JCMS Longhorns win against Cloudland
By Jill PenleyAfter losing the first two games against tough non-conference opponents John Sevier of Kingsport and Ashe County, NC, the Jr. Longhorns got in the win column Thursday night at Roan Mountain defeating the Jr. Cloudland Highlanders 12-6.
“This year our team started out strong in the preseason, but in our first two games turnovers and small mistakes plagued us,” explained JCMS Head Coach, Matt Bray. “Just last week against Ashe County we led in overall yards by a large margin, but we had five turnovers and many mental mistakes that ultimately led to our defeat.” Coach Bray also laments the loss of Tristan Lowe and Benji Bower at positions of leadership both on and off the field to injury. “Bud Icenhour hit the ground running, racking up yards on almost every carry and scored our first touchdown,” said Bray. “Will Kerley scored our second touchdown and also had one of the best tackles of the day on defense. Kymen Matherly helped shut down their best receiver, who didn’t catch a single pass. The JCMS quarterback Nate Arnold threaded a pass to Dakota Wright in the midst of three defenders. “Seems like such a small thing,” said Bray, “until you learn that they are all seventh graders.”
Cloudland’s only loss in four seasons prior to Thursday’s game was to JCMS in the 2010 championship game. “Going into the game with Cloudland our backs were against the wall; to say that this game was important was an understatement,” said Bray. “Realistically we did not stand a chance if we allowed our previous mistakes or the loss of key players to pull us down. We needed some players to step up and make big plays, and that is exactly what they did.”
Dakota Wright’s 42-yard kickoff return led to a 4-play scoring drive with running back Bud Icenhour powering for a 16-yard touchdown.
Wright again caused havoc for the Highlanders with a subsequent 38-yard punt return, which he capped off with a touchdown run with less than two minutes in the first half.
“Dakota Wright had some huge plays and led in overall yards for the third time, even with the entire Cloudland team keeping him in their crosshairs,” said Bray. “I have learned that if he asks for the ball, you better give it to him. I am proud of how much he has grown as a player and as a man since last year.” Bray also complimented his lines. “None of our skill players could have had so many successes without our offensive line and defensive line fighting it out in the trenches, play after play,” he said. “They controlled the line of scrimmage and that set up the win.”
To read the entire article, please pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.