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Harrell engineers Boone to first-round victory

Pat Kenney • Nov 3, 2018 at 2:29 AM

GRAY — Quarterback Easton Harrell ran for three touchdowns and passed for another to lead Daniel Boone to a 32-14 win over Gibbs in the opening round of the TSSAA Class 5A playoffs at Nathan Hale Stadium on Friday night.

The Trailblazers (9-2) will travel to Knox Central next Friday for a second-round matchup. The Bobcats downed Cocke County 48-6 to advance.

With a steady rain coming down throughout the contest, the game was a test of wills for two teams noted for their running attacks.

Boone took the opening kickoff and marched 73 yards in 13 plays with Harrell busting into the end zone on a 3-yard run to put the Trailblazers up 6-0.

Gibbs’ flex-bone offense was tricky to defend, but the Eagles self-destructed on several drives because of penalties. They finished the game with 13 penalties for 107 yards.

Early in the second quarter, Boone took over on its own 38 and put together a 10-play, 62-yard drive with Logan Rivers hauling in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Harrell.

The Trailblazers went to the halftime with a 12-0 advantage.

After a scoreless third quarter things really heated up.

There were four touchdowns scored between the two teams in a matter of three minutes.

Boone intercepted Eagles quarterback Dalton Wright on the third play of the fourth quarter and four plays later Harrell raced 38 yards for a score. The Trailblazers recovered the ensuing kickoff and Devon White bulled his way to a 4-yard TD, putting Boone on top 25-0.

The Eagles recovered an on-side kick and Wright eventually scored on a 13-yard run. Gibbs again covered an on-side kick and drove down to the 3-yard line, where Wright punched it in to narrow the deficit to 25-14.

This time, Boone controlled the attempted on-side kick and put together a 5-play, 41-yard drive that ended with Harrell covering the final 15 yards for the score and a 32-14 lead.

“We knew it would be two teams that wanted to run the ball,” said Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins. “We only had three days to prepare for that flex-bone. Except for one bust, I thought we did a pretty good job of defending it.

“Right now we’re just happy to be 1-0 in the playoffs and moving on.”

Despite playing with a banged up shoulder, Daniel Boone star running back Charlie Cole managed to gain 89 yards on 23 rushes before going to the sidelines midway through the fourth quarter.

“We knew they would stack their defense to stop Charlie Cole,” said Harrell, who finished with 18 carries for 116 yards. “But we have other weapons and took advantage of them.

“Our line really worked their butts off tonight.”

Harrell also completed 7 of 9 passes for 82 yards.

Wright led Gibbs with 18 carries for 170 yards.

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