JCHS Longhorns’ gridiron success expected to carry over to hardwood

JCHS Boys Varsity Basketball Team 2017-18

By Tim Chambers

Trying to gauge Johnson County’s boys’ basketball team in the first few weeks could be like tearing into a new box of Whitman’s chocolates at Christmas time. You don’t know what you’re getting but it’s sure to be pretty good.
The Longhorns are expected to start slow due to five key players just back from their record-setting football season but that won’t last long. The kinks will be worked out like water running through a nylon pocket hose once they get a few weeks of practice under their belts.
“Getting them back from football this late is a great problem you would love to have every year,” said JCHS’ head coach Austin Atwood. “I’m expecting the success that our football team had to carry over onto the basketball court. We will have sea legs for a while so it might be after Christmas before we get into basketball shape. It’s been a real blessing because some of our kids have gotten varsity work due to them not being in here. We have a lot of kids 6’0 to 6’2 so we have to defend well. We’ve got to shoot the ball well and defend because that’s what we’ll hang our hats on. We need to rebound and box out because we’ll be going up against some much bigger teams. That might be a problem for us all year.”

The starting five is one with plenty of experience. Bud Icenhour (6’0, Sr.), Sean Lewis (6’0, Sr.), Nathan Arnold (6’3, Sr.), Jordan Edes-King (6’2, Sr.) and Blake Atwood (5-11, Jr.) will comprise the first unit.
Icenhour is a four-year starter while Arnold and Atwood will be in their third year as starters along with Lewis. Icenhour averaged 14 points per game as a junior and is closing in on the 1000-point mark.
Atwood averaged 13 points per game and was tabbed as the conference’s Underclassman of the Year last season.
Lewis recorded 10 points per game as a junior. Edes-King and Arnold led the rebounding with eight each per game.
The bench should be strong with the likes of Troy Arnold (6’0, Jr.), Zack Eller (5’7, Jr.), Jimmy Bower (6’1, Sr.) and Gavin Reece (5’10, Jr.).
“We just don’t have a true post player so Jordan and Nathan will have to play big,” added Atwood. “We should have eight or nine players that can shoot the basketball including our kids coming off the bench. Zach Eller is one of those kids that could crack the starting five at anytime. He had a great summer and can shoot the ball really well. Troy played good too and will definitely see some time on the inside,” Atwood went on to say.

“It’s going to be a grind but we need to learn how to win. I’m expecting our league to be balanced like it has been in years past. I’m hoping that we will be in that mix after Christmas.”

2017-18 Johnson County Longhorns

3 – Bud Icenhour Sr. G 6’0
5 – Zach Eller Jr. G 5’7
10—Jimmy Bower Sr. G 6’1
11—Blake Atwood Jr. G 5’11
12—Nathan Arnold Sr. F 6’3
15—Darren Cunningham Jr. F 6’0
20—Lane Isaacs Sr. G 5’9
21—Jordan Edes-King Sr. F 6’2
24—Sean Lewis Sr. G 6’0
32—Lucas Phillips So. G 5’10
34—Gavin Reece Jr. G 5’9
35—Zack Winters Jr. G 5’10
41—Luke Rash Jr. C 6’6
44—Troy Arnold Jr. F 6’1

 

2017-18 Johnson County Longhorns Schedule

November
18 – Daniel Boone (Hall of Champions)
21 – Cloudland
27 – at West Wilkes, NC
28 – Unaka

December
1 – at Elizabethton
5 – Dobyns-Bennett
7-10 –Steamboat Shootout Colorado (Boys only)
14 – at Unaka
15 – Unicoi County
21 – at Hampton,
22 – West Wilkes, NC

January
2 – at Cloudland,
5 – at Sullivan Central
9 – Happy Valley
12 – Sullivan East
16 – at Sullivan South
19 – Elizabethton
22 – at Dobyns-Bennett
26 – at Unicoi County
30 – Sullivan Central

February
2 – at Happy Valley
3 – Hampton
6 – at Sullivan East
9 – Sullivan South
14-20 – District 1-AAA Tournament at Elizabethton
23-28 – Region 1-AAA Tournament

 

JCHS Longhorns dominate All-Conference football team; Nathan Arnold Co-Player of the Year

