JOHNSON CITY — In recent years, high school football jamborees have tended to merely go through a routine of getting every player involved and settling for low-scoring games.
Not Thursday night’s sneak preview of the Big 8 Conference season. This one was for the 2,500 paying fans at Kermit Tipton Stadium/Steve Spurrier Field — the real deal.
It was the usual dress rehearsal, with stadium lights on, crowd in and yellow flags being tossed. But the four abbreviated contests — all shutouts — had an appreciable amount of impressive offensive plays and loud defensive hits.
South, unleashing an unstoppable passing game, defeated Central 19-0 in a battle of Sullivan County rivals.
“We just wanted to fly around and have a good time,’’ South coach Sam Haynie said. “We got a little game feel with our jerseys on.’’
South’s Mitchell Crowe scored twice on passes of 50 and 42 yards, respectively, from split-duty quarterbacks Alex Rogers and Charlie Moore. Rogers got the Rebels’ final TD with a 40-yard pass interception return as time expired.
Daniel Boone beat David Crockett 12-0 in an unofficial Musket Bowl clash.
Quarterback Jacob Littleton hit Landon Jenkins with a 30-yard TD pass and Cliff Sanders, who had a 57-yard scoring run nullified by penalty, got the other Boone six-pointer on a 34-yard run.
The Trailblazers struck with a series of toss sweeps to soften Crockett’s defense on the corners.
“We’ve scrimmaged but this was our first time under the lights,’’ Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “These kids had a look in their eyes I hadn’t seen this year. It was a big step in the right direction, a physical matchup against our archrival.’’
Tennessee High, showing off its spread offense under new coach Shane Boggs, won over Volunteer 21-0.
The Vikings’ Treyvond Delaney scored on a 6-yard run, Austin Delph on a 3-yard quarterback keeper and Joel Kreiss on a 69-yard bomb thrown by backup signal-caller Peyton Henley.
The THS no-huddle shotgun caught the Falcons off guard. The Vikings showed plenty of offensive balance with Delph getting the ball in the hands of his playmakers.
“The playmakers did a nice job,’’ Boggs said. “We try to be broad in terms of distribution. Defensively, we ran and hit.’’
In the feature matchup, Dobyns-Bennett scored with 18 seconds remaining to defeat homestanding Science Hill 7-0.
Devaun Swafford plunged the last two yards to beat the clock with his touchdown, ending a highly emotional skirmish.
D-B coach Graham Clark has been on record for many years as being opposed to jamborees. He sort of liked this one.
“This being D-B versus Science Hill juiced it up a little,’’ he said. “Both teams competed very hard. There were some big offensive plays. Some guys were playing fast.’’
Science Hill coach Stacy Carter said: “These two teams are going to hit you. There was a lot of popping on both sides of the ball.’’
D-B fullback Paul Slaughter was his team’s catalyst. “He’s hard to bring down,’’ Carter said.
Carter said his Hilltoppers stuck to two or three basic plays and executed well. He also noted that D-B’s triple-option attack will require defenses to spend a considerable amount of time in preparation. “This is something you’ve got to work on.’’