Cade Larkins passed for 396 yards and four touchdowns and the Pioneers held on to beat Daniel Boone 34-27 in the 48th playing of the Washington County rivalry in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Pioneer Field.
Larkins’ 41-yard touchdown pass to Donta Hackler and his two-point conversion pass to Micah Robinson with 2:38 left provided the winning margin as the Pioneers erased a 27-26 Boone lead.
Crockett improved to 9-0 overall, 5-0 in Region 1-5A, and clinched the No. 1 seed from the region in the playoffs. Boone fell to 7-2, 4-1 and will be the No. 2 seed.
“Our kids came out and battled,” said Crockett coach Hayden Chandley, a Boone graduate. “We never quit. I’m just so happy to be the head coach at David Crockett. There’s nothing better than a Friday night in Jonesborough. I can’t give our kids enough credit.”
For the first time in the game’s illustrious history — Boone leads the series 35-13 — a championship was on the line for both teams, and it came down to the final play.
Trailing 34-27 with 12 seconds left and the ball on the Crockett 12-yard line, the Trailblazers tried a double pass. The play seemed to open up in the end zone, but when the backward pass was dropped, Crockett’s Nathaniel McClanahan recovered the ball to seal the victory.
Both teams will be at home when the playoffs begin in two weeks. Crockett came into the game ranked fourth in the state Class 5A poll while Boone was sixth.
“They just made the plays to beat us down the stretch,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said. “Our kids fought really hard. We can’t let this fester and ruin a good thing we have going. We have a home playoff game. We have to get back to work on Monday and get ready to go.”
Hackler was on the receiving end of three of Larkins’ touchdown passes. He caught 13 passes for 168 yards. Robinson caught the other TD and finished with eight receptions for 108 yards.
“It’s amazing,” said Larkins, who completed 32 of 47 passes and was intercepted twice. “The fans were great tonight. We played great and we had each other’s backs. We never gave up.”
Hackler’s second touchdown, a 15-yard hookup with Larkins, put the Pioneers up 26-14 with 7:31 remaining.
One play later, Boone star running back Charlie Cole broke free for a 74-touchdown run. The Crockett defense had held Cole, who finished with 172 yards on 22 carries, in check until his electric run.
Daniel Lusk then intercepted Larkins, and Boone quarterback Easton Harrell weaved his way to a 56-yard touchdown. Harrell finished with 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
The extra point gave Boone its first lead of the night, 27-26.
It didn’t last long.
Larkins led a drive that ended up with a 41-yard scoring pass to Hackler, who caught a ball over the middle and got two big blocks as he cut toward the left sideline. Once he turned the corner, it was smooth sailing.
Harrell and Boone didn’t go down easily. They drove to the Crockett 12, using a mixture of running and passing plays, until the final turnover.
“Our kids battled so much adversity, even this week,” said Chandley, whose team overcame a suspension during the week and multiple injuries on Friday night. “I’m just so proud of our kids.”
Prince Kollie had a 9-yard touchdown run for Crockett.
Brennan Blair scored from six yards out for Boone.
Devon White also had an interception for Boone. Larkins, who has 33 touchdowns this season, came into the game with three interceptions before being picked off twice.
In addition to McClanahan’s big recovery, Mark Seidler and Kollie recovered fumbles for the Pioneers.