Daniel Boone scored on its first four possessions of the second half to roll to a 34-17 victory over Sullivan Central on Friday night at Nathan Hale Stadium.
Leading just 7-3 at halftime, the Trailblazers scored on drives of 62, 55, 46 and 50 yards to win the Big Seven Conference opener for both teams.
Boone (1-0, 2-1) has won 10 straight against the Cougars (0-1, 1-1), and now holds a 24-16 all-time series lead.
“Our offensive line has really gotten better the last two weeks,” Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “That and our defense is what we hang our hat on. Our first group only gave up one first down in the second half. Hats off to our offensive line. I thought that was the difference in the game, where we could run the ball.”
Overall, the Trailblazers piled up 261 rushing yards and 339 yards of total offense behind that line.
Dustin Chandler led the ‘Blazers with 12 carries for 107 rushing yards. Normally the starting quarterback, Chandler didn’t attempt a single pass due to a bad shoulder. He still put forth a gritty performance, running for two touchdowns.
“You battle through injuries and have to keep pushing,” Chandler said. “I just tried to help my team out the best I could. The first conference game, we couldn’t slip. Once we put the ball in the end zone, it gave us some momentum and we kept going from there.”
Daniel Boone’s defense limited Central to just a field goal after a tipped punt gave the Cougars the ball on the Blazer-10. Jordan Edwards hit a 25-yard field goal with 1:31 in the first quarter for a 3-0 Central lead.
The Trailblazers responded on their next possession with a five-play, 80-yard drive. On the first play of the second quarter, Gabe Sanders hit a wide-open Ryan Keever in the end zone on a 31-yard touchdown pass.
It was an eventful night for Keever, who added an interception right before the half.
“I couldn’t believe I was that wide open,” Keever said. “I was just trying to make the catch at that point and I made it. It was just a good all-around effort. Our offense was a little shaky at first, but the defense played great.”
Taylor Robinson became the first female in the history of Boone football to score when her extra-point hit the left upright and bounced through for a 7-3 lead.
She added a second extra-point later in the game, and her efforts were matched by Hannah Fink, who also booted two extra-points.
Boone opened the second half by marching 62 yards down field on an 11-play drive. Chandler ran up the middle nine yards the final play for a 13-3 ‘Blazers lead.
Chandler gave Boone a 20-3 lead on a 22-yard run. Early in the fourth quarter, a 33-yard pass from Sanders to Josh Taylor, set up a two-yard touchdown by Josh Bacon, who ended with 14 carries for 89 yards.
Trey Pope had a one-yard touchdown for Central, only to see Boone’s Colby Ragsdale answer with an 18-yard run for a 34-11 lead. Central’s Hayden Rhymer had the final score, a two-yard touchdown run.
The Cougars ended with 251 yards of offense, led by Ethan Kratusch with 74 rushing yards and Pope with 70 yards.
“We’re a little light in the trenches, but I’m pleased with our effort,” Central head coach Jeff Fox said. “I emphasized to our team, we’re not satisfied with the score. I thought we took a step tonight with the program, but we’re not going to be satisfied until we can beat Bristol, D-B and Boone.”