Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Daniel Boone High School Wrestling’s Daniel Lusk. Daniel was a leader on the mat for the ‘Blazers against Volunteer and Elizabethton. Check back next week to see the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.

Crockett set to take on Boone

Crockett’s Mason Britton goes for a shot against Cherokee’s Ryan Bledsoe during Friday’s match up. Next the Pioneers will take on Daniel Boone on Friday in Jonesborough.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Ayden Begley might be momentarily confused about which bench to go to when Daniel Boone’s basketball team visits rival David Crockett on Friday.

Begley, a sophomore shooting guard, transferred from Crockett to Boone between semesters. He scored seven points for the Pioneers in their 69-60 win at Boone on Nov. 30. Friday, he’ll try to earn a personal series sweep while helping Daniel Boone get a split.

Begley scored 11 points and made three 3-pointers in Boone’s victory against Volunteer on Friday. He scored 22 points and made six 3-pointers in Crockett’s win against Volunteer in the Hardee’s Classic in late November.

“Ayden Begley transferred in and is doing a nice job as he gets acclimated to our system,” Daniel Boone coach Chris Brown said. “He hit three big ‘threes’ Friday at Volunteer, and as he continues to get more comfortable, his role will increase. He has the ability to stretch the floor, and you can never have enough guys that can put the ball in the basket.”

Leading scorer Chad Heglar led Boone with 22 points against the Falcons. Heglar made two 3-pointers, as did Jared Adkins (14 points).

Sophomore Cade Norris had 11 points and six rebounds in Boone’s 74-54 loss at Morristown East on Saturday.

In addition to visiting Crockett on Friday, the ‘Blazers (1-3, 6-8) must travel to Gate City to take on high-scoring guards Zac Ervin and Bradley Dean on Saturday.

“We had a good road win Friday night at Volunteer,” Brown said. “Went to Morristown East Saturday and had a tough time with Conner Jordan and company. Big week coming up. … Conference road games are tough and we have to play with a level of toughness both mentally and physically. We will have to maintain our composure and deal with the ebb and flow of the game. … This week will be a big test and one we look forward to as we get into the meat of the conference schedule.”

The David Crockett boys (1-4, 5-13) bounced back from a 72-64 home loss to Science Hill on Jan. 8 with a 76-53 win against Cherokee. Mason Britton made six of the Pioneers’ 11 treys en route to 20 points against the Chiefs. Mack Hensley also had 20 points and John Kollie added 13.

Hensley will have Boone’s attention on Friday. He scored 32 points in Crockett’s win at Boone in November.

Pioneer freshman point guard Dawson Wagner scored 14 points in the Pioneers’ win in Gray, and looked like the best penetrating guard on the court much of the second half.

Crockett’s Emma Gouge prepares to maneuver past a Cherokee defender at the Lady Pioneer’s conference game on Friday. The Crockett team will face Boone for a home match up this Friday.

The Daniel Boone girls (2-2, 14-7) bounced back from a Jan. 8 loss to Dobyns-Bennett with a 66-42 win at Morristown East on Saturday. Junior Jaycie Jenkins and senior Bayleigh Carmichel scored 17 and 13 points, respectively. Kayla Gibson and Madi Runnels each added nine points.

“It was a big win for us on Saturday at Morristown East,” Boone coach Beau Hauldren said. “We knew going in it was going to be a tough game. Coach (Mike) Potts does a great job and I felt like our girls got off to a great start shooting the ball, something we haven’t done well lately. Defensively, it took a quarter to get going, but once we settled in we were able to come up with some stops and gradually pull away.”

Carmichel is leading Boone with 14.7 points per game and she’s shooting 81 percent at the foul line. Jenkins is averaging 14.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 4.0 assists per game.

Boone defeated Crockett 73-38 in Bobby Snyder Gym on Nov. 30. But Hauldren doesn’t anticipate a sweep coming easily against the Pioneers (2-4, 6-11).

“Coach (Tony) Gordon has done a great job with his team this year,” Hauldren said. “They are getting better every time they step onto the court. It is going to be a great challenge for our girls. They are excited to play in a big rivalry game like this one.”

Crockett sophomore Emma Gouge averages 13.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Mackenzie Baldwin is averaging 7.1 points and 7.3 rebounds.

“Emily Trivette has developed beyond a freshman to provide ball-handling and perimeter shooting,” Gordon said. “Halle Scott has emerged as a consistent guard both offensively and defensively, especially after the loss of Karina Palomino to an ACL tear.

Boone dominated the first match up but I think my players are ready to show how much better and tougher they have become.”

Kati Garst signs with Milligan

Kati Garst (front middle) signs with Milligan College on Friday, Jan. 4, while surrounded by family, friends and coaches.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

Kati Garst got to fulfill a dream of cheering overseas in the new year, but on Friday, the David Crockett High School cheerleader reached another dream right here at home when she signed to continue her academic and athletic career with Milligan College.

Garst accepted a cheerleading scholarship from Milligan after considering Clemson and Memphis. But for the high school senior, Milligan offered everything she could want: the sport she loves and a way to grow her faith.

“Milligan has education and faith and that’s very important to me,” Garst said. “I want to continue to grow closer to God as I get older and also cheer has been the love of my life since I was 5 years old so I have the opportunity to go there, do something I love and kind of get paid to do it.”

But before Garst signed with Milligan, she got the chance to cheer in London on New Years Day.

Garst was selected to the group that performed in London, All-American Cheer, at Universal Cheerleaders Association camp, which she attends each summer.

“I made it and I got the opportunity to go to London so me and my mom went and I performed in the New Years Day parade,’ Garst said. “It was a one-hour route in downtown London. “It was amazing. It was a once in a lifetime experience.”

Now that Garst is back home and committed to Milligan, she said she’s most looking forward to becoming a flyer again after serving as a base at Crockett. She also said she looks forward to getting back to what made her fall in love with cheering — the people and the atmosphere.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the stunting and being a flyer again,” Garst said. “I want to get better with tumbling.

“I love the relationships I’ve built while I was cheering. I really enjoy it and the atmosphere the crowd’s bringing and everything. It’s just an amazing feeling.”

With a semester left in her high school career, Garst said being a part of the Crockett family has meant so much to her and has left an impact she’ll be taking with her wherever she goes.

