This week’s player of the week is Boone’s Jaycie Jenkins. Jaycie has been a leader for the Trailblazer volleyball team this season. Check back next week to see the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.
This week’s player of the week is Boone’s Jaycie Jenkins. Jaycie has been a leader for the Trailblazer volleyball team this season. Check back next week to see the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.
From STAFF REPORTS
It’s already been a good year for David Crockett High School Cheer.
Crockett’s cheerleaders participated in the Universal Cheerleaders Association cheer camp this year. Seven DCHS cheerleaders were named All-American Cheerleaders.
The Pioneer team received third place in overall varsity, first place in rally with big stunt, fourth place in cheer, and fourth place in sideline.
Overall, there were 22 teams, 18 Varsity teams, and 355 cheerleaders competing.
The seven students named All-Americans were Breanna Mauk, Jessica Aiken, Savannah Lands, Sydnee Hill, Zoe Chapman, Brooke Dinnes and JD Waldrop.
Cheerleading squads that attend a Universal Cheerleaders Association camp can nominate squad members to try out for the honor of being named a UCA All-American.
When an athlete becomes an All-American cheerleader, he or she is invited to perform at special events across the country and the world such as the London New Year’s Day Parade or the Rome New Year’s Day Parade.
By TREY WILLIAMS
For the first time this season, David Crockett’s football team found itself in a competitive game in a hostile environment. And physical, deliberate Knox Webb wasn’t an ideal match up.
But the Pioneers persevered, pulling out a 28-21 victory to improve to 3-0. It was the 15th win in 16 games for second-year coach Hayden Chandley.
“They were big up front and got in some heavy packages there and was able to impose their will on us,” Chandley said. “It was tough sledding for us there a couple of drives, but at the end of the day, we were able to get off the field a couple of times when it mattered most. Fortunately, we were able to make enough plays to get the ‘W’. And any time you go down to Knoxville and get a win, you take it — especially against a program with rich tradition such as Knox Webb.”
Senior quarterback Cade Larkins passed for three touchdowns and senior receiver Donta Hackler, who didn’t have to contend with double-team coverage for the first time this season, had nine catches for 150 yards.
“Webb played Donta pretty much straight up,” Chandley said. “They didn’t shade to him, and that was really the first time we’d seen that this year. Science Hill, I felt like, kind of tried to play a corner and a safety over top or a linebacker and a corner. And then Volunteer pretty much doubled him the entire game.
“That can be frustrating to a kid. At Volunteer I think he had two catches. You could tell he was a little bit frustrated. Then Webb plays us pretty much straight up, and as you can see from his stat line, we were able to take advantage of them doing that.”
Hackler, who is being recruited heavily by Charlotte, has 19 catches for 235 yards and one TD. His attention has helped Prince Kollie (18 catches, 412 yards, five TDs) and Mason Britton (11-167-5) get off to hot starts.
Ronquille Joyner rushed for more than 100 yards at Webb, and his TD in the fourth quarter gave the Pioneers a 28-14 lead. Crockett had led 14-7 at the half and 21-7 in the third quarter.
“The first play of the second half we hit Donta for about 60 to down inside the 20, set up Prince’s TD a couple of plays later,” Chandley said. “That put us up 21-7. … Credit to our kids, as soon as they punched us, we responded with a score of our own.
“We put together a real nice drive and Ronquille ended up capping it off with a short touchdown run. That was what I was most proud of. Going down there to a rich-tradition program and facing a little bit of adversity there, and every time they scored we answered right back with a punch of our own. That was really good to see.”
Sophomores Brendan and Brayden Reid have had productive starts to the season on defense. They have 21 and 19 tackles, respectively.
“We kind of knew what we were getting,” Chandley said. “They were kind of the hidden that nobody really knew about. Before this week I think they were leading us in tackles. I think they got passed up by Johnny (Lloyd) and Prince. But I can’t say enough about them, specifically Brendan.
“I think Brendan has been our MVP on defense thus far. He’s a really smart kid. He isn’t the biggest kid, but he’ll stick his nose in there. He’s not scared of anything. He’s made plays. He’s got a pick and he’s third on the team playing the safety spot. That says a lot about his nose for the football, his aggressiveness and being able to play the run and the pass.”
Crockett will host Cocke County on Friday.
Daniel Boone — Elizabethton 35, Daniel Boone 12
The Trailblazers (1-3), who lost their best offensive lineman (Chandler Masters) for the season to an August injury, were still without their top two players in Charlie Cole (arm) and Devon White (thumb). Boone is off this week, and will host Dobyns-Bennett on Sept. 27. There’s a chance White could return for that one.
This week’s player of the week is Crockett’s Cade Larkins. Cade has been a leader for the Pioneers this season, including the team’s historic win over Science Hill in Jonesborough. Check back next week to see the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.
From STAFF REPORTS
Daniel Boone High School’s cross country teams competed at the Cherokee Classic in Knoxville on Saturday, Sept. 7 against 61 teams.
The girls varsity team placed third while the boys varsity team placed fourth.
Kamryn Wingfield Winfield and Judy Chellah medaled with top 20 finishes out of 250 runners. Conner Wingfield and Max Austin medaled in the top 20 of 350 runners.
By TREY WILLIAMS
Daniel Boone was missing its best player, Charlie Cole, and its best defensive player, Devon White, when it opened Region 1-5A play against Tennessee High on Friday at Nathan Hale Stadium.
Cole said Friday that he might miss four more games due to a forearm fracture sustained in the second half of a week two loss to Greeneville. White is week to week with a thumb injury he suffered during summer camp.
Their injuries helped produce a painful introduction to league play against Tennessee High. The Vikings got two touchdown runs and a 97-yard kickoff return from junior Jaden Keller and rolled to a 35-0 victory.
Key players’ absences notwithstanding, Trailblazers coach Jeremy Jenkins was disappointed in his team’s performance.
“We’ve played without ‘em before,” Jenkins said. “So that’s just an excuse. We got whipped in the line of scrimmage. We didn’t tackle. And that’s the game – period.”
White is also Boone’s second-string running back. Jenkins is high on running back Joe Jones too, but there was usually nowhere for Jones to roam when he got handoffs against the Vikings.
“We said going in we had to be physical in the line of scrimmage against a good, active front like Tennessee High,” Jenkins said. “Their movement hurt us all night. We didn’t sustain many blocks. We didn’t sustain many drives.”
Indeed, Boone was held to 106 yards of offense and five first downs. The Vikings only generated 219 yards, but methodically marched for several scores.
“We didn’t tackle well and we couldn’t get off the field on third down,” Jenkins said. “That was the whole entire game. We could not get off the field. We had ‘em third-and-eight or more six times and they get five out of six and sustain drives.”
Tennessee High led 14-0 at halftime. Boone botched a punt late in the first half that set up Keller’s second TD run. And then Keller returned the second half kickoff 97 yards to the Daniel Boone 2-yard line, setting up quarterback Cole McBrayer’s 1-yard TD.
“The play of the game was the kickoff return,” Jenkins said. “We defended them better in the second half than we did in the first half as far as making them earn more stuff. But the kickoff return kind of took the wind out of our sails.”
Boone (0-1, 1-2) goes back out of conference this week when it visits Elizabethton on Friday. That’ll be followed by a home game with another undefeated team, Dobyns-Bennett (3-0), on the Sept. 27. Dobyns-Bennett beat Tennessee High, 33-13.
