Daniel Boone’s rivalry with Tennessee High changed back in 2009, when the Trailblazers pulled off a playoff shocker.
Things are still a little testy.
“Ever since then, there has been a little more added to the fire,” said Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins. “The games have been close, and heated on both sides.”
The teams will meet again tonight in Gray at Hale Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30.
Both teams are 4-1 overall while the Vikings have won both of their Big Eight Conference games. Boone is 1-1 in the league.
Also battling in the Big Eight tonight, Volunteer visits David Crockett, and Dobyns-Bennett is at Sullivan Central.
Highlighting the Three Rivers Conference schedule is Johnson County traveling to take on Sullivan North. The top game in the Mountain East Conference is North Greene at Hampton.
In the Blue Ridge Conference, Greeneville tries to get back on track by playing host to West Greene.
Tennessee High defeated Daniel Boone 51-26 late in the 2009 regular season. The Vikings were still undefeated when the teams met in the second round of playoffs, where Boone recorded a shocking 23-14 upset.
In 2010, Boone defeated a 6-2 Tennessee High team by a score of 24-10. Last year the Vikings finally got a measure of revenge with a 29-22 decision.
Add it all up, and Jenkins said he expects quite a battle.
“We expect a hard-fought game,” he said. “We expect Coach (Shane) Boggs’ team to give their best effort, and we expect to give our best effort.
“This is probably the top Class 5A game in the area. It’s homecoming, and there will be a lot of people here. It’s two good football teams looking for a playoff berth.”
Containing Tennessee High’s explosive offense will be the key for Boone. Quarterback Peyton Henley has thrown for 827 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. Receiver Adam Mitchell has hauled in 27 catches for 396 yards and nine touchdowns.
“We’ve got to try to keep everything in front of us,” said Jenkins. “We’ve got to tackle well in space. They also run option stuff, so we’ve got to play disciplined as well.”
When Boone has the ball, quarterback Jake Littleton and running back Chris Sanders will have to get help from the offensive line against the Vikings’ front defenders.
“It all starts with their front six, the two inside linebackers and the front four,” said Jenkins. “That’s what is has been for years. They set the tone and try to be the most physical bunch.
“We’ve got to be physical at the line of scrimmage. And we have to score touchdowns. We can’t settle for field goals because they are such a high-powered offensive team.”
Boone hasn’t been on the field since losing its first game of the season — a 56-21 thumping at the hands of Dobyns-Bennett.
“The bye week was a real good thing for us,” said Jenkins. “At the same time, we’re anxious to get on the field because of what happened against D-B.”
Volunteer (1-1, 2-3) at David Crockett (0-2, 2-3) — It’s a crossroads game for both teams.
The winner will remain in the hunt for a playoff berth while the loser will likely need a major upset, or two, in the last three weeks to have a shot.
Both teams run the football well, so it could be a short game with possession success being the key.
Dobyns-Bennett (2-0, 5-0) at Sullivan Central (0-2, 3-2) — The Cougars are having a throwback season, but the Indians aren’t the type of team to cooperate with such things.
D-B has won 14 straight in this series and recent margins have been 49, 54, and 34 points.
Johnson County (2-0, 3-2) at Sullivan North (1-1, 5-1) — It’s time to find out what the Longhorns are made of this season.
Johnson County has been solid all year, but this is their first big league test. North has been dominant on the ground with three players over 400 yards rushing.
Running back Kairi Thompson gained 191 yards last week, and North is averaging 280 yards per game on the ground.
Johnson County counters with workhorse back Patrick South, who averages 27 carries, 143 yards and two touchdowns per game.
Watauga, N.C. (4-2) at Elizabethton (4-2) — The Pioneers had won four games in a row before last week’s 22-6 loss to Hickory, N.C.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones are riding a four-game winning streak. Running back Ethan Thomas, a sophomore, needs 94 yards to reach 1,000 for the season.
Happy Valley (0-2, 1-5) at Sullivan East (0-2, 0-5) — With just one win in 10 games between these teams, there should be plenty of hunger on both sidelines.
Both teams have been competitive defensively, but offense has been an issue. Happy Valley is averaging just over 200 yards per game while East is sputtering along at 162 yards per contest.
North Greene (2-0, 4-2) at Hampton (2-0, 4-1) — To say the Bulldogs have owned this series is an understatement.
In 24 meetings since North Greene started playing football, Hampton has won all 24 games. The Huskies came within one point of a win (14-13) in 1999, but most of the other contests have been three-touchdown differences or more.
Cosby (0-2, 2-3) at Cloudland (2-0, 3-2) — The Highlanders have feasted on the lesser opponents this year, but struggled against the powers.
In three wins, the margin is 155-20. In two losses, 75-6.
Cosby should fit the mold of a team the ‘Landers can handle.
West Greene (0-2, 2-4) at Greeneville (1-0, 2-3) — Head coach Caine Ballard held the Greene Devils together through a slow start in 2009, and will likely do the same this year.
With the tough part of the schedule in the rear-view mirror, look for Greeneville to begin to look like Greeneville again.
Chuckey-Doak (2-0, 4-1) at Cumberland Gap (2-0, 4-1) — This is easily the Black Knights’ biggest test so far this season.
The Panthers didn’t blow West Greene away last week, so Doak may have a shot at the road upset.