“It feels great,” Garst said about representing Crockett. “I wouldn’t trade it for the world. This school has just been so great to me.”

Boone aims for winning, rebuilding season

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone senior Chad Heglar is arguably Northeast Tennessee’s most entertaining player.

On a rebuilding Trailblazers team, the long-armed, 6-foot-4 wing has a shooter’s conscience and a bright green light. Heglar leads the Trailblazers (1-2, 6-6) in scoring (21.9 ppg), rebounding (7.3), steals (1.9), blocked shots (1.6) and 3-pointers (23), and he has more blocked shots (19) than any three teammates’ combined total and more steals than any two teammates’ combined total.

Heglar’s length and deep shooting range make him an intriguing college prospect. He’s on Milligan College’s radar. If he can help make Boone’s rebuilding season a winning season, he’ll probably end up on a number of others.

The ‘Blazers are getting 9.2 points per game from Jared Adkins and 9.0 points per game from Marshall Golden, who is shooting 43.1 percent from 3-point range (22-51). The rest of Boone’s team is shooting 28.8 percent behind the arc.

Derek Percell leads the team in assists (3.3). Judah Hilton is averaging 7.0 points and 4.3 rebounds.

Boone coach Chris Brown said the ‘Blazers spent the holiday break “working on fundamentals and the things we need to do for this group to be successful. We have a relatively new group playing significant varsity minutes other than Chad, Derek and Marshall so I’m fairly pleased with the development of the group.”

Boone ended the pre-Christmas break with a 75-70 win against Sullivan East after relatively encouraging losses against Gate City (56-42) and at Science Hill (71-64).

“I scheduled some tough games in the early part of the year with the understanding that after the holidays we run through a gauntlet with six of seven games on the road against major competition,” Brown said. “We have D-B (Jan. 8), and then road games in succession at Volunteer, Morristown East, Tennessee High, Crockett, Gate City and Cherokee. We have been challenging them mentally and working on developing the toughness needed to go on the road and try and win these games. The guys have worked extremely hard and are looking forward to accepting that challenge.”

David Crockett (1-3, 4-11) lost 77-70 in a Big Seven Conference game at Tennessee High on Friday. Mack Hensley made seven 3-pointers and scored 26 points. Mason Britton (20) and Donta Hackler (11) also scored in double figures for the Pioneers, who will host Cherokee on Friday.

Daniel Boone’s girls basketball team completed a season sweep of a solid Sullivan Central team on Saturday with a 38-36 victory in Blountville.

Junior Jaycie Jenkins’ jump-shot with eight seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner.

Senior shooting guard Bayleigh Carmichel led Boone with 15 points and two of the Trailblazers’ three 3-pointers. Jenkins and Madi Runnels scored six points apiece for Daniel Boone (11-6).

“Central is a strong non-conference opponent for us, as we see them as the favorite to win their conference,” Boone first-year coach Beau Haldren said. “So completing a season sweep against them should give us some confidence and momentum as we move into the thick of our conference play.”

Sullivan Central post Abbey Crawford, a Wofford commit, led all scorers with 22 points.

Carmichel is leading Boone in scoring (15.1  ppg) thanks, in part, to 81 percent free throw shooting. Jenkins is averaging 13.8 points, seven rebounds, four steals and four assists per game. She’s shooting 71 percent at the foul line.

David Crockett’s girls improved to 2-1 in the Big Seven Conference with a 58-52 win at Tennessee High on Friday.

That came on the heels of the Pioneers winning two of three games in the Carolina Invitational at Cane Bay in Summerville, South Carolina.

Mackenzie Baldwin scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win at Tennessee High. Leading scorer Emma Gouge (12.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg) had 13 points and nine rebounds and freshman Emily Trivette score 11 points. Baldwin is averaging 8.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Matty McKee scored 17 points in the final game in South Carolina – a 51-32 win against Stratford. Gouge and Baldwin added 13 and 11, respectively.

“We are continuing to improve and learn as a team,” first-year coach Tony Gordon said. “I’ve never had a team compete and play as hard as these girls have. They are committed to being the group who changes this program. The biggest step will come when we can be consistent with our offensive execution.”

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is David Crockett High School Basketball’s MacKenzie Baldwin. MacKenzie helped take the Lady Pioneers to 2-1 in a recent tournament. Check back next week for the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Daniel Boone High School’s Jared Adkins. Jared was a key player in the ‘Blazers win against conference opponent Science Hill. Check back for the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.

Boone girls snap losing streak

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

The Daniel Boone girls basketball team endured some rough sledding in December, but Bayleigh Carmichel and Jaycie Jenkins saved Christmas for first-year coach Beau Hauldren.

Carmichel and Jenkins scored 19 and 14 points, respectively, while propelling the Trailblazers to a 58-48 defeat of a solid Sullivan Central team on Dec. 20 at Snyder Gym. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak that was wearing on a coach that took over a state tournament team, albeit one replacing a point guard that’s at Belmont (Macie Culbertson) and a post now at Carson-Newman (Sydney Pearce).

“Central is a great opponent,” Hauldren said. “And we needed that one bad.”

Central was led by 6-foot-1 junior post Abbey Crawford, a Wofford commitment who tallied 24 points. Point guard Peyton Sams, who has been offered by UVa-Wise, added 14 points.

Crawford scored eight points in the opening 6:24, including two foul shots that gave Central a 12-4 lead with 1:36 left in the first quarter.

But Carmichel, who has signed with Trevecca Nazarene, made the first of three 3-pointers to ignite a 17-4 run and scored 11 points while helping Boone build a 21-20 halftime lead. She drove the baseline before assisting Stevens’ basket in the first quarter and hit back-to-back treys in a 20-second span during the second quarter.

“When (Carmichel) hit those threes, they were huge,” Jenkins said. “They finally got us going and we got hyped up.”

Jenkins, a junior point forward, grabbed the reins in the second half. She scored 12 points after intermission and made two straight jump-shots off the dribble in the fourth quarter to give the Trailblazers a 48-33 lead with 5:53 remaining.

“We were a little down where we’d lost a few in a row,” Jenkins said. “But we just talked about how we wanted to turn it around tonight and we wanted to play better, make our defense better, communicate better. And I think we did that tonight.”

