playing as consistent as I would like. And we’ve gotta tackle a whole, whole lot better.”

The margin for error will likely shrink this week when Boone hosts Elizabethton (3-0), which opened the season with a 36-34 win against Science Hill and has outscored South Greene and Sullivan East by a combined score of 108-6.

The Cyclones have won five straight in the series since a 14-7 Boone victory in 2012.

“Elizabethon coming in undefeated and us being undefeated too, we know it’s gonna be a packed house here,” Jenkins said. “Coach Witten’s got ‘em flying high up there with the (Corey) Russell kid and the quarterback (Carter Everett). They can do a lot of things.

“We’ve just gotta do a good job of getting positive yards and getting them off the field as much as we can, because we know they like to really get up and down the field. Any time you get after Science Hill – having seen Science Hill on tape and watching what they did – we know that’s a quality team coming in. We’ll have our hands full.”

Of course, the ‘Blazers had their hands full and didn’t fumble the challenge last week in Bristol.

“Our kids really fought,” Jenkins said. “We had a little adversity at the first and really had our backs against the wall a time or two and made some plays when we had to. Tennessee High was a great team and a great test, especially on the road. They’re gonna win a lot of games.”

Crockett runners ‘run for the hills’

Left photo: The David Crockett High School Cross Country Boys Team took second place at the Run for the Hills event out of 20 other teams. Pictured from left to right is Jacob Ferrell, Ryan Myers, Cameron Butler, Hank Lowe, Bryson Livesay, Grayson Fugate and Brandon Devore.

Right photo: The Lady Pioneer Cross Country Team clinched the second-place spot out of 11 teams. Pictured from left to right is Madison Orr, Grace Krell, Rachel Dulaney, Taylor Roy, Emmaline Hulse, Halle Scott and Chloe Cradic.


David Crockett’s Cross Country teams participated in the Run for the Hills race hosted by Sullivan East High School on Saturday, Aug. 25 in Bristol, Tennessee.

David Crockett Boy’s Cross Country team finished second out of 20 teams. They were lead by Hank Lowe in second place, Cameron Butler in ninth, and Bryson Livesay in 12th.

David Crockett Girl’s Cross Country team finished second out of 11 teams. DCHS was led by Taylor Roy in first place, Rachel Dulaney in second, and Emmaline Hulse in seventh.

The next cross country meet for the Pioneer teams  will be the Terry Hull Crawford Cross Country Classic in Greeneville on Thursday, Aug. 30. The event will  be hosted by Greeneville High School.

Local softballers honored by county commission

From left to right, Kayleigh Musser, Lillie Walters, Riley Croley and Coach Steven Croley accept a proclamation from Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge.


Members of the Daniel Boone Little League Softball Team were honored at the Washington County Commission meeting on Monday, Aug. 27.

From left to right, Kayleigh Musser, Lillie Walters, Riley Croley and Coach Steven Croley accept a proclamation from Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge. The team made it to the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon where they went 2-4 against teams from across the U.S., British Columbia, Philippines and Czech Republic.

Lady Pioneers top Seymour

The Lady Pioneer Volleyball Team took down Seymour High School in three sets on Monday.


Crockett beat Seymour in three sets 26-24, 27-25, 25-23 on Monday, Aug. 27.

Breanna O’Shields had four aces, 15 kills and seven digs.  Maddie Pleasant tallied three aces and noine digs. Kara Weems had three aces, five kills, and 12 assists.  Meanwhile, Joanna Smith tallied 13 assists for the Lady Pioneers.


UPDATE: Crockett faced Science Hill Tuesday night, after press time for the Herald & Tribune. Crockett fell in three sets to the Lady Toppers. The Lady Pioneers are slated to take on Union in a home game on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 5:30 and then Daniel Boone High School on Tuesday, Sept. 4, in Gray.

Crockett Pioneers advance to 2-0

The Crockett Pioneers improved to 2-0 after the victory against Campbell County on Friday.


H&T Correspondent

David Crockett’s football team improved to 2-0 with an impressive 28-7 win at Campbell County on Friday.

