By TREY WILLIAMS
It was homecoming at Daniel Boone on Friday, and Charlie Cole continued to parade through defenses.
Cole, the Trailblazers’ 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior, rushed 22 times for 236 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-20 victory against Morristown East.
Boone improved to 2-0 in Region 1-5A and 5-1 overall. East fell to 1-2 in the league and 1-6 overall.
Cole ran for an 85-yard TD for the second straight game. He also scored on runs of 36 and 12 yards and increased his season rushing total to 1,145 yards.
The stellar performance came on a night when Daniel Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins was told a representative from Michigan was watching. East Tennessee State and Eastern Kentucky were there to see Cole, who’s also getting interest from Georgia Tech and Memphis.
“He’s worked on his speed and he’s a pretty good-sized runner, too,” Jenkins said.
“He’s running really hard right now for us and really determined.”
Veteran Morristown East coach Dewayne Wells’ career has included being the head coach at Tusculum College and an assistant coach at the University of the Cumberlands. He’s impressed with Cole.
“He’s a hard runner that you have to tackle at the line of scrimmage,” Wells said. “If he breaks the line of scrimmage he is very difficult to bring down one on one.”
Senior quarterback Easton Harrell rushed for 142 yards and two TDs against Morristown East. It was the third time Harrell has exceeded 100 yards rushing in a game this season. He also achieved the feat against Science Hill and Tennessee High.
“We run a little bit of option with him and Charlie,” Jenkins said. “But we’ve got some designed runs for him. We don’t like to run him a whole, whole lot. We don’t like getting him hit a whole lot. But at the same time, he’s gonna stick it up in there, too. And you can see his eyes light up when they call that option for him and some of those designed runs that he has.”
Harrell, who has rushed for 484 yards this season, has engineered Boone to a 5-1 start, which includes a 2-0 mark in Region 1-5A. He was the primary question mark this season while taking over for productive Noah Shelton.
“He’s done a good job leading us all year, just being the leader on the football team,” Jenkins said. “We kind of go with the heartbeat of him. He’s doing a good job of getting us in and out of plays. We’re just really, really blessed we’ve got him with us.”
Jenkins was especially pleased to see Boone come out focused against the Hurricanes. The combination of homecoming activities and coming off an emotional upset win at Science Hill could’ve produced a letdown. But Boone built a 42-7 lead before letting the reserves play the final quarter.
“We tried to really establish the line of scrimmage early on,” Jenkins said. “Our offensive line really performed well.”
The offensive line includes seniors Jeremiah Sullivan (right guard) and Isaiah Quaintance (left tackle) and three sophomores – center Matthew Masters, right tackle Jake Sipos and left guard Chandler Masters.
“That group’s really jelled together and coach (Ethan) Good does a really good job of keeping them grounded as far as getting a hat on a hat and getting off the ball,” Jenkins said. “That’s the thing with high school football – if you can just get off the ball and get a hat on a hat and give your backs a chance, then you’ve got a chance. That’s what we preach and what we kind of live and die with.”
Senior Austin Cox (6-4, 320) played well against East on the defensive line after sitting out the wins against Science Hill and Gate City with a shoulder injury. Seniors James Richardson (defensive end) and Peyton Nickles (outside linebacker) also bolstered Boone’s physical performance against the Hurricanes.
“Morristown East scared us to death because they’re so athletic and had been in virtually just about every game,” Jenkins said. “We were concerned about their athleticism. But I thought our kids played well, especially in the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
“That’s the best defensively Austin Cox and Peyton Nickles have played for us all year. … Austin’s been dinged up with a shoulder and we finally get him back healthy. Nickles missed the first game against South. He’s been banged up with a hamstring and shoulder as well.”
Sophomore inside linebacker Devon White leads Boone with 71 tackles. Senior Joe Jones, who leads Boone with two interceptions, had an interception and scored a TD against Morristown East.
“Our kids have really been playing with a lot of confidence,” Jenkins said. “Colton Adams continues to play well in the secondary, being a leader for us there. It’s really somebody different every week. That’s what you want – a total group effort.
“Offensively, if we can get a hat on a hat, I really like our chances with our backs and our quarterback running the ball at you. And then our play-action game has been good to us as well.
“Hopefully, we can keep this going.”
Boone will visit Volunteer (0-3, 2-5) on Friday.