Nathan Arnold Co-Player of the Year

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County won the first ever Mountain Six Conference title going undefeated during the regular season en route to its school record 11-1 mark. The Longhorns were rewarded for their efforts by placing eight players on the first team in addition to co-players of the year on offense and defense and one on the All Academic squad.
Don Kerley was selected as Coach of the Year after leading his team to the second round of the TSSAA 3A playoffs.
Nathan Arnold was tabbed as Co-Player of the Year along with Wes Greene’s Julian Lane.
The senior signal caller completed 152-of-245 passes for 2112 and 22 touchdowns and only six interceptions.
Lane rushed for 741 yards, and added 661 yards receiving. He also logged eight interceptions.
Osborne compiled 155 tackles in 12 games with 14, sacks and 13 tackles for losses.
Shane Greer joins them on the first team as a wide receiver. Greer caught 55 passes for 1102 yards, averaging 20 yards per reception.
Gage Hampton gets a spot on the team. The senior running back scored 122 points and rushed for 773 yards.
Versatile back Bud Icenhour was tabbed on the first team after compiling over 1000 all-purpose yards that included rushing, receiving, kickoff returns and punt returns.
A six-pack of defensive players join Osborne on the elite squad.
Osborne was voted Defensive Co-Player of the year after racking up 159 tackles, 14 sacks and 11 for losses.
Linebackers Tyler Norris and R.J Snyder earn a spot on the first team. Norris ended the year with 133 tackles and 11 sacks. Snyder collected 108 tackles and five sacks.
Jordan Edes-King gets a much deserved spot after splitting time on offense and defense. He finished the year with nine sacks and 91 tackles.
Nathan Lane and Zach Eller rounded out all the Longhorns on the first team. Lane logged 75 tackles and had seven interceptions. Eller was in on 63 stops, had five interceptions and averaged 29 yards per kickoff return.
Nate Shepherd earned a spot after being selected to the All Academic team.
A dozen Longhorns were tabbed to the second team. Those included Will Kerley, Cameron Clawson, Troy Arnold, Cayden Arnold, Jimmy Bower, Josh Herman, Tristan Dishman, Hunter Wright, Sam Kerley, A.J. Eller, Dylan Shepherd and Jared Kimble.
The team was selected by the league’s opposing coaches.
2017 Mountain Six
All-Conference Team

Co-Players of the Year:
Nathan Arnold (JC) and Julian Lane (WG)
Co-Defensive Players of the Year: Hayden Osborne (JC) and Lukas Neely (Claiborne Co)
Offensive Player of the Year: Brett Strother, UC
Defensive Lineman of the Year: Devin Jennings, Chuckey-Doak
Offensive Lineman of the Year: Nicolas Galanos
Specialist of the Year: Manuel Kattau
Newcomer of the Year: Alick Daughtery, WG
Coach of the Year: Don Kerley (JC)

First Team
Johnson County: Jordan Edes-King, Zach Eller, Shane Greer, Bud Icenhour, Gage Hampton, Nathan Lane, Tyler Norris , RJ Snyder

West Greene: Kyler Clowers, Adrian Espinoza, Brian McCrary, Johnathan Short, Noah Carson, Kaleb Sciarra, Justin Cantrell
Unicoi County: Owen Nicholson, Michael Smith, Matthew Hatcher, Kody Lewis, Roby Lemmon, Shane Armstrong

Claiborne County: Matt Cupp, Elijah Beason, Haydn Hollin, Eli Stone, Tyler Napier

Chuckey-Doak: Conner Smith, Trevor Grubbs, Peyton Fletcher, Nicholas Jennings

North Greene: Radley Frazler, Matt Priolo, Austin Kovacs

Johnson County Middle School Horns sweep Providence

JCMS’ Seth Condor #34 scored eight points off the bench against Providence.

By Tim Chambers

JOHNSON CITY—The 90-minute ride back home from Johnson City proved to be a pleasant one for all the middle school basketball teams on Tuesday. Each came away with a win, including the boys’ varsity that had to overcome a halftime deficit to pull out their victory.