This week, however, first-year coach Hayden Chandley is stressing the fact that the Pioneers are 0-0.

Crockett will open Region 1-5A play when it hosts Volunteer on Friday.

“I told the kids (Monday), ‘It doesn’t matter if you win every non-conference game, if you go .500 in the league, you’re sitting there that last game wondering if you’re getting in the playoffs,’” Chandley said. “Every team controls their own destiny in the conference.”

Volunteer is 1-1 and has been energized running the spread offense under first-year coach Justin Pressley. The Falcons lost 59-46 against Sullivan South last week after opening the season with a 33-7 win against Happy Valley.

“I told our kids it’s not the Volunteer of old now,” Chandley said. “They’re scoring some points and moving the football. … We’re an 88-yard bomb against Seymour and a 50-yard bomb against Campbell County away from having two shutouts on defense.

“We like where we’re at defensively. We’re giving up seven a game and they’re scoring nearly 40. Something has to give.”

The Pioneers held Campbell County to seven points after it had scored 48 in its season-opening win against Cherokee. Crockett denied Campbell County on 5 of 6 fourth-down conversion attempts.

“That’s a credit to our kids and how hard they play and not giving up,” Chandley said. “We throw a pick there (in the first half) and they run it inside the 20 and we bow our back and stuff ‘em and get a turnover on downs right there. That was huge for us.”

Chandley was quick to credit a quintet of Pioneers defenders.

“Adrian Boles, a big D-lineman for us, I believe he had three or four pass deflections just getting his hands up with his big frame,” Chandley said. “He really got after it up front. Mark Seidler, our middle linebacker, was all over the field causing havoc. J.R. Giles, another D-lineman, I believe he had two sacks and wreaked a lot of havoc in their backfield. Dalton Durbin, off the bench, came in there at linebacker and played exceptionally well for us.

“And John Kollie plays our hybrid position. He lines up on one side of the field making tackles everywhere.”

Chandley impressed upon his players throughout the week how well Campbell County is coached with Justin Price and his brother Matt at the helm.

“Last year when I was at Bluefield (College) I actually made a trip up to Campbell County recruiting a couple of their kids,” Chandley said. “So I had been there before and had seen what kind of job he was doing with those kids. … I’m really proud of our defense getting after Campbell County and giving them a lot of different looks and causing them to make some mistakes. That’s a credit to our kids and how hard they played.

“You know, Campbell County’s a good football team. Up front, they block really well. They protect the quarterback. That was a very good challenge for us, but I thought our kids held their own. Coach (Justin) Price and his brother (Matt) – they do a phenomenal job.”

Crockett’s offense started slow, but junior quarterback Cade Larkins threw four touchdown passes in the second half. Larkins, who finished 15-of-24 passing for 211 yards, twice connected with Donta Hackler for TDs.

Chandley was especially impressed with Hackler’s grab a short TD strike.

“His second touchdown – we threw him a fade ball there on about the 4-yard line,” Chandley said. “We threw a jump-ball to him and he went up and high-pointed it and drug a foot. It was a pretty spectacular catch.”

Kollie’s TD reception was a 17-yarder against man coverage after a play-action fake.

“Cade just dropped a dime right in the hole there,” Chandley said, “and John made a great play on the ball.”

Micah Robinson caught a 13-yard TD pass on fourth down in the fourth quarter. Hackler, a junior, finished with seven catches for 100 yards.

Kollie’s productive night included setting up one of Hackler’s TD catches by returning a punt 43 yards to the 2-yard line.

“We had contributions all over the field,” Chandley said. “I tell you, it’s a blessing to come to work every single day. I love these kids, man. They work hard. They come to work every single day. They take coaching well. It’s just a pleasure to be around them. And I’ve got the best staff in East Tennessee.

“I know how fortunate I am to walk into a situation like I did, and I think God every day for that. It’s a talented group, a very special group, and we’re trying to make the most of it.”.

In Photos: Crockett tops Seymour

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.


