BLUFF CITY — Powered by a Chevy and the fast-moving Jordan Turner, the David Crockett Pioneers raced past the Sullivan East Patriots 30-22 in their football season opener Friday night at the Patriot Pasture.
Turner had two key interceptions as well as rushing for 81 yards and scored two touchdowns. Meanwhile, teammate Chevy Miller scored on two touchdowns and three two-point conversions.
No play was bigger than Turner’s 35-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter that gave Crockett its first lead of the game. Later on, his second interception helped the Pioneers hang on for the win.
“I was just really happy to secure the game for my team,” Turner said as the David Crockett fight song roared in the background. “I just want to thank God for giving me the talent and ability to come out here and play like I did tonight.”
Crockett head coach Kent Green said Turner brings a lot of desirable qualities to his team.
“Jordan has deceptive speed,” Green said. “He is one of the fastest kids in the Big Eight (Conference). He’s also a great kid, the kind of kid where mommas want their daughters to date.”
It was the Patriots who struck first with a nine-play, 65-yard drive capped off by Adam Baird’s 16-yard touchdown run. Baird then recovered the fumble on the ensuing kickoff and East had possession at the Crockett-37 with 42 seconds left in the quarter.
However, the Pioneers’ defense stiffened and stalled the Patriots’ drive at the 20-yard line. With possession and the momentum, Crockett promptly drove 77 yards down the field, all on the ground. Miller had the horsepower to make a three-yard run and cut the lead to one.
After forcing East to a three-and-out on its next possession, the momentum appeared to be building heavily towards the Pioneers. It lasted just a moment as the very next play, the Patriots’ Cal Truett came up with a ball strip and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown and a 14-6 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, however, Crockett took control with 24 unanswered points.
Miller powered in for this second touchdown and added a two-point conversion for the tying score.
Turner then had the key interception return for Crockett’s first lead and added his own 14-yard touchdown run one possession later. After a couple of more conversion runs by Miller, the Pioneers held a 30-14 lead at the end of the third quarter.
East scored on a 46-yard screen pass play from Dylan Ratliff to Randy Owens to start the final quarter as the momentum continued to swing back and forth.
Sullivan East stopped Crockett on a fourth-and-one at the Patriot 42.
The Patriots moved down the field, only to have their eighth penalty of the ball game force a 12-yard loss and take them out of scoring position. They were able to get the ball once more and drive into Crockett territory, but Turner ended the threat with an interception with 1:33 left.
Running the wing-T offense, Crockett controlled the game on the ground with 50 rushes for 233 yards. Turner led the way with 14 carries for 81 years, while Dalton Brown totaled 48 yards and Miller added 43 yards.
“The wing-T offense is one of those where you poke them in the eye,” Green said. “If they cover their eyes, you hit them in the belly. They cover their eyes and bellies, and you hit them in the knees. That’s the way the offense is supposed to work.”
Baird led all rushers with eight carries for 95 yards, but it was the eight penalties for 67 yards which most stood out for the Patriots.
“The first football game is won by the team which makes the fewest mistakes,” Sullivan East head coach Mike Locke said. “Most games are that way. We had a lot of good things to build on, but we made the turnovers and the penalties.
“The plays like that interception return you wish you could get back. But, we’re out here and the drama unfolds. We’ll try to learn from it.”
After going 1-9 last season, it was a much needed win for the Pioneers program.
“It’s huge for us,” Green said. “We have a lot of things we need to work on, but I’m happy and I thank the good Lord that we won this game.”