Never in area history has a player accomplished what Dalton Boles did Friday night.
West Greene’s senior running back carried 26 times for 368 yards against Cumberland Gap, the highest TSSAA-recognized total in Northeast Tennessee history.
“It was kind of hard to fathom,” said Buffaloes’ head coach Joe Case. “After the game, they told me what he had. I knew he had some yards, but I didn’t realize he had gotten that much. I didn’t have a clue.”
Boles’ total was the 10th-best single-game effort in Tennessee history. The record is held by Huntingdon’s Kennon Holder, who rushed for 503 yards against University School of Jackson in 2008.
Only seven runners in state history have rushed for 400 yards in a game.
Leading his team to a 28-7 win, Boles didn’t rack up a bunch of garbage-time yards. He had 251 yards in the first half, and carried only nine times after the break. He finished with three touchdowns.
And this wasn’t just some out-of-the-blue explosion. Boles has been on fire since Week Zero, when he rushed for 198 yards in a loss to Cherokee.
Since then, he has been over 200 yards every week and over 300 twice. On the year he has 1,327 yards on just 112 carries, for a first-down-per-carry average of 11.9 yards.
His per-game average of 265.4 is so crazy that Boles is on pace to break Troy Fleming’s all-time single-season state record of 3,008 yards — if West Greene makes it two games into the playoffs.
Boles’ success starts up front, said Case.
“First and foremost, we have a great offensive line,” said Case. “Dalton will be the first to tell you it’s the fullbacks and the people around him that make it possible.”
Boles is fast, having been clocked at 4.5 in several combines, Case said. And the 5-foot-7, 170-pounder is strong, owning a 400-pound bench press.
He is getting college looks, including some interest by Wofford, Furman and VMI.
As a team, the Buffaloes have turned things around. They’ve won three straight after opening the year with a pair of losses.
West Greene will be favored again this week at home against North Greene, but then faces its toughest challenge on Sept. 30 against Greeneville.
n Sullivan North head coach Robbie Norris was selected as the Tennessee Titans High School Football Coach of the Week.
Norris guided his team to a 41-20 win Friday over Elizabethton, the Cyclones’ first league loss as a member of the Three Rivers Conference. Through the Titans Foundation, team owner K.S. “Bud” Adams will make a $1,000 contribution to Sullivan North’s football program.
On Dec. 11 when the Titans play host to the New Orleans Saints, Norris will be a guest of the team.
n Stat chat: Science Hill compares very favorably stat-wise with Dobyns-Bennett as the teams enter their bye week, having completed half of the regular season.
The Hilltoppers have more total offense per game (412 to 368) while the Indians are slightly better defensively (210 to 262).
D-B outscores Science Hill 42-33 per game, but the teams are nearly even on points allowed with the Hilltoppers surrendering 17 to the Indians’ 16 per contest.
And looking at the team’s schedules, it’s dead even. Science Hill’s five opponents have a combined record of 11-11 while D-B’s foes have gone 12-12.
n Elizabethton’s girls soccer team is enjoying a strong start to the 2011 season. The Lady Cyclones are 4-3-1 overall, but are 4-0-1 in Three Rivers Conference play.
Even Thursday’s league tie was a positive note because it came against Greeneville, a team the Lady Cyclones haven’t beaten on the soccer field.
“We played well,” said Elizabethton head coach Bill McClay. “This is the first time we’ve tied them, so at some level I would say we’ve closed the gap.”
Another promising thing was the Cyclones rallied from a deficit twice, trailing 1-0 and 2-1 before twice getting the equalizer against the Greene Devils, who are 5-0-1 in league play.
Christine Hardin, who doubles as the place-kicker for the Cyclones’ football team, scored both goals. She has nine goals and three assists on the season.
McClay said senior goalkeeper Abby Stephenson has been playing very well this season. Key contributions have also been delivered by midfielder Brittany Clark and defenders Paige Jones, Tiffany Barnette and Sophie Bremer.
Overall, depth is a big advantage for the team.
“We can go about 20 deep,” said McClay. “That’s a big help. They’ve all got different aspects to their game, so that gives us a chance to mix and match.”
The Cyclones are at Sullivan Central today before traveling to play in the Science Hill Invitational, which will be held Friday and Saturday in Johnson City.
n Football games of the week — Sullivan South at Elizabethton, Alcoa at Greeneville, North Greene at West Greene.
Rebels vs. Cyclones — It’s pride-check week for Elizabethton while the Rebels are hoping to get a third straight win before finishing the year with five straight Big Eight Conference games.
The Cyclones are coming off a humbling 41-20 smash-mouth loss to Sullivan North that likely cost them a shot at the Three Rivers Conference title.
Tornadoes vs. Greene Devils — It’s a battle of the defending Class 4A (Greeneville) and Class 3A champions, but both play in Class AA in the regular season. So in a very unofficial way, it’s a battle for supremacy in the state’s mid-level classification.
Huskies vs. Buffaloes — North Greene’s defense has been mighty all season, allowing just 9.6 points per game and helping the team start with a record of 4-1. But the Huskies will have their hands full with West Greene’s offense.
n Pick of the week — Elizabethton 33, Sullivan South 28.
The Cyclones haven’t beaten the Rebels since 2003, but this is an opportunity to change things. South can score plenty of points, so Elizabethton will need to match the Rebels’ firepower.
Picks record: 5-0.
n Player of the week — Phillip Waters of Hampton.
It’s getting harder and harder for Waters to out-perform his previous week’s effort, but he managed to pull it off again.
In a 56-20 win over Hancock County, Waters carried just nine times but gained 188 yards and scored four touchdowns. If that wasn’t enough, he also caught a 51-yard scoring pass.
And for good measure, he returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown. Waters finished with 323 all-purpose yards.
n The Hogs Award — Dobyns-Bennett Indians.
Wearing out Daniel Boone to the tune of 42-12, the “Indian Hogs” punished the Trailblazers’ defense. D-B racked up 357 yards rushing on 47 carries, an average of 7.6 carry.
The offensive line also provided near-perfect pass protection, allowing for four completions in five attempts.
n Defensive unit of the week — Sullivan East Patriots.
In a 40-6 shutdown of Johnson County, East’s defense surrendered only 150 total yards. The Patriots forced 12 incomplete passes and five punts, and also recorded an interception. East held the Longhorns to just over three yards per rushing attempt.
n This Week in Prep History — September 21, 2002.
Happy Valley’s defense came up big in a hard-fought 7-6 win over Johnson County. The Warriors gave up only 113 yards of total offense, and stuffed a Longhorns’ running back on a potential game-winning 2-point conversion with six seconds left on the clock.
n Sullivan North used its whipping of Elizabethton to jump two spots to No. 4 in this week’s Prep Top 10.
Team W-L Prv
1. Dobyns-Bennett 5-0 1
2. Greeneville 3-1 2
3. Science Hill 3-2 4
4. Sullivan North 5-0 6
5. Hampton 4-0 5
6. Elizabethton 3-2 3
7. Sullivan South 2-2 10
8. Tennessee High 2-3 7
9. Daniel Boone 2-3 8
10. Sullivan East 3-1 nr
(tie) West Greene 3-2 nr