Sullivan Central coach Kristi Walling was quick to commend Boone’s proven tandem.

“Bayleigh and Jenkins – obviously two really good players – had some good open looks,” Walling said. “And they hit their shots when they were open. … I feel like you had two good teams go against each other tonight and Daniel Boone just ended up the better team tonight.”

Providence Academy transfer Madi Runnels scored 12 points for Boone. Jenkins noted her production, as well as the contributions of Greyson Stevens and McKenna Dietz, who hadn’t played since middle school before Jenkins recruited her volleyball teammates to return to the basketball court.

“They’re all stepping up and playing a role,” Jenkins said.

Hauldren was happy to see the process he’s trusting get some on-court verification after losses to Morristown West, Science Hill and Gate City. Sullivan Central is better than at least one of those teams.

Boone extended its defensive pressure most of the game, and it paid dividends.

“We kind of got off pressuring a little bit – and this is my fault – and we really got back on it (against Central),” Hauldren said. “That was the message before the game. I think we did a good job with our full-court man-to-man and our three-quarters court 1-2-2.

“It was a quality win. They’re a really good team and I’m happy about this.”

Boone (10-5) opened the 30th annual Andrew Johnson Bank Ladies Classic on Dec. 26 with a 50-48 loss to Oak Ridge, the program it has split a pair of sectional matchups with the previous two seasons. Jade Guinn won it with a driving bank at the buzzer.

Jenkins and Runnels scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, against the Wildcats.

Boone bounced back the following day with an 80-25 win against West Greene. Jenkins scored 24 points and Carmichel added 12. Jenkins was 10 of 13 from the field.

The Trailblazers will begin their post-holiday schedule on Jan. 5 with a rematch at Sullivan Central.

The Daniel Boone boys evened their season record at 6-6 with a 75-70 defeat of Sullivan East in Bobby Snyder Gym on Dec. 21.

Senior 6-foot-4 wing Chad Heglar scored 30 points. Judah Hilton, who delivered the go-ahead put-back that proved to be the game-winner, added 16 points and Marshall Golden scored 10. Boone’s boys resume play when they host Dobyns-Bennett on Jan. 8.

David Crockett’s boys (4-9) opened a holiday tournament in Maryville with a 57-50 loss to Anderson County on Dec. 27. The Pioneers will resume Big Seven Conference play when they visit Tennessee High on Friday, Jan. 4, as will the Crockett girls team.

Tony Gordon’s Pioneers improved to 5-7 with a 52-14 win against Hanahan in a Christmas tournament in Summerville, South Carolina on Dec. 27.

Landon Quillen fights for chance on the field

Landon Quillen signed to continue his academic and athletic career at King College on Tuesday, Nov. 20 while surrounded by his family.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

I’ve waited my whole life,” David Crockett High School senior Landon Quillen said after signing his letter of intent to play baseball at King College. “All my years of playing baseball have all built up to one moment in signing to play in college. It’s what I worked so hard for.

“I was excited but it was nerve wracking just because it is signing away the next four years of my life.”

Quillen is a three-year varsity baseball player for the Pioneers and has been dreaming of his chance to play college baseball since he first fell in love with the sport.

But if you asked him who got him started on America’s pastime, it’d take him no time at all to give his grandfather on his mother’s side all the credit.

“He was my world. He was my guy,” Quillen said. “He introduced me to baseball. He was always there for me, showed me everything I needed to know and taught me everything.

“He raised me on baseball. It was always what baseball game was on, he was telling me stories — I just fell in love with it and I was like, ‘I want to play this in college. I want to pursue a future in this.’ I just fell in love with the game.”

Quillen’s grandfather passed away when the high school senior was 15. And though Quillen’s heart has been with baseball since his grandfather instilled in him his love for the game, Quillen almost decided to lay his days on the diamond to rest. Then he thought about what his grandfather would say.

“I had been accepted into ETSU, Carson-Newman, Tusculum, but I wanted to play ball,” Quillen said. “I knew that if I looked back like 10 or 15 years from now, I couldn’t say I didn’t try to play college baseball somehow. I was kind of juggling, ‘Do I go to school, get my degree and go to work, or do I try to pursue baseball?’ And in the back of my mind I was like, ‘He would want me to play. He would want to come watch me.’”

It’s not just been about loving the game for Quillen, who has spent his high school career as the Pioneer’s starting shortstop; Quillen also said his road to signing day has been paved in passion and hard work. And that work started over almost every year.

The DCHS baseball program has only seen four coaches in its entire history, but Quillen has worked under three of them. And with new coaches nearly each year comes a yearly battle for a spot on the field and the lineup.

“You’re not promised a position every single year,” Quillen said. “So it’s crazy. That’s kind of why I’m okay going to college and having a new staff because it’s just nothing new. It’s just fighting again for another position.

“All the years I’ve been there I’ve had to work for a position. Just because a new face comes in, he might not know who you are. You’ve gotta just earn what you get. Anything in life worth having is worth working for.”

But there will be some familiarity for Quillen’s senior season as Spencer Street will be at the helm of the Pioneer program.

Street, who will start his first season as the Pioneer’s head baseball coach after serving as an assistant coach at Daniel Boone High School, was a part of Quillen’s foundation as a ball player, particularly the summer of Quillen’s sophomore year.

“He really helped me that summer,” Quillen said. “He taught me a lot of things I had never known before that because the coaching I received from my high school teams just wasn’t what he was bringing to the table. Now we’ve got him as our head guy. He’s brought in a great staff, he helps me with my hitting, he gets us in the weight room, he’s setting us up as a program, he’s getting us new stuff. He’s just been a massive help to me.”

As Quillen’s final season at Crockett approaches, he’s not just planning to put in work on the diamond; he also aims to lend a hand in building the program for the Pioneers.

Though the high school senior said he’s looking forward to getting out on the field with his teammates and friends, Quillen said he’s most looking forward to continuing to set the mode for younger members of the DCHS baseball team.

“Setting the base of how things should be done, showing the younger kids and getting after it in the weight room, staying after and doing extra reps (is exciting),” Quillen said. “When I was coming up, we had good seniors, but all of our seniors were not bought in. They were just kind of playing. And this year we’ve got all of our seniors bought in.