The David Crockett Football Team scored a “W” during their home season opener against Seymour High School on Friday night.

The Aug. 17 game ended in a 21-7 victory for the Crockett Pioneers in Jonesborough. The Pioneers will face Campbell County High School in next week’s on-the-road match up.

Heading to the big leagues: Local softball team to compete in World Series

The Daniel Boone Little League Softball Team became the Southeast Region Champions after defeating North Carolina in the finals. Now the team will face the West Region Champions from Washington in the first game of the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon.


Staff Writer

The next time you see the Daniel Boone Little League Softball Team, it might be on ESPN.

The team, who recently clinched the Southeast Regional title, is heading to the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon where they will play their first game tonight at 10 p.m. EST against the West Region Champs out of Kirkland, Washington.

The girls will step onto the dirt tonight as the first Washington County team to make it the Little League Softball World Series, but for the team’s left fielder, Lillie Walters, advancing as far as they have this year has been a dream come true.

“It was unbelievable,” Walters said. “Honestly, I didn’t think that we would really ever do this. I always watched everyone doing it on TV and I was like ‘I want to do that.’ Now we are and it’s pretty exciting.”

Walters clinched the title for the team when she made the winning catch in the final game of the regional tournament in Warner Robbins, Georgia on Monday, July 30. But she didn’t just catch a pop-up in the team’s 4-3 win over North Carolina; Walters did it all after being stung by a bee, which left her with a swollen foot and ankle.

“It was very nerve-wracking because it was such a tight game. I just had to stay calm,” Walters said. “Whenever it was coming to me, I thought, ‘I’ve just got to catch this and it will be over.’ I was very excited when I caught it.”

However, the team’s initial goal wasn’t to punch a ticket to Oregon; Manager Lori Jenkins said they first formed the team four years ago in order to build Daniel Boone High School’s upcoming Lady Trailblazer Softball Team.

But they haven’t just built the future Lady ‘Blazers squad — they’ve also built unity between a team of girls who all live in the same community.

“Our goal was to build a team for here, Daniel Boone High School,” Jenkins said. “So every one of these girls are all in the same community. They all go to the same schools right here — Gray, Ridgeview and Boones Creek.

“We just wanted to build a high school team. We never dreamed it would turn into going into the World Series.”

After taking home the Southeast Regional Championship crown and enjoying a grand homecoming the night they arrived back into town from the regional tournament, the team hosted a fish fry fundraiser on Friday before heading to Oregon to compete in the World Series.

Jenkins said the team has raised money and received generous help from folks in the community such as Johnny Painter who helped with the fish fry and Richard Tucker from Tucker Drywall Inc. She said it’s all in order to get her team and at least some of their supporters in Oregon.

“Our community has just really stepped up and came through, which is unbelievable. We’re very appreciative of our community” Jenkins said. “The cost of the plane tickets, the hotel cost and the car rentals when you get there is going to be outrageous. We want to make sure that at least one parent of every player gets to go to see this once-in-a-lifetime trip.”

Now that the t-shirts with their unofficial motto “Why not us?” across the back have been sold to supporters and the fish has been served, the team is ready for their next mission — game one of the World Series.

When asked what she’d like to say to those who have supported the team, Jenkins said she wanted to offer “a huge thank you”. She also said that she’s hoping the team gets to thank the community through success at the Little League Softball World Series.

“The morale boost that you’re giving our girls before they go out here on this trip,” Jenkins said, “hopefully it’s enough to make them want to pull through — not only for themselves and their teammates — but for our community.”

Coverage of the Little League Softball World Series can be streamed through ESPN+, which offers a free seven-day trial at For more information and to view a complete tournament schedule go to

2018 Daniel Boone Little League Softball Team:

Kyleigh Bacon

Riley Croley

Anna Grove

Sadie Henson

Josie Jenkins

Awna Kukendall

Kayleigh Quesinberry

Anna Richardson

Ava Saul

Lillie Walters


Lori Jenkins (Manager)

Freddie Saul (Assistant Coach)

Steven Croley (Assistant Coach)

Boone grad carries community impact

Eric Rigsby (front, middle) enjoys signing day with his baseball teammates at Daniel Boone High School.


