BY TATE RUSSELL
SUN SPORTS WRITER
It’s often said that it takes all three phases to win a football game.
Greeneville took that adage to heart Friday night as they made highlight-reel plays on offense, defense and special teams en route to a dominating 61-7 win over Daniel Boone (3-4 overall) at Burley Stadium.
“The first half was dominant,” Greeneville head coach Caine Ballard said. “We had some huge highlight plays in there.”
“There were some unbelievable plays. Quan Wilson made one, Trevor Wright may have made two and Hays Culbreth had a great one. It was just some, ‘You’re not denying me’ stuff.”
Greeneville (7-0, 3-0) scored twice on defense, twice on special teams and its offense was not shy about busting big plays either in the rout of the Class 5A Trailblazers.
Wright got the fireworks started midway through the first quarter after a somewhat slow offensive start. Wright fielded a Trailblazer punt at the 21-yard line and followed his wall up the left boundary until he was challenged by the punter, who Wright slapped away with ease.
He then broke the ankles of another defender with a spin that looked straight out of a Madden video game before he dragged a pair opponents across the goal line for a 79-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
Ballard said, “It was a huge play. It got us going and you could feel the momentum rise on that play. That is the type of play that can break people’s backs.”
Wright said he wasn’t going to be denied.
“I saw the wall and went to it, then all their defenders started pursuing me so I made some cuts and was able to break off a few tacklers and find the end zone,” Wright said. “I wasn’t going to be stopped. There was no way I was going to be tackled down on the two after all that hard work, so I dove in there. It was a great team play. The blockers did a great job.”
The Devils’ defense and special teams combined for 333 return yards in the contest and were huge in carrying the Devils to a win.
Comparatively, Daniel Boone’s offense gained 78 yards against Greeneville’s starting defensive unit and 129 yards the entire game.
“The defense and special teams dominated the game and when you make big plays like that, it takes the spirit out of the other team,” Ballard said.
Less than two minutes after Wright got things started, the Devils found the end zone again. This time Zack Finchum found Hays Culbreth standing open in the middle of the field and with a good run after the catch Culbreth made it 14-0.
Not to be out done, the Greeneville defense got in on the action on the next Boone series as linebacker Drew Patterson jumped a crossing route and ran it all the way to the goal line unopposed.
Twenty seconds into the second quarter, Quan Wilson delivered what would be the dagger to Daniel Boone with a 71-yard score. The Blazers had Greeneville backed up on a third down and 24 yards to go when Finchum dumped a middle screen to his running back. The offensive line did a great job to get him a first down but after that, it was all Wilson. The senior broke five different tackles as he rumbled down the field, shoving away the last one at the ten-yard line before he glided across the goal line.
Wilson finished with 101 all purpose yards on six touches in the contest.
Greeneville’s fifth score really showed that everything was going to go their way in the contest. Finchum fumbled an exchange in the backfield but that was no problem for the Devils’ senior quarterback, who picked up the loose ball and took it straight up the middle for a 17-yard touchdown and a 34-0 advantage.
Finchum gained 160 all-purpose yards and scored three times while only playing 21 plays the entire game.
Two minutes later, Culbreth got in on the return action as he fielded a punt on the right hash and followed his blockers up the left side line and crossed into the end zone untouched.
Wright put his name in the scoring column again when he picked off a Blazer pass and easily returned it for his second touchdown of the night.
Wright touched the ball three times all contest and on those touches he gained 134 yard for the Devils, including the interception returns.
Culbreth had four touches for 145 yards, including his punt returns.
Greeneville’s most unusual score came in the waning seconds of the first half when Ballard sent the goal line package on to the field and gave the ball to 240-pound lineman Jake Sell, who powered his way to a three-yard score and a 55-0 half time advantage.
With the clock running continuously in the second half the Devils didn’t have many scoring opportunities, but with 6:28 left in the game Desmond Dabbs made the most of his playing time as he shot right up the middle of the Daniel Boone defense for a 34-yard score.
The Greeneville reserves did give up a score late in the third quarter but that was the only blemish on a very successful night for the Devils’ defense.