CHURCH HILL — Daniel Boone running back Mitch Masters entered Friday night’s Five Rivers Conference encounter against Volunteer with 505 rushing yards.
He left with 512.
Volunteer’s superb performance at the line of scrimmage — on both sides of the ball — secured a convincing 19-7 victory for the host Falcons.
“We played with a little bit of excitement and a whole lot of effort,” Volunteer coach Scott Rider said, “and good things happened to us.”
Masters, and the rest of the Trailblazers, failed to cope with the Falcons’ swarming defense — which allowed just 29 yards on the ground.
Masters had 7 yards on nine carries.
Offensively, Volunteer pounded away, amassing 207 rushing yards, with 141 coming in a second half dominated by the Falcons (2-2, 1-1).
Running back Shane Barlow continued his stellar play this season, running for a game-high 120 yards on 25 carries. He scored all three Volunteer touchdowns.
“The linemen read their blocks right and we were able to break a few runs,” Barlow said.
“Our momentum is high and the only place to go is forward.”
Barlow got plenty of help from quarterback Keith Cradic, who kept Daniel Boone (3-1, 1-1) off balance in the first half with an array of draws, keepers and a host of precise passes.
If not for a touchdown on their opening drive of the contest, things could have looked much worse for the Trailblazers.
Quarterback Spenser White completed a pair of impressive passes on the possession, including a 44-yard scoring strike to Nick Jones.
It was pretty much the only highlight for the Trailblazers on the night. White managed 135 yards through the air, on 7-of-18 passing, but it mattered little.
“We never really got on track offensively, running or throwing,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “Hats off to them, they had a good game plan.
“We just got whipped at the line of scrimmage. We got whipped on both sides of the ball.”
Volunteer evened the game at 7 midway through the second period on Barlow’s first TD. His 6-yard scamper capped a nine-play, 43-yard drive.
Early in the second half, the Falcons assumed control of the contest. A quick three-and-out from Boone set up a short field for Volunteer, which was not wasted.
Marching 48 yards in eight plays, the Falcons consistently battered the Trailblazers between the tackles. Barlow’s 1-yard scoring plunge on fourth down was nearly a back-breaker.
That, however, would have to wait until the fourth period.
Pinned at their own 12, the Falcons needed just two plays to kill off the game. On first down, fullback David Mowell broke a 56-yard run. Barlow followed with a 31-yard knockout blow to close the scoring.
“The big play was when it was 13-7 and we had them backed up and then we let the fullback bust one on us,” Jenkins said.
“We just have to go back to the drawing board,” he added. “We just have to get better at what we do.”
The win was Volunteer’s second in a row. Considering their unfortunate start to the conference season — the double-overtime loss to Cocke County — it might just be the spark the Falcons have been searching for.
“This was huge,” Rider said. “We got ourselves in a hole with the loss to Cocke County, but we’ve evened up our district record.
“And to beat a quality football team like Daniel Boone says a lot about our program and where we’re headed.”