“We’re gonna find out what we’re made of the next couple of (games),” Jenkins said, “because now we’re behind the 8-ball conference wise. We’ve gotta really scratch and claw to get back in the conference race. Nobody’s gonna feel sorry for us.”
Certainly, Keller and the Vikings didn’t.
“Charlie and Devon White not being there – that was a big part,” Vikings coach Mike Mays said. “But I think our defense still played well and I think our offense had a great game plan. We competed and we executed.
“We were ready to play, and when you lose a star like Charlie it is gonna deflate your team. It can go two ways – they can be fired up and play for him, or it can deflate. I think it just deflated ‘em. They’re still a good football team.”
David Crockett — David Crockett 48, Volunteer 19
The Pioneers (2-0) opened Region 1-5A play with a convincing road win a week after a historic rout of Science Hill.
Cade Larkins passed for 268 yards and five TDs and fellow senior Ronquille Joyner rushed for 154 yards as second-year coach Hayden Chandley improved his career record to 14-1.
Junior Mason Britton caught two TD passes for the second straight week. Eric Dunbar also had two touchdown receptions.
Junior Prince Kollie caught a 70-yard TD. Kollie has a team-high 12 receptions for 294 yards, and his four TD receptions are tied for the team lead with Britton.
Sophomores Brayden and Brenden Reid lead Crockett with 17 and 15 tackles, respectively.
The Pioneers will visit Knox Webb on Friday. Webb (1-2) is coming off a 28-21 loss at Boyd Buchanan, which is coached by former Crockett coach Jeremy Bosken.
By TREY WILLIAMS
Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” blared while skydivers touched down on the field prior to David Crockett’s home game against Science Hill on Friday.
Once the game kicked off, Crockett senior quarterback Cade Larkins was the touchdown-delivering top gun.
Larkins passed for 330 yards and five touchdowns as David Crockett emphatically recorded its first victory against the Hilltoppers with a 62-34 rout.
Junior Prince Kollie caught seven passes for 150 yards and three TDs – all in the first half – and senior Ronquille Joyner rushed for 135 yards and two TDs. The Pioneers dashed to a 34-7 lead – Eric Dunbar’s 78-yard interception return for a score made it 27-0 – and the ‘Toppers defense was so overmatched that Science Hill attempted multiple onside kicks in the first half.
One Crockett staffer said it was believed to be the first win for Crockett in 22 meetings in the series.
“Wow,” Crockett second-year coach Hayden Chandley said before pausing a moment to soak in a postgame celebration that included a glancing blow from an attempted Gatorade shower. “What a night for David Crockett High School. The people here. To put up 62 points on an opponent like Science Hill. Words can’t express how good we feel.
“I didn’t think that they had ever beaten Science Hill. But wow. What a way to get our first win, if it was the first win.”
Larkins, a reigning Mr. Football finalist with a handful of Division I offers, including East Tennessee State, was a man among boys at times. He passed accurately on a broad range of routes. He bought time when pressure materialized while his eyes were always seemingly surveying the receivers.
Crockett converted a fourth-and-11 on its opening drive. The coverage wasn’t a bust, but Donta Hackler (eight catches, 70 yards) ran a good route and Larkins delivered a strike on time.
“I tell you, he makes us look really good as coaches a lot of times,” said Crockett second-year coach Hayden Chandley. “Pressure breaks down and he escapes the pocket and just finds the open guy. I can’t say enough about 16. I don’t know what his numbers were tonight, but wow, what a performance. He carried us. When we needed a play he made it. We’re glad he’s on our side and (we’re) not having to game-plan against him.”
Science Hill defensive coordinator Ralph Nelson didn’t envy game-planning against Larkins, not to mention his top targets.
“This Hackler kid has a big-time college body with him,” Nelson said. “He’s got the length, the height, the speed and catches about everything. Hackler and the Kollie kid – you just don’t see that much, but especially with that quarterback.
“The quarterback makes the whole thing go. He’s probably the best quarterback I’ve seen in terms of just throwing. He’s smart. He knows coverages. You’re not gonna trick him. You’ve just gotta hope you can get to a spot before they can. We scrimmaged ‘em when he was a sophomore and knew he was special then. You’re talking about a kid that could be the best quarterback that’s ever played in the state of Tennessee as far as passing. He’s on track to get what, 8,000 yards – something crazy. … He can make all the throws.”
Mason Britton had four catches for 100 yards and two TDs. Larkins left the pocket and showed patience before delivering strikes to Britton.
“We won’t see a better kid throwing it like that,” Science Hill coach Stacy Carter said. “That’s pretty special. That’s really special. And it’s obvious. He made some great throws. He’s just a great player. …
“They’ve got some guys that can really play. There’s about three people (for the Pioneers) that are fantastic football players.”
While playing at Daniel Boone, Chandley was 2-0 against Science Hill. Coaching the Pioneers to the program’s first victory was perhaps even more gratifying.
“It’s pretty high up there,” Chandley said. “It’s the first win in school history against Science Hill. And to do it in the fashion that we did with 62 points – I never would’ve dreamed we could’ve put up that many points.”
Crockett will open Region 1-5A play when it visits Volunteer on Friday.
Daniel Boone – (Greeneville 31, Daniel Boone 14)
Two-time defending state champion Greeneville (1-1), fresh off a 19-17 loss to Knox Powell that snapped a 30-game wins streak, got 109 yards rushing and two TDs from senior Ty Youngblood.
It was the first win for Greeneville coach Dan Hammonds, who said he has a great deal of respect for Trailblazers coach Jeremy Jenkins.
Boone senior Charlie Cole, an Army commit, sustained a fractured forearm in the second half. He’d rushed for 84 yards on 21 carries. The injury could sideline Cole, a rare combination of speed and power, some 6-8 weeks.
Boone was already without promising junior middle linebacker-running back Devon White, who could return from a thumb injury Friday when the ‘Blazers host Tennessee High in both teams’ Region 1-5A opener.
By TREY WILLIAMS
Lightning officially delayed the start of David Crockett’s football season Friday, but Charlie Cole-led Daniel Boone charged to a season-opening win against Sullivan South.
Cole, a senior that’s committed to Army, rushed 23 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the Trailblazers’ 30-6 defeat of a physically imposing Sullivan South.
Crockett led Ooltewah 19-16 when a lengthy lightning delay forced the game to be suspended. Barring playoff implications, it won’t be completed.
Daniel Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins knew he’d get a complete performance from Cole. However, a defense that graduated eight starters last season and lost middle linebacker Devon White (thumb) this summer for at least the opener offered plenty of uncertainty against a South team with a big offensive line and a proven running back.
“Their offensive line scared us because of their size, and we’re not real big up front on defense and had nine new starters over there,” Jenkins said. ‘We didn’t know what to expect with them making their first start. But I thought our kids played really hard and made some plays when they had to.
“I thought Jacob Bradley really played well at defensive tackle. Will Hamlin, a sophomore, making his first start at defensive end – I thought he played extremely well for us as well. And one of our defensive backs, Daniel Lusk, led us in tackles with 10. He played some last year in our nickel situation and came in late in the year when Joe (Jones) got hurt. But it was his first start to start the season. And Austin Cunningham played well flying around.”
Cole was an asset with the football whether he was toting it or booting it.
“Punting may have been the biggest thing for us,” Jenkins said. “Charlie got ‘em down there inside the 10 twice. One time, the next play was a bad snap and we recovered it for a touchdown.”
