Prep football previews: Rested 'Blazers set to host Volunteer

Douglas Fritz • Sep 20, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Bye weeks are usually a good thing for high school football teams, especially in the area of healing bumps and bruises.But when they come in Week 3, it can be a little different story.“We've never had a bye week that early,” said Daniel Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins. “Whether it's good or bad usually depends on whether you're coming off a win or loss.”The Trailblazers are coming off the former, and will try to stay at the top of the Big Seven Conference as they play host to Volunteer tonight at Hale Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30.In other Big Seven games, Dobyns-Bennett travels to play David Crockett while Sullivan Central is at home to battle Tennessee High.Science Hill plays a non-conference game at Murfreesboro Siegel.Highlighting Three Rivers Conference action is Happy Valley playing host to Johnson County. The lead game in the Blue Ridge Conference is Greeneville hitting the road to battle Claiborne while the Mountain East Conference schedule is headlined by Cloudland at Unaka.Volunteer (0-1, 0-4) at Daniel Boone (1-0, 2-1) — The Falcons have pushed the Trailblazers a few times when it wasn't expected, so Boone can't afford to come in unprepared for a battle.“We expect them to come out and play hard,” said Jenkins. “Coach (Scott) Rider does a good job of getting his kids to play hard.”The Falcons have nearly three times as many rushing yards (522) as passing yards (182) this season, but a big part of that has been misfires throwing the ball. Volunteer has 38 incomplete passes in 52 attempts.Boone has almost identical stats with 526 yards rushing and 200 through the air, but 'Blazers' quarterback Gabe Sanders is 11 of 17 for 65 percent.“We've got to be more balanced offensively,” said Jenkins. “We've really worked on that this week.”Dobyns-Bennett (1-0, 2-2) at David Crockett (0-1, 2-2) — Indians' quarterback Josh Holt is starting to break loose, and the junior is coming off a 367-yard total-offense performance in a tough loss to Sevier County last week.That's bad news for a Pioneers' defense that has surrendered 142 points and 1,051 yards over the last two weeks.On a positive note for Crockett, the Pioneers are averaging over 400 yards of offense (418.3) on the season with quarterback Ryan Burger (806 yards passing) and receiver Luke Hopson (24 catches for 420 yards) each leading the conference.Tennessee High (0-0, 2-1) at Sullivan Central (0-1, 2-1) — With 86 points in three games, the Cougars have showed a lot more bite this season.However, it will take quite an outburst to beat the even more explosive Vikings, who have racked up 144 points in three games.Johnson County (0-0, 1-2) at Happy Valley (0-1, 1-3) — The Warriors' season might have turned in the wrong direction after a tough loss to Cloudland a couple of weeks ago.However, this is a game that could spin it back in a positive direction. The Longhorns have been ripped for a total of 102 points in losses to a Class 5A team (Tennessee High) and a Class A team (Cloudland).Sullivan North (1-0, 2-2) at Sullivan East (0-1, 1-3) — The Raiders have dominated this county rivalry recently with five straight victories.Defense has been an issue for North, which is allowing 30 points a game outside of a shutout of Volunteer.Cloudland (1-0, 4-0) at Unaka (0-1, 0-3) — The Highlanders have looked mighty good this season, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 100-40.Meanwhile, Unaka is averaging just two points per game.Greeneville (1-0, 3-0) at Claiborne (1-0, 2-1) — With scores of 45-14, 41-6, 56-8 and 45-0 since the teams were placed in the same conference, the Bulldogs haven't been able to keep pace with the powerful Greene Devils.

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