By TREY WILLIAMS
After giving Greeneville all it wanted, you figured Morristown West’s football team would provide quite the challenge for Daniel Boone Friday night at Nathan Hale Stadium.
But that ultimately wasn’t the case.
Aiden Riner rushed for 127 yards and four touch- downs and Daniel Boone’s defense forced four turn- overs in a 38-7 Region 1-5A victory.
Boone (2-0, 5-0) remained unbeaten halfway through the regular season for the first time since 2006.
West (1-1, 3-2) lived up to its billing for the majority of the first half. Tison Johnson’s TD run and Dylan Lopez’s PAT gave it a 7-0 lead with 6:19 left in the second quarter.
But Boone scored 21 points in the final 2:55 of the first half thanks to two turnovers, two TDs from Riner and Rylan Trout’s 7-yard pass from Luke Jenkins. Riner had a 15-yard run and Brayden Blankenship took a jet sweep 28 yards on the initial TD drive.
“We got off to a slow start, but once we got it going there about halfway through the second quarter our kids kind of turned it up a notch,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “They took Greeneville to the wire, and really, if they don’t give up the kickoff return they probably beat them. They’re physical in the line of scrimmage, and their back – that kid is as good a back as we’ve seen in the last two years. We thought (it’d be beneficial) if we could get ahead of ‘em and make them get out of their game plan of just running him so much, because he’d carried the ball 96 times in four games. I think he had 68 yards on 18 carries. So we did a pretty good with him and tackled pretty well.”
The powerful Riner seems to get stronger as the game progresses.
“We’re keeping him fresh,” Jenkins said. “Last year he played a lot of defense. This year he only plays on certain packages so we can keep him fresh for offense. We really try to let him wear on ya. We really like our chances late in games when we can do some things.
“I thought Luke played really well from the second quarter on. He made some good throws and Rylan Trout (four catches, 60 yards) had his best offensive game for us. We’re trying to get the ball spread around as much as we can.”
Blankenship continued to shine on both sides of scrimmage.
“He recovered a fumble and he picked a pass off,” Jenkins said. “And then he had the big jet run for us to get us going.”
Boone’s defense was anchored my interior lineman Bradyn Nickles.
“After we settled down a little bit, I thought our defensive front kind of took over the game the second half, which is what we’ve done all year,” Jenkins said. “We’re doing a good job of playing sound gap control up front and we’re tacking re- ally well. We’re not missing a whole lot of tackles and we’re swarming to the ball.
“I thought Bradyn Nickles had one of his better games for us. And, of course, (defensive end) Luke (Scott) gets all the attention, but Dalton Cloyd and Blankenship have played well on the other side. And Hagen (Ed- wards) and Henry (Hamlin) inside, they’ve done a lot of things there (at linebacker).”
Jenkins also liked what he saw from his offensive line- men for three quarters.
“I thought they had one of their better games,” he said.
Punter/kicker Ben Shrews- berry was once again dynamic. He was 5-for-5 on kickoff touchbacks and PATs, kicked a 46-yard field goal, averaged 44 yards on three punts and had one punt downed inside 1-yard line.
“He really works at it hard every day,” Jenkins said. “Our kids are excited about special teams.”
Boone is off this week
It’ll play CAK next week. David Crockett (0-2, 2-3) lost 34-10 on Friday at Tennessee High.
The Vikings (1-0, 2-2) rushed for 324 yards and only attempted three passes while giving first-year head coach Josh Holt his first victory in the Stone Castle. Holt’s final win as a starting quarterback was also against Crockett – in a playoff game in Bristol in 2000.
Pioneers defensive line- man Bryant Sybert left early with an apparent knee injury and Crockett was already without two injured players – Garrett Clark and Hayden Wesley – who are arguably their two best defensive backs and two of their three top receivers due.
Still, coach Hayden Chandley didn’t like the resilience, or lack thereof, from his squad down the stretch.
“Our starting secondary tonight had a combined six starts under their belts,” Chandley said. “But it is what it is. They had guys that got hurt and guys that had to step up. They did a better job than we did.
“We’ve gotta have guys step up. And we did that at times, but for the most part we didn’t.”
Jaevon Emile had 15 carries for 73 yards and a TD and Chase Schroeck kicked a 31-yard field goal for the Pioneers, who will visit Pisgah (North Carolina) on Friday.