Cole’s productive night from the backfield came despite the big Rebels defense focused on him, especially with Boone sophomore quarterback Kaleb Worley making his first start. Worley did make some crucial runs to extend drives and designed plays.
“They were really keying on Charlie, and we knew that,” Jenkins said. “The quarterback draw was good to us. I thought he (Worley) played well and handled it pretty good.”
Boone will host defending state champion Greeneville on Friday.
“Offensively, we’ve gotta get better in a lot of places,” Jenkins said. “South was really big and physical up front, and they gave us some trouble a little bit early on. But we know we’ve got a whole ‘nother animal this week with Greeneville, because they really pride themselves on being physical and dominant and trying to be the most physical team out there. You’ve gotta match that physicality with them. And we know they’re gonna come in here really hungry coming off a loss to Knox Powell.”
Cole and Greeneville linebacker-running back Ty Youngblood are both physical, downhill players. It could cause quite a ruckus if they meet in the hole.
“It’d probably sound like a landmine going off,” said Jenkins, who noted having a lot of respect for first-year Greeneville coach Dan Hammonds and his staff.
Greeneville opened the season with a 19-17 loss at Knox Powell on Thursday. It snapped the two-time defending state champions’ 30-game wins streak.
“We’re excited to play against Greeneville,” Jenkins said. “The defending state champion coming in, you don’t have that very often and we know there’s gonna be a good crowd in Gray with two quality teams getting after each other. We know we’re gonna have to tackle a whole lot better. They’ve got athletes all over the field. We’ve gotta do a good job of tackling in space.”
Crockett’s Ronquille Joyner rushed for a 2-yard TD to give the Pioneers their 19-16 lead in the third quarter.
Pioneers senior Cade Larkins was 16-of-21 passing for 180 yards, one TD and two interceptions. He was pressured early and often, and had to leave the game a couple of plays after driving the Pioneers to the 13-yard line on the scoring march Joyner capped. Larkins engineered a 99-yard drive that Donta Hackler capped with a 28-yard TD catch.
“After we scored our first touchdown, we kick it off to them and force a punt,” Crockett coach Hayden Chandley said. “Then they pin us deep there late in the second quarter with about five minutes to go and we put together a 99-yard drive, and that sequence of score, stop, score, was huge.
“They came out the first drive of the second half and just ran it down our throat and punched it in and only took about three minutes to do it. We responded with an 80-yard drive where we converted three third downs, and two of which were third-and-12. Cade leads us down the field then took a shot on our sideline and had to come out. That kind of rallied our guys.
“Mason (Britton) came in and did a good job. First play we rattle off a 12-yard run to get us down to the 1-yard line. I was really pleased with how we responded to our captain going down like that.”
Hackler finished with six catches for 76 yards. Prince Kollie also had six receptions (47 yards) and Eric Dunbar caught three passes for 48 yards.
Brendan Reid rushed for a 39-yard TD.
“Ooltewah is a really solid football team,” Chandley said. “They were huge up front and I think we will be hard pressed to play anyone this year with a bigger offensive line than they had. Their running back was a good, strong runner and their defensive backs were solid. They will win their fair share of games this season.”
Kollie and Reid led the way with 11 and nine tackles, respectively, for the Pioneers, who host Science Hill on Friday. Chandley said Crockett will have to figure out how to contain Chris Thomas, who rushed for 215 yards in the Hilltoppers’ 28-20 loss to Elizabethton on Friday.
From STAFF REPORTS
Wetlands Water Park, located at 1523 Persimmon Ridge Road in Historic Jonesborough, hosted its 5th Annual Queens of The Sand Volleyball League this summer, which recently wrapped up on Aug. 1.
The league featured two divisions of players: a middle school division and a high school division. Teams of two players competed against each other, twice weekly, during the month-long season.
This year, the league featured 12 teams in great volleyball action. The competition culminated in a championship tournament to crown the Wetlands’ Queens of the Sand 2019.
In the middle school division, the winners were the team of Addy Rowe, Maddie Humphrey and Sophie Greear.
In the high school division, the winners were the team of Morgan Barkley and Maddie Pleasant.
The Queens of The Sand Volleyball League was developed to promote the sport of volleyball and provide local athletes an opportunity to hone their skills prior to the beginning of the school volleyball season. League play is run by the participating teams as well as the parents.
Wetlands Water Park provides guests a relaxing and enjoyable aquatic experience through the highest quality standards of customer service.
Wetlands Water Park in Jonesborough is a municipally operated park in the State of Tennessee. Wetlands Water Park is designed to encourage the entire family to participate together in an enjoyable and safe aquatic experience.
Wetlands Water Park will be open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
For more information call (423)753-1553.
By TREY WILLIAMS
A year after winning an unexpected berth in the Little League World Series, Daniel Boone’s softball team came painfully close to making it back.
Boone won the 11-12-year-old state tournament in Charlotte, a fifth straight such title for the core group of girls, and advanced to the winners bracket final of the Southeast Region in Warner Robins, Georgia. The repeat run was derailed July 28 thanks, in part, to an extra-inning bloop hit in a 5-4 loss to North Carolina.
When the dust had settled, however, players and coaches alike were proud of the accomplishments and nearly completing an unlikely repeat trip to Portland, Oregon.
“It’s kind of unreal to believe actually, but these girls just set a goal in their minds and they were destined to achieve it,” manager Lori Jenkins said. “Last year, I think, we played out of our socks. It was unreal that we won the Southeast Region and our goal was just to get back (to the regional) again. And we almost had it if we could’ve won that North Carolina game. And we knew whoever won it was going on again to the World Series.”
Boone was propelled by the bats of Riley Croley, Josie Jenkins and Ava Saul at the state tournament. They were essentially on a four-game tear. Each batted over .500 during state tourney play.
“Those three just hit phenomenal down there,” Jenkins said. “They kind of carried us hitting wise.”
Croley batted ninth last year. These days, she’s in the leadoff spot.
“I’d have to say she’s made big strides in her batting and on-base percentage, because at the Southeast Region she ended up batting .545,” Sanders said. “She’s really improved her hitting game. She did a great job.”
Catcher Kyleigh Bacon and Jenkins, the shortstop, anchor the defense.
“Kyleigh Bacon can also pitch, but she’s just so good behind the plate that you just hate to remove her from there,” Jenkins said. “I mean nobody steals on her. She throws everybody out just about. I don’t think anybody stole on here the whole state tournament. I think we allowed one steal in the Southeast Regional just because it was a bobbled pitch trying to catch a changeup.
“(Jenkins) is kind of like the Golden Glove over there. That’s what I call her. She prides herself on defense. She’s kind of one of the main captains on the infield, too. …
“Third baseman Ava Saul is another one of the team leaders. She’s a good defensive person for us.”
Bacon was hot at the plate in Georgia.
“She stepped up really big at the Southeast Region and had phenomenal at-bats,” Jenkins said. “She was batting around .600 at the Southeast Region.”
The pitching ace is Kayleigh Musser. That’s been the case for years. Katie Sparks recently joined the team, and platooned with Musser in the state tournament.
Starters include left fielder Sadie Henson, center fielder Lillie Walters, first baseman Anna Richardson and right fielder Taylor Brinn. Also among the contributors are Matti Phillips, Kenzie Bacon and Addison Dietz.
Boone’s Little League program initially began primarily to nourish the Daniel Boone High School program. But it’s become an entity of its own.
