By TREY WILLIAMS H&T Correspondent
You might’ve thought the 1985 Chicago Bears were clashing with the 1986 New York Giants when Daniel Boone played Elizabethton on Friday at East Tennessee State University’s William B. Greene Jr. Stadium.
Offenses sputtered, punters had starring roles and Daniel Boone’s Dalton Cloyd recovered a fumble in the end zone midway through the first quarter for the game’s only score.
The 7-0 Daniel Boone vic- tory improved the Trailblazers to 4-0 for the first time since 2012. It was Boone’s first win against the Cy- clones since 2012.
Elizabethton, surely the best 0-3 team in the state, lost to Boone for the third time in program history.
“It’s something we’d been talking about all week, you know, that we’d only won this game twice in school history,” said Boone senior defensive end Luke Scott, who delivered a sack on a third-and-12 at Boone 23- yard line with 2 1/2 minutes left. “And to come out here to ETSU and come out with the W was huge for us. It couldn’t have been a better setting for this.”
Scott, who has committed to play at VMI, could have two more games at ETSU.
Boone punter Ben Shrews- berry will also punt some- where in college. He set up Boone’s TD by pinning Elizabethton at its 1 with a high, 36-yard punt that Kaiden Murphy downed just outside the goal line.
Shrewsberry averaged 41.6 yards on six punts despite two having been shorter than average in order to start the Cyclones inside their 20.
Two of his punts were 50 or more yards, including a 51-yarder that traveled 50 yards in the air before bouncing another yard into the end zone.
“Ben is a huge weapon for us,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “If our offense does get driven back, we’ve got Ben we can count on. He can always flip field position easily.”
Elizabethton coach Shawn Witten said on Thursday that Boone had a good team, and Shrewsberry might be its most valuable player. Cyclones defensive coordinator Jordy Harrison echoed that sentiment after Witten’s words proved to be prophetic.
“That’s a real weapon when you can flip the field anytime you want to,” Harrison said.
Power back Aiden Riner rushed 14 times for 88 yards for Boone, which got two huge plays from Brayden Blankenship (two carries, 43 yards). He ran for 40 yards on a third-and-seven from the Boone 4 with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter and made an impressive interception from practically point-blank range on a third-and-two from the Boone 42 on the final play of the first quarter. Blankenship’s pick wasn’t quite as impressive as Dale Jones’ juggling grab against Mike Shula in Tennessee’s defeat of Alabama in 1985, but it evoked images of the iconic snag.
“That was crazy,” Scott said. “I looked over and saw him jump up and snag it. That’s something I’ve never seen before. I’ve seen batted balls, but I’ve never seen somebody jump up there and snag it like that. That was super-impressive.”
The sixth-ranked Trailblazers will play their first home game on their new synthetic surface when they host 10th- ranked Morristown West in a key Region 1-5A game Friday.
“It was a great night at ETSU,” Jenkins said, “and we get to play at Nathan Hale Stadium next Friday night under the lights for the first time (on the new turf). It’s gonna be rockin’ there, too.”
David Crockett fell to 2-2 on the season with a 49-6 loss at Dobyns-Bennett on Friday. One of the few bright spots for the Pioneers was a 31-yard TD pass from Jake Fox to Dillon Maupin.
“We hung in there for about a quarter and a half,” Crockett coach Hayden Chandley said. “In our first three drives, we had two that got down inside their 30 but we were unable to come away with any points. One time we got inside the 20 and had a sack and tried the 38- yard field goal. Unfortunate- ly, we missed it, and the next thing you know, the wheels kind of fell off. I think they scored four touchdowns in about seven minutes in the latter part of the first half.”
The Pioneers will try to even their Region 1-5A record to 1-1 when they visit Tennessee High on Friday.
“We’ve got to turn the page real quick and get ready for a big conference game,” Chandley said. “Anytime you go to the Stone Castle you know you’re gonna be a in a dogfight. They’re a very well-coached football team.
“Defensively, Coach (Matt) Chandler and Coach (Mike) Mays – they’ve been running the same defense up there a long time and have had a lot of success doing it. The best part of their defense – and arguably the best part of their entire team – is their defensive front.”
Chandley said injured quarterback Aidan Clark was expected to return to practice in a non-contact capacity this week and could potentially play again “in the coming weeks.” Kicker Chase Schroeck, who’s missed the past two games, will be a game- time decision Friday.