“It shows the younger kids how hard they need to work to the level that we want to be to where we’re winning districts, winning regionals and fighting in the state tournament.”

Quillen said he’s ready to move up to the college level and keep playing the game he loves. He’ll also be honoring the man who introduced him to it all back when he was just a kid with a hunger to learn about the sport of baseball.

“I wish he would have been there (for signing day),” Quillen said. “I would give the world, today, right now, for him to have been there. And that was in the back of my mind. I was like, ‘If he were here, what would he say?’

“He would be beyond proud of me.”

Lady ‘Blazers suffer first conference loss in 2 years

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

The absences of Culbertson a freshman at Belmont, and Sydney Pearce, a freshman at Carson-Newman, were glaring in a 57-44 loss at Science Hill on Friday. Junior forward Alasia Smith scored 25 points and helped the Hilltoppers hassle the Trailblazers and their new point guards while slamming the brake on the streak.

The ‘Blazers still have two productive players from last season’s state tournament team in senior wing Bayleigh Carmichel and versatile junior forward Jaycie Jenkins, but Science Hill concentrated on making other ‘Blazers beat ‘em.

“They made Bayleigh and Jaycie work awfully hard,” said first-year Boone Coach Beau Hauldren. “Obviously, they had a great game plan. They did a great job executing that game plan. They wanted to take away two of our players and make everybody else beat ‘em. We weren’t able to execute a lot of the time. We had a lot of turnovers, a lot of fumbled passes and a lot of bad passes. And they did a great job.

“I’ve gotta do a better job at preparing us against pressure. For the rest of the year, everybody knows how to guard Daniel Boone High School, and that’s pressure Jaycie and Bayleigh and make everybody else beat us.”

The Trailblazers (2-1, 8-3) last lost a league game when they fell 44-40 at Dobyns-Bennett on Jan. 12, 2016. Science Hill coach Scottie Whaley made certain his players were well aware of the streak.

“Tuesday night,” Smith said, “after (Whaley) told us they had 34 straight wins, it felt like it was time for us to show out and do what we had to do on our home court. … It felt great.”

Jenkins scored a team-high 13 points for Boone, which got a promising performance from Madi Runnels. She scored all 10 of her points in the opening 18-plus minutes and her final basket cut Science Hill’s lead to 27-21 with 5:45 left in the third quarter.

But the ‘Toppers responded with an 11-2 run and its lead was double digits for the closing 12:42.

“She (Runnels) kept us in it in the first half, obviously,” Hauldren said. “She’s still learning, though.”

Culbertson is learning quickly in college. She tallied 11 points and six rebounds in the 67-51 victory at Chattanooga on Monday. She was 4 of 5 from the field, including 2-for-3 shooting from 3-point range. Culbertson also accounted for two of Belmont’s four blocked shots while helping Belmont end a nine-game losing streak to the Mocs.

She will be in Knoxville on Sunday, Dec. 30 when Belmont plays No. 9 Tennessee (1 p.m.).

Daniel Boone 6-foot-4 senior wing Chad Heglar is beginning to generate more college interest. Heglar scored 28 points despite drawing a lot of attention in the Trailblazers’ 71-64 loss at Science Hill on Friday with college coaches in attendance.

“Heglar’s an all-conference player,” said Science Hill forward Drew Morrison, who’s being recruited by Centre College offensive coordinator Ben Fox, a former Daniel Boone quarterback and valedictorian, to play football. “We put Will (Stevens) on him and made him work.”

Boone got 15 and 12 points, respectively, from Jared Adkins and Marshall Golden. The Trailblazers trailed by as many as 18 points, but a late 12-2 run got them within three points with 3:36 to go. The rally included a buzzer-beating drive that sophomore Cade Norris converted to end the third quarter.

“Cade’s got a great skill set,” Brown said. “We need him to be a lot more aggressive, because he’s capable. And I think he’s gonna be a big key for us down the stretch. If we can get him going, he’s another guy that can score for us.”

Daniel Boone (1-2, 5-5) will host Sullivan East on Friday, Dec. 21.

Promising David Crockett freshman point guard Dawson Wagner scored 22 points in the Pioneers’ 62-60 non-conference win against Unicoi County on Friday at Crockett. Sophomore Mason Britton’s trey gave Crockett a 61-59 advantage with 50 seconds left and junior Mack Hensley’s free throw with 10 seconds left concluded the scoring.

Jake Gaffney scored 15 points for the Pioneers (1-2, 5-6).

The Lady Pioneers lost 53-40 to Unicoi County. Sophomore Emma Gouge scored a game-high 19 points.

“Crockett has a good player in Gouge,” said Morristown East coach Michael Potts, whose short-handed Hurricanes lost to Crockett last week.

David Crockett will host Sullivan South on Friday, Dec. 21.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Daniel Boone High School Wrestling’s Jacob Spurlock. Jacob has been a driving force on the mat for the ‘Blazers this season. Check back next week for the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is David Crockett High School Basketball’s Mark Hensley. Hensley was a driving force in Crockett’s recent win over Daniel Boone High School. Check back next week to see the next Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.

Lady Pioneers’ progress shows in win against Volunteer

Lady Pioneers are seeing growth on the court as they move into the 2018-2019 season.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

The David Crockett girls’ basketball program had lost 37 of its last 40 Big Seven Conference basketball games when former boys assistant Tony Gordon agreed to succeed Marty Story as head coach after the 2017-18 season.

Gordon, a former boys head coach at University High, Morristown West and Elizabethton, quickly snapped the skid. The Lady Pioneers (1-2, 4-5) defeated Volunteer, 55-42, in Gordon’s second Big Seven matchup.

Perhaps more impressively, Crockett led preseason favorite Dobyns-Bennett by four points at the half three days later thanks to holding the Indians to 11 points in the first half.

“One thing we will do is defend,” Gordon said. “When they’re so young in the game they don’t understand maybe how tough a task it was, which was a good thing. We had a really good film session that morning.”

Yes, D-B rallied for an 18-point win, but the seeds of change could almost be seen sprouting. And Crockett bounced back to defeat Morristown East during an early afternoon game at Daniel Boone the following day.

“This week was a huge week,” Gordon said, “because they got to experience some tangible success, you know, instead of me telling ‘em how much better they’re getting and how it’s improving. They want to see success that they can actually reach out and touch. It’s rewarding to me to see them enjoy a couple of big wins, because it’s something that they’re not used to.”