Staff Writer

Few things mean more to recent Daniel Boone High School graduate Eric Rigsby than the Boone community. And for the 6-foot-1 baseballer, signing to continue his academic and athletic career at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee also had colossal meaning — mostly where his family, friends, teammates and coaches were concerned.

“With signing, doing it in front of my teammates and friends at the school was big for me because I couldn’t have done everything without them,” Rigsby said. “(Being) in front of the Boone community was huge for me. All in all, it was a great day. I felt accomplished.”

Rigsby makes a throw during his senior season.

Rigsby is a two-time, first team all-conference third baseman/short stop who also earned a regional all-team and an all-state nod during his senior season. But Rigsby didn’t just compete on the dirt for the Boone Trailblazers; Rigsby was also a leader on the hardwood as one of the basketball team’s top scorers. He was named an all-conference basketball player for his junior and senior seasons and also reached the 1,000th point mark this past season.

Though the Carson-Newman signee said it required a lot of time and hard work, being a multi-sport athlete throughout high school was well worth it. In fact, he said if he could do it all over again, he’d even add another sport into the mix.

“Honestly, if I had just played one sport I feel like I would be left out,” Rigsby said. “I regret not playing football. I wish I had played football because of all the people I would have met and the closer connections with my teammates.

“I was always doing something when I was playing basketball and baseball. Right when basketball was over I was starting baseball. With basketball, it just always kept me in shape. I was ready right when baseball started, shape-wise. I always had something going on and something I could just get better at. It just gave me more motivation for sure.”

Of course, Rigsby says that part of his motivation also came from the Boone community.

Rigsby said the highlight of his baseball career has been being a part of the ‘Blazer family — and that connection was never stronger following the untimely death of his friend and classmate Kaylee Rabun. Rabun lost her life in an automobile accident in the fall of 2016. Though it was a trying time for Rabun’s family and friends, Rigsby said the amount of kindness and support shown within the community, touched his heart and left him with a lasting fondness for his community.

“Me and her were very close. We dated in middle school and were so close. Honestly, when that happened it was a heartbreak,” Rigsby said. “It destroyed many people. But just knowing the Boone community was behind everybody and everyone that was heartbroken — the Boone community was right there with them for sure. No matter what happened, they were there and they did everything they could for people who were hurting and were heartbroken, especially for their family because I know their family went through a lot. And they were with them.

“That was probably the highlight of how honored I am to be with the Boone community.”

Up ahead, Rigsby said he’s most looking forward to building new relationships at Carson-Newman, much like the relationships he built at Boone.

“I’m excited to meet new people,” he said. “I’ve been with a big group of people for four years. I’m just excited to compete with teammates and just gain more connections with them. And meet new coaches, professors and people around me.”

Rigsby said he’s ready to embark on his new journey in life, but in doing so, he’ll be carrying a love for where he’s from and what all his community back home means to him.

“Kind of like in the community here, I’m just excited to have another one to support me and will be there for me,” Rigsby said. “I’m excited about that.”

‘Queens of the Sand’ win it all

Left, the high school division winners smile after a hard-fought championship game. Right, the middle school division winners show off their first place medals.


Wetlands Water Park, located at 1523 Persimmon Ridge Road in Historic Jonesborough, hosted its 4th Annual Queens of the Sand Volleyball League this summer, which recently wrapped up on Friday, July 27. The league featured two divisions of players: the middle school division and high school division.

Teams of two players competed against each other, twice weekly, during the month-long season. This year, the league featured 10 teams in volleyball action. The competition ended in a championship tournament to crown the Wetlands’ Queens of the Sand 2018.

In the middle school division, the winners were the team of Sara Devoti, Emma Waddle and Brooklyn Dulaney. In the high school division, the winners were the team of Morgan Barkley and Breanna O’Shields.

Wetlands would like to congratulate the champions and everyone who participated this season.

