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Friday’s Boone game moved to East Tennessee State University

H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone’s football team will play on the East Tennessee State University campus for the first time since 2003 when it takes on Elizabethton Friday at 7 p.m. at William B. Greene Jr. Stadium.

Boone had begun discussing the ideal with ETSU prior to Buccaneers athletic director Scott Carter resigning on Aug. 1.

Elizabethton played Science Hill at ETSU last season, which provided food for thought. The Boone brass also didn’t know – still isn’t certain – if the Nathan Hale Stadium lights will be installed by Friday. They were taken down while a new synthetic surface was installed this summer.

“We kind of had this in motion (to play at ETSU) in early August there,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “And we just kind of let it be, and then Mr. (Bill) Greene called (Boone athletic director) Danny (Good) and wanted to know if we were interested in playing Elizabethton up there. And it just kind of worked itself out.

“They start with our lights on Tuesday (Sept. 7), putting them up. And it’s one of those things where you know, we didn’t know what time they would be done if they’re done on Friday. … Of course, now our first home game under the lights next week will be against Morristown West. So that’s something good to look forward to too.”

Boone (3-0) might be favored to win the game by the majority of local pundits. Shawn Witten’s Cyclones (0-2), who were the Class 4A state runner-up last year after winning back-to-back state titles the previous two seasons, began the season with losses to Science Hill and Greeneville.

“Coach Witten does a phenomenal job up there,” Jenkins said. “So we know what we’re gonna get. And he has really tough kids that really play hard and do things the right way. The 0-2, that’s just a number up there. We know they are a quality team and just had some tough luck.”

Witten said his team will be excited to return to the venue where it opened the 2021 season with a win against Science Hill in what was a home game for the Hilltoppers.

“That’s why you play Elizabethton football,” Witten said. “We’re on the big stage each and every week. That’s what it’s about. We put our program at a high level. We’re gonna get everybody’s best shot. Everybody wants us on a big stage. And nobody’s gonna feel sorry for us.”

Jenkins was impressed with Elizabeth- ton’s defense in the loss to top-ranked Greeneville.

“I thought they were really physical up front on both sides of the ball at Greeneville,” Jenkins said. “They’re big. They’re fast. They tackle well. They run well. They always have a really good scheme. They’re doing the same thing that they’ve done for years (on defense), and they do a really good job at it.”

The Cyclones should present Boone with its most physical challenge to date this season.

“They’re really good in the line of scrimmage and they really do a good job getting off the ball,” Jenkins said. “So we’ve got to have a real good week of preparation.”

Boone lost 20-13 at Elizabethton last season. The Cyclones’ Parker Hughes blocked a 24-yard field goal attempt in the final minute to preserve a 23-21 victory in Gray in 2020.

“We were driving late and had two penalties last year,” Jenkins said. “And then the year before that, you know, of course their receiver blocked the field goal and we got beat by two. So you know we’ve had a lot of battles with them. … We expect a hard-fought game up there in a good atmosphere.”

Boone has only beaten Elizabethton twice.

“We won in 2005 when we had Sky Hicks,” Jenkins said, “and in 2012 when we had Jake Littleton and Cliff Sanders and that bunch. … We’re hoping there will be a lot of people there and we’ll see what we can do. Anytime you can get to play on one of your local college campuses, it’s a big opportunity.”