By COLLIN BROOKS
The banged up Pioneers just have to make it one more week before they can take a break, but they will have to be wide awake when they face the Union Bears (1-1) at Bullit Park in Big Stone Gap, Virginia on Friday night.
The Bears are coming off a state final four last year and are led by junior wide receiver James Mitchell, who already has offers from Virginia, Virgina Tech and Duke.
“He’s 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, he is a big boy,” David Crockett coach Jeremy Bosken said. “He catches the ball over his shoulder as good as any kid that we have seen.”
The Bears also have a deep backfield led by Cameron Fannon.
But the Bears like to mix it up a bit. He said he expects to see a “double, tight T look” and try to run the ball and then spread the ball out to look for one-on-one match-ups.
“They’re not as explosive, but they still have a lot of play makers,” Bosken said. “That cupboard isn’t bare, by any means.”
The Pioneers saw all the Bears had to offer last season when they visited Jonesborough and left with a 42-31 victory.
“They have one of the best fan bases of any school that we have seen,” Bosken said. “They came down here last year and filled the stands up with people. It’s a rabid fan base, but they’re really good people. They love their kids and they love their football and that is the atmosphere that you want to play in.”
The Bears will be led by quarterback Bailey Turner, the coach’s son, who played backup last season.
Bosken said that the Bears will be similar to Mountain Heritage (NC) in that they will be happy with getting three yards on each play and going for it on fourth down.
“We have to force them to punt and then we just have to take the game one first down at a time,” he said. “We need to get on the scoreboard early and we need to make sure that we are moving the chains on offense.”
RECAP: Morristown West vs. David Crockett
David Crockett didn’t only go on the road and face conference favorite, they also had to face injuries and adversity.
That mixture made Pioneers head coach Jeremy Bosken proud of his team when he replayed the tape over the weekend of his team’s 28-8 loss against Morristown West.
“With their talent on the offensive side of the ball, we got up right in there face and we competed,” Bosken said. “No disrespect to Morristown West and what they are accomplishing but our guys came right in there and didn’t bat an eye.”
Freshman quarterback Cade Larkins went out in the first quarter with a concussion. Wide receiver Darian DeLapp was sick and wasn’t able to play and Justin Wade injuried his shoulder at the end of the second quarter.
With those injuries, senior Cole Ricker was forced to step back into quarterback duty, so the Pioneers lost a lot of their firepower on the outside.
“We lost three of our top receivers and our number one quarterback and we still outgained them in total offense,” Bosken said.
The lone touchdown for the Pioneers came from a 4-yard rush by TK Hill in the third quarter with under a minute left. Hill finished the night with 25 carries for 47 yards. His longest rush of the night was nine yards.
Despite his injury, Wade hauled in seven catches for 114 yards during the contest. After Ricker replaced Larkins, he and Wade linked up for their longest play from scrimmage when Ricker found Wade for an 81-yard connection. Ricker finished the night 8-for-15 with 159 yards and two interceptions. Larkins connected on 8 of 13 passes for 35 yards.
Defensively, Austin Lewis finished with a total of nine tackles with five of those being solo. Justin Eib and Micah Robinson had six solo tackles each.
“Our defense is getting better and better every week,” Bosken said. “Our team is starting to realize how good they can be and they are starting to find their identity. We aren’t there yet, but we are getting closer.”