By TREY WILLIAMS
For the first time this season, David Crockett’s football team found itself in a competitive game in a hostile environment. And physical, deliberate Knox Webb wasn’t an ideal match up.
But the Pioneers persevered, pulling out a 28-21 victory to improve to 3-0. It was the 15th win in 16 games for second-year coach Hayden Chandley.
“They were big up front and got in some heavy packages there and was able to impose their will on us,” Chandley said. “It was tough sledding for us there a couple of drives, but at the end of the day, we were able to get off the field a couple of times when it mattered most. Fortunately, we were able to make enough plays to get the ‘W’. And any time you go down to Knoxville and get a win, you take it — especially against a program with rich tradition such as Knox Webb.”
Senior quarterback Cade Larkins passed for three touchdowns and senior receiver Donta Hackler, who didn’t have to contend with double-team coverage for the first time this season, had nine catches for 150 yards.
“Webb played Donta pretty much straight up,” Chandley said. “They didn’t shade to him, and that was really the first time we’d seen that this year. Science Hill, I felt like, kind of tried to play a corner and a safety over top or a linebacker and a corner. And then Volunteer pretty much doubled him the entire game.
“That can be frustrating to a kid. At Volunteer I think he had two catches. You could tell he was a little bit frustrated. Then Webb plays us pretty much straight up, and as you can see from his stat line, we were able to take advantage of them doing that.”
Hackler, who is being recruited heavily by Charlotte, has 19 catches for 235 yards and one TD. His attention has helped Prince Kollie (18 catches, 412 yards, five TDs) and Mason Britton (11-167-5) get off to hot starts.
Ronquille Joyner rushed for more than 100 yards at Webb, and his TD in the fourth quarter gave the Pioneers a 28-14 lead. Crockett had led 14-7 at the half and 21-7 in the third quarter.
“The first play of the second half we hit Donta for about 60 to down inside the 20, set up Prince’s TD a couple of plays later,” Chandley said. “That put us up 21-7. … Credit to our kids, as soon as they punched us, we responded with a score of our own.
“We put together a real nice drive and Ronquille ended up capping it off with a short touchdown run. That was what I was most proud of. Going down there to a rich-tradition program and facing a little bit of adversity there, and every time they scored we answered right back with a punch of our own. That was really good to see.”
Sophomores Brendan and Brayden Reid have had productive starts to the season on defense. They have 21 and 19 tackles, respectively.
“We kind of knew what we were getting,” Chandley said. “They were kind of the hidden that nobody really knew about. Before this week I think they were leading us in tackles. I think they got passed up by Johnny (Lloyd) and Prince. But I can’t say enough about them, specifically Brendan.
“I think Brendan has been our MVP on defense thus far. He’s a really smart kid. He isn’t the biggest kid, but he’ll stick his nose in there. He’s not scared of anything. He’s made plays. He’s got a pick and he’s third on the team playing the safety spot. That says a lot about his nose for the football, his aggressiveness and being able to play the run and the pass.”
Crockett will host Cocke County on Friday.
Daniel Boone — Elizabethton 35, Daniel Boone 12
The Trailblazers (1-3), who lost their best offensive lineman (Chandler Masters) for the season to an August injury, were still without their top two players in Charlie Cole (arm) and Devon White (thumb). Boone is off this week, and will host Dobyns-Bennett on Sept. 27. There’s a chance White could return for that one.