By TREY WILLIAMS
The David Crockett football team’s nine-game wins streak came to an end with a mistake-marred 27-20 loss to South-Doyle in the second round of the TSSAA playoffs on Friday in Jonesborough.
The Pioneers (9-3) committed four turnovers and gave South-Doyle possession at the Crockett 1-yard line thanks to a botched punt.
The loss concluded the careers of running back-linebacker Prince Kollie and lineman Tony Davis, who are sure to become program icons with time. Kollie is committed to Notre Dame. Davis has offers from the likes of Ball State and Tennessee Tech.
“Those two have started for four years,” said Crockett coach Hayden Chandley, who became the program’s career wins leader this year in his third season, which he finished with a 28-8 record. “They started the year before we got here. If you’re a four-year starter, I mean, that says a lot about you.
“To mean what they’ve meant to this program for the last three years since we’ve been here, you know — Prince a two-time captain and Tony was voted a captain this year, all-state guys, a Mr. Football finalist for Prince – I just can’t say enough good things about ‘em. And the way they conduct themselves off the field is top-notch too, and that makes you proud as a coach.”
Kollie rushed for 101 yards and scored two touchdowns against South-Doyle. Cherokees coach Clark Duncan was impressed with Davis, Kollie and senior linebacker Johnny Loyd, among others.
“(Kollie) is dynamic on both sides of the ball,” Duncan said. “He’s a hoss. He’s gonna go forward. He doesn’t go backwards. … He’s fast. He has great size, great vision. …
“Davis has great size and he can move. (Loyd) stands out. He’s a downhill player.”
Senior quarterback Mason Britton threw one more touchdown pass, a 64-yarder, to junior John Rucker, who had over 100 yards receiving for the second straight game.
Rucker and fellow junior Brenden Reid figure to be Crockett’s go-to guys next year. Reid ran a fake punt for a first down on one of Crockett’s first half scoring drives against South-Doyle.
Kollie scored on a 5-yard run out of the Wildcat to get Crockett within 10-7 in the second quarter, and Rucker’s TD catch gave the Pioneers a 14-10 lead with 3:31 left in the half.
The Cherokees responded with 17-straight points and took a 27-14 lead on Shaw Gary’s 1-yard run with 2:59 left in the third quarter. Kollie’s 21-yard run concluded the scoring with 9:31 left in the fourth quarter.
Kollie finished the season with 181 carries for 1,562 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also had 13 catches for 290 yards and three TDs and completed 10 of 15 passes for 85 yards.
He led the defense with 109 tackles and also made an interception.
Duncan, a freshman All-American defensive back on Johnny Majors’ first Tennessee team, went 3-1 against Crockett as a player at Unicoi County. He waxed nostalgic for a moment on the field after Friday’s game, recalling a 90-yard TD he ripped off on Crockett’s cold, hard field. He didn’t remember any players like Kollie, and he was also impressed with Chandley.
“We didn’t see Crockett, but the last two years they played (Knox) Central tooth and nail,” Duncan said. “They lost that outstanding quarterback (Cade Larkins) and I really thought, ‘Okay, they’re gonna drop off.’ I hadn’t heard about this kid (Kollie). … Shoot, we flip on the film, and we’re like, ‘Good gosh, where did that kid come from?’
“Coach (Chandley), I’m really impressed with him. I remember watching him on film against Central and doing the type of job he’s doing.
“It’s obvious he understands football. He’s done a great job with his kids. He’s an impressive young man.”