By TREY WILLIAMS
Daniel Boone was missing its best player, Charlie Cole, and its best defensive player, Devon White, when it opened Region 1-5A play against Tennessee High on Friday at Nathan Hale Stadium.
Cole said Friday that he might miss four more games due to a forearm fracture sustained in the second half of a week two loss to Greeneville. White is week to week with a thumb injury he suffered during summer camp.
Their injuries helped produce a painful introduction to league play against Tennessee High. The Vikings got two touchdown runs and a 97-yard kickoff return from junior Jaden Keller and rolled to a 35-0 victory.
Key players’ absences notwithstanding, Trailblazers coach Jeremy Jenkins was disappointed in his team’s performance.
“We’ve played without ‘em before,” Jenkins said. “So that’s just an excuse. We got whipped in the line of scrimmage. We didn’t tackle. And that’s the game – period.”
White is also Boone’s second-string running back. Jenkins is high on running back Joe Jones too, but there was usually nowhere for Jones to roam when he got handoffs against the Vikings.
“We said going in we had to be physical in the line of scrimmage against a good, active front like Tennessee High,” Jenkins said. “Their movement hurt us all night. We didn’t sustain many blocks. We didn’t sustain many drives.”
Indeed, Boone was held to 106 yards of offense and five first downs. The Vikings only generated 219 yards, but methodically marched for several scores.
“We didn’t tackle well and we couldn’t get off the field on third down,” Jenkins said. “That was the whole entire game. We could not get off the field. We had ‘em third-and-eight or more six times and they get five out of six and sustain drives.”
Tennessee High led 14-0 at halftime. Boone botched a punt late in the first half that set up Keller’s second TD run. And then Keller returned the second half kickoff 97 yards to the Daniel Boone 2-yard line, setting up quarterback Cole McBrayer’s 1-yard TD.
“The play of the game was the kickoff return,” Jenkins said. “We defended them better in the second half than we did in the first half as far as making them earn more stuff. But the kickoff return kind of took the wind out of our sails.”
Boone (0-1, 1-2) goes back out of conference this week when it visits Elizabethton on Friday. That’ll be followed by a home game with another undefeated team, Dobyns-Bennett (3-0), on the Sept. 27. Dobyns-Bennett beat Tennessee High, 33-13.
“We’re gonna find out what we’re made of the next couple of (games),” Jenkins said, “because now we’re behind the 8-ball conference wise. We’ve gotta really scratch and claw to get back in the conference race. Nobody’s gonna feel sorry for us.”
Certainly, Keller and the Vikings didn’t.
“Charlie and Devon White not being there – that was a big part,” Vikings coach Mike Mays said. “But I think our defense still played well and I think our offense had a great game plan. We competed and we executed.
“We were ready to play, and when you lose a star like Charlie it is gonna deflate your team. It can go two ways – they can be fired up and play for him, or it can deflate. I think it just deflated ‘em. They’re still a good football team.”
David Crockett — David Crockett 48, Volunteer 19
The Pioneers (2-0) opened Region 1-5A play with a convincing road win a week after a historic rout of Science Hill.
Cade Larkins passed for 268 yards and five TDs and fellow senior Ronquille Joyner rushed for 154 yards as second-year coach Hayden Chandley improved his career record to 14-1.
Junior Mason Britton caught two TD passes for the second straight week. Eric Dunbar also had two touchdown receptions.
Junior Prince Kollie caught a 70-yard TD. Kollie has a team-high 12 receptions for 294 yards, and his four TD receptions are tied for the team lead with Britton.
Sophomores Brayden and Brenden Reid lead Crockett with 17 and 15 tackles, respectively.
The Pioneers will visit Knox Webb on Friday. Webb (1-2) is coming off a 28-21 loss at Boyd Buchanan, which is coached by former Crockett coach Jeremy Bosken.