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Blazers fall short after furious second-half comeback

After spotting the Chiefs a three touchdown advantage in the first half of their Aug. 28 meeting in Rogersville, the Blazers of Daniel Boone put together their best half of football of the young season with the improbable comeback falling just short in a 28-26 loss to Cherokee.
Cherokee knocked the Blazers to the ropes early to open the contest after a 54-yard completion led to the game’s first points on a three-yard touchdown run.
Two more rushing touchdowns would follow, vaulting the Chiefs to an early 21-0 advantage.
With the Blazer offense struggling to find any rhythm, Boone’s situation went from bad to worse when a fourth-down punt sailed over the head of the Blazer punter to give the Chiefs the ball deep in Boone territory.
Cherokee would capitalize moments later with their fourth touchdown run of the opening half. A converted extra point would have the Blazers in a 28-0 hole with halftime quickly approaching.
For Boone, the contest was far from over. The Blazers cut into the large deficit in the final seconds of the second quarter when Gabe Sanders found Tristan McKnight on a 26-yard touchdown pass to send the game to the half with Cherokee in front 28-7.
Boone’s offense would remain quiet on the first possession of the second half, eventually giving the ball back to the Chiefs. But Sanders would lift the Blazer defense on the ensuing Cherokee possession, intercepting a pass and taking it 30 yards to pay dirt for the first touchdown of the third quarter.
A converted extra point left the Blazers trailing by 14 in the third quarter.
Another Boone touchdown would follow, with the scoring drive punctuated by a Mason Mounger touchdown. The Blazers would miss the extra point however, trailing 28-20 following the score.
The lone score of the fourth quarter would be Sanders second touchdown pass of the contest, when he connected with Jacob Arnold for a 20-yard score.
It would be the Blazers fourth unanswered score and their third of the second half. The impending conversion would fall short for the Blazers and with it, their comeback attempt, losing to a final score of 28-26.
Sanders again proved to be the Blazers’ best source of offense, finishing with 183 yards passing and two touchdowns to go along with his interception return for six.
Despite suffering their second loss in two tries, the Blazers will take confidence from their strong second-half performance into an open date this week before heading to Elizabethton on Sept. 11 for a meeting against the Cyclones.