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Young Boone football team readies for action

With practice beginning last week in preparation for the fast-approaching season, the Trailblazers of Daniel Boone High School officially welcomed football back to Gray.
For the Blazers and Head Coach Jeremy Jenkins, the first task at hand will be adjusting to the loss of 26 seniors from last year’s playoff team, 14 of which were starters.
“We lost 26 seniors. We only have four back on offense and four returning on defense,” Jenkins said. “This is the youngest group we have had since I have been here.”
According to Jenkins, Boone was hit especially hard at the skill positions, losing almost everyone at receiver and in the secondary.
Boone returns four starters on offense and four on defense.
On offense the Blazers return the running back duo of Josh Bacon and Grant Seegar along with help on the offensive line with returning starters Andrew Street and Drew Davenport.
Bacon will return on defense in the secondary, with Will McCart and Dustin Chandler at linebacker and Brandon Pate on the defensive line.
Boone’s biggest losses were at receiver, with several new faces including Jared Phillips, Caleb Ratliff, Ryan Keever and Steven Carr looking to fill the void.
Chandler will step in full-time at quarterback this season for the departed Jake Littleton and will also return at linebacker.
While Jenkins admits he would like to be able to give Chandler some breaks on defense, he is such a talented defensive player it will be difficult to take him off the field.
The Blazers are expected to be strongest up front on both sides of the ball.
“We have some depth upfront and hope we can stay ahead,” Jenkins said. “We have to be able to run the ball and stop the run.”
Boone will also play one of their toughest schedules during Jenkins’ tenure, with out-of-conference away games at Elizabethton, Cherokee, and Greeneville.
“This is an exciting time for our kids,” Jenkins said. “But we have to stay focused. We want to be playing our best football at the end of the year and hope to finish in the top half of the conference. That is our goal this year.”
For Boone this year, new faces mean new opportunities.
“There are a lot of questions,” Jenkins said. “But a lot of new guys have a great opportunity.”
The Blazers open the regular season on Aug. 23 against Elizabethton.