By COLLIN BROOKS
The 2016 David Crockett football team will either be thanking or cursing the 2015 Pioneer senior class this football season. This year’s Pioneers will be playing the second year of a schedule that the past senior class had a say in.
That means they will open the season on the road in Burnsville, North Carolina as they travel to take on a team that finished 11-3 last season in Mountain Heritage. The Cougars traveled to Jonesborough last year and caught the Pioneers by surprise, slowing down the game and causing Crockett to eventually lose the contest 42-28.
Those tactics are expected again this year, but the teams might look a lot more similar to one another than last season.
“They are a really physical football team,” Bosken said. “They are a hit you in the mouth with a (Tim) Tebow style quarterback, so that is what we are expecting this year. They are going to try and shorten the game.”
Last year, the Cougars relied on junior quarterback Trey Robinson, who rushed 30 times for 266 yards and three touchdowns during the Cougars win last year. He led a rushing attack that engineered 464 yards on the ground on 61 carries.
This year, the Pioneers will counter that attack with a ground game of their own, as they will be handing it to the school’s all-time leading rusher in TK Hill. The senior power back wasn’t available last year for the Pioneers opening contest, but he will be called upon to carry the ball early and often, even in the team’s first contest. It will be a bit different than the high flying offense that dazzled defenses last year.
“We are just realizing who we are this year, with a brand new offensive line and a new quarterback and the best running back in the area returning, we are doing what we can to put him in a position to be successful,” Bosken said.
The Pioneers will have weapons on the outside as well for their senior quarterback Cole Ricker, as they will have senior speedsters Justin Wade and Darian DeLapp to stretch the defense.
They will, however, be without a weapon in the middle, — kind of — as junior tight end Austin Lewis will move from tight end to left tackle with the injury of senior Josh Johnston, who will miss the first couple of weeks.
“He is just unselfish,” Bosken said of his junior. “He is putting aside his aspirations of being a tight end to just help us out, because we need it.”
Last year, the Pioneers fell behind early against the Cougars, but they were able to tie the contest at 22 heading into the locker room.
Besides Ricker, freshman Cade Larkins could also see some time at quarterback.
It will be the freshman’s first road trip with the Pioneers, but the over one hour drive won’t be anything too new for Crockett, as their conference trips last year consisted of stops at Sevier County and Cocke County which are just as far.
“We’ve been to Chattanooga on road trips and we have been to Knoxville on road trips, so our kids are use to it,” Bosken said.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard on AM 640 WXSM with the pregame show starting at 6:30 p.m.