“We just wanted to try to make a team to help out our high school program,” Jenkins said. “It’s mainly why it started. We’ve got some great parents. I can’t think of one time that any parent has ever complained – knock on wood.”
Boone was arguably within a bloop single of a second straight Little League World Series berth. Jenkins won’t soon digest the loss, even if her young players understandably do.
“We tied it up in the sixth inning, 4-4, and had to go in extra innings,” Jenkins said. “They ended up beating us 5-4 in extra innings on – it almost makes me sick – a little blooper. It’s just painful to think about.
“You’ve got 13 girls sitting there staring at ya just bawling. And then we took ‘em to Steak ‘n Shake and they were laughing, cutting up, having a good ole time. And on the trip back home they were wild as bucks. And I’m still ready to chew nails thinking, ‘Man, if I’d just done something different.’”
Jenkins primarily works with the pitchers. Freddie Saul coaches the hitters and Steven Croley assists with fielding instruction.
“All three of us just kind of started when eight of these girls were seven years old,” Jenkins said. “We started down there at Little League and picked a core group of girls that were all the same age and we knew that we could keep together. And we’ve just been working with ‘em ever since.
“It just kind of took off. I never really dreamed it would end up what it’s ended up in Little League.”
By TREY WILLIAMS
David Crockett senior football players Cade Larkins and Donta Hackler have multiple Division I college suitors, and it appears junior Prince Kollie will have a number of options at that level next year.
Kollie, who has played safety, receiver and running back during his first two seasons, including a record-setting rushing performance as a freshman against Campbell County, performed well at a Virginia Tech mini-camp on Saturday.
“It was an invite-only kind of thing, and he performed really well,” Crockett coach Hayden Chandley said. “They showed quite a bit of interest and said they like what they’ve seen, and they’re gonna continue to monitor him as well.”
Larkins, a record-setting quarterback that led the Pioneers to a 12-0 start and their first quarterfinals appearance last year, also had a productive week on the recruiting trail.
“Arkansas State has been on Cade here for a couple of months now,” Chandley said. “He went to camp there on Friday and performed really well. They’re gonna continue to monitor him.”
Larkins has been offered by the likes of ETSU, Chattanooga and Tennessee Tech. Clint Freeman, a former baseball standout at Crockett and ETSU, said he thinks Larkins has just as high an upside, if not higher, in baseball – and that’s no knock on his quarterbacking skills.
“I know he’s a great quarterback,” Freeman said. “I get it. But some of the things he did in baseball this season, especially when he’s not playing baseball most of the year, were really impressive.”
Hackler, an explosive 6-foot-3 receiver, has offers from Eastern Kentucky, Tulane and Texas-San Antonio. Some of the coaches in Region 1-5A give Crockett an edge at the top, primarily because of Hackler.
“Hackler’s a difference-maker,” said first-year Morristown East coach Caleb Slover, who coached against Hackler in previous seasons while at Cocke County. “He’s a big-time player.”
The Pioneers’ media day is Thursday at 10 a.m. There will be plenty of hype following last year’s unprecedented playoffs run.
Chandley can only hope the taste of success – heaping helping of success, actually – will whet his players’ appetites. There might’ve been a day or two of complacency in the offseason, which is understandable.
“Maybe we’ve battled that a little bit, had to get that little bit of a sense of entitlement out of ‘em,” Chandley said. “We’re still learning to battle through things like that, and our kids are figuring out that nothing’s going to be handed to them and it doesn’t matter what you did last year. We’ve gotta create our own identity.”
Region 1-5A has a number of dangerous teams and quality players, perhaps none more imposing than Charlie Cole at archrival Daniel Boone, Chandley’s alma mater. Cole, a running back with size, speed and strength, has committed to Army.
“The conference has three pretty big stars (Cole, Hackler, Larkins) at the top of it,” Chandley said. “Charlie’s got the big-time offer from Army. That’s a credit to his work ethic. He’s got a great family. I’ve known them for a long time, and I’m extremely happy for him to get the opportunity to go up to West Point.
“But you look past those three guys and there’s still quite a bit of talent. You’ve got the (Nolan) Wishon kid from Bristol that’s a big kid and a big-time talent. You’ve got the quick (Peyton) Derrick kid from Volunteer. Cocke County’s got the big (Lundon) Shelton kid at running back. Morristown East has the (C.J.) Livesay kid at linebacker. There’s hidden gems at each and every school. Some of those guys just get overshadowed by Cole and Cade and Donta.”
The Pioneers are jumping in on the deep end this season, opening by hosting Ooltewah on Aug. 23 before Science Hill visits Jonesborough on Aug. 30.
“We feel like we’ve set ourselves up with a pretty tough non-conference schedule at the front of the year,” Chandley said. “Hopefully that will translate and we will benefit greatly from those challenges at the beginning of the season when we start the tough stretch of conference play.”
By TREY WILLIAMS
As unjust as it seemed, Clint Freeman was resigned to his fate this spring.
At 28 years of age – considered the peak time for an athlete – the former David Crockett and East Tennessee State standout baseball player was out of work despite recording professional highs in doubles (27) and home runs (14) for the Frontier League’s River City Rascals in 2018.
“I was throwing batting practice, coaching at River City,” said Freeman, who is also an assistant baseball coach at Crockett. “I was done playing. I was done with it. I was at peace with it. I just figured if you hit (that many) home runs and doubles and nobody gives you a phone call that it was kind of time to move on from it.”
But before he was a consistent independent league hitter, the 6-foot-1 Freeman was a left-handed pitcher. He combined for 19 saves his final two seasons at ETSU and pitched 26 2/3 innings for Ogden during his second season with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2015. Freeman even provided some spot duty on the mound at River City the past two of his three seasons there.
Left-handed pitching is always at a premium, and it landed Freeman a spot with the Long Island Ducks last month. The first-place Ducks are in the Atlantic League, an independent league that includes a high percentage of players and coaches – and owners – with major-league experience.
Freeman was getting scouting reports on River City opponents when he got a call from former River City teammate Cody Mincey, who pitches for Long Island.
“He asked me, ‘Do you have any video of you pitching,’” Freeman said.
Freeman relayed video and Mincey was soon back in contact. The Ducks manager, former New York Mets second baseman Wally Backman, was intrigued with Freeman’s pitching.
“He said, ‘Our manager really likes you from the left side. We need pitching. Can you come and pitch,” Freeman said. “And I was like, ‘Are you serious? Are you joking me? I haven’t thrown or anything.’ I’d been throwing batting practice. And the next thing I know I’m on the phone with their GM and they sign me. It’s pretty crazy, pretty amazing.”
Freeman said he’s being brought along slowly in games that are essentially already decided. He was throwing 88-92 mph right away, but secondary pitches are being polished, hopefully in time to be an asset during the homestretch of what could be a championship run.
The pitching coach is former MLB player Rick Tomlin. Freeman likes what he’s seen from Backman and Tomlin.
“Wally, whatever you say, I mean he vouches for his players,” Freeman said. “He’s just a players’ coach, honestly. He’s a hard-nosed players’ coach, do-your-job type guy. He likes to have fun.
“Rick Tomlin was the pitching coordinator, head guy for the Brewers. He knows (Elizabethton alum) Danny Clark. It’s a blessing being able to have those guys. You’re never too old to learn stuff.”
The Atlantic League produces high-level baseball.
