Tears blurred the scope of the 2016 sports scene, where a kaleidoscope of passion projected visions of triumph and tragedy that’ll last a lifetime.
David Crockett’s boys basketball team went to the state tournament for the first time in its 45 seasons thanks to a 73-70 overtime win at Oak Ridge in the Class AAA sectional. Patrick Good’s contested, off-the-dribble 3-pointer from the right corner with three seconds remaining was the game-winner that sent a raucous sellout crowd home emotionally drained.
Good, his coach/father John and his mother Tracy all clinched tightly afterward in a tearful embrace while Oak Ridge coach Aaron Green was shedding tears at the sight of it, recalling playing for his father at Sweetwater High School 21 years earlier.
Good scored 29 points, and fellow seniors Dustin Day (26 points) and Brendan Coleman (11 points, 13 rebounds) were invaluable in defeating Green’s talented Wildcats. It was the Pioneers’ second win of the season against Oak Ridge, who finished the season 34-3.
Crockett beat Oak Ridge 87-85 in double overtime in the Arby’s Classic quarterfinals. With a capacity crowd exhausted from the entertainment and eagerly eyeing him, Good made two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to win it. Day (26 points), Good (24) and senior Peyton Ford (20) led the scoring charge for Crockett in one of the area’s all-time great wins at Arby’s.
The Pioneers lost in the state quarterfinals to Station Camp, 78-68, but Patrick Good wasn’t through with a year for the ages. He signed with Appalachian State after becoming Crockett’s career scoring leader, visited Italy for an exhibition tour during the summer and scored 21 points in Knoxville against the University of Tennessee in his second career game.
Daniel Boone and David Crockett each made the football playoffs for the first time in the same season, and it happened in dramatic fashion.
Boone had to win the Musket Bowl at Crockett in the regular-season finale to clinch its berth, and running back Charlie Cole made certain it happened. Cole rushed for 192 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Trailblazers’ 14-10 victory and became Boone’s first freshman to rush for 1,000 yards in the process.
Senior TK Hill rushed 15 times for 98 yards for the Pioneers, adding to his tally as the Pioneers’ all-time leading rusher.
As it turned out, it was Crockett head coach Jeremy Bosken’s final regular-season game. Bosken, an ex-military man and excellent promoter with as much passion for players as football, surprised many when he made the emotional decision during the first week of December to resign and become offensive coordinator at Cleveland.
Bosken energized the Pioneer program and the community while going 20-23 during a four-season span that included two playoff berths. It would’ve been four playoff berths if not for a two-season ban Crockett and Daniel Boone were given by the TSSAA for the “Musket Brawl” in 2014.
Crockett hadn’t won 20 games in a four-season stretch since 2002.
A couple of solo acts stole the show at Daniel Boone.
Freshman wrestler Isabella Badon pinned Hendersonville’s Jessyca Mumaw in 5:46 to win a state championship in February at the Williamson County Expo Center in Franklin. Badon defeated Madeline Davis (Siegel) and Nena Chrestman (Sycamore) in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Junior Ben Varghese won a state championship in the 3,200 meters in Murfreesboro. It was part of a bittersweet meet for Varghese, who was tripped when he got together with Science Hill’s Noah Charles in an entanglement that cost Boone a first-place finish in the 4×800 meters.
The ‘Blazers still managed to finish second in the relay thanks, in part, to an exceptional recovery by Varghese and an impressive finish from anchor Josh Routh, who is now at East Tennessee State.
Two-sport Boone standout Jaclyn Jenkins also moved on to college after a productive senior year. Jenkins concluded her basketball career as a 1,000-point scorer and then helped the Lady Trailblazers reach the Class AAA softball sectional by compiling a 28-9 record and a 0.99 ERA. Jenkins tallied 217 strikeouts in 241 innings. She batted .426 with five home runs and 35 RBIs.
Now, Jenkins is following in the footsteps of her mother, Tonya Bailey Jenkins, a record-setting pitcher at Milligan who was also a 1,000-point scorer in basketball. Bailey Jenkins is in the Milligan College Athletics Hall of Fame.
David Crockett senior volleyball player Addisyn Rowe was named the Big Seven Conference player of the year. Rowe, a middle blocker who has committed to Marshall, also finished runner-up in the state in the pole vault as a junior last spring after coming in third in the state as a sophomore.
The everlasting impression of 2016 for many in Gray surely came during Daniel Boone’s inspiring volleyball and football performances following the Sept. 10 death of junior setter Kaylee Rabun, who was killed on her 16th birthday in a single-car accident that also injured Trailblazers football player Ryan Sanders.
A moving pregame tribute was paid to Rabun in the first football game after her death, and Boone responded with a 46-29 victory against Tennessee High.
“I didn’t know how that was really going to affect us mentally. It’s been a tough week here for us,” an emotional Daniel Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said after the game.
In Jenkins’ hand was a laminated game plan that included pictures of Rabun.
“I wanted her to be with us,” he said, “and she was.”
A large crowd also gathered in Bobby Snyder Gymnasium to watch the Lady Trailblazers’ initial match following the death. And after Boone outlasted Dobyns-Bennett for an epic 25-15, 26-28, 25-19, 22-25, 17-15 triumph of human spirit, spectators repeatedly chanted, “Three!” in reference to Rabun’s jersey number.
The Lady ‘Blazers went on to finish second in the Big Seven Conference, advancing to the regionals.