Boone graduate overcomes to reach her dreams By MARINA WATERS

Baylor Padgett’s skills on the green are fueling her future.


Staff Writer

If you had told recent Daniel Boone High School graduate Baylor Padgett years ago that she’d be heading to Emory & Henry to play golf, she might not have believed you.

“When I first started golf, I was not to the point where I thought I could play in college. I kind of just wrote it off and I didn’t think about it,” Padgett said. “But I started getting private lessons and working at it and I fell in love with it. When I finally got contacted by Emory & Henry. I was like, ‘Well I didn’t think I was good enough to play for anybody, but I’d love to.’ That’s when I guess I started thinking about it.”

Now, Padgett has signed to continue her academic and athletic career at Emory & Henry. But for the Boone Trailblazer, golf was more than just a ticket to college and playing at the next level; it’s also served as a place where real life problems can be left behind the moment she steps foot on the green.

“Golf was a big rescue for me,” Padgett said. “One of the things I do enjoy about golf is the numbers don’t lie. You can’t pick favorites. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing or what kind of clubs you have, who your friends are or anything like that. It’s you and your hard work.”

Overcoming obstacles and working hard are two things that are far from foreign for the recent high school graduate.

Padgett said that up until age 13, she experienced abuse, living with birth parents who were both addicted to drugs and alcohol. The golfer said she was also homeless and battled bullying throughout school. But when she was 13, she was given the chance at a new life when she was adopted by her new family.

Left to right, Jean Couch (grandma), Kem Padgett (mom), Baylor Padgett and Tony Padgett (dad) celebrate Baylor’s success.

“It played a really big part in if something was tough or something was going on and I wasn’t working through it at practices or if I was having problems,” Padgett said. “I wouldn’t wanna quit because I had gone through so much growing up. So I kind of reflected that back on golf.”

As a way to never take an opportunity for granted, Padgett said she is dedicated to working hard and giving everything — on and off the golf course — her best shot.

“I’m super grateful for all that I have,” Padgett said. “I put in a lot of work into everything because not everyone gets the opportunities that I’ve gotten, so I want to do my best at everything I’ve been able to do. When someone gives you an opportunity, you don’t waste it. You’ve got to kind of make the most of it.”

Working hard isn’t the only thing Padgett strives to do, especially as she heads to Emory, Virginia to pursue a major in psychology and a minor in civic innovation to achieve her goal of becoming a social worker.

Padgett has been accepted as a Bonner Scholar, a program that offers four-year community service scholarships to 1,500 students each year. As part of the program, Bonner Scholars log volunteer hours within the community. For Padgett, that means she’ll get the chance to be placed with a social work agency where she will gain hands-on experience in helping kids.

Mostly, she said, she wants to serve as an advocate, much like the one she had leading up to her own adoption.

“What I really want to do is help as many kids as possible who are going through my situation,” Padgett said, “because I know when I was going through what I was, my social worker, when she actually placed me with my family and she came and talked to me, it was great. I loved having someone that I knew was there for me and was kind of biased and pulled out of the situation and would tell me honestly what she thought was going on and how things were going to work. I want to be that kind of person for someone else.”

Overall, Padgett said she will head to Emory with more than just a desire to help others; along the way, she said she’s also gained a plethora of life lessons that she will carry with her wherever she goes.

“You don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. You always just have to be nice to people, you have to always try to be kind and do to others what you would want them to do to you, “ Padgett said. “I think another thing for me is that I’m really super grateful for everything that I have. Six years ago if you would have told me I’d be driving my own car and going to college and having everything paid for, I would have basically called you crazy.”

In looking back, Padgett said she knew the exact advice she would have given herself during her childhood hardships — and it’s the same advice she said she’d give to any one else in the same spot she was in.

“Don’t ever give up on yourself. Other people may have. I know my biological parents did. I know a lot of teachers or my friends, they didn’t think I was going anywhere. But it’s not what their opinion is, it’s where you think you’re going to go or where your hard work is going to get you. So if you have a goal or have this dream that you want to achieve, it’s up to you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and go for it because it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. It’s about what you think about yourself.”

