This year, it’s about as big as early season showdowns get.
“It has been a game of more significance the past few years because it’s the conference opener for both teams,” said Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins.
The Trailblazers will travel to the Stone Castle on Friday night to battle the Vikings in a Region 1-5A contest with kickoff set for 7:30.
Boone is 1-0 on the season, coming off a bye week. The Vikings are 2-0, having already collected an impressive win over Knox Central.
In other region contests, David Crockett (2-0) plays host to Volunteer (1-1) while Cherokee and Morristown East each seek their first win of the season.
Jenkins said the Vikings are a physical group up front.
“They have a stable of backs, and they run at you with big-play receivers,” said Jenkins. “Their quarterback (Cole McBrayer) is an athlete who can hurt you with his arm and legs.”
McBrayer has thrown for over 100 yards in each of his first two varsity starts.
“It will be a challenge for us on defense,” said Jenkins.
When Boone has the ball, it will rely on the running of Charlie Cole. And that is the biggest element the Vikings will have to overcome if they want to knock the Trailblazers off. Cole rushed for 227 yards and two scores in the 28-14 win over Sullivan South.
Jenkins said the Vikings are good at team tackling.
“The best thing they do is run to the ball,” he said.
It should be much closer than last year’s 42-10 wipeout in favor of Boone as Jenkins said he expects a battle.
“Tennessee High will be a great challenge for our kids,” he said. “Our team has really worked hard for this opportunity.”
Two games. Two touchdowns allowed.
The Pioneers’ defense has been serious, but it faces a team that has put plenty of points on the board this season.
“The Falcons are much improved at every position, and they play extremely hard,” said Crockett head coach Hayden Chandley. “They have a solid quarterback (Eli Dorton) who has a talented arm. (Peyton) Baker at receiver is a deep threat for them and has made some spectacular catches over the first two games. We will have to do a good job of knowing where he is and defending him well.”
Chandley also said his defense must get pressure on Dorton.
“It will be important for us to cause some havoc in the backfield,” said Chandley.
Crockett counters Volunteer’s offensive threats with weapons of its own — including quarterback Cade Larkins, running back Ronquille Joyner, and receiver John Kollie.
The Chiefs have scored enough points (49) to be competitive, but they haven’t slowed the opposition down, giving up a total of 110.
East took a tough loss to rival Morristown West in the opener before getting flattened by Jefferson County in Week 2.
Cherokee was clipped by Campbell County and South Doyle.