By TREY WILLIAMS
David Crockett’s Prince Kollie and Daniel Boone’s Devon White did their part in Friday’s season openers, but the Pioneers and Trailblazers’ football teams each lost games that were there to be had.
The Trailblazers fell, 28-14, at home against a veteran CAK team despite the efforts of White, a senior who rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown and tied Anthony Edwards for the team high with 11 tackles.
Crockett lost 14-12 at Ooltewah, although Kollie rushed 30 times for 171 yards and a TD and matched Johnny Loyd’s team-high eight tackles.
Kollie, who has committed to Notre Dame and has moved to running back primarily after playing receiver the past two seasons, also completed all three of his pass attempts for 16 yards.
“Prince was a workhorse,” Crockett fourth-year coach Hayden Chandley said. “We rode him to 30 carries, which was probably a few too many.
“We’ve gotta find some ways to be able to get him some rest and make sure we’re not running him into the ground. It’s a long season. So that’s what we spent a lot of this weekend and Monday doing.”
Pioneers quarterback Mason Britton was 6 of 9 passing for 37 yards in his starting debut.
“He was pretty solid,” Chandley said. “We’ve got some sharpening up to do. He threw a few balls late that weren’t on time. We just need to get sharper at it. But he’ll rebound and he’ll get better, and we’ll be better this week.”
The Pioneers defense delivered an encouraging performance.
“Defensively, we played exceptionally well,” Chandley said. “You take away the two pass plays, which totaled about 80 yards, and we had ‘em right at 120 yards. Defensively, we couldn’t have played any better.
“We just didn’t get a takeaway and they got one. And ultimately we felt like that ended up biting us in the back a little bit. We fumbled down inside the 25.”
Senior lineman Damian Vance followed Loyd and Kollie with six tackles. Senior lineman Tony Davis and sophomore outside linebacker Aidan Clark each had five stops.
“Johnny Lloyd had eight tackles and a sack for a safety,” Chandley said. “Tony Davis rarely came out of the game and played really well on defense. Damian Vance had a great game up front.
“We really felt like we controlled both lines of scrimmage. We were able to move them. We really stymied their run game.”
Chandley described the game as a “glorified scrimmage” after a scrimmage-free fall camp was created by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We got the ball to their 15 with first-and-10 and we got a bad snap and lost 10 yards and ended up having to punt, which was when we actually ended up getting a safety,” Chandley said. “And then on our first drive we got all the way down to a first-and-10 at the 20 and just kind of sputtered our feet. And we had the fumble inside the 25.
“We moved the ball. But there were just a handful of plays that we didn’t make that were the difference in the game.”
Crockett will visit what figures to be a fired-up Science Hill team on Friday. The Pioneers recorded the program’s first victory against the Hilltoppers in resounding fashion last year. The final score was 62-34, and didn’t even seem that close.
Science Hill lost its opener at defending state champion Elizabethton, 30-8.
“We’re gonna have our hands full,” Chandley said. “There’s no doubt about it. You know, that score of the Science Hill-Elizabethton game was a little bit misleading.”
Daniel Boone hosted a veteran CAK team on Friday, and the ‘Blazers might’ve also been victimized by the shortened preseason. CAK returned two Jackson Jenkins interceptions for scores in the first quarter.
“CAK was a quality team and we were our worst enemy,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “We had two turnovers returned for touchdown and we had the ball six times inside the 30 with no points.
“We had several penalties, and with no scrimmages, we were just a little sloppy.”
Boone running back Brennan Blair suggested the Trailblazers’ mistakes would take a toll on the practice field Monday.
“I can definitely tell you right now Monday is not gonna be fun,” said Blair, who caught a 25-yard TD pass from Jenkins to cut CAK’s lead to 14-7 with 10:33 left in the first half. “But that’s where a team comes together and finds out who’s dedicated and who’s not. I think that’s the biggest positive out of everything, because we’re gonna see the stuff we need to work on explained and shown examples.”
Boone’s second TD was a 51-yard run by White, who tallied 91 yards rushing on 14 carries. Jenkins said White is in excellent shape and has added quickness this season. Phillip Page caught four passes for 80 yards for Boone.
Jenkins was pleased to have offensive lineman Chandler Masters back. He missed last season with an injury.
“Chandler has done a good job rehabbing,” Jenkins said, “and I was thrilled he was able to compete for us.”
Masters was thrilled, too.
“Chandler looked at me in the game,” Blair said, “and said, ‘Gosh B, it’s great to be back.’ That just gave me chills hearing that from someone who hasn’t played in a long time. But he’s moving really well, he’s strong and the only thing I can say about that is I’m glad he’s on my team.”
Boone will visit Greeneville on Friday. The Greene Devils are led by junior running back Mason Gudger, who rushed for 1,250 yards as a sophomore despite being limited to three yards on three carries due to injury in a season-ending loss at Elizabethton.
“Friday night will be another tough opponent for us with great tradition,” Jenkins said. “Keys will be for us to tackle well, give up no big plays, positive yards on offense and take care of the ball. We must play a whole lot more physically this Friday.
“Grudger is one of top backs in the area. We must gang-tackle him.”