Runners represent Boone at state track championship

From left to right, Maria Chellah, Patricia Chellah, Judy Chellah McCoy and Marley McCoy competed in the 8×400-meter relay at the state meet. The girls earned the third place spot at the meet.


Daniel Boone had five runners compete in the state track championships on Thursday, May 24, at Middle Tennessee State University.

Caitlin Cutshall soars during the pole vault competition at the state championship meet.

Boone was represented by sophmore Judy Chellah, senior Maria Chellah, freshman Patricia Chellah, junior Caitlin Cutshall and junior Marley McCoy. The five athletes came away with all-state medals and honors. They also earned third place finishes at the meet and scored a total of 18 points to finish 14th overall in the team standings out of over 50 scoring teams

Caitlin Cutshall placed third in the pole vault at 10’ for her second consecutive all-state honor. Cutshall placed fourth at the 2017 meet.

Cutshall shows off her state medal after pole vaulting at the meet and placing third overall.

The girls 4×800-meter relay, comprised on the three Chellah sisters and McCoy, placed third in the relay clocking in at 9:36.

Maria Chellah, who recently signed to continue her academic and athletic career at Lincoln Memorial University, also placed third in the 800-meter race, clocking in at 2:17 for her second all-state honor of the day. Maria Chellah earned all-state last year with a fifth place in the 400 meters.

Boone runner sets sights on next level

Carson Walls (front middle) signs to continue his academic and athletic career at Tusculum College  at his signing day while joined by his family and coaches.


Staff Writer

It’s almost been a year since Daniel Boone High School senior Carson Walls decided he wanted to run at the collegiate level.

With the help of his coaches, he realized his goal could be accomplished. And that goal was met when he officially signed with Tusculum College to continue his academic and athletic career.

“I didn’t really think (of running in college) until last summer really,” Walls said. “It’s always been a goal, but it’s not something I thought I’d ever actually do until then. My coaches told me if I kept working at it and kept getting my times down that it was a possible goal. But it was definitely a shock to me until this week.”

Walls said he was in middle school when he first decided to join the cross country team. After also talking to his father, who also ran when he was in school, Walls decided to give running a try. Little did he know, he’d fall in love with the sport.

“I thought I’d give it a shot,” Walls said. “I tried it out and I liked it pretty well in middle school and went on to do it in high school. But I didn’t really buy into the program until last summer. That’s when I really started seeing improvements. That’s when I really fell in love with the sport. This year I definitely fell in love with it.”

Since he started running, Carson has been named an all-conference and all-region cross country runner who has also competed at state. And now, he’s ready to continue on that path at Tusculum, where he plans to pursue a degree in science.

“I’m just looking forward to having the opportunity to continue running,” Walls said. “I’m really looking forward to running at the collegiate level and seeing all the new challenges and races and new obstacles. And I would definitely say the opportunity to run at the next level and meeting new people and a new team (is exciting).”

But Walls had his share of obstacles as a high school runner; during his junior year, he grew six to seven inches taller and thus had growth plate issues when training.

“That was really frustrating,” Walls said. “That spring I missed a lot of workouts because when I’d run, they’d swell up and were killing me. I was really discouraged with that. But once that went away, I still grew a bit and finally got to that height. That really helped out.”

Now that he’s on to his college dream, and is finished growing, Walls is back at full speed, doing what he loves — and working towards his running goals.

“It’s just such a good feeling when you finish a race or set a a new time or record that you’ve worked so hard for,” he said. “It’s a really good feeling that comes over you when you finish a race. You feel like your hard work’s paid off.”

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Daniel Boone High School runners Maria Chellah, Judy Chellay, Patricia Chellah, Marley McCoy and Caitlin Cutshall. The five girls are headed to the state meet. Check back next week for our following New Peoples Bank Player of the Week.

Crockett softball tops off historic season

Crockett junior pitcher Kara Weems takes charge in the circle for the win against Cherokee for the district title.


