ROGERSVILLE — Collin Trent has now left his own mark on one of Cherokee’s oldest rivalries.
As many times as his family has suited up against Morristown West on the gridiron, none of them tore through the Trojans quite like Collin did on Friday night.
Trent passed for four touchdowns and ran for two more as he led the undefeated Chiefs to a 45-17 triumph over Morristown West at Big Red Valley on Friday night, Cherokee’s largest-ever margin of victory and its most points ever scored against the Trojans.
A 1-hour, 40-minute weather delay was about the only thing that could stop the thunder and lightning Trent brought to the field on this night.
Through the air, Trent was 15-of-22 for 231 yards and 4 touchdowns. And he was equally deadly on the ground with 9 carries for 128 yards and a pair of scores.
Truly, Trent is living the dream after missing the 2018 season with an injury. In addition to his stat lines, Trent and the Chiefs (4-0) are off to their best start since 2015 and aren’t showing any signs of letting up. Not to mention, this win followed a 27-23 triumph at conference rival Morristown East which gives Cherokee a clean sweep of Hamblen County for the first time since 2004.
“It’s crazy. I dream about having seasons like this and it’s coming true. The team I have, they support me in any way and I support them,” Trent said. “The feeling I love is when (the opposing team) comes in thinking they’re going to whip us...it’s a good feeling when you’re on the winning side.”
Trent ensured the Chiefs got there quickly after West (1-3) tied the game late in the first quarter immediately out of the delay.
On the next offensive snap, Trent kept on the read option and took off up the middle. The signal caller gashed the West defense before cutting outside to elude the secondary for an 80-yard touchdown run and a 14-7 lead with 35 seconds in the opening quarter.
“Coach and I watched some film before we came back out, and we made some changes. That’s what changes we made,” Trent said. “I just took advantage of it and did my thing.”
It wasn’t long before Trent did his thing again, this time through the air as he connected with Connor Smith on a quick out pattern which turned into a 51-yard touchdown after Smith cut upfield and raced down the visitors sideline for a 21-7 lead. It was Cherokee’s second touchdown in as many plays.
Trent’s 8-yard touchdown strike to Jonas Leeper across the middle gave the Chiefs a 31-7 lead with 1:59 until halftime, and his final scoring toss went to Austin Hamblen on a 41-yard vertical route down the middle which upped Cherokee’s lead to 38-10 four minutes into the third quarter.
Fittingly, Trent capped his night by converting a fourth down as he scrambled right 6 yards and somersaulted into the end zone for a 45-10 lead to open the fourth quarter.
“You’re talking about a small community and guys who have known each other for a very long time. They grew up with each other playing sports, and they saw what (Trent) went through and the stuff he missed (with his injury),” Cherokee coach Cody Baugh said. “He’s leaving everything on the field, making unreal plays.”
Trent and Smith connected twice for touchdowns, the first coming with 7:39 in the opening quarter on a 21-yard post route for a 7-0 lead.
Smith caught 3 passes for 85 yards with Hamblen catching 4 for 53 while Trent Price, Micah Jones, Leeper and Brayden Collins combined for 93 yards on 8 receptions.
Price was the Chiefs’ second-leading rusher with 71 yards on 13 carries, as Cherokee averaged 8.4 yards per carry and 15.4 yards per pass completion.
“We haven’t played well since the second half of the first game of the season. That goes on me. I have to do a better job of getting these guys ready to go. We’re letting one mistake get us down,” West coach Dr. Alvin Sanders said. “We can’t have five guys doing their jobs and the other guys not. We have to decide what we’re going to do and what we’re going to get out of this season.”
West countered Cherokee’s first touchdown with an 11-play, 74-yard drive which carried over through the delay.
JoJo Madeano, playing for the first time this season, gained 27 yards on a screen pass from Dylan Cribley before capping the drive with an 8-yard run through the right side to tie the game 7-7.
But the Trojans couldn’t score again until 4 seconds remained in the first half as Hunter Delaney’s 39-yard run set up a 27-yard field goal by Juan Villasenor for a 31-10 halftime deficit.
Cherokee’s defense kept the Trojans in check for much of the night with Tater Haun and Brandon Ramsey both recording a sack while Smith and Tucker Owen each had 1 stop behind the line.
Haun, who came in averaging 15 tackles per game, was the Chiefs’ leading tackler with 8 stops.
“If he’s not on an All-State ballot, there’s something wrong. Dude is playing unbelievable,” Baugh said of Haun. “You look at his size and his weight, and you think no way that guy is making those plays, but he’s playing lights out.”
Peter Egbert connected on all six extra points and a 38-yard field goal for the Chiefs.
With the clock running continuously via mercy rule, West found the end zone on a 16-play drive which took 9:36 off the fourth quarter clock as Neyland Gordon scored from the 2.
Delaney ran for 67 yards on 10 carries with Gordon totaling 38 on 10 attempts.
Cribley finished 10-of-17 for 95 yards with Terrell Lovell catching 4 passes for 28 while Jackson Cole had 2 receptions for 21.
Justin Dilbeck led the Trojans’ defense with 6 1/2 tackles including 1 1/2 sacks.
The Trojans return to Burke-Toney Stadium in Week 5 to take on conference rival Farragut, while Cherokee entertains arch-rival Volunteer in the 40th annual Hawkins County Super Bowl at Big Red Valley. Both games are set for 7:30 p.m. kickoffs.
Chiefs 45, Trojans 17
Morristown West 7 3 0 7— 17
Cherokee 14 17 7 7— 45
C - Connor Smith 21-pass from Collin Trent (Peter Egbert kick)
MW - JoJo Madeano 8-run (Juan Villasenor kick)
C - Trent 80-run (Egbert kick)
C - Smith 51-pass from Trent (Egbert kick)
C - Egbert 38-FG
C - Jonas Leeper 11-pass from Trent (Egbert kick)
MW - Villasenor 27-FG
C - Austin Hamblen 41-pass from Trent (Egbert kick)
C - Trent 6-run (Egbert kick)
MW - Neyland Gordon 2-run (Villasenor kick)
First Down 17 19
Rushes-yards 34-134 26-219
Passing 102 231
Att-Comp-Int 20-11-0 22-15-0
Total Offense 236 450
Punts 6-34.2 1-39
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-10 7-57