Getting off to a quick start hasn’t been a weapon for Daniel Boone this season.
However, the Trailblazers are riding a three-game winning streak after overcoming a sluggish first half to pound out a 17-7 win over Volunteer on Friday night at Hale Stadium.
“We just haven’t been coming out with a lot of intensity,” said Boone running back/quarterback Dustin Chandler. “I don’t know what the deal is, but we have to correct it with the schedule we have coming up.”
Boone (2-0, 3-1) remained in a tie with Dobyns-Bennett for first place in the Big Seven Conference. Volunteer (0-2, 0-5) is still looking for its first win.
Chandler was a big part of the Trailblazers’ win. He gained 114 yards on 13 carries, and broke arguably the game’s biggest play.
On second and five from the Volunteer 26 with the score 10-7 in the third quarter, Chandler broke into the secondary and had one man to beat. Chandler easily got past him and romped into the end zone for what turned out to be the game’s final scoring play.
“I just cut back, and I saw (the defender) coming,” said Chandler. “I just got my feet up high.”
Boone head coach Jeremy Jenkins said Chandler just used his abilities.
“Dustin is such a gifted athlete,” said Jenkins. “He has speed, great footwork and quickness. He’s done a lot for us, and we’ve got to get the ball in his hands as much as we can.”
Volunteer provided Boone with early momentum, muffing a punt and giving Boone the ball at the Falcons’ 45-yard line in the first quarter. Four plays later, Gabe Sanders threw a sweet strike to Caleb Ratliff over the middle for a 34-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Boone lead.
Then things seemed to gear down for Boone’s offense. After Volunteer threw a pick, Boone punted.
After a Volunteer punt, Boone successfully faked a field goal and got a first down. However, the Trailblazers had to settle for a short field goal and a 10-0 lead with 5:14 left in the second quarter.
It looked like Boone would carry the 10-0 lead into the locker room. However, Volunteer quarterback Matt Reed kept the ball and got to the sideline and eventually raced 47 yards for a touchdown with 1:23 left to put the Falcons back in the game.
Jenkins said he didn’t jump on his team at halftime.
“It wasn’t the Xs and Os, we just didn’t give effort on the defensive side of the ball,” said Jenkins. “But in the second half, we played better on both sides of the line of scrimmage. And we had much better execution in the second half.”
Jenkins said he was particularly pleased with the play of Ryan Keever.
“A big thing for us was Keever,” said Jenkins. “He had the interception, then had a big gain (20 yards) on the reverse. Thank the Lord he’s a sophomore and we get him for two more years. He’s really coming on for us. We’ve got to get the ball to him more.”
Josh Bacon added 77 yards on 10 carries for Boone. Quarterback Gabe Sanders completed 6 of 13 passes for 91 yards. Ratliff had three catches for 55 yards.
“We know we’ve got to get better, but we’re thrilled to be 3-1,” said Jenkins.
For Volunteer, Reed finished with 154 yards of offense. He rushed 12 times for 81 yards and completed 7 of 15 passes for 73 yards.
Boone plays host to Sullivan South next Friday.