David Crockett, unbeaten and ranked No. 2 in the state, played near-flawless football Friday night, dominating Tennessee High to the tune of 32-0 in second-round play of the TSSAA Class 5A playoffs.
The darling Pioneers (12-0) continue their greatest season ever in a state quarterfinal game Friday at twice-beaten Region 2 champion Knoxville Central, a 49-7 runaway winner last night over Daniel Boone.
Region 1 champion Crockett gave THS (8-4) no chance in this rematch of an Oct. 12 game the mistake-prone Pioneers won 24-21 in overtime.
This go around, Crockett produced 413 total yards of offense with no turnovers while its hard-hitting defensive unit forced eight punts and allowed the Vikings the paltry sum of 89 total yards in seriously muddy conditions.
"We took the fight to them this time," said first-year Crockett coach Hayden Chandley. "We felt like they took the fight to us in Bristol even though we hung on to win up there, but tonight we smacked them in the mouth and the kids played really hard out there all night."
Mixing the run very well with its usual passing excellence, balanced Crockett looked nothing like the team that was lucky to beat a .500 bunch from Knox Halls in overtime last week in the first round of the playoffs.
"Learning a little about us from last week (also in the rain)," Chandley said, "we weren't able to do our game plan of throwing the ball last week. So this week we really focused on running the football to set up our play-action pass that worked so well from the second quarter on."
Ronquille Joyner led the Crockett ground game, especially early when the Pioneers ran it well.
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound junior, who finished with 72 yards on 18 carries, scored twice, including a 41-yard burst to give Crockett a 6-0 lead with 2:08 left in the first quarter.
Prince Kollie did his damage as well, gaining 42 yards on seven attempts and providing the Pioneers with a 13-0 edge when he broke loose on a 27-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter.
"We were trying to establish our ground game to help our passing game, so to break two long touchdown runs like that early was huge," Chandley said.
With the run established, Crockett took to the air to end all suspense, assuming a 19-0 lead at halftime and a 25-0 advantage through three quarters.
Quarterback Cade Larkins completed 13 of 26 passes for 293 yards and touchdowns to Micah Robinson and Donta Hackler.
Hackler caught eight balls for 127 yards and scored on a 64-yard catch-and-run, while Robinson hauled in two passes for 132 yards — scoring on an 84-yard deep post in which the THS defender slipped and fell at the point of the reception.
"Cade threw it much better tonight and our outside speed served us well in these conditions," Chandley said. "Our line blocked super and our defense, how about that?
"To come in here and shut Tennessee High down like that, I just couldn't be more proud of our team defensive effort. The kids took to coaching and our coaches had us ready to play. The kids bought into it."
Chandley knows that Crockett will have its hands full on the road at Central.
"They are big and they play physical and they get after you," he said. "We'll have to be ready to get after them as well."