H&T Correspondent

The David Crockett softball team’s historic season came to an end with a home loss to Morristown East in the Region 1-AAA semifinals Monday in Jonesborough.

The Pioneers were Big Seven Conference co-champions (with Daniel Boone), District 1-AAA champions and hosted a regional game for perhaps the first time since 1989. They finished the season with a 33-11 record, which is all but certain to be a program record for victories.

But they ultimately fell, 9-7, to the talented Hurricanes. Freshman Sarah King’s grand slam gave Morristown East (29-5) an 8-4 lead in the fifth and Crockett eventually faced a five-run deficit before battling back to make it interesting.

“Our girls all year long just fight, fight, fight till the very end,” Crockett coach Carla Weems said. “And even tonight in the last at-bat … Alyssa (Suits) hit a hard ground ball and Kara (Weems) hit a line-drive in the gap that the center fielder ran down. So I mean even until the bottom of the seventh they just kept fighting for me. That’s all I could ask.”

The Pioneers also rebounded from a 4-0 deficit to tie the score. Crockett’s four-run fourth was fueled by Suits’ RBI single, Weems’ two-run double and an RBI from Matty McKee that tied the score.

Kat Pfeifer was 2-for-2 with a walk in the Pioneers’ season finale. Seniors Reagan Miller and Lenzie Jenkins were each 2-for-4, as was Suits.

Miller and Jenkins, the respective shortstop and second baseman, are seniors. So is catcher-center fielder Sydney Fox, who led the team with a .455 batting average this season. Miller hit .444 and Jenkins batted .385.

“Sydney was over .450 for the season,” Weems said. “It was just remarkable the way she hit the ball this season. And Reagan was maybe a little bit below her, but not much. Both of ‘em had over 30 RBIs on the season. And Lenzie hit (around) .380. Top to bottom they played fantastic. Very few errors at shortstop or second or behind the plate. … Lenzie’s had a fantastic senior year.”

Miller and Fox have signed to play at Walters State.

Crockett senior and Walters State signee Reagan Miller proved to be a senior leader this season for the Lady Pioneers.

“Sydney’s been my best friend for a really long time and we went down to Walters State together (on a visit),” Miller said. “And I guess we just wanted to keep playing together.”

Junior Kara Weems pitched a shutout as Crockett defeated Cherokee, 4-0, in the district tournament championship game. Weems was named MVP. The victory came a day after Cherokee had forced an extra game with a 3-2 victory.

Crockett defeated rival Daniel Boone, 14-6, in the winners’ bracket final of the district. Freshman Riley Hope had three hits and four RBIs in that one.

“I think my favorite moment of the season was probably beating Boone in the winners’ bracket final,” Miller said. “That was just – that was great. My senior year was probably the best year yet, because we were just so close as a team. And that’s never happened before, really.”

Coach Weems said the season didn’t get any better than winning a district title, especially after Cherokee had won the previous day to force an extra game.

“Any time you beat Boone it’s a good thing,” Carla Weems said. “But when we lost that first game against Cherokee and my girls just, like, took a breather in between those games (winner’s bracket final and championship) – that second game they came back and Kara shut ‘em down on the mound and the girls came out hitting. Winning the district championship is a big deal.”

Crockett had an exceptional freshman class this season and its ace on the mound, Weems, will be a senior in 2019. Freshman Mackenzie Baldwin doubled and drove in two runs in the regional loss.

“Our freshman class was crazy good this year,” Miller said. “I was so impressed with them.”

So was Coach Weems, who noted Crockett piling up 11 hits against talented Morristown East pitcher Emma Frost.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t repeat,” Carla Weems said. “For us to get 11 hits off of Frost and come up two runs short, I was just very proud of my girls.”

Crockett went to the state tournament when Weems was a junior in 1988 and returned to the sectional her senior year in ’89.

Boone runner reaches signing day finish line

Maria Chellah (front middle), surrounded by her family and coaches, signed with Lincoln memorial University to continue her running career.


Staff Writer

When Daniel Boone Head Coach Len Jeffers and Coach Ray Jones pulled Maria Chellah aside one afternoon to talk about what she wanted out of her high school career with the Trailblazer track and cross country teams, she knew then that she wanted to compete at the next level.

