By TREY WILLIAMS
Third-year David Crockett football coach Hayden Chandley became the 50-year-old program’s winningest coach when he recorded his 21st victory in the Pioneers’ 31-7 win against Knox Webb (2-2) on Friday.
Daniel Boone would’ve likely had just as notable an accomplishment had defending state champion Elizabethton’s Parker Hughes not blocked Ben Shrewsbury’s 23-yard field goal attempt with 53 seconds left to preserve the Cyclones’ 23-21 non-conference victory Friday at Nathan Hale Stadium.
Before Chandley, former David Crockett coach Jeremy Bosken won 20 games in four seasons with the Pioneers and Kent Green won 19 games in seven seasons. Granted, they didn’t have Prince Kollie.
The senior rushed 16 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder, and Mason Britton was 10 of 15 passing for 145 yards and a TD in the win against Knox Webb. Britton also rushed three times for 28 yards.
Chandley said six linemen (Tony Davis, Damian Vance, Parrish Combs, Trace Silvers, Trey Marler, Isaiah Tisor) have jelled to stabilize the Pioneers’ fronts, which has been key during the current two-game wins streak.
“We’ve moved some people around and we’ve found five or six guys up front that we can really rely on,” Chandley said. “And the way that we’re able set up our play-action with our run game has been really good for Mason and our backs and receivers. And we’ve been making plays.”
Brayden Reid caught a 17-yard TD pass from Britton. Brendan Reid caught a 56-yard screen pass late in the third quarter to set up the Pioneers’ final TD.
“Mason has really come a long way,” Chandley said. “We even ran some option with him and he kept it a time or two. The playbook’s evolving week to week.”
Confidence is soaring for the Pioneers, who began the season with frustrating road losses to Ooltewah and Science Hill.
“We felt like we really had played well and we weren’t that far away,” Chandley said. “But the last two weeks we’ve really put it all together. We’ve had really good team efforts. We gave up seven points in our last two ballgames and we’ve had over 750 yards in our last two games.”
Kollie, a Notre Dame commit, has rushed 64 times for 537 yards and seven TDs. He also leads the team with 35 tackles. Johnny Loyd has 28.
Crockett will visit Cocke County on Friday.
“Anytime you go to Newport you know you’re gonna have your hands full,” Chandley said. “It’s not an easy place to play. We went down there two years ago when they had a pretty good ballclub and it was a dogfight for three quarters before we ended up pulling away at the end.”
Daniel Boone fell to 1-3 with the heartbreaking loss to Elizabethton. Botched snaps were key in defeat.
“That’s the difference in the game,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “That’s been our Achilles Heel all year. In the first half we did exactly what we wanted to do. We ate the clock up. We did long drives. We made them defend the whole field. We kept the ball away from ‘em. We were up at halftime.
“In the second half, we make a good drive to start the half, and then we have the muffed snap on fourth down. And we had another snap – two miscues where they got the ball in the second half.”
Hughes also caught two TD passes from Bryson Rollins.
“I thought we outplayed them for the most part,” Jenkins said. “But they had the difference-maker in No. 7 (Hughes). He blocked the kick. He made the jump-ball pass. … He’s just the difference in the game.
“He’s the best player in the area for a reason. We knew that coming in. We thought we had a pretty good game plan against him. He just made some plays.”
Brennan Blair had 31 carries for 137 yards and two TDs for Boone, which was outgained slightly (309-279). Jackson Jenkins was 16 of 19 for 136 yards, a TD and an interception. Phillip Page caught a 48-yard TD.
“It was a heck of a football game,” Elizabethton coach Shawn Witten said. “Boone deserves a lot of credit. Jeremy Jenkins deserves a lot of credit. His guys were well prepared tonight and we’re just thankful to get out of here with a win.
“We dodged a huge defeat tonight. We found a way.”
Boone is off Friday, before jumping back into the fire against Dobyns-Bennett.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Jenkins said.