After losing the last five years, Cocke County got its revenge against David Crockett.
The Fighting Cockes defeated the Pioneers 67-35 on homecoming night at David Crockett High School behind four touchdowns and 155 yards rushing by bruising back D. J. Haney and a pair of scores by elusive receiver Krys Cates.
Despite getting its best passing performance in years, Crockett fell to 0-3 after trailing 41-28 at the half before the Cocks (3-1) subbed liberally the rest of the game.
Pioneer seniors quarterback Davaun Miller (6-for-13, 230 yards) and receiver Seth Wright (4 catches, 203 yards) had numerous big plays that brought the capacity crowd to its feet, but couldn’t overcome two interceptions and a fumble and a defense that gave up an average of almost eight yards a play.
“We’re going to have to get tougher, play better defense, and not give up all these huge amounts of scoring,” said Crockett coach Kent Greene. “We can’t outscore 60 points.”
Anthony Campbell opened the game with a 60-yard kickoff return, but after a 26-yard third-down conversion pass from Miller to Wright the ensuing pass was picked in the end zone by Cocke County’s Brandon Davis.
Haney was a problem on the ensuing 9-play, 80-yard drive by carrying the rock six times for 37 yards including the 4-yard touchdown jaunt.
But Campbell got the equalizer on the following kick by returning it 93 yards to knot up the score.
The Pioneers defense held strong and on their next possession Miller came around on an end around and pulled up to pass.
Wright got behind the right cornerback and Miller hit him in stride for a 59-yard bomb. Two plays later fullback Dylan Culbertson went in to take a 14-7 lead.
But on the following kickoff Cates, who caught a 37-yard pass on the previous touchdown drive, matched Campbell’s feat with an 85-yard kickoff return of his own to cut the lead to 14-13.
Crockett continued its aerial assault with a gutsy fourth-down call. With eight yards to go at the Cocks’ 38-yard line, Miller rolled out and found Wright again in the left side of the end zone and Crockett led 21-13 at the end of the first.
A 45-yard field set up Cocke County and it took only four carries to carry it in. Cates managed to get in from 17 yards out at quarterback on a scramble and after the failed conversion the score was 21-19.
But a successful onside kick kept the ball with the Cocks and a mere play later Haney barreled through numerous tackles before breaking loose on the left sideline to take a 27-21 lead on the 37-yard jaunt.
After a Crockett three-and-out, the Pioneers defense made a play. A misguided throw by quarterback Dakota McGaha was picked by Culberton, who rumbled to Cocke County’s 20-yard-line. On the next play Campbell rushed in for the 20-yard score and 28-27 advantage.
But a short field put Crockett’s defense in another bind as the Cocks covered 31 yards with Haney finishing the drive on a 5-yard rush to take a 35-28 lead.
After the ensuing drive died, McGaha connected on a 47-yard throw to Cates down the left sideline and Haney went 23 yards on a toss for another score.
And on the failed conversion, Crockett took another blow when lineman Richard Toney (5 tackles) had to be helped off the field as the Pioneers went into the half down 41-28.
“We gave up two or three big plays there for scores and it did take the wind out of our sails,” said Greene. “Had a couple of injuries, too, that added to that. But Toney’s a big part of our defense and hopefully he’s better. We need him back.”
The Pioneers defense opened the second half with a three-and-out, but disaster stuck on their ensuing possession. On the first play from their own 25-yard line, Miller made an ill-advised throw across his body and Davis picked the tipped ball and ran it back for a score.
On the next possession Culbertson was stripped by Heath Hembree, despite his arm cast, and Hembree rolled all the way to the 7-yard-line before getting pulled down. A play later Clancy James ran the ball in to extend the lead to 55-28.
Backup running back Caleb Griffith tacked on a 35-yard rush before Miller found Wright again on another play-action rollout. This time Miller connected for an 80-yard strike down the left sideline for a late score.
The Red’s Kimble Thornton scored the final touchdown with a 4-yard rush late.
“It was truly a total offensive effort,” said Cocke County head coach Greg Hacker. “There’s a time that you peak and plateau and I just don’t think we’re anywhere near that right now.”