Gordon was especially pleased to have a relatively respectable showing against Bill Francis’ Lady Indians.

“I love what Coach Francis does and he’s kind of set a blueprint for how to rebuild a program,” Gordon said. “I’ve paid attention to what he’s done the past three years.”

Crockett’s players responded impressively Saturday morning after the loss to Dobyns-Bennett.

“They made me get Jonesborough’s gym for a shootaround,” Gordon said. “I was like, ‘You guys need to get off your feet.’ But they wanted to come in and have a walk-through shootaround at 10 o’clock Saturday morning. So that kind of tells you what they’re all about.”

Sophomore Emma Gouge apparently liked the shootaround. She personally outscored Morristown East, 28-23, in the victory.

“She had an outstanding offensive game,” Gordon said. “I think it was just a matter of time before she broke out. She plays within the offense. She shares the ball. She just hasn’t been converting on a lot of opportunities.

“She’s been frustrated, but she’s strong enough to stay the course and trust the process. I’m glad she was able to kind of break out on Saturday because it’d been a long week and we were kind of beaten down physically. She was able to get us started and keep us going.”

Gordon knows Gouge is still a work in progress, and developing consistent complementary scorers is even more of a task. But Gordon, whose Brandon Bradley-led UH advanced to the state semifinals in 2003, is not looking for an overnight transformation.

“I’ve kind of been in a building role everywhere I’ve been around here, and I like that,” he said. “UH was way down when I got there. They’d just gotten rid of the middle school and all that stuff. West was struggling and Elizabethton was struggling. I kind of like coming in and laying a foundation and putting something together.”

Gouge scored 12 points and Emily Trivette added 10 against D-B.

Mackenzie Baldwin had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a 55-42 home win against Volunteer on Tuesday. Trivette had 15 points in that one.

David Crockett’s boys (1-2, 3-6) lost three straight last week to Volunteer (62-60), D-B (72-40) and Morristown East (78-48). Volunteer, coached by former Crockett coach Mike Poe, won on Peyton Baker’s last-second stick-back.

Mason Britton hit six 3-pointers and scored 23 points for the Pioneers against the Falcons. Fellow sophomore Ayden Begley added 14 points.

Daniel Boone’s girls routed Cherokee on Tuesday in league play and lost 52-47 at home against Morristown West on Saturday. The ‘Blazers (2-0, 6-2) got 17 points a piece from Jaycie Jenkins and Madi Runnels and 10 points from Bayleigh Carmichel against the Chiefs. Carmichel scored 18 points against West.

Tuesday, the Daniel Boone boys (1-1, 5-4) defeated Cherokee 61-36 and lost, 64-52, at home to Morristown West on Saturday. Jared Adkins scored 18 points against the Trojans.

Colby Backus scored 15 points against Cherokee.

Crockett’s teams will host Unicoi County on Friday. Boone will visit Science Hill on Friday.

Lady Pioneers’ progress shows in win against Volunteer

Lady Pioneers are seeing growth on the court as they move into the 2018-2019 season.

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

The David Crockett girls’ basketball program had lost 37 of its last 40 Big Seven Conference basketball games when former boys assistant Tony Gordon agreed to succeed Marty Story as head coach after the 2017-18 season.

Gordon, a former boys head coach at University High, Morristown West and Elizabethton, quickly snapped the skid. The Lady Pioneers (1-2, 4-5) defeated Volunteer, 55-42, in Gordon’s second Big Seven matchup.

Perhaps more impressively, Crockett led preseason favorite Dobyns-Bennett by four points at the half three days later thanks to holding the Indians to 11 points in the first half.

“One thing we will do is defend,” Gordon said. “When they’re so young in the game they don’t understand maybe how tough a task it was, which was a good thing. We had a really good film session that morning.”

Yes, D-B rallied for an 18-point win, but the seeds of change could almost be seen sprouting. And Crockett bounced back to defeat Morristown East during an early afternoon game at Daniel Boone the following day.

“This week was a huge week,” Gordon said, “because they got to experience some tangible success, you know, instead of me telling ‘em how much better they’re getting and how it’s improving. They want to see success that they can actually reach out and touch. It’s rewarding to me to see them enjoy a couple of big wins, because it’s something that they’re not used to.”

Gordon was especially pleased to have a relatively respectable showing against Bill Francis’ Lady Indians.

“I love what Coach Francis does and he’s kind of set a blueprint for how to rebuild a program,” Gordon said. “I’ve paid attention to what he’s done the past three years.”

Crockett’s players responded impressively Saturday morning after the loss to Dobyns-Bennett.

“They made me get Jonesborough’s gym for a shootaround,” Gordon said. “I was like, ‘You guys need to get off your feet.’ But they wanted to come in and have a walk-through shootaround at 10 o’clock Saturday morning. So that kind of tells you what they’re all about.”

Sophomore Emma Gouge apparently liked the shootaround. She personally outscored Morristown East, 28-23, in the victory.

“She had an outstanding offensive game,” Gordon said. “I think it was just a matter of time before she broke out. She plays within the offense. She shares the ball. She just hasn’t been converting on a lot of opportunities.

“She’s been frustrated, but she’s strong enough to stay the course and trust the process. I’m glad she was able to kind of break out on Saturday because it’d been a long week and we were kind of beaten down physically. She was able to get us started and keep us going.”

Gordon knows Gouge is still a work in progress, and developing consistent complementary scorers is even more of a task. But Gordon, whose Brandon Bradley-led UH advanced to the state semifinals in 2003, is not looking for an overnight transformation.

“I’ve kind of been in a building role everywhere I’ve been around here, and I like that,” he said. “UH was way down when I got there. They’d just gotten rid of the middle school and all that stuff. West was struggling and Elizabethton was struggling. I kind of like coming in and laying a foundation and putting something together.”

Gouge scored 12 points and Emily Trivette added 10 against D-B.

Mackenzie Baldwin had 17 points and 12 rebounds in a 55-42 home win against Volunteer on Tuesday. Trivette had 15 points in that one.

