School: Daniel Boone
Coach: Jeremy Jenkins
2006 Record: 7-4, 4-3
Offensive starters back: 5
Defensive starters back: 6
GRAY — It was like two seasons rolled into one for Daniel Boone in 2006.
Making the shift from the Mountain Lakes Conference, known for its finesse and wide-open offenses, to the physically imposing Five Rivers Conference was a challenge.
The Trailblazers lived up to their nickname by winning the first six games. Then, it was almost like a landslide.
A loss to Morristown West started a tumble and Boone dropped four of its last five outings, including a 39-6 defeat at the hands of Sullivan South in the first round of the TSSAA Class 4A playoffs.
However, there was eye-popping individual consistency. Halfback Cameron Jarrett rushed for 1,625 yards and 22 touchdowns. He simply followed in the footsteps of Sky Hicks, who gained 2,034 yards at that position the previous year. Hicks is now playing for Centre College in Kentucky.
The biggest void left by graduation was at the punting position. Brett Ploucha, who repeatedly set up Boone with good field position, is first-string punter at the College of William & Mary. Boone’s new punter is Nick Jones.
“We have a good senior class,” coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “We’ve got 17 seniors — the most we’ve had since 1985. We hope to build around them.”
The shifty-footed Jarrett runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds. Because of a preseason knee injury, his playing status is up in the air as the season draws near. His backfield running mate, Mitchell Masters, also moves with reckless abandon. Masters was limited last year because of an injury.
“Mitchell wasn’t healthy until midseason,” Jenkins said. “We’re really counting on Cameron and Mitchell to carry us.”
Jarrett and Masters, two of the team’s strongest players, have been described by the coaching staff as “human bowling balls.”
The season outlook is not without concerns.
“Offensively, we’re rebuilding the left side of our line,” Jenkins said. “We want to be consistent and get the ball to our playmakers.”
The Trailblazers traditionally strive to retain possession of the ball and keep the clock running and the chains moving.
With depth at halfback, wide receiver and in the line, the Trailblazers should be in the hunt for a playoff berth.
Boone’s defense will concentrate on containing opponents’ running attacks. “If you can’t stop the run in our league, you won’t win many games,” Jenkins said.
The secondary returns intact and Boone has outstanding wide receivers.
Senior Spenser White will be the quarterback. Center Ethan Stokes and tackle Eric Moody are expected to spearhead the offensive line.
The top wideouts are Ben Underwood, Adam Venters, Cody Powell and Jones. Boone has four tight ends — Thomas Karczmarczyk, Tyler Stanley, Brad Hughes and Matt Duncan.
Defensively, the front will be manned by nose guard Matt Montgomery, tackles Cory Hyder and Nathan Lethcoe and ends Stokes and Jeremy Hood.
Masters and J.D. Range are very aggressive linebackers.
Underwood and Evan Stokes will be the cornerbacks, with Venters at strong safety and Jones at free safety.