“My freshman year, Coach Jeffers and Ray Jones came up to me and asked me what I wanted to do with my high school running career, “ Chellah recalled. “I said, ‘I want to run in college. That’s what I want to do.’ Ever since then, that’s been my goal.”

And on Wednesday, May 2, when Chellah inked her name to continue her academic and athletic career at Lincoln Memorial University, that goal became a reality.

“When I went on the visit there, it just seemed like it was the right fit for me,” Chellah said about signing with LMU. “It’s not very big of a school and they’re still growing their track and cross country team. I think I’ll be a great addition to their team and their school.”

The high school senior has set seven school records in four individual events and as a part of three record-setting relay teams throughout her career at Boone. She was also named an all-state runner six times in indoor and outdoor state meets. She’s also a two-time all-conference and one-time all-region cross country runner.

But she’ll be the first to tell you that running takes perseverance to keep going and that support is needed to keep pushing towards the finish line.

“Running is a mental sport. You have to be mentally tough to compete and to be even in practice every day,” Chellah said. “The dedication it takes is hard. Sometimes I do want to quit and stop, but having a supportive family, teammates, and I go to church and am very active in my church, so having church members support me as well and supportive coaches who push me to do my very best, I think that all contributes in to me loving to run — that and seeing the whole community support the Daniel Boone team as well.”

Chellah doesn’t just have family support rooting her on from the sidelines; two of Daniel Boone’s runners are also Chellah’s sisters, Judy, a sophomore, and Patricia, a freshman.

Though the Chellah sisters are all there to support one another, Chellah said that Judy and Patricia also create a competitiveness that only a sibling can draw out.

“I love running with my sisters. They push me to be better because we’re very competitive with each other,” Chellah said. “I’m the oldest and of course I want to stay the fastest. We’ve always been competitive sisters and we push each other. It’s amazing. I want to see them grow with the sport and academically mature. I’m excited with where they’re going with their future.”

As for Chellah’s future, she’s most looking forward to growing on a relatively young LMU team.

“I’m looking to be able to grow more,” Chellah said. “I have so much more that I can learn in the sport and I’m looking to see people who are older than me and have been competing for a while. They are also younger, so most of them are freshman right now, but I want to hear what they learned as freshmen and not knowing anyone and coming from so many different places throughout the United States. It’ll be fun to experience that.”

Chellah said that in getting to signing day, her biggest obstacle has been one that few Daniel Boone High School students typically face; Chellah was born in Zambia, which is located in southern Africa. She was almost 2 years old when her family relocated to the United States in 2001, so now, she holds a visa status, which can make going through the college application process a bit tricky.

“Something that I guess you could say effected my whole family is I was born in Africa, in Zambia. I’ve been here for basically all my life and through the college application process, it’s been hard,” Chellah said. “I’m not a U.S. citizen. All of this application process has been hard because being accepted into college isn’t a difficult process, but my personal process of entering into school because of my visa status has been. Sending my application to immigration and having them go through that for me to start school in the fall has been a real pressure for me.

“So to sign to Lincoln Memorial has been a true blessing, and to have them back me up and all those other people who have backed me up along the way. That’s been pretty hard on us.”

Now, with the support of LMU along with her family and community, Chellah is ready get to that next level. She said she plans to major in exercise science in order to become a physical therapist. But all her goals, she said, might not have come true if it hadn’t been for her support system — including those at Boone.

“I would just like to give God all the glory for seeing me through my task of running and school and just giving me this opportunity to run at the next level,” Chellah said.

“I definitely will miss this. Building all of my friendships and relationships that I have through my teachers and my friends, I will miss it. I will miss being a Trailblazer.”

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is David Crockett High School Softball’s Sydney Fox. Sydney has been a leader for the Lady Pioneers on the diamond and she’s been an offensive driving force for the Crockett team who will compete for the District title against Cherokee High School this afternoon. Check back next week for our following player of the week.