Pioneers lose heartbreaker to Hurricanes

Johnson City Press • Updated Nov 2, 2019 at 12:47 AM

Cade Larkins threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, but David Crockett came up just short in a 28-27 loss to Morristown East on Friday night.

Larkins hit Donta Hackler on a 35-yard touchdown to close Crockett within a point with less than two minutes to go, but the extra point was blocked and the Hurricanes pulled off the upset. Despite the loss in the regular-season finale, the Pioneers (7-3, 3-3) will be the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Region 1-5A playoffs.

“We got down a touchdown, but put together an efficient drive,” Crockett coach Hayden Chandley said. “We just didn’t make enough plays tonight and weren’t able to take advantage of their mistakes. They were able to take advantage of our mistakes. We just aren’t making enough plays tonight.”

Larkins got the Pioneers on the scoreboard first with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Eric Dunbar. After the Hurricanes (3-3, 4-6) tied the game at 7-7, Larkins hit Hackler for a 20-yard touchdown to retake the lead.

East tied the game at 14-apiece in the second quarter, only to see Larkins lead Crockett back down the field. On a 4th-and-1 at the Hurricanes’ 1-yard line, Larkins scored on a quarterback keeper as the Pioneers went back on top.

A bad snap on an East field-goal attempt at the end of the first half allowed the Pioneers to take a 21-14 lead into the intermission.

After East scored twice to pull ahead, Larkins, the Johnson City Press Elite 11 Player of the Year in 2018, gave the Pioneers hope of pulling out the comeback win.

“Cade played really well and he was putting the ball on the money,” Chandley said. “We even had some shots in the first half that just went off our receivers’ fingertips. We didn’t bring those in or we could have lit up the scoreboard in the first half. We put up 21, but we left a few opportunities on the table. In the end, that came back to bite us.”

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