Coming off a 61-7 loss, many teams would probably be hanging their heads and not looking forward to the next game.
Don’t count Daniel Boone in that group.
“We had a really good week of practice,” said Trailblazers’ head coach Jeremy Jenkins, whose team travels to take on Tennessee High tonight at 7:30 in a Big Seven Conference contest. “Us and Tennessee High are in the same boat, both fighting to get into the playoff stretch. We’ve both played tough schedules, and this is one good chance to get you into the playoffs because of the schedule you play.”
In another Big Seven Conference game, Dobyns-Bennett travels to battle Sullivan Central. David Crockett has the week off.
Highlighting the Three Rivers Conference slate is Sullivan South visiting Sullivan North.
In the Mountain East Conference spotlight, Cloudland visits South Greene. And in the Blue Ridge Conference, Greeneville hits the road to battle West Greene.
Daniel Boone (2-1, 3-4) at Tennessee High (1-2, 3-4) — With the Vikings coming off a heartbreaking loss to Dobyns-Bennett, it may be tougher for them to get back up than Boone.
But the weaponry the Vikings possess on offense is still tough to defend. Quarterback Peyton Henley has thrown for 1,660 yards and has two standout receivers in Adam Mitchell (33 catches for 639 yards) and Travis Clark (21 catches for 445 yards).
“In the playoff game against us last year, Henley made plays with his feet,” said Jenkins. “People don’t realize what he can do with his feet.”
When Boone has the ball, Jenkins said first- and second-down positive yardage is a must.
“We can’t get in long-yardage situations,” said Jenkins. “We’ve got to move the ball consistently on first down.”
Dobyns-Bennett (4-0, 5-3) at Sullivan Central (0-4, 3-4) — It may be time for the Indians to exhale, but they really can’t afford to let any little pieces of momentum slip away in what has become a season on the edge.
D-B is about three plays away from staring at a 2-6 record, but also a couple of plays away from possibly being 7-1.
The Cougars have been more effective on offense this season, but their defense will be hard pressed to stop D-B quarterback Josh Holt. The junior has accounted for 1,423 yards of offense this season despite missing a game with an injury.
Sullivan South (3-0, 7-0) at Sullivan North (3-1, 5-3) — The Raiders couldn’t hold up defensively last week against Elizabethton, and this matchup doesn’t look any better.
Another problem for North could be moving the football. The Raiders are averaging 287 yards rushing per game, but South is allowing just 32 yards per contest on the ground.
Elizabethton (3-0, 6-1) at Johnson County (1-2, 3-4) — Running back Ethan Thomas practiced all week, and is expected to be back in the Cyclones’ lineup.
That’s not good news for the Longhorns, but they have been playing better lately. They will ride running backs Patrick South and Jordan Grubb, who combined for 42 carries and 262 yards in last week’s win over Unicoi.
Happy Valley (1-2, 3-4) at Unicoi County (1-3, 3-5) — It’s always a good rivalry between these teams, and the Blue Devils snapped a four-game losing streak with last year’s 14-7 win.
However, the Warriors have had two weeks to get over the blowout loss to Elizabethton and to prepare for the Blue Devils.
Cloudland (3-0, 7-0) at South Greene (3-0, 3-4) — Even though the Highlanders are favored, it’s a road game and the Rebels are undefeated in league play in their first year of Class 1A football.
Cloudland’s offense is South Greene’s biggest concern as the Highlanders have scored 40 or more points in four straight games. Defensively, the ‘Landers have been stout as well, giving up just 8.7 points per contest.
Hancock County (0-3, 0-7) at Hampton (3-0, 4-3) — The Bulldogs have gotten it done when it matters most, racking up three league wins.
This game should fall in line, even though the Indians have consistently put points on the board and been relatively competitive.
Unaka (1-6) at Tri-Cities Christian (4-3) — In some years, this might have been looked at as an opponent the Rangers could count on for a victory.
But the Eagles already boast a win over South Greene, a team that thumped Unaka 40-0.
Greeneville (3-0, 7-0) at West Greene (1-2, 4-4) — It’s a situation where some teams might coast, but the Greene Devils have done a superb job of keeping their foot on the gas ever since the move to Class AA.
In this particular matchup, Greeneville has beaten the Buffaloes by margins of 55, 39, 45 and 44 points.