Boys Varsity
JCMS 55
Providence 43
The Longhorns trailed 15-8 after the first quarter but rallied in the second one and cut it back to two at halftime.
The Longhorns got a big boost off the bench from Seth Condor who tallied six third quarter points along with Hunter Wilson who swished a pair of treys. John Stout scored six of his 11 points in the frame.
“We really stepped it up after halftime, said Stout. “Our defense got a lot better and we started hitting our shots.”
The Longhorns led 42-38 to start the fourth but a couple of baskets each from Zack Parsons and Stout would extended it to 10 with less than two minutes remaining.
Parson ended the game with 15 points to top the Longhorns.
“We didn’t want to lose a game this early in the season,” said Parsons. “Hunter hit a couple of treys in the third quarter and Seth came in and was scoring inside. We can play better than we did but we’re glad to get the win.”
Stout added 11 points and Corie Neely contributed 10. Condor played well and tallied eight. Hunter Wilson and Gavin Wilson added six and four points, respectively. Dillon Kelly tallied one to round out the scoring.
“A lot of us are still in football mode,” said Neely who also added five assists. “We started playing better as the game went on. I think we’ll play well in our next game. We’re all having fun and enjoying playing with each other.”
Trey Easterling tossed in a game high 17 points for PA. Jack Torbet and Cole Torbett added 11 and 10 points respectively.

Boys 7th Grade
Johnson County 50
Providence Academy 44
The Longhorns put on a great offensive showing to take the 7th grade game 50-45.
Graham Reece (11 points) and Nick Speed (10 points) led the Longhorns’ offense. Christian Lipford played well and scored nine. Dalton Robinson and Payton Pavusek added seven and five points, respectively.
Herny Hamlin and Cole Miller scored 10 points apiece for Providence.

Girls Varsity
Johnson County 35
Providence Academy 19
The Lady Longhorns trailed 6-5 after one but bounced back to take a 16-11 halftime advantage.
The Horns won the game by outscoring Providence 19-8 in the final two quarters to earn a hard fought victory.
Macey Luckett led the way with eight points. She felt like teamwork was the key.
“They tried to press us but we handled the ball well and worked as a team,” said Luckett. “We got up the floor and made some shots. I felt like we all played pretty good as a team.”

Sydni Potter tallied seven points. Jacey Eshleman and Lizzy Barnes added six points each. Savannah McKinney and Gracie Grayson contributed four and three points respectively to the cause.
“We passed the ball well and ran our plays,” said Potter. “Coach told us what to do and we went out there and did the things she asked. It felt good to pull out a win.”

Junior Varsity
Johnson County 24
Providence 15
Autumn Lewis fired in a game high 15 points to help the Horns earn a clean sweep.
The Longhorns led 7-0 after one but were only in front 11-10 at the half.
The Longhorns outscored the Knights 13-5 in the second half and coasted to their victory.
Brookanna Hutchins played well and scored seven for the Horns. Peyton Gentry had a strong floor game and added the other two.
Lali Lemon tossed in eight to lead Providence.

 

McClung to help Longhorns open up basketball season

Mac McClung

By Tim Chambers

The name Mac McClung might not ring a bell to Longhorns fans, but they’ll definitely remember him if they come out to Ray Shoun Gymnasium on Friday. High school basketball kicks off play with three games on tap at JCHS.
The Longhorns will battle Science Hill at 5:30 and will play David Crockett at 8:30. Sandwiched in between those games is the main event.
Gate City, led by McClung, a two-time All-State player, will square off with Science Hill at 7 pm. The 6’2” point guard signed with Georgetown back in October who is coached by Hall of Fame player Patrick Ewing.
McClung had over 40 Division 1 scholarship offers before deciding with the Hoyas. He had earlier committed to Rutgers.
Last year McClung scored a school record 64 points against Dan Rivers in the 2-A Region semifinals. He was 13-of-13 from the foul line and swished seven treys in a 96-84 win.
It should be fun to watch who the talented Toppers defend the senior sharpshooter and Gate City’s high powered offense.
The Longhorns will try and get several football players back in basketball game shape this week. Bud Icenhour, Nathan Arnold, Jordan Edes-King, Zach Eller and Troy Arnold are expected to be key players for head coach Austin Atwood.
They’ll join Blake Atwood, Sean Lewis and Gavin Reece against the Toppers and always tough Crockett team.
Saturday’s games will start at 5:00 with Crockett and Ashe County doing battle. Johnson County will close out play against