David Crockett (6-0, 3-0) and Tennessee High (6-1, 4-0) are both undefeated in the league ahead of Friday night’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
As good as Crockett was in 2018, the Vikings did something the Pioneers were unable to do. They defeated eventual state champion Knox Central in the season opener, 19-16.
Crockett defeated Tennessee High 24-21 later in the season but lost to Central 23-12 in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
All that was last year and won’t affect this year, said Pioneers coach Hayden Chandley.
“(Tennessee High) is a different team from last year, and so are we,” said Chandley, whose team is ranked No. 4 in the state. “Our kids have been focused and tuned in to the game plan all week. This is why you work so hard in the offseason, for nights like this.”
WHAT CROCKETT BRINGS
Vikings coach Mike Mays said the Pioneers’ abilities on offense are obvious.
“They are as solid as they can be,” Mays said. “They are very deserving of their ranking.”
Crockett’s offensive prowess begins with star quarterback Cade Larkins and extends through his weapons, Mays said.
“Larkins is an excellent quarterback with a strong arm and very accurate,” he said. “They have three very good wide receivers who are huge. Their running back is stronger than last year, and their offensive line is big and led by the (Tony) Davis kid. He is big and has great feet.”
WHAT THE VIKINGS BRING
Cole McBrayer is the main producer of offense for the Vikings after having thrown for 1,356 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. Jayden Keller is his top receiving threat and the team leader with eight TDs.
“They are very multiple in what they bring to the table offensively,” Chandley said. “It all starts with the quarterback. He does a good job of getting outside the pocket and making throws on the run when things break down. And he can pull it down and beat you.”
Chandley added that the Vikings have a sound defensive group.
“Their cover guys are quick, and they are solid up front,” he said. “They present a good challenge for us.”