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Trailblazers win 2021 Musket Bowl Boone at top of Region 1-5A, Crockett No. 2 seed


H&T Correspondent

Daniel Boone’s young football team blazed a trail on the path of most resistance this season, a hike that led it to the top of Region 1-5A after its defeat of David Crockett on Friday night at Ken Green Field in Gray.

The Trailblazers scored touchdowns on two turnovers in the first half and outlasted the Pioneers, 28-14, to win the 51st annual Musket Bowl for the 38th time.

Boone (3-1, 3-5) will host a playoff game on Nov. 5, as will Crockett (3-1, 5-4), which will be the region’s No. 2 seed.

Hagan Edwards bulled his way to 70 yards and a touchdown and Aiden Riner ran for 48 yards and two touchdowns as Boone won its second straight after starting the season by losing five of six while enduring a rugged trek that included Elizabethton, Science Hill, CAK and Loudon.

“People get on me all the time here about why we play a tough schedule,” Boone 18th-year head coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “We play a tough schedule to get you ready for playoff games. We’ve been battle-tested. We’ve played the CAKs, the Science Hills, the Elizabethtons. We’ve been in that four-quarter game where you’ve gotta get this yard, that yard, and I thought it paid off for our kids tonight.”

Boone wasted no time taking command.

Landon Kirkpatrick made a difficult diving interception on the game’s first play from scrimmage to give Boone possession at the Crockett 42-yard line. That led to a 25-yard TD run by Riner after a well-executed option pitch from fellow sophomore Luke Jenkins. Ben Shrewsberry’s PAT made it 7-0 with 9:20 left in the first quarter.

David Crockett do-it-all senior workhorse Brenden Reid scored the first of his two TDs with 8:09 left in the second quarter, and Chase Schroeck’s PAT tied the score.

The turnover bug bit Crockett again with 4:17 left in the first half when sophomore quarterback Jake Fox was sacked and fumbled, and Boone’s Luke Scott recovered at the Crockett 10.

Boone capitalized when Jenkins rolled to his right and threw back to his left to connect with Kirkpatrick, who running to his left across the middle of the end zone.

“I bet we had as many yards as they did,” said Pioneers fourth-year coach Hayden Chandley, who was shooting for a third regional championship. “But we spotted ‘em 14 points in the first half. We can’t do that – we just can’t. … We had ‘em third-and-goal and couldn’t get a stop.

“Hats off to their quarterback. In third-and-long situations, their kid made plays.”

Braiden Blankenship opened the second half with a long kick return and Boone drove 56 yards in 12 plays, a march capped by Riner’s 2-yard TD. Shrewsberry’s PAT made it 21-7 with 5:52 left in the third quarter.

Brogan Jones’ 11-yard reception on a slant pattern converted a third-and-four and Edwards ran 15 yards to the Boone 22 on a third-and one along the way.

“The biggest play of the night, the first drive of the second half, we’ve got ‘em third-and-(four) … and we get beat inside on a slant in ‘man’ coverage,” Chandley said. “Little things like that can’t happen.”

Edwards, a junior, repeatedly ran through contact for extra yardage.

“I’m like a bull,” Edwards said. “I’ll run through someone and I’ll get hyped.”

The Crockett faithful were fired up when the Trailblazers botched a shotgun snap to give Crockett possession at

the Boone 13 with 9:47 left in the third quarter.

Reid made an impressive run for a 13-yard TD on the ensuing play, and Schroeck’s PAT cut Boone’s lead to 21-14 with 9:35 left in the fourth quarter. Reid finished with 14 carries for 132 yards and two TDs.

“It’s a shame we can’t have 11 with that heart,” Chandley said. “There were critical points tonight – we just missed too many assignments. I don’t understand it. Obviously, we got outplayed. We got outcoached.”

Edwards’ 18-yard TD run with 2:08 remaining sealed it.

“Hagan ran the ball extremely hard,” Jenkins said. “Hagan’s been injured all year. He’s been banged up a little bit. We’re finally getting him healthy here down the stretch. We can utilize him more offensively, not just defensively.”

Senior ‘Blazers linebacker Bo Newton played most of the snaps against Crockett after getting his knee scoped following the first game of the season.

“I thought our seniors that we had in there really stood up late,” Jenkins said. “I thought Will (Hamlin) sucked it up playing both sides of the ball and gave us a real good pass-rush at the end. I thought Peyton (Ford) really anchored down the offensive line. I thought Clayton (Moorhouse) gave us some good minutes coming in rushing the passer.”

But the future is bright for Boone. Blankenship had three carries for 54 yards, including a 6-yard run on a third-and five from the Boone 6 on the last play of the third quarter.

He’s part of a sophomore group that includes Jenkins, Riner, linebacker Henry Hamlin, Kaiden Murphy and linemen Keegan Kilgore.

“We got a lot of good minutes out of our young kids,” Jenkins said. “I thought Riner made some good plays. I thought Blankenship made some plays. Luke made some plays. We had a sophomore, Kilgore, in there blocking at left guard. Henry made some plays on defense.”

Boone will host Hampton this week before hosting a playoff game in the opening round.

“It feels great,” Edwards said. “We’ve worked hard for this. We’ve had a tough schedule this whole year, but the outcome turned out good.”

Shrewsberry averaged 43.5 yards on four punts, each of which gave the Pioneers possession inside their 20-yard line.

“I’m really proud of our kids,” Jenkins said. “Reid’s one of the top players in our league, and he earned

everything he got. Hats off to him. Hayden does a great job. He got his kids ready to play. We knew it was gonna be a four-quarter game. …

“We’ll play our first game here at home. That’s what you want to do with this crowd. What a great atmosphere it was here tonight.”

Fox rushed for 39 yards and was 11-of-22 passing for 126 yards. Jordan Williams had three receptions for 49 yards. The Pioneers’ Ty’shawn Robinson tallied several tackles for loss.

Crockett will host Richlands (Va.) on Friday.