By Trey Williams
The night before David Crockett football coach Hayden Chandley’s son Hayden Jr. was born, Pioneers running back Brenden Reid didn’t exactly have to labor to get to the end zone.
Reid scored touchdowns on three of his six carries and returned an interception for a TD in Crockett’s 39-16 win at Sullivan East on Friday night.
Daniel Boone also delivered a victory in its opener Friday. Henry Hamlin returned an interception 45 yards for a TD to seal a 23-14 win at South Greene against 2020 Mr. Football finalist quarterback Luke Myers.
The Pioneers’ Reid parlayed six rushes into 74 yards on Sullivan East’s new synthetic surface.
“Obviously, Brenden was limited in his carries, only carrying it six times and scoring on half the carries,” Chandley said. “If we could keep that ratio going, that’d be nice wouldn’t it.”
Reid’s twin brother Brayden led the way with five catches for 92 yards and a TD.
“The Reids were really solid for us,” Chandley said. “Brayden made a lot of plays in the passing game.”
Sophomore quarterback Jake Fox was steady in his debut, completing 16 of 26 passes for 191 yards, including a 34-yard TD to Brayden.
“Sullivan East came out and really packed the box on us and we ended up throwing it a lot more than we anticipated,” Chandley said. “I think we were about two to one pass, which we were expecting about the opposite of that. I thought Jake played really well for his first start, made some good throws and took what they gave him. He didn’t make any mistakes. So that’s a good start to his high school career.”
Another sophomore, linebacker Jake Whaley, tallied a team-high nine tackles and returned an interception for a TD. It was one of four interceptions for the Pioneers. John Rucker had two, including a 68-yard pick-six. Jordan Williams, who had five carries for 29 yards, also had an interception.
“Jake Whaley had an outstanding game,” Chandley said. “I think he had nine tackles and a pick-six. He’s gonna be a special player. He just keeps getting better and better. Rucker made an unbelievable play on his second interception on their sideline. …
“Defensively, we played really well. We’ve gotta build on that performance. We know our defense has gotta carry us all year long.”
The Patriots’ Chipi Hamelryck became the first female in East history to score in a football game. The junior kicked a 24-yard field goal and a PAT.
Crockett will visit Letcher County Central (Kentucky) on Friday – after Chandley, a former UVa-Wise player, visits his old stomping grounds and has a steak at Reno’s Roadhouse.
“We’ve got a good opponent coming up in Letcher Central, Kentucky,” Chandley said. “It’s a big, physical team about like us. I think they only dress about 36 or 37 kids. They play a lot of guys both ways. They may be the biggest team that we play all season. Not overall great team speed, but they’ve got a few guys who can really run. We’ll be challenged in the physicality department.
“The quarterback’s a brute, a 6-4, 220-pound kid. He throws it well and runs it well. When he gets pressure in the pocket he does a good job of eluding pressure.”
It’ll be Chandley’s first game coaching with a son. He also has a daughter. Hayden Jr. arrived the day after the season-opening victory – a week early but nine pounds and seven ounces.
“He’s a tank,” Chandley said. “I’m just unbelievably thankful everyone is healthy and everything went as well as we could have hoped for. Obviously if something would have transpired before or during the game, I would have been flying like a mad man towards the hospital, but thankful it worked out how it did.
“Momma and Hayden Jr. are both doing really well. Couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season.”
An inexperienced Daniel Boone team also started the season impressively, outlasting a reigning state quarterfinals team with an All-State quarterback on the road.
Aiden Riner set up his 1-yard TD – Boone’s first score – with a 33-yard run for a 9-8 lead. Riner added a 6-yard TD run early in the third quarter for a 16-8 advantage.
Ben Shrewsbury’s 40-yard field goal opened the game’s scoring.
“Our players overcame some adversity Friday playing in a hostile environment against a very talented team,” Boone 18th year coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “We made enough plays on offense and had some crucial stops late in the game. The big stat that we were on the plus side was the turnover battle. We had zero and we returned theirs for a touchdown.”
Riner carried 11 times for 70 yards and the two scores. Braden Blankenship ran eight times for 67 yards and returned three kicks a combined 75 yards.
Luke Jenkins was 8-of-13 passing for 70 yards.
Along with the 40-yard field goal, Shrewsbury was 2-for-2 on PATs, averaged 42 yards on four punts and had two downed inside the 10-yard line.
Will Hamlin and Luke Scott each had 1 1/2 sacks. Will Hamlin also blocked a kick and had a tackle for loss.
Riner and Rylan Trout each tallied five tackles and Riner had two assists. Hagan Edwards had three tackles and three assists. Brogan Jones had two breakups.
Boone will host West Ridge (1-0) in its home opener on Friday.
“Excited about Friday against West Ridge,” Jenkins said. “Watching tape, they really pride themselves in being physical. So we have to match that and play with great effort. Should be a great Friday Night atmosphere.”