By Marina Waters
Washington County sports was somewhat of a theme park ride in 2017; there were some fun moments, some surprising turns and even a few points where it seemed everything turned upside down.
And now that 2017 has come to a close and 2018 is underway, all anyone can do is look back at the tumultuous ride that was this past year.
It was David Crockett’s Football program that saw the most turns in this rollercoaster year after Head Coach and former NFLer Gerald Sensabaugh was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
However, after the coaching controversy, and each player’s decision to play or not to play after the suspension, the Pioneers opted to continue their season with baseball head coach Nick Lingerfelt serving as the interim head football coach.
“The easiest thing to do would be to fold up tent and quit,” Lingerfelt said at a press conference at the school following the team’s decision. “I don’t see that in these kids. I don’t. I see the drive and the initiative to go forward.”
The decision came just five days before the annual Musket Bowl rivalry game between Crockett and Daniel Boone High School. With an interim head coach and players who had returned for the game, the Pioneers put up 21 points against the Trailblazers who over came Crockett by just seven points.
The Pioneers’ presence on the field was a victory in itself, but for Boone, that night gave the Blazers their second straight conference win and clinched the league title for the boys in red. The conference title was Boone’s first in school history.
Head Coach Jeremy Jenkins’ ‘Blazers went on to defeat Cherokee 27-7 on the road, but then fell to Knox Central in a home playoff game to end their season.
It wasn’t all about football in Washington County sports this year, however. Teams from both Boone and Crockett proved their athletic prowess in 2017, including each schools’ lone female wrestler.
Boone’s two-time state champion, Isabella Badon, and Crockett’s Paige Snapp were both featured in the Herald & Tribune after their appearances in the state tournament for wrestling.
Both girls were featured for their accomplishments, but they also spoke on their journey as pioneers in the sport that seems to be becoming more popular for female athletes.
“For some reason, it seems like there’s a stigma towards wrestling in this area. It’s funny, the first thing they think is like WWF jumping off top ropes and things like that,” ‘Blazer wrestling coach Blake Shropshire said. “With what Bella did, that’s unreal. Just to place twice is hard, but to win a state championship twice, that doesn’t happen. It’s hard to get through a season, much less to be successful.”
Another league of ladies made history this year as well; Crockett had a girls cross country team that competed in the state tournament for the first time in 35 years.
Breanna Roy, Taylor Roy, Chloe Cradic, Emmaline Hulse, Gracie Krell, Rachel Dulaney and Halle Scott finished eighth in the tournament with a record setting-time in Pioneer history.
“I was pretty excited,” senior runner Breanna Roy said. “We haven’t had a team go to state since 1982. It was exciting seeing the potential building as we were going into the season.”