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Blazer defense guides Boone to victory

Under Head Coach Jeremy Jenkins, the identity of the Daniel Boone High School football team has always been twofold — a strong defense and a solid ground game.
The Trailblazers executed that plan to perfection under the lights of Nathan Hale Stadium on Sept. 20 against Volunteer High School (0-5, 0-2). The 17-7 victory marks Boone’s third win in a row.
The Blazer run attack set the pace for the contest, grounding out 221 yards rushing on 38 attempts.
But it was the Blazer defense that guided the team to victory.
With the contest scoreless in the first quarter, a fumbled punt by the Falcons set Boone up on their opponent’s side of the field at the 45-yard line.
After pushing the ball inside of the 40, Boone quarterback Gabe Sanders found Caleb Ratliff for a 34-yard touchdown pass. After a Hannah Fink extra point, the Blazers stood in front 7-0.
In the second, a fake field goal put the Blazers on the verge of another touchdown, but the drive fizzled and Matthew Poole’s 22-yard field goal attempt sailed through to extend the Blazer lead 10-0.
The Volunteer offense would respond before the half, moving inside Blazer territory.
Moments later, Falcon quarterback Matt Reed broke loose from the Boone defense, scoring on a 47-yard touchdown run to send the contest to the break with the Blazers maintaining a 10-7 advantage.
Boone would add another touchdown in the second half on a 27-yard run by Dustin Chandler and Fink’s extra point pushed the Blazer lead back to 10 points.
That would be all the cushion the Blazer defense needed, shutting down the Falcon offense in the second half.
Boone allowed just three first downs over the final two quarters and picked off two Volunteer passes to seal the team’s second conference win of the season.
The Boone ground attack was manufactured by a trio of Blazers. Chandler finished with a team high 97 yards rushing and Josh Bacon and Grant Seeger combined for over 100 yards on the ground.
But the win belonged to a Blazer defense that stymied the Falcons throughout the game.
Boone held Volunteer to just 173 yards of total offense, forcing three turnovers, and aside from the breakdown that gave the Falcons their only score late in the first half, was almost impenetrable.
After opening the season with a loss to a very good Elizabethton team, the Blazers have won three games in a row. The two wins against conference foes keep them atop the conference standings.
The Blazers will begin their most difficult stretch of the season with home games against undefeated Sullivan South High School on Friday, Sept. 27, and Dobyns-Bennett High School on Friday, Oct. 4. The tough three-game stretch will conclude on the road against one of the area’s top teams, Greeneville, on Friday, Oct. 11.