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Fall sports season kicks off this week

Local high school football fans were forced to wait a little bit longer to see the return of football to the Tri-Cities following the cancellation of the Big 8 Jamboree on Aug. 9.
The contest was scheduled to take place at Tennessee High, but with weather being uncooperative, the games were cancelled and a makeup was not scheduled.
The Jamboree would have provided the Pioneers of David Crockett High School and the Trailblazers of Daniel Boone High School one quarter to see how each would stack up against the other.
Now, the two teams will have to wait until the final game of the regular season to renew the intense rivalry with the famous Musket Bowl set for Oct. 25.
Crockett enters the season looking to improve on last year, where the team grabbed just one win.
For the Pioneers, that improvement begins up front on the offensive and defensive line, with both units returning almost everybody from last season.
“Our offensive and defensive line should be our biggest strength this season,” Crockett Head Coach Kent Green said. “My experience here at David Crockett has been that we are usually better at the skill positions then we are on the line, but this season that isn’t the case.”
Crockett will also be entering the season with two capable quarterbacks, junior Cody Chambers who saw action last season and freshman Ryan Berger.
Chambers is expected to miss time due to a knee injury, which has opened the door for Berger.
“For the first time since I have been here, we are going to be starting a freshman quarterback in Ryan Berger,” Green said. “His up side on his potential is limitless and he is the best freshman quarterback I have ever been around.”
The Pioneers return 14 starters from last year’s team, seven on offense and seven on defense.
Just down the road in Gray, the Trailblazers enter the season trying to return to the playoffs for the fourth season in a row.
A key component to the Blazers success lies on the shoulders of senior utility player Jake Littleton.
Littleton will see time at quarterback, receiver and defensive back. Another key returner for the Blazers is running back Cliff Sanders, who finished with 1,100 yards rushing last season.
He will once again anchor a committee of talented Blazer running backs.
The Blazers enter the season large in size, with 54 players filling the roster.
“Our numbers have really grown the last few years,” Boone Head Coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “That is a luxury to have, with better depth we don’t have to play as many kids on both sides of the ball.”
That depth is evident in the skill positions for the Blazers, but Boone is thin on both sides of the line.
“We are a little bit thin on the line,” Jenkins said. “But overall we are really pleased with the attitude, work ethic, and overall demeanor of our football team right now. I think our secondary is really going to be a key for us this year.”
Boone finished 5-5 last season, stringing together wins toward the end of the season to squeeze into the playoffs.
This year, if the Blazers can limit turnovers, the playoffs seem once again extremely probable.
Crockett and Boone both will kick off the football season on Friday, Aug. 17. The Blazers will host Elizabethton while Crockett will travel to Sullivan East.