Back at home for a Friday night, and two football teams both ranked in the state in Class 5A, it should be an entertaining evening at Daniel Boone’s Hale Stadium.
The lights will be burning for the first time this season as the Trailblazers host Morristown West in a key Region 1-5A contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Boone (4-0 overall and ranked No. 6) is 1-0 in league play. West (3-1 overall and ranked No. 10) is also 1-0 in the region.
“West is a very athletic team,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “(The Trojans) run to the ball extremely well. They try to formation you to death with lots of motion and shifts.”
Boone could have its hands full with West running back Tison Johnson, who has carried a sturdy 92 times in four games and gained 493 yards with seven touchdowns. He also has 10 receptions for 66 yards.
“We have to gang tackle (Johnson),” Jenkins said. “We have to get lined up and focus on keys, not on the motion and shifts.”
Defensively, Jenkins said West’s strength is the defensive line.
“We have to get a hat on a hat in the running game, and protect the quarterback and execute better in the passing game,” Jenkins said.
Here’s a look at other games on the Friday’s schedule.
David Crockett (2-2) at Tennessee High (1-2)
Both of these teams are still in the mix for a shot at the Region 1-5A title, but only one will be in good position after this contest.
Pioneers coach Hayden Chandley said the Vikings can bring it defensively.
“Their defensive front flat gets after you,” Chandley said. “Led by (ends) Marquis Phelps and Jason Hernton, they have wreaked havoc in opponents’ backfields all season. That’s the best part of their team. We have to get their front four blocked.”
When the Vikings have the ball, Chandley said his defense will have to stay focused.
“They are old school veer and counter,” Chandley said. “It makes you play disciplined football. If we don’t play our assignment with good technique, they will be hard to stop.”
Chandley said a good start would be beneficial for his team.
“We have been the second team to score in three of our first four games,” he said. “One of those we were able to rebound to come back and win. The Stone Castle isn’t an easy place to play, so a fast start would certainly help. We need to put together a complete game, something we’ve not been able to do in a few weeks.”
Grainger (2-2) at Elizabethton (0-3)
Despite the records, the winless Cyclones can be considered the favorite.
Both teams were blanked by Greeneville, which scored 21 against Elizabethton and 35 versus Grainger. However, the Grizzlies have put up a lot of points with 42, 28 and 30 in their other games. The Cyclones have totaled only seven points in three games against a tough schedule.
Greeneville (4-0) at Volunteer (0-3)
With the Greene Devils on their usual early season roll and the Falcons having surrendered exactly 41 points in each of their first three games, it looks like a potential long night for Volunteer.
Seymour (2-2) at Sullivan East (2-2)
This is an interesting matchup that will give more information to the chase for second place in Region 1-4A.
The Eagles scored 42 and 41 points, respectively, in their wins with 14 and 13, respectively, in their losses. Meanwhile, the Patriots have totaled 147 points in four games and look like a legitimate offensive power.
Claiborne (1-2) at Unicoi County (4-0)
The Blue Devils haven’t beaten the Bulldogs on the field since 2019, partly because they didn’t play last season because of a COVID forfeit by Claiborne.
On a roll, the Blue Devils enter as the favorite. But Claiborne has been impressive at times on offense. The Bulldogs put up 38 points against Union County and 35 against Northview Academy.
West Greene (3-1) at Johnson County (0-3)
Coming off a big win over rival South Greene, it has been a nice start to the season for the Buffaloes — while the Longhorns are still looking for their first win.
Happy Valley (1-3) at Hampton (4-0)
This has been a good rivalry through the years with the Bulldogs holding a 40-33 series edge.
However, Hampton dominated in each of the last two meetings (48-0 last year and 28-0 in 2020), and the ’Dogs are heavily favored in this one.
Jellico (0-4) at Unaka (1-3)
The Rangers had their way against the Blue Devils in last year’s meeting with a 62-20 victory.
That was on the road, and Unaka is shooting for another good offensive showing against a Jellico team that has been consistent putting points on the board this year.