The Rebels turned the ball over four times, once on a bad snap that Boone recovered in the end zone for a third-quarter touchdown.
Boone running back Charlie Cole had a game-high 131 yards on 21 attempts, scoring two touchdowns. He also had an interception in the game and did the punting duties.
South didn’t have much to show, but senior running back Julian Reed ran the ball for 86 yards on 13 attempts and scored his team’s only points.
The ’Blazers came into the game having to replace nine starters on defense and they certainly passed the test for head coach Jeremy Jenkins.
“We’ll take it with the first game, but we’ve got to get better,” he said. “When we kicked the ball inside the five, we went with a heavy package thinking that we were going to see a run. They jumped in the gun and it was one of those things where our jumped on the ball.”
A GAME WON IN THE TRENCHES
Nowadays, across all landscapes in the game, passing numbers are piling up like excuses for bad football seasons at Tennessee — but there were only six passes completed in Friday night’s contest.
The quarterbacks were called upon more to run the ball than to throw it, especially for Boone. Sophomore Kaleb Worley rushed 13 times for 37 yards and made some key first downs.
South inserted junior quarterback Eli Jones in relief of Ethan Bergeron late in the game and he showed some flashes, running the ball nine times for 50 yards.
“This game was one of those games of who could stop the run the best,” Cole said. “The defense certainly passed the test for me. We had some great defensive stops on every drive.”
Late in the first quarter, the Rebels got the ball back at their own 26 after a Boone punt. After an illegal block on first down, South decided to try a pass to the flat.
It turned out to be a backward pass and Austin Cunningham recovered for Boone at the Sullivan South 13-yard line. Brennan Blair scored on the next play.
Early in the second, South drove all the way down to the Boone 15-yard line and had a fourth down and short. The Rebels failed to convert by mere inches and the ball was turned back over to Boone.
The ’Blazers would score on a Cole 52-yard run eight plays later.
Perhaps the main turning point was at the beginning of the third when Boone punted after six plays and Cole boomed one down inside the South 5.
The next play was a bad snap over Bergeron’s head that was recovered in the end zone by Will Hamlin.
“We made too many mistakes and when you’re playing a team like Daniel Boone, you can’t give them a short field,” South head coach Justin Hilton said. “We’re not going to play a running back like that caliber again this season and we shot ourselves too many times in the foot with turnovers and penalties.”
The Trailblazers will host Greeneville next Friday night while South will host Cherokee. Both out-of-league games kick off at 7:30 p.m.