“Sixteen of the 24 guys on our team have major-league time, and I think eight of them are under the age of 30,” Freeman said. “I think a lot of people’s outlook on it is it’s like a bunch of washed-up players. No, it’s not. It’s a lot of young guys that have played in the major leagues and could still do it. And they come and go. They’ve had like 16 guys get picked up this year.”
Freeman has also gotten three at-bats with the Ducks. He said he hit a ball to the warning track off former Cincinnati pitcher Daryl Thompson.
The Atlantic League has made headlines for a number of experimental rules this season, including a batter being able to try to “steal” first base on passed balls or wild pitches, boundaries to limit defensive shifts and the Robot umpire, which uses cameras to determine balls and strikes.
Freeman said neither him nor anyone else he’s spoken with are fond of the rules.
But other than that, Freeman is again living the dream. He stays in a renovated house in Long Island, New York on what reminds him of an abandoned college campus.
“It goes to show when you think you know what’s gonna happen the Lord has another plan for you,” he said. “I’m sitting there coaching, not evening thinking about playing, and a week later you’re facing three major-league hitters.
“I’m blessed to have this opportunity. There are only a handful of people that get to go this far and play.”
By TREY WILLIAMS
Scott Hagy thought he’d put the romance of the baseball diamond behind him. Instead, he’s remarrying – and going from a Hatfield to a McCoy.
Hagy, who coached David Crockett baseball for 20 years before stepping aside after the 2017 season, was named the new coach at rival Daniel Boone last week. Going to the wrong dugout seems like a possibility the first time the Trailblazers and Pioneers meet next season.
“It’ll be surreal,” Hagy said. “But it ought to be a lot of fun.”
Indeed, it’s fun looking ahead when you inherit two-way player Cade Elliott, a rising senior that’s committed to Tennessee. Hagy began teaching last year at Boone, where Elliott’s father Josh also teaches. Josh played baseball and football at Boone and pitched at Centre College, and Hagy said Josh has had a positive influence on and off the field on his friendly, respectful son.
“You can see that just walking through the halls at Daniel Boone – just the way Cade handles himself,” Hagy said. “I can see where Cade gets it. His dad is very humble and very down to earth as well.”
Elliott, right fielder Colby Backus and center fielder Brody Goodman are three of the primary reasons Boone should contend in the Big Seven next season. The ‘Blazers split with Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett and Tennessee High this season for the first time in Rob Hoover’s 14-year career and secured the No. 3 seed for the district tournament.
Hagy’s Pioneers, led by Clinton Freeman, reached the sectional in back-to-back seasons (2009-10) before losing to Farragut.
“We’re gonna play for one thing, and that’s to win the conference,” Hagy said. “I do know what it takes to advance and to move on, and I think with the returning group of players who are there … it’ll be interesting to see how it unfolds.”
Former Milligan College coach Danny Clark, a minor league coordinator with the Texas Rangers, considered the Boone job for a time. And Bernie Young, who coached Science Hill to the 1998 state championship, expressed an interest late in the process.
“This announcement comes after an exhaustive search process,” Boone athletic director Danny Good said, “with a great deal of interest from many individuals. … The search committee for this position sought to find the most qualified, experienced, and dedicated educator possible. These factors ultimately led to the hiring of Coach Hagy. During his span of nearly 30 years of service to Washington County Schools, Coach Hagy has served for 20 years as a baseball head coach, athletic director, administrator, and teacher.”
Hagy is pleased to be working with Good and Boone principal Tim Campbell.
“I have a deep admiration for Tim and Danny both, and the jobs they’re doing at Boone,” Hagy said. “I appreciate the opportunity to continue on.”
Hagy’s staff will include Tucker McPherson, Drew Patterson and John Long, who played for Hagy at Crockett. Logan Clark, who worked for Hagy at Crockett, could join the bench, too.
“If we can work it out, I’d love to have him,” Hagy said. “The more eyes you have out there, the more hands you have to help – I think it just makes things easier and better. … I’ve talked several times with the staff – Tucker and John and Drew. We’re gonna meet some this week and see if we can’t really get started in earnest and keep this thing continued on the path it was on when Rob had it.”
Hagy, like Hoover, would rather be remembered for having a positive influence on teenagers than winning ballgames. Hoover left to concentrate full-time on the ministry.
“He’s just a tremendous man and he’s a pleasure to work with in school,” Hagy said. “And I think anybody in that building would tell you the same thing. And we butted heads a lot in district tournament games and regular season games, close wins and close losses. But he’s just a fine individual.”
Boone will essentially conduct auditions for new roster spots this week.
“We’re gonna have tryouts this week,” Hagy said. “We’re getting a little bit of a late start there. We didn’t get to have anything before the (two-week) dead period.”
Hagy is a 1983 graduate of Sullivan East, where he played for John McKamey and Dave Rutherford. He began teaching at Mary Hughes Middle School in 1988, and coached former David Crockett principal Andy Hare there.
It seems like a long time ago, especially if you’re sitting at the house.
“I just wasn’t ready to retire,” Hagy said. “This presented itself and I did not want to regret not taking it, I guess, is what it boils down to.”
By TREY WILLIAMS
Recruiting interest in David Crockett quarterback Cade Larkins and receiver Donta Hackler is heating up with summer’s arrival.
The Pioneers made an unprecedented run to the quarterfinals last season, and Hackler and Larkins were arguably the two biggest factors.
The 6-foot-3 Hackler has offers from Tulane, Liberty, Eastern Kentucky, UT-San Antonio. Larkins has been offered by East Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, Campbell and, most recently, Chattanooga on Saturday.
Hackler has been to camps at Kentucky and Virginia Tech. Larkins has also been to Blacksburg, as well as Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State.
“Cade and Donta are staying busy with visits and going to various camps,” Crockett second-year coach Hayden Chandley said Monday night. “Things are really starting to pick up for those guys, and there’ll be more to come, I’m sure, on into summer and once the season starts. We’re excited for those guys and making sure they stay patient through the process and don’t rush any kind of decision, because it’s still early in the process.”
The 6-foot-2 Larkins has gotten faster in the past year. Chandley said the strong-armed senior with the quick release is running the 40 in the 4.8-4.9 range.
“Cade is probably 5-10 pounds lighter than he was this time last year,” Chandley said. “He’s really taking his diet seriously. Ever since the season ended, really, he’s worked hard to stay in shape and shave maybe a little bit of that baby fat off. He looks good, runs extremely well to be as big as he is and playing the quarterback position.
“People don’t realize how strong he is. He’s definitely gotten faster. I think he’s gonna be improved in that area, and it’s gonna do nothing but improve his stock.”
Hackler is fast and long, and he leaps well. He was often double-teamed last season, a task he figures to face almost constantly this coming season.
The addition of 6-foot-3 Mason Britton to the program could eventually help keep defenses more honest.
“It helps when you add one that’s 6-foot-3 on the outside,” Chandley said. “If everything works out the way we’ve planned for it to, we’ll start 6-3 on the outside on both sides at either receiver and Prince (Kollie) will play some slot (receiver) and some running back. So we’ll have a chance to have two 6-3 receivers and a 6-2 receiver in the starting lineup. There’s some colleges that don’t even have that. So we feel extremely fortunate to have those three on our side and a pretty good one back there throwing them the ball, too.”
Kollie, a rising junior that also plays defensive back, will spearhead a defense that graduated eight starters, including his brother, John, and fellow linebacker Mark Seidler.
