Daniel Boone has been in this situation before.
Last year, the Trailblazers had to deal with a change at the quarterback position when they took on Dobyns-Bennett.
“(Chris) Cook had a concussion at the end of the first quarter, and (Malik) Foreman came in at quarterback,” said Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins. “So we’ve seen them without Cook.”
The undefeated Trailblazers (4-0) will travel to face the unbeaten Indians (4-0) tonight at J. Fred Johnson Stadium in a Big Eight Conference showdown. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
In other Big Eight contests, Sullivan South visits Tennessee High, and Volunteer is at home to take on Sullivan Central.
Cook, a senior who had totaled 672 yards of offense and accounted for nine touchdowns, was injured in the fourth quarter of D-B’s win over Sevier County last week. The neck injury required surgery, and he is out for the season.
Foreman is expected to move into the starting position, but Josh Holt and Skylar East are also in the mix. Foreman has been the Indians’ top receiving threat with 13 catches for 267 yards, and has totaled seven touchdowns.
“If he’s at quarterback it puts one of their top players with his hands on the ball every time you snap,” said Jenkins. “So that’s a concern for us.”
Dobyns-Bennett head coach Graham Clark said the Indians are looking for a quick fix for this week.
“I told the quarterbacks we’re trying to patch the tire this week,” said Clark. “We have an open week next, so maybe we can fix it then.”
Moving Foreman to the quarterback position may or may not be a permanent fix.
“It would be nice if we had two of him,” said Clark.
Jenkins said his team’s defensive focus will be on keeping things in front.
“We’ve got to make them earn everything,” he said. “We can’t give up the big play.”
Boone will have to do a good job covering in the kicking game.
“Sullivan South tried to kick it away from them, and had like a 10-yard punt,” said Jenkins. “And one time (Devaun Swafford) caught it on the sideline and ran it back about 50 yards for a touchdown. We’ve got to get four or five to the football and then make the tackle.”
On offense, Boone will rely on Cliff Sanders (408 yards rushing), Jake Littleton (516 yards passing) and Ryan Gaitor (249 yards receiving) to make big plays.
“We’ve got to stay in second and medium, and third and medium or short,” said Jenkins. “We can’t be third and long because they will come out with one of their blitzes.”
Jenkins said the Trailblazers have the confidence of knowing their last trip to J. Fred Johnson produced a victory.
“The last two years were at our place,” said Jenkins. “We have some kids who are seniors now, who dressed when we played at D-B when they were freshmen. D-B has a great team, but we’re going to get after them.”
Sullivan South (0-1, 2-1) at Tennessee High (1-0, 3-1) — The Rebels have dominated this series, winning six of the last seven games.
However, the Vikings have been extremely tough on defense this year. They have allowed just 139 yards per game, including just a total of 107 yards through the air in four games. Meanwhile, South has been pass heavy with 56 percent of its yardage coming through the air.
Sullivan Central (0-1, 2-1) at Volunteer (0-1, 1-3) — The Cougars are off to a surprisingly good start, and could earn their first three-win season in nine years.
Coming into this season, Central’s record over the last eight years was just 9-71.
However, they’ve gone 3-3 against the Falcons.