By TREY WILLIAMS
Daniel Boone’s quarterback Easton Harrell also plays baseball, and he combined on the win and the save at Tennessee High on Friday.
The Trailblazers’ senior rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown, passed for 99 yards and combined with Colton Adams to break up Tennessee High’s fourth-and-four pass at the goal line to seal an impressive 26-21 victory in the Stone Castle.
The Vikings (0-1, 2-1) were focused on stopping the Trailblazers’ junior workhorse, Charlie Cole, who nonetheless tallied 100 yards and three TDs on the ground. But Harrell’s clutch play, including three third-and-long conversion passes, paved the way to paydirt.
Harrell’s 74-yard TD run helped tie the score, 7-7. Harrell wasn’t 100 percent in a season-opening win against Sullivan South, but had two weeks to regain strength for the Vikings.
“It was a really good game by our quarterback,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “He was a little bit injured the first game and we couldn’t do a whole lot with him, and then he comes out and busts a long option run and I think kind of caught them by surprise a little bit with his speed. He played well for us all night on both sides of the ball, especially late in the fourth quarter. He played a lot for us at nickel back and he made the hit right there – along with Colton – to end the game.”
Cole’s first 6-yard TD gave Boone a 14-7 halftime lead. He scored again from six yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Boone a 20-14 lead. And his 3-yard TD concluded the scoring with 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
“We know teams are gonna key on Charlie,” Jenkins said, “and I think he still had 25 carries and right at 100 yards. And they were really keying on him. He can do some things with his legs and we’ve just gotta do a good job of keeping him healthy.”
Brennan Blair caught a 41-yard pass from Harrell to convert a third-and-12 on the game-winning drive.
“On the winning drive we had three conversions of third-and-10 or more,” Jenkins said. “(Blair) was kind of secondary on it (the 41-yard reception), but their safety kind of flew out over top to the wheel route and he got behind the guy and we hit him over top. And the (Phillip) Page kid made two really good plays on routes on third-and-10 on the first part of the drive as well.
“Austin Cunningham had a big catch to keep a drive alive. He’s a junior. And Blair and Page are both sophomores. So there were a lot of big plays made from our young kids.”
Adams had a productive game at free safety – right down to the defense’s last play.
“Defensively, all year, Colton Adams has kind of been the steady person for us at free safety,” Jenkins said. “He keeps us going as far as understanding and getting us in the right stuff. He’s kind of been the mainstay for us.”
Jenkins has also been pleased with sophomore running back-linebacker Devon White.
“Devon has really come on for us, especially the first week kind of being the second running back,” Jenkins said. “We didn’t really feature him (at running back) a whole lot last week, but defensively he’s played pretty good for us. Logan Rivers is kind of the main person there in the middle of our defense that’s got the most experience. We’ve gotta keep those two linebackers going. When those two kids play well our whole defense plays well.
“Our two corners have really jumped out at us too – Joe Jones and Preston Miller. Miller, being a sophomore, has really, really played well. If you’ve got corners that can play well you can do some different things with your front.”
Sophomore right tackle Jake Sipos (5-10, 190) and senior right guard Jeremiah Sullivan (6-2, 245) had productive games on the offensive line.
“Those two really had a big second half for us,” Jenkins said, “and we started going that way a lot with them. Up front, defensively, we’ve played good at times. But we’re not playing as consistent as I would like. And we’ve gotta tackle a whole, whole lot better.”
The margin for error will likely shrink this week when Boone hosts Elizabethton (3-0), which opened the season with a 36-34 win against Science Hill and has outscored South Greene and Sullivan East by a combined score of 108-6.
The Cyclones have won five straight in the series since a 14-7 Boone victory in 2012.
“Elizabethon coming in undefeated and us being undefeated too, we know it’s gonna be a packed house here,” Jenkins said. “Coach Witten’s got ‘em flying high up there with the (Corey) Russell kid and the quarterback (Carter Everett). They can do a lot of things.
“We’ve just gotta do a good job of getting positive yards and getting them off the field as much as we can, because we know they like to really get up and down the field. Any time you get after Science Hill – having seen Science Hill on tape and watching what they did – we know that’s a quality team coming in. We’ll have our hands full.”
Of course, the ‘Blazers had their hands full and didn’t fumble the challenge last week in Bristol.
“Our kids really fought,” Jenkins said. “We had a little adversity at the first and really had our backs against the wall a time or two and made some plays when we had to. Tennessee High was a great team and a great test, especially on the road. They’re gonna win a lot of games.”