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Blair, Trailblazers leaning on each other as fortunes change

Douglas Fritz • Oct 31, 2019 at 3:08 PM

GRAY — Halfway through the football season, Brennan Blair might have been more likely to draw a “Who?” than a “Wow!”

But in the span of four weeks, Blair caught Northeast Tennessee by storm and — not so coincidentally — Daniel Boone has turned its season around.

The Trailblazers’ 5-foot-8, 165-pound junior, cut the heart out of David Crockett’s defense Friday night. His 55-yard touchdown run was his fourth score of the game and came in the fourth quarter of a tight game between major rivals.

“Oh man, it was great,” said Blair of his team’s 28-20 win over the Pioneers. “It made me happy and it made my team happy. I told the guys to keep on believing and we could win this game.”

Blair finished with 201 yards rushing in the game. He has gained a staggering 700 yards in four contests since a position change that walked side by side with a change of fortunes for Boone, which rode a four-game winning streak into second place in Region 1-5A.

And suddenly Blair is a top-five running back in the area in terms of yards gained with 802.

Through five weeks, Blair was spending much of his time on the outside as a receiver. He caught a pass here and there, about two per game, but wasn’t exactly making a splash.

Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins was looking for an offensive spark. Injuries had taken away some key players, including standout running back Charlie Cole.

“When we had those injuries, we threw the ball a ton,” said Jenkins. “But we kept giving Brennan reps at running back in practice.”

Against Morristown East, Jenkins turned Blair loose and he gained 141 yards on nine carries. The hits just kept coming, and Blair has scored all seven of his rushing touchdowns in the last three weeks.

Blair — who was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and moved to this area in second grade — played quarterback in middle school. He had experience with different aspects of the offense, so the move to running back wasn’t a mind-boggling chore.

“It came natural to me,” said Blair. “I just get the ball and go. Honestly I’m not that big. I really don’t have a lot of weight to run over somebody. I just hit the hole and get what I can get.”

Jenkins said Blair succeeds by doing the little things.

“He runs with a good pad level and hits the hole hard,” said Jenkins. “But the biggest thing is his vision. A running back either has that or he doesn’t.”

The explosive game against Crockett was surprising because of the rain. The wet field conditions should have made things more difficult for Blair, said Jenkins.

“He ran between the tackles where the big boys run,” said Jenkins. “Of course the guys up front were blocking somebody. And he makes sure to take care of his linemen when it comes to credit.”

Blair, whose team plays at Cherokee on Friday in the regular season finale, said he believes more good stuff is in store for Boone.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence,” he said. “We just have to beat Cherokee and get a home playoff game.”

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