David Crockett’s boys (1-2, 3-6) lost three straight last week to Volunteer (62-60), D-B (72-40) and Morristown East (78-48). Volunteer, coached by former Crockett coach Mike Poe, won on Peyton Baker’s last-second stick-back.

Mason Britton hit six 3-pointers and scored 23 points for the Pioneers against the Falcons. Fellow sophomore Ayden Begley added 14 points.

Daniel Boone’s girls routed Cherokee on Tuesday in league play and lost 52-47 at home against Morristown West on Saturday. The ‘Blazers (2-0, 6-2) got 17 points a piece from Jaycie Jenkins and Madi Runnels and 10 points from Bayleigh Carmichel against the Chiefs. Carmichel scored 18 points against West.

Tuesday, the Daniel Boone boys (1-1, 5-4) defeated Cherokee 61-36 and lost, 64-52, at home to Morristown West on Saturday. Jared Adkins scored 18 points against the Trojans.

Colby Backus scored 15 points against Cherokee.

Crockett’s teams will host Unicoi County on Friday. Boone will visit Science Hill on Friday.

Player of the week

This week’s player of the week is Daniel Boone High School Basketball’s Chad Heglar. Chad has been a leader for the Trailblazers this season. Check back next week to see the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.

Crockett boys overcome Boone

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone senior Chad Heglar won an improbable Musket duel, but upstart Mack Hensley and his David Crockett teammates won the war.

Hensley, a junior wing, fired in a career-high 32 points to help offset a 35-point performance from Heglar in the Pioneers’ 69-60 victory Friday at Snyder Gym.

It was the Big Seven Conference opener for Crockett (3-3) and Boone (4-3).

Daniel Boone won the girls’ game 73-38 thanks, in part, to a stat-sheet stuffing performance from junior Jaycie Jenkins.

Hensley’s breakout game was timely. Crockett was playing for the first time since senior John Kollie, junior Donta Hackler and sophomore Prince Kollie – all key contributors – left the team for what is expected to be the remainder of the season.

“After they left we really stepped up in practice the past two days, because everybody’s been doubting us since then,” said Hensley, who was excited to help propel the Pioneers to victory against their archival. “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.”

Hensley made five 3-pointers and 7 of 9 free throws. Judah Hilton’s driving scoop had given Boone a 50-45 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Hensley answered with a pull-up 25-footer from the right wing with 6:58 to go.

The long trey ignited a decisive 18-7 run that Hensley completed with a leaning mid-range bank that he created with a shot fake. Hensley made 4 of 6 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

“The only thing he needs is confidence,” Crockett coach John Good said.

“He can put it in. He can shoot it from deep. He can drive it. And he showed it tonight.”

Hensley scored the game’s first points on a drive and hit his first 3-pointer via an assist from Eric Dunbar with 6:11 left in the first quarter. He added two foul shots after hustling for an offensive rebound some three minutes later.

“This morning Coach Good just told me to be in attack mode and show ‘em I’m the better player,” Hensley said. “I took it to heart and came out aggressive.”

Dunbar was an effective penetrator, and freshman Dawson Wagner was the most entertaining player on the floor in stretches.

“Eric Dunbar and Dawson Wagner – they drove and found me when I was open,” Hensley said. “I just knocked down the shots.”

Wagner’s snazzy ball-handling and daring drives helped him tally 14 points and a couple of key assists.

“I thought the freshman was phenomenal,” Trailblazers coach Chris Brown said. “We couldn’t keep him out of the paint.

“That’s a credit to him. I thought he played a whale of a game. The same with four (Hensley). They made plays.”

The 6-foot-4 Heglar made three 3-pointers and grabbed a game-high five steals, one of which led to one of his two dunks in a 14-second span late in the first quarter. The other dunk came when he made a backdoor cut along the baseline for a bounce-pass from Zac Saul.

“Coach Brown is always gonna have his team ready to go and then you’ve got Chad – and he can go big,” Good said. “It’s hard to guard him.”

The victory capped an emotional week for Good, who said he cares deeply for the departed trio of players.

“We wish them the best,” Good said.

“This is our team now, and they bonded and they played together. They work hard all the time and it paid off.”

Jaycie Jenkins’ work paid dividends in seemingly every category in the Trailblazers’ rout. She finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and eight steals.

Senior wing Bayleigh Carmichel added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists for Boone (1-0, 7-1). “We’ve got a lot of players playing right now that have not played a lot,” Boone first-year coach Beau Hauldren said.

“Bayleigh and Jaycie have played a lot. Until we can catch these other girls up, Bayleigh and Jaycie are gonna have to carry us, and they’ve been doing that. They’ve done an outstanding job and have been great leaders for us.”

Sophomore guard McKenna Dietz added 13 points for the ‘Blazers.

“They were excited, obviously, to play Crockett,” Hauldren said. “It’s a rivalry. It was our first home game of the season. It’s the first conference game. They were jacked up. …

“Some of it’s not always pretty, but we always play hard. I think we’ve played hard for eight games. I can’t coach that. That’s their motors, and I’m glad they play for Daniel Boone.”

Sophomore Emma Gouge led David Crockett (1-4) with nine points.

Daniel Boone’s boys and girls teams will host Morristown West on Saturday. Crockett hosts Dobyns-Bennett on Friday.

Crockett runner crosses signing day finish line

Grayson Fugate (front center) signs with Milligan College while surrounded by family, coaches and friends on Friday, Nov. 16.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

Grayson Fugate signed with Milligan College to continue his running career on Friday, Nov. 16, but the high school senior didn’t know that running was something he wanted to do in college until about a year ago.

“Honestly, I didn’t even like running until freshman year,” Fugate said at his signing. “But I think it was last year I was like, ‘I like this. I want to continue to do this.’ So it was probably last year that I knew I wanted to run.”

The four-year David Crockett High School runner will run cross country and track for the Milligan Buffaloes. Head track and cross country coach, Mark Jennings, said that during Fugate’s time as a Pioneer, he’s been a highly coachable students athlete with a bright future.

“We’re really proud,” Jennings said. “He works really hard. He always gives it his best and does whatever you tell him to do. He shows up on time and I’m glad to see him get some success here. We’re wishing him a lot of luck. We know he’s going to get there. (Milligan Coach Chris Layne) is one of the best coaches in this area.”

