Sullivan Central's Duke Moretz tries to elude Daniel Boone defenders during Friday's game in Blountville. Boone won 26-7. Photo by Erica Yoon.
BLOUNTVILLE — Daniel Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins took full advantage of an extended halftime period during homecoming festivities at Sullivan Central on Friday night.
After a less-than-stellar first half, Jenkins had a heart-to-heart with the Trailblazers, and his team dominated the final two quarters on its way to a 26-7 non-conference win over the Cougars.
“Coach had a little pep talk at halftime,” Boone running back Mitchell Masters said. “That’s why they have a halftime — coach screwed our heads back on straight.”
After fumbling at their own 5-yard line a couple minutes before the half, the Trailblazers were unable to keep Central out of the end zone and went to the locker room clinging to a 14-7 lead.
The Cougars made efficient use of their spread attack, rolling up 129 yards of offense in the first two quarters while holding Boone to 134 yards.
If not for a fumble on the opening drive of the game, Central could have gone into halftime all tied up.
“We came out and worked on executing,” Central coach Scott Nelson said. “We did a good job and were looking to get into the end zone before we fumbled.”
The second half was a whole different ballgame — the Trailblazers’ offense dominated the time of possession battle, racked up 207 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the defense held Central to just 40 yards after halftime and Nick Jones made a key interception that led to the 1-yard touchdown run by Masters that pushed the lead out to 20-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Central (0-3) turned over the ball twice on the night, and Boone (3-0) converted those miscues into 13 points — turning what could have potentially been a close game into a comfortable victory.
“The first half we went through the motions,” Jenkins said. “We just played harder in the second half — that’s all there was to it.”
In addition to hauling in the contest’s pivotal interception, Jones snagged a pass from Spenser White late in the fourth quarter and took it 45 yards for Boone’s final touchdown.
Masters finished with 132 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries while White completed 4 of 6 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.
Cameron Jarrett, who did not play in Boone’s first three games after suffering a preseason knee injury, saw his first action of the year in the second half. In Jarrett’s absence, Masters has carried the bulk of the offensive load for the undefeated Trailblazers.
“It’s been hard work trying to fill Cameron’s shoes,” Masters said. “All the credit in the world goes to the line — our line has really come together.”
Meanwhile, Central has yet to crack the win column this year, but the Cougars took a giant step in the right direction against Boone.
Quarterback Duke Moretz seems to be getting the hang of the spread offense, and he made several good decisions against the Trailblazers, especially in the first half.
Moretz finished with 47 yards rushing on 16 carries and threw for 70 yards. Robert Herring added 52 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Morgan Winchell added a fumble recovery for Central, setting up Herring’s 2-yard touchdown in the final minute of the first half.
“Execution-wise, we’re getting better,” Nelson said. “We made some pretty big plays when we needed to make them, but we’re still learning our game.”