The learning continued Friday at the Stone Castle, as the Pioneers were Aidanized in a 7-2 defeat at the hands of Tennessee High.
Crockett found itself right in this one, until Aidan Moore took over for the Vikings.
Moore finished with five goals, three in the second half as Tennessee High pulled away from a 3-2 halftime advantage to an easy Big Seven Conference victory.
Crockett, now 5-7 overall, had led 1-0 on a Gio Ortiz goal at the 34:23 mark of the half, only to see Moore score the equalizer just 22 seconds later.
Moore's five-pack gives him 29 goals on the season, a new THS record.
"We came out and jumped on top 1-0 and we kind of let them back into the game," Smelser said. "And then it's 3-2 at halftime and are playing them close ... but of course, Aidan Moore is a fantastic player, a phenomenal player.
"We had hoped to keep him at bay, but he kind of just opened it up in the second half and he got loose on us."
The Pioneers were thoroughly outplayed after intermission, as the speedy and physical Moore scored three times in a span of just 4:31.
When Moore's flurry ended with 20:49 remaining, the Vikings (5-6-1) led 7-2 and the 5-foot-11, 170-pound senior took it on to the house.
"In defense of the kids, this was our fourth game in four days and I think we had some tired legs out there in the second half," Smelser said. "Once they got that fourth goal you could see the wind go out of our sails and the wheels fell off.''
IT'S A MARATHON
Smelser realizes there will be growing pains as his program tries to compete with the Tennessee Highs, Science Hills and Dobyns-Bennetts of the world.
"We've had some successes and we've had some setbacks and everything," said Smelser, a former head coach at Science Hill who is back at the varsity level for the first time in 12 years. "Each game out of the gate is a learning experience for these kids.
"The kids are working hard and kind of coming together. I'm really proud how far they've come and how much they've grown."
THS broke free from a 1-1 score on a goal by Baker Hutton with 12:18 left in the half, before another quickie by Moore made it a 3-1 game just 63 seconds later.
Crockett junior A.J. Boyd then gave the Pioneers a fighting chance, scoring off a one-time blast from 15 yards out after picking up a loose ball from a corner kick.
Boyd's goal took the Pioneers to their 3-2 halftime deficit — then Moore exploded.
Oakley Powers also scored in the second half for THS, providing a 4-2 margin.
"We made a too many mistakes and Aidan Moore — what ya gonna do with him?'' Smelser wondered. "He's a true finisher, especially for a forward. He's a beast.
"But we'll continue to try to improve as we host Science Hill on Tuesday and then go to Elizabethton on Thursday. Then we'll play in the district tournament the next week, opening up against Daniel Boone.''