“There won’t be many opportunities for him to rest,” Chandley said. “Prince really came on toward the end of the year on the defensive side of the ball. I coach the secondary and it was pretty neat to just watch him evolve and really come into his own there late in the year. In one of our last regular season games, he had two picks against Cherokee, and he had a pick against Knox Central in the playoff (quarterfinal) game. He played really, really well – maybe his best game was against Tennessee High there in the second round of the playoffs. It really started to click for him.”
Chandley has been encouraged by his players’ collective offseason work. The TSSAA’s mandatory two-week “dead” period begins next week.
“We feel good with where we’re at,” Chandley said. “We’ve made good strides in the weight room. We’ve gotta hit it hard this last week before dead period.
“I don’t like it (dead period). It’s a situation where the kids get two weeks off, but you build up all this strength and then it’s basically in the kids’ hands whether they work hard for those two weeks or sit on the couch and eat potato chips for two weeks. We’ve challenged our kids to continue to work hard during that time off. We’ll max again here in two or three weeks when we get back from dead period.
“I think we have a chance to be deeper than we were last year. We’ve got some young guys that haven’t gotten a lot of playing time that we’re gonna have to count on. But they’ve made good strides in the weight room, and hopefully that translates to the field as well.”
From STAFF REPORTS
The Lamar Middle School Track team traveled to Clarksville, Tennessee to participate in the State competition at Austin Peay University.
Lamar had four team members that made All-State. Those student athletes included Breanna Dunn, third in the 800 meter run breaking her own school record a third time of 2:35; Annabelle Stephens, third in the discus throw; Elizabeth Wheeley tied for fifth place alongside another Washington County contender from Grandview Middle, Zoe Sanders; and Gideon Erwin placed fifth in the 1600 meter run with a school record breaking time of 5:04.
By TREY WILLIAMS
Second-year David Crockett girls basketball coach Tony Gordon is having such a good time these days that the former boys head coach didn’t blink when Crockett boys coach John Good resigned to go to Unicoi County this spring.
Gordon was an assistant under Good prior to last season. He’s been the boys head coach at University High, Morristown West and Elizabethton.
“I’ve got an unbelievable group of kids,” Gordon said. “They’ve just bought in a hundred percent. They’ve been fun to coach – so fun that I was not gonna leave them for the boys job.”
Gordon’s Pioneers returned to Furman University last week for a team camp. What a difference a year makes.
“The coaches at Furman couldn’t believe we were the same team,” Gordon said, “just from where we were last year to where we are this year. … They were ready to go to camp so they didn’t have to go against each other, because our practices are – they’re battles. There’s some kids that just don’t like to lose, and they’ll sacrifice whatever they need to sacrifice to win.”
The Pioneers return every player other than softball ace Kara Weems, including leading scorer Emma Gouge and leading rebounder Mackenzie Baldwin.
“Since we got back and had our spring practice, which was the last week of school, it’s night and day from where we’ve been,” Gordon said. “I can’t believe how far they’ve come, but I can, because I know how much work they’ve put into it and how much they want it. I’m not surprised, but as far as evaluating what we’re doing and where we’re at, I couldn’t be more pleased. …
“What sets them apart is how hard they compete. Defensively, they’ve gotten a lot better. They take pride in it. They share the ball. They have confidence and they’re really getting comfortable with our system of play.”
Two Crockett players were injured at Furman. Madison Orr suffered an apparent meniscus injury and Carlie Wilson injured a shoulder. Wilson is expected back within a week or two, but Orr won’t likely return before fall.
“Orr didn’t play a lot last year, but she is, far and above, our most improved player,” Gordon said. “She made a decision on her own to dedicate herself to basketball and she’s in the gym almost daily. She got on a travel team and she has blossomed. She’s gonna help us this year because she can shoot, she’s athletic, she’s got some length. And now she’s got some confidence on top of it. I think she’ll recover from this fairly well, but it hurts to see her go down because I know how much she’s put into it. …
“Carlie Wilson’s improved tremendously. She rebounds well, she creates space and she knows her limitations.”
Nora Walters, a rising sophomore, could be a productive addition to the roster next season.
“She’s had an outstanding offseason playing travel ball and all that,” Gordon said. “She’s always in the gym, and she gives us some length and athleticism. She’s not used to the speed of the varsity game yet, but she’ll adjust. She’s gonna be a huge asset, because she can play multiple positions. She’s basically the tallest one we’ll have (approximately 5-foot-10).”
At least a couple of freshmen could contribute right away at the varsity level.
“I think we’re gonna have a decent class coming in, but not as deep,” Gordon said. “There’s a couple I have my eye on, obviously.”
The Pioneers will also have guard Carolina Palomino next season. A good defender, Palomino sustained a season-ending injury this past season.
Crockett will also attend camps at Oak Ridge and UNC Asheville.
From STAFF REPORTS
The Ridgeview Lady Raptor softball team, led by Coach Lori Jenkins, wrapped up its season at the Area Tournament at Ridgeview School in Gray. The team had an impressive season going undefeated with a record of 27-0.
They clinched the Big Three Large School Division Championship as well as the Area 1 Championship. In the area tournament, they defeated Johnson County 15-3, Vance Middle School 2-1, and Sevier Middle School 9-4 to grab the Area Title.
During conference and area tournament play, Audrey Moorhouse batted 9-19, Kyleigh Bacon was 14-22 at the plate with one home run, and Maci Masters was 12-20 at the plate with four home runs.
Pitcher Katie Sparks took the win over Vance, giving up three hits and one earned run. Kyleigh Bacon took the win over Sevier, giving up five hits and four runs.
An impressive defense was lead by Josie Jenkins, Lillie Walters, Alexandria Unick, Riley Croley, and Kenzie Bacon.
By TREY WILLIAMS
For more than half a century Jerry Jenkins has been a man for all seasons in Washington County.
Jenkins played football and baseball at Science Hill (1964-67) and has coached since 1972 at Science Hill, David Crockett and Daniel Boone, where he was recognized prior to a baseball game with many former players in attendance.
Until this past season, when he helped solely with football, Jenkins had coached football, basketball and baseball every year at Boone. He’s been the head football coach at Crockett (1982-85), the head baseball coach at Boone (1994-2005) and the head girls basketball coach at Boone. He was an assistant football coach for Ken Green at Boone and under Tommy Hundley at Science Hill (while also helping Don Humston at Independence Hall Junior High), where the Hilltoppers had an undefeated regular season in 1979.
“I’m probably the only coach that’s coached at every school in Washington County (in so many sports),” Jenkins said. “I’ve been fired in football at one of the county schools and I’ve been fired in basketball – girls – at the other. And I don’t blame ‘em.”
Jenkins is liable to sell himself short. His son Jeremy is the longest-tenured football coach in Class 5A, and Jerry’s smarts, not to mention his sense of humor, have helped pave that path.
“I came over in 2004 and being able to have the opportunity to work with him was a big factor in why I came over here from Sullivan South,” Jeremy said. “He’s been there every day, every practice, every game, and there’s been a lot of good memories with him on the sideline and up in the box. I remember one call when (David Crockett coach) Hayden Chandley was playing. We were playing Morristown East and it was fourth-and-one and I asked him what to do up top (in the press box). I said, ‘What do you think?’ He didn’t say nothing. And I said, ‘What do you think?’
“And he said, ‘Son, that’s why you get paid the big bucks. I tell you, these cookies are good up here.’”
Jerry chuckled recalling such moments.
“I just like to aggravate,” he said. “In staff meetings they’ll tell me to leave. I believe in humor. Well, you can’t be cutting up and joking all the time, but you can’t be uptight all the time neither.”
