Star player Charlie Cole suffered an injury in Week 2, and the Trailblazers couldn’t compete with likes of Greeneville, Tennessee High, Elizabethton and Dobyns-Bennett.
It looked like a long year in the making, but things changed Friday night — even if the Trailblazers almost didn’t close the deal.
Boone led by three touchdowns at halftime but had to hold on in the final seconds with Morristown East knocking at the door for a potential tying TD. The final score was 28-21, and it was important step for Boone to remain relevant in the Region 1-5A title chase.
“It was huge,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said Saturday. “We talked all week about doing whatever it took to come out with a victory. Going to 0-2 in the league would have really put our backs against the wall. We’re happy to be 1-1 and still have everything in front of us. The kids prepared well and made enough plays to get a win. They really responded.”
Boone came out smoking. Brennan Blair had a 2-yard TD run before Kaleb Worley hit Phillip Page for a 35-yard touchdown toss.
Devon White, who had returned from an injury, scored a rushing touchdown to push Boone’s lead to 21-0. Worley hit Page for another scoring strike to send Boone into halftime with a 28-7 lead.
“We had a good start on offense, and the defense started the game with four three-and-outs,” Jenkins said. “We had a good mix of run and pass on offense. We were really balanced, and we made enough plays in the first half.”
After the break, Boone was a different team — which wasn’t a good thing.
“I hate to say it, but I guess we weren’t used to being in that position,” Jenkins noted. “Most of the things we did were self-inflicted. We had seven holding calls, several coming on plays where we had big gains. We kept getting behind the sticks.”
East came roaring back, leaning heavily on its passing game.
“They threw the ball every down in the second half,” Jenkins said with a laugh. “We were consistently trying to get a pass rush, but the kids were gassed.”
Trailing 28-21, East drove to Boone’s 15-yard line with 10 seconds left in the game, but the Trailblazers came up with a stop on the game’s final play.
The return of White to his linebacker position was important, Jenkins said.
“He’s a calming factor for the defense,” the coach said.
Also playing well were Worley and Jackson Jenkins at quarterback, helping Boone total 392 yards of offense. Blair and Page were also commended by Jenkins.
Defensively, Jenkins pointed to Hagan Edwards, Cole Bishop and Eli Penix as standouts.
“Eli had two sacks in key situations,” he said.