It’s not been an easy road for Fugate: the senior runner said he had to overcome an injury each season as a Pioneer. Now that he’s taken the time to heal, he has one final season to lace up with the friends and teammates he’s grown up with as track season will start in the spring of 2019.

“It’s going to be pretty fun,” Fugate said. “I’ve known these guys for, some of them, forever. It’s going to be fun just going out there and competing with them one last time.”

But there’s another person who has impacted his running career; Fugate said if there was one person who had an effect on his running career, it’s Dave Roy, who was instrumental in Fugate’s start in middle school.

“If I was to thank one man the most it would probably be Dave Roy over there,” Fugate said. “He’s the only reason that I’m running. He looked at me and he said, ‘You look like a distance runner.’ That’s how I got started.”

Apart from growth in his own athletic career, Fugate noted the change he’s seen in Crockett athletics as cross country, football, softball and other Pioneer teams have been on the up and up in recent years.

“It’s honestly amazing I feel like,” Fugate said. “I remember my freshman year we weren’t necessarily good at any sport. So to see all the sports grow has been a wonderful thing.

Boone takes Hardee’s Classic Tournament

By TREY WILLIAMS

H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone’s basketball team blazed a new trail this past weekend and senior guard Chad Heglar reached a pleasing plateau.

Chris Brown’s Trailblazers won the program’s first Hardee’s Classic title Saturday with a 62-43 defeat of University High in the championship of the 29th annual tournament at David Crockett.

The long-armed 6-foot-4 Heglar seemed to effortlessly score 27 points on 11-of-13 field goal shooting in the championship game, wrapping up an easy decision for tournament Most Valuable Player. It capped a dominant three-game stretch during which he scored 95 points, including his 1,000th during a 51-point performance in a quarterfinal win against South-Doyle.

“We took care of the ball and played our style of basketball,” Heglar said.

Teammates Derek Percell, Jared Adkins and Judah Hilton joined Heglar on the all-tournament team.

Hilton and Percell scored eight and seven points, respectively, in the championship game.

Percell, a point guard, scored the game’s first two baskets. The second one was a crowd-pleasing scoop while driving across the lane.

Heglar doesn’t anticipate any decline at Boone during his final go-round despite the ‘Blazers losing four starters from the 2017-18 team – Eric “Doc” Rigsby and Jared Lawson among those. A number of new key contributors have impressed Heglar with their smooth transitions.

“Cade Norris has stepped up for us,” Heglar said. “And Chase (McGonigle) – they’ve both been playing defense for us. They’ve been starting (the season) good for us. And Marshall Golden has been playing good for us, too. We have scorers and we have depth this year.”

Brown was happy Zac Saul became available in the semifinals on Friday – a 58-50 win against Volunteer. It’d been feared that Saul could have a stress fracture in his back, which would’ve created a protracted absence.

“Zac Saul’s been out all year and he’s our energy guy,” Brown said. “He’s our guy that really makes us go. He really set the tone defensively getting up on guys. And we kind of feed off that. He’s not gonna score a lot of points for us, but he does so much for us, kind of like what Gunnar Norris did for us last year – that ‘glue guy’ that does so much.”

Saul had two assists, two points and an assist in the championship, played energetic defense and made a nifty bounce-pass to Heglar cutting along the baseline for a basket.

Heglar was 9-for-9 on two-point attempts, made 2 of 4 from behind the 3-point arc and led the team with 11 rebounds and two blocks.

“He’s a tough matchup,” University High coach Justin Penley said. “He’s a knock-down shooter from behind the arc. And Coach Brown gets him the ball in a lot of different ways.”

The Bucs’ Kaleb Meredith scored a team-high 14 points in the loss to Boone after pouring in a game-high 30 in UH’s 62-61 upset of David Crockett in the semifinals.

Boone played Volunteer in the semifinals immediately after Crockett’s loss, and appeared to be less inspired once realizing it wasn’t playing for an opportunity to take on the rival Pioneers in the championship.

“Yea, just a little bit,” Heglar said.

Boone will host Crockett on Friday, and the Hardee’s title should amplify a young team’s confidence.

“You’ve got Chad and Derek that really have any kind of varsity experience, and Derek doesn’t really have a lot,” Brown said. “So you’re looking at a bunch of JV guys that have been through our program and are now getting an opportunity to play. And for them to respond in this kind of environment, I thought, was big.”

The Pioneers’ Ayden Begley scored 14 of his 22 points, including four of his six 3-pointers, in the first quarter of a 76-39 win against Volunteer in the third-place game.

“Guys found him while he was hot,” Crockett coach John Good said. “When he was open they got him the ball. Every shot he shoots looks like it’s gonna go in.”

Mack Hensley hit two treys and scored 12 points and Donta Hackler’s fast-break dunk after a steal and assist from John Kollie highlighted a 10-point performance.

The Pioneers made 11 treys after severe shooting struggles in the one-point loss to University High on Friday.

“Tonight we were hitting shots and it just makes a big difference,” Good said.

Despite the lopsided margin, Good was impressed with what he saw from Volunteer, which is under first-year coach Mike Poe. Good coached at Science Hill under Poe, who started the Hardee’s Classic with then-Crockett athletic director Gary Scheuerman when Poe coached the Pioneers in 1990.

Crockett AD Josh Kite presented Poe with a basketball prior to the third-place game.

“The credit goes to the people here at Crockett,” said Poe, who coached the Pioneers to their first sectional appearance in 1990. “They’ve taken the ball and run with it. It’s a big thing and they’re to be congratulated. It was just an idea I’d had, but they’ve taken it to another level.”

Boone athletes celebrate signing day

Six Boone student athletes signed to their future schools on Wednesday, Nov. 14. Pictured from left to right (back row) is Graydon Hull, Nick Brock and Matt Huff. Pictured from left to right (front row) is Erin Bruce, Bayleigh Carmichel and Marley McCoy.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

Six Daniel Boone High School student athletes looked toward the future as they signed a national letter of intent on Wednesday, Nov. 14, to continue their academic and athletic careers.

Bayleigh Carmichel will play basketball at Trevecca Nazarene University, Nick Brock will play golf at Milligan College, Erin Bruce and Marley McCoy will both run cross country and track at Tusculum College and Matt Huff and Graydon Hull will both run track and cross country at Milligan College.