Daniel Boone baseball coach Rob Hoover retired this season. He’s leaving to go into the ministry full time. He said Jerry was a godsend for Boone athletics.
“Jerry’s an incredible man,” Hoover said. “He was a guy – I didn’t have this ability – he could match his ability to be intense and be in a game, but then five seconds later crack a joke and have a humorous side. I could never do both at the same time. He balanced that and he made it fun for the kids. The kids loved him just because he kept it loose. But when it was time to get serious he could get serious. I was always kind of more on the serious side, and I wish I would’ve had some of his humor at times. …
“My first year and we were playing a tournament at Sullivan East. We were playing pretty good and won five or six in a row and we’d just beaten Greeneville. And one of our parents after the game said, ‘Hey, Jerry. Who’s our next victim?’ And Jerry said, ‘I don’t know. The team we’re playing next is pretty good, not like this bunch.’ And there was a momma from Greeneville that heard him say that. She said, ‘You’re trying to tell me we’re no good?’ He looked at her straight-faced, ‘No, mam. You’re not.’ And he just kept on walking.
“His blunt honesty was one of the funniest things about him. You couldn’t ever get mad at him, and he told you the exact truth, whether you wanted to hear it or not.”
Like Hoover, Jerry’s son Jody also went to into the ministry after a productive baseball career. His career as starting catcher for Ken Campbell at ETSU ended prematurely.
Campbell lamented the departure, having seen an All-Southern Conference future for Jody. Jerry likened Jody to Craig Biggio in terms of undersized catcher.
“I think if Jody had went on in rookie ball they would’ve eventually moved him to second base,” Jerry said. “But there wasn’t a better catcher. And where I really cheated him was that he only pitched when we were out of pitching. Heck, he was the best pitcher.”
Jerry was just as proud of Jeremy’s knowledge and productivity on the football field. Jeremy reminded his dad of current Crockett coach Hayden Chandley, who played for Jeremy at Boone.
“It was like having a coach on the field when both of ‘em played,” Jerry said.
Jerry enjoyed coaching the Chandley- and Kevin Connell-led group at Boone that defeated Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett and Tennessee High in 2009. Boone went 10-3 and reached the quarterfinals that season thanks to players such as Matt Duncan, Blake Shropshire, Austin Reppart and Ethan Good.
“How many county teams can say they beat the Tri-Cities,” Jenkins said.
Running wild with Charlie Cole and Easton Harrell in a win at Science Hill this past season, especially for a ground-oriented “old school” coach like Jenkins, is one of his treasured memories, too. Perhaps his favorite achievement was nearly beating a powerful Jefferson County team when he was at Crockett. He said a victory was essentially erased when an interception was nullified by penalty.
“When Craig Kisabeth had those great (Jefferson County) teams and the Collins brothers who went on to play pro ball, the biggest thrill was we had them at Crockett on a Friday night and had them beat,” Jenkins said. “We intercepted a pass and they called in the grasp. Well, you’d never heard of ‘in the grasp’ then. He came up after the game and gave us the game ball. That was one of the best games I’ve ever coached in. We had the man of men, Gary Cooter.”
Jenkins said Alabama was the Crockett’s game with Greeneville to recruit a Greene Devils safety while Cooter played at Crockett.
“Alabama sent the old man that used to scout for ‘em to Jonesborough to scout,” Jenkins said. “Greeneville had a safety that was supposed to be all-world. And I told Cooter, ‘Don’t let him hurt you now.’ And Cooter said, ‘What’s his number?’ I showed him his number.
“It’s the truth. We ran what we called ‘46 Power’ and kick out the end, and there he went in the C-Gap. He could’ve cut it outside to the sideline and gone. But he was like a Brahma bull. He sort of paused and he was looking for him. And buddy, I tell you what, he cut back and he ran over him. Broke his collarbone. So the kid played one play. I felt for the kid. Cooter was one of a kind.”
Jenkins is also thankful to have worked under baseball coach Sonny Miller at Crockett.
Among the great players he’s pleased to have watched, much less coached, are Dylan Pratt and Jeremy Hall (baseball), current Boone running back Charlie Cole, Rachel Glass and Steve Fields (Science Hill’s first 1,000-yard rusher). He said Greg Kilday and Mike Kiernan were two of the best he’s seen come through Boone.
A healthy Rachel Glass was something to see. An injured one wasn’t bad either.
“She tore that knee against Sullivan East and she finished the year before she had surgery,” Jenkins said. “She finished the year. It was so fun to coach her. She was some player.
“I got to work under Travis Mains there. And he put up a (girls basketball) program that was unreal.”
Jenkins grew up in Washington County, but began attending Johnson City schools in junior high. He played baseball and football at Science Hill.
“My dad (Ralph) was my baseball influence,” he said. “Of course, every dad’s ambition was for their son to go as far as he could, and he really made me. I don’t care what they say, you can either hit or you can’t hit. If you don’t have quick hands, wrists – quick to the ball – you’re not gonna hit too good. He really made a hitter out of me.”
Transferring to city schools wasn’t easy for a teenager from the county, Jenkins said, noting he’d never played football prior to the eighth grade.
“One of the main coaches that’s ever had an influence on me is Bob May,” Jenkins said. “He was like my dad. And Wanda, his wife – they took me in, because I was from the country and that was really hard then, because it was really hard to be accepted by those kids. But it worked out.
“I didn’t play in the seventh grade but I played eighth-grade football for Bob May and Keith Lyle. And I played basketball for Coach May. And I ran track for Coach May. They didn’t have baseball then in middle school. And then I went to high school and played for Kermit Tipton. Emory Hale was my position coach. Him and Bob May had a great influence on me.”
Hale, who was Steve Spurrier’s quarterbacks coach at Science Hill, went on to win three state titles at Oak Ridge (1975, ’79, ’80) before becoming head coach at Austin Peay. His ’79 Oak Ridge team beat Science Hill 50-0 in the playoffs after Tommy Hundley’s Hilltoppers had gone undefeated during the regular season.
“In the middle of the third quarter I was at McDonald’s getting the hamburgers,” Jenkins said with a chuckle. “Tommy Hundley treated me great. I learned a lot under him. … Steve Fields was a man.”
Jenkins played baseball at Science Hill for John Broyles, who won state titles in 1947, ’62 and ’63.
“Coach John Broyles coached me as a sophomore and junior,” Jenkins said. “And he was the coach my senior year, but he got real sick and couldn’t come to a lot of the games, and Duard Aldridge coached us. There wasn’t a nicer man than Coach Broyles.”
Jenkins said he hurt his shoulder during football in ninth grade, which affected his baseball career. Broyles put him in right field as a sophomore, mindful of the cozy confines in right at Cardinal Park, and told him not to try to throw runners out at third and home.
The shoulder never felt completely right, and Jenkins consequently played second base as a junior and first base as a senior. Among the baseball teammates he mentioned playing with were Ken Jones and Charlie Bailey.
Jenkins’ shoulder didn’t deny him a role in an impressive back end of a Science Hill defense for Kermit Tipton that included Sammy “Dee Dee” Stuart, Charlie Buford and Jerry Hartsaw.
“That foursome was powerful,” said Jenkins, who also mentioned Science Hill athletes such as Biggie Carpenter and Marvin Bell as some who impressed him a great deal. “Dee Dee would kick off through the goal post. Teams always started on the 20.”
