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Pioneers will present Chiefs with their toughest test yet

DOUGLAS FRITZ • Oct 11, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Cherokee aced the pop quizzes on its league schedule, but now it’s time for the semester exam.

The Chiefs will play host to the state’s fourth-ranked football team when David Crockett invades Rogersville for a first-place showdown in Region 1-5A.

Cherokee is 3-0 in the region while the Pioneers stand at 2-0. The Chiefs are 6-1 overall with their only loss coming against undefeated Elizabethton. Crockett is 5-0.

“They are tough to prepare for,” said Cherokee coach Cody Baugh. “They are very skilled behind a solid offensive line. We will need to play a complete game to be successful.”

In other Region 1-5A encounters, Daniel Boone plays host to Volunteer while Tennessee High invites Cocke County to the Stone Castle.

David Crockett at Cherokee

The Pioneers haven’t played since a 49-7 pounding of Sullivan Central on Sept. 27.

“Coming off a bye week, we’ve had a good week of practice and the kids have been really tuned in,” said Crockett coach Hayden Chandley, who has a career record of 17-1. “The bye week gave us an opportunity to get some kids healthy.”

Crockett is led by record-setting quarterback Cade Larkins, who has thrown for 1,563 yards and 21 touchdowns in five nights at the office this season. Receiver Prince Kollie is on a 1,000-yard receiving pace with 684 to go along with eight touchdowns.

The Chiefs counter with quarterback Collin Trent, who has accounted for 1,411 total yards and 23 touchdowns.

“Trent is a good player and can beat you in more than one way,” said Chandley. “They go as he goes, and we will need to do a good job of gang tackling him.”

Jonas Leeper is Cherokee’s top receiving threat with 295 yards.

“He can make plays catching the deep ball or catching it short and making a play in the open field,” said Chandley.

Baugh said his team needs to stay out of long-yardage situations and take care of the football.

Volunteer (2-4, 0-3) at Boone (2-4, 1-1)

Both teams have navigated a tough schedule, with the Falcons playing CAK, Crockett, Cherokee and Tennessee High while the Trailblazers battled Sullivan South, Greeneville, Tennessee High, Elizabethton and Dobyns-Bennett.

However, Boone is still in a good spot in the region and in the mix for a home playoff game.

Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said his team must be disciplined against Volunteer’s offense.

“They have a lot of pre-snap movement on offense,” said Jenkins. “Alignment will be a key.”

Cocke County (1-5, 0-2) at Tennessee High (5-1, 2-0)

The Vikings have a chance to secure their first six-game winning streak since an 11-0 start in 2009.

They have scored at least 35 points in every game since a season-opening loss to Dobyns-Bennett, and Cocke County’s defense — which has allowed 33 or more points in four straight contests — doesn’t seem to present a stopping point for that run.

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