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Disruptive Dobyns-Bennett defense key to undefeated run to this point

Douglas Fritz • Oct 8, 2019 at 12:30 PM

Although Dobyns-Bennett football has a tradition of high expectations, the Indians weren’t pegged as a title threat going into the season.

But a gnarly defense is rewriting the script for 2019. And the Indians will host Farragut on Friday, when the Region 1-6A title will likely be decided.

After three straight shutouts, D-B is surrendering just 5.5 points per game — ranking as the eighth-best scoring defense in Tennessee among all classifications. Considering the Indians play a combination Class 6A-5A schedule, it’s an impressive mark.

It is the first time since 2012 that D-B has recorded three shutouts in a season, blanking three out of four teams late in the regular season.

Some of this year’s dominance has to do with schedule strength. The Indians’ first two opponents have a combined mark of 9-4. However, the last four opponents show a combined record of 7-19.

D-B gave up 33 points in its first three games before shutting out Hardin Valley, Daniel Boone and Jefferson County. Those teams seemed to be glad to get away from the Tribe; Hardin Valley scored 48 points over its next two games and Boone put up 28 last week. Jefferson County was averaging 25 points per game heading into Friday’s contest, a 35-0 win for D-B.

Although Farragut has a record of 3-3, this could be D-B’s biggest defensive test to date. The Admirals are averaging 28 points per game and put up 24 against Maryville.


Daniel Boone’s season took a turn for the worse when its star running back suffered a broken arm in the Week 2 loss to Greeneville.

Three other losses followed before Boone got back on track Friday with a 28-21 win over Morristown East. That’s the good news, but the bad news is Cole’s return doesn’t appear to be imminent.

“He may be back by the end of the year, but we don’t know for sure,” said Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins. “We will just have to wait and see. It looks better than it did.”


One week after dismantling Science Hill, Knoxville Catholic went on national television and took down Brentwood Academy.

Kaden Martin, who made his first start for the Irish in a 48-17 win over the Hilltoppers, rushed for three scores and passed for two more in the 42-37 victory over the Eagles in a game that was televised by ESPN.

The son of UT assistant coach Tee Martin, Kaden threw for 144 yards and rushed for 46.


Coverage-area teams receiving votes from the Times News/Johnson City Press n this week’s Associated Press state poll, along with the No. 1 selection. (Coverage area is Sullivan, Washington, Carter, Unicoi, Johnson, Hawkins counties):

Class 6A — Oakland (No. 1), Dobyns-Bennett (No. 3)

Class 5A — Knox Central (No. 1), David Crockett (No. 2)

Class 4A — Greeneville (No. 1), Elizabethton (No. 2)

Class 3A — Alcoa (No. 1), none

Class 2A — Peabody (No. 1), Happy Valley (No. 9)

Class 1A — South Pittsburg (No. 1), none


Tennessee High, Cherokee and Sullivan South each moved up a spot in this week’s rankings.

Team W-L Prv
1. David Crockett 5-0 1
2. Dobyns-Bennett 6-0 3
3. Elizabethton 6-0 2
4. Tennessee High 5-1 4
5. Cherokee 6-1 6
6. Sullivan South 4-2 7
7. Science Hill 2-4 5
8. Unicoi County 4-3 8
9. Happy Valley 5-1 9
10. Hampton 4-2 10


Farragut at Dobyns-Bennett — The Indians had won six straight in this series before the Admirals delivered a 42-20 whipping last season. This year D-B is undefeated while Farragut is .500, but the Admirals take a perfect league mark into the showdown.

David Crockett at Cherokee — After a week off, the Pioneers will try to continue their roll against a Chiefs team that is still trying to prove it belongs at the top of Region 1-5A.

Sullivan South at Greeneville — A four-game winning streak gives the Rebels momentum, but this is a tall task. South’s chance to keep the game competitive likely hinges on whether it can slow Greeneville’s powerful offense.


Dobyns-Bennett 24, Farragut 17

The Indians could be in for a battle against the Admirals, who have a pretty good offense. But the D-B defense should be the difference.

Picks record: 5-2.


5-star — Jake Roberts, Elizabethton, DB

William Blount had Elizabethton on the ropes, but Roberts had an answer with a knockout blow.

In a tie game in the fourth quarter, Roberts stepped in front of a pass and raced 52 yards for a touchdown. The Cyclones went on to record a come-from-behind 31-17 win over the Governors, thanks in part to another pick-6 by Deuce Morton.

4-star — Conor Jones, Hampton, QB

In a 49-21 pounding of Sullivan North, the sophomore accounted for five touchdowns. He totaled 292 yards with three passing TDs and two rushing scores.

3-star — Jackson McGee, Sullivan South, RB

When star running back Julian Reed went out with an injury, the sophomore stepped up with 135 yards rushing and two TDs in a 37-0 win over Union County.

2-star — Triston Lacy, Cloudland, RB

Leading his team to a 44-20 win over Unaka, the senior rushed for 162 yards and a score. He also returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.

1-star — Tyler Tesnear, Dobyns-Bennett, RB

The junior rushed for 80 yards and touchdown and also caught a 62-yard scoring pass in a 35-0 win over Jefferson County.



Dobyns-Bennett Indians

Dealing with injuries, the Tribe Hogs made sure it didn’t affect the success of the offense.

In a 35-0 victory over Jefferson County, the offensive line kept right on clicking and produced 197 yards rushing along with its usual strong pass protection.


Sullivan South Rebels

South’s defense dominated in a 37-0 win over Union County, which was denied entrance past the Rebels’ 47-yard line until the final two minutes of the game.

South forced seven punts in the first three quarters and racked up seven tackles for loss and two sacks for the game.


It’s tuneup time for area teams as they bear down on next week’s district tournament action.

District 1-AAA (At Tipton Stadium)

For District 1-AAA, top-seeded Science Hill gets a bye into the semifinals. The Lady Hilltoppers — who are ranked No. 4 in the state — will play on Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of Monday’s quarterfinal-round contest between David Crockett and Daniel Boone.

Tennessee High will play Dobyns-Bennett on Oct. 15 in the other semifinal at 7:30 p.m. The championship is set for Oct. 17 at 6 p.m.

District 1-AA

Action begins Monday with No. 5 seed Sullivan South at No. 4 Volunteer and No. 6 Unicoi County visiting No. 3 Sullivan Central.

The highest seed advancing from that mix will play at Elizabethton on Oct. 15 while the lowest seed travels to play Greeneville.

The championship is set for Oct. 17 at the home field of the highest remaining seed.


The TSSAA Small Schools golf tournament begins Tuesday at WillowBrook Golf Club in Manchester.

In the field individually is Hampton’s Izzak Hill. The event concludes Wednesday.