Jenkins said Carpenter briefly quit the team once, and was working as an attendant at a full-service gas station. He said Hale drove up to the pump with a wig on so Carpenter wouldn’t recognize him, and convinced him to return to the team.
“Biggie Carpenter was something else,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins also made a mark pitching for arguably the best slow-pitch softball team in the area, Clark Street Baptist. Teammates included Mike Snapp, Randy Ferrell and Joe Whitehead.
Howren Oil and Greeneville-based Buddy’s A’s also enjoyed Jenkins’ services on the softball field. Quality teammates in softball included Gary Scheuerman, Jerry Weston and Terry Dellinger.
“We had a lot of fun,” Jenkins said. “(Clark Street) was like family.”
A family atmosphere is what Jenkins has always wanted to help comprise in coaching. Connecting with players at pivotal points in their lives never gets old.
“I’ve won a lot and lost a lot,” said a chuckling Jenkins, who’s battled rheumatoid arthritis much of his life. “But I’ve always enjoyed it.”
He said he got replaced after taking the girls basketball team to the state tournament.
“It just kills you,” he said. “But I will say this: the good Lord knows best and he will work it out for the good. That’s all you can do – just say, ‘I don’t understand this. It’s in your hands, Lord.’ And he’ll take care of it. … I’ve been blessed to coach as long as I have. I coached daylight to dark (throughout) the school year, and you don’t see that much anymore.”
Jenkins has been an invaluable asset to his community and its athletes.
“Jerry can coach any sport,” Boone athletic director Danny Good said. “He has proven that over the years. There are very few coaches that can be said about. But more importantly, he has had a positive impact on many lives through athletics over five decades. And I believe if you asked him what he was most proud of, he would say the ones he turned towards his lord and savior would be what matters most to him. We have been fortunate he lived in our community and coached in Washington County.”
By TREY WILLIAMS
Former Daniel Boone teammate Hayden Chandley looked like he was having so much fun coaching at David Crockett that Cody Connell decided to join him at their alma mater’s arch rival.
Connell, who played basketball and baseball at Boone (class of ’09), where he was an assistant girls basketball coach this past season, was hired last week as the new David Crockett boys basketball coach.
Former Pioneers coach John Good announced his resignation last month after a six-year stint that produced two of the 49-year-old program’s three sectional berths and only state tournament appearance. Good is now the coach at Unicoi County.
Connell was teammates with Chandley in basketball and baseball at Boone. In his first season last fall, Chandley led the Pioneers football team to the program’s first quarterfinals appearance.
“Hayden and I played baseball and basketball together,” Connell said. “He grew up with my (younger) brother (Kevin). … And just by watching on Facebook and Instagram and all over the news, the support the football team got this past season – that just shows you that the community just loves Davy Crockett. That’s what kind of drew me in. I’m like, ‘Man, I love that. I wanna be a part of that.’ That was a big thing.
“You know what you’re gonna get when you walk in. You know there’s gonna be a lot of people here every ballgame.”
Connell isn’t expecting to scale unprecedented heights in his first season, but he’s inherited the tools, including some of Chandley’s football players, to climb back toward the top of the league.
He’s happy to inherit football stars Donta Hackler and Prince Kollie, as well as point guard Dawson Wagner and perimeter threats Mack Hensley, Eric Dunbar and Mason Britton. Connell coached Wagner during his six-year stint at Liberty Bell Middle School in Johnson City.
“He was there my last year, my point guard,” Connell said. “It’ll be fun to coach him again, because he was a really good player at the middle school level and I’ve watched him become what he is today. … He had a phenomenal game at Boone last year. Mack was shooting lights out and Dawson was driving by guys.
“Dawson was a freshman (last season). Mason Britton will be a junior. Donta will be a senior. Prince will be a senior. Mack and Eric will be seniors, and we’ve got a lot in the sophomore group – a couple of good athletes there. I’m excited.”
Connell coached one year at Gray Middle School before leaving to become the baseball coach at Indian Trail when it was a middle school. He coached his younger brother Kirby at Gray Middle School and two years at Liberty Bell.
Kirby, a left-handed pitcher who was the South Carolina Class 2A player of the year, is a rising freshman at Tennessee.
“He knew what I expected,” Connell said. “He was very good at being that leader I needed on the floor.”
The middle brother of the Connells, Kevin, was a three-sport standout at Boone and another southpaw pitcher who played baseball at The Citadel. He’s an assistant softball coach at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
“Mom (Kim) and dad (Jeff) have always put us in good positions to succeed,” Connell said. “They’ve done an awesome job raising all three of us, I mean, giving us everything we ever needed and ever wanted.”
Connell quickly reeled off a list of additional influences he owes a debt of gratitude: Daniel Boone boys and girls basketball coaches Chris Brown and Beau Hauldren; former Daniel Boone baseball coach Rob Hoover; former Boone basketball coach Ryan Arnold; and Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip.
While coaching Cutlip’s feeder program, Connell had players such as David Bryant, Tate Wheeler, Kirby Connell, Jerriah Love, Drew Morrison, Will Stevens, Kendle Cutlip, Jake Matherne, Jordan McCloyd, Hunter Phillips and B.J. Edwards (Knox Catholic).
“I’ve had a lot of really good athletes,” Connell said. “I’ve always been able to play fast with the athletes that I’ve had. So, depending on what we’ve got – if we have the personnel to do that – I’m gonna love playing a little full-court press. We’re gonna get all over you from the time you pass the ball in. I like to – if we get a rebound we’re gonna go. We’re taking off. We’re gonna get it up the floor. That’s a style I would love to play if possible. …
“I think with the athletes that we have coming back we should be able to do that. That’s the goal.”
David Crockett athletic director Josh Kite is eager to see Connell go about his business.
“Cody has energy that is contagious and we are excited to see how it will transfer over to his program,” Kite said. “He is great a mentor, and he will do an exceptional job leading our student-athletes.”
The energy Kite generates with fireworks, loud music, etcetera always caught Connell’s eyes and ears.
“That was one thing as a coach when I was at Boone,” Connell said. “I think I was telling my mom or dad the other day, like, when you came in Crockett the atmosphere is better than – I mean, it’s amazing. That goes to show you that Kite – he can do it. He’s been awesome to me so far. He’s made me feel welcome and made me feel at home.”
The high-energy Connell intends to have taxing practices and hopes it’ll pay off with a calming confidence on game nights.
“When it’s game time,” he said, “just let ‘em play and not put any more pressure on ‘em.”
He wants to rekindle the atmosphere Crockett had with players such as Patrick Good, Brendan Coleman, Dustin Day and Josh Releford.
“Let’s get the environment like it was when Patrick was here every night,” he said. “You couldn’t even find a seat. So I want to get that back to where it was a couple of years ago. That’s what I’m looking forward to – that environment that I know can be here. …
“There’s only seven coaches that get to coach in this conference. So to be one of the seven – that’s a phenomenal opportunity, and I’m very excited to get going.”
Connell had tryouts and a youth day camp scheduled for May 28. A team camp scheduled by Good is set for next week at King University. A two-day camp at East Tennessee State will come the following week, when Connell hopes to also take the Pioneers to a camp at UNC-Asheville.
This week’s players of the week are Daniel Boone’s Caitlin Cutshall and Jeremiah Sullivan. Caitlin is an all-state pole vaulter and Jeremiah made all-state in shot put. Check back next week to see the following Andrew Johnson Bank Player of the Week.