Bayleigh Carmichel

Carmichel’s time as a Lady Trailblazer has been laden with region and tournament honors; last second, 3-point shots; and a District 1-AAA Championship title. But to Boone Head Girls Basketball Coach Beau Hauldren, what Carmichel’s team says about her might be the highest honor.

Ahead of her senior basketball season, Carmichel was selected as the team’s captain.

“What an honor it’s been to be able to watch her grow into a basketball player and a great student the last four years,” Hauldren said at Carmichel’s signing. “She’s a leader. She was voted by our team this past fall to be our team captain. I think that says a lot about her. She’s dedicated her time to becoming a great leader.”

The basketball team captain is a two-time District 1-AAA Tournament Most Valuable Player and was named to the All-Region 1-AAA Girls Basketball Tournament Team in 2017 and 2018. But her recent decision to take her talents and leadership skills to Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville wasn’t only based on basketball; Carmichel said she also chose Trevecca for its pre-med opportunities.

“I love the coach that’s there and his philosophy on winning but being a good team,” Carmichel said. “The teammates, all the girls I met down there are super sweet and super nice. I fit in really well.

“They have a pre-med school which is what I really was looking for in a university because at the end of the day, your academics are what matters.”

Nick Brock

It’s been a year of improvement on the green for Brock, who will be putting for the Milligan Buffaloes come the fall 2019.

Daniel Boone Golf Coach Scott Martin said Brock improved his stroke average by 25 strokes since his freshman year.

He also said the Boone senior shot 73 out of 18 holes at the conference tournament this year.

“I saw the potential. And he’s worked hard at it,” Martin said at the signing. “He’s improved greatly. You never have to worry about Nick not listening to you. I never had to worry about him letting something go in one ear and out the other. He listens to you and pays attention, absorbs it and does what has to be done. He’s just a quality player.”

But an improved golfer isn’t all Milligan will receive in Brock; the golfer earned the Dale Jarrett Award, which is an award based on an athlete’s make up outside of the athletic arena.

“This award is given, not on the basis of golf, but on the basis of character and integrity and being a quality individual,” Martin said. “Nick won that this year and he’s going to do well at Milligan. Milligan is doing well to get him. I have no question in my mind that he’s going to be successful.”

Erin Bruce

For Bruce, choosing Tusculum as her school of choice might have been the easiest decision she’s ever made. The high school senior said the small atmosphere and an overwhelmingly positive feeling in Greenville made her decision one that called for very little second guessing.

“When I first went to Tusculum, when I first stepped there, I just knew,” Bruce said. “It has a really small atmosphere, which I really like. All the coaches and teams there were really good too.

“I’m excited to go to Tusculum.”

During Bruce’s time at Boone, she’s been named a two-time all-conference and all-region runner.

Bruce and her fellow Tusculum signee, Marley, also competed in two state championships, one in which tallied the highest finish in Boone history in Class 5A. The two senior runners were also part of the Boone team that out ran Dobyns-Bennett and Science Hill to win the Big 7 Conference Championship for the first time in Boone history. And those accolades, paired with hard work, makes Len Jeffers, the cross country and track coach, consider the girls tools to raise the bar for the girls team in Gray.

“They came in hungry, a little wide-eyed, but they knew where they wanted to go, what they wanted to do as far as this program was concerned,” Jeffers said. “In the four years they’ve been here, they’ve taken this girls program to a whole other level.”

Marley McCoy

McCoy has seen her share of school history made during her running career at Boone. Now that the cross country season has wrapped up and the track season looms ahead, McCoy said she’s ready to give it her all for the Trailblazers one last time.

“I’m kind of sad about it. — it’s our last season,” McCoy said. “but I’m really excited to go all out for it because I’m going to try my best.”

McCoy has competed in three state championships and has received four all-conference honors as a cross country runner. She was also part of the 4-by-800 relay team that placed third at state and broke the Boone record by around 20 seconds. And now, she’ll be heading to Tusculum, along with Bruce, to continue her athletic career.

“I’m really relieved about that,” McCoy said about going to Tusculum with Bruce. “I’m super excited. It was a really good bonus I would say. I’m really happy about it.”

Jeffers said Bruce and McCoy have shown more than just effort throughout their years at Boone.

“We’re very proud of them. I mean, the dedication, the commitment, you just can’t describe it … I know there are probably times when they could have left at 3 o’clock and went to the park or the swimming pool, or the lake or something, but they were here every day with their teammates setting an example and not giving in. They wanted to work for what they wanted to strive for.”

Matt Huff

Like Bruce and McCoy, Huff will be joined by a fellow friend and teammate, Hull, as he signed with Milligan to run cross country and track. Huff also added that the atmosphere at Milligan along with his academic plans for the future led him to elect to become a Buffalo.

“They had the degree I wanted, occupational therapy. They’re very prestigious for it not only in the region but in the state.

“They just have a great bond with their team. Their team environment was ridiculous. Everyone knows everybody. It’s a small school — not much different than here. You get to know everyone easily and that’s something I was looking for.”

But before he heads off to Milligan, Huff, who has been part of the team that tallied three-straight conference wins and region championships at Boone, said he’s looking forward to one last run with his Trailblazer teammates this spring.

“We’ve got goals, but the work’s never done until we graduate,” Huff said. “Then you’ve always got more work to do. For me, it’s just another stepping stone and I’m ready to step on it.”

Graydon Hull

Hull added his name as the second Milligan runner of the day to sign with the Buffaloes. For Hull, Jeffers said, this day was a big one due to the number of obstacles the runner has overcome throughout his time as a Trailblazer.

“Graydon has dealt with several set backs. The first couple of years, it seemed like he was just getting over the hump and then something would happen,” Jeffers said. “But he never gave in, he never gave up. He kept doing what was asked from him. He loved it. He wanted to stay with it. This year’s been his most successful in cross country and over the last month just continuously rolled up the latter.”

The all-region, all-conference and state runner, like Huff, said the atmosphere at Milligan was a draw for the senior runner. Before he and Huff head off to continue being teammates, Hull said he’s ready to continue the success the Boone boys team has compiled throughout his time in Gray.

“It’s really humbling to make it through the four years,” Hull said, “and have this last season to go out and do something good.”

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.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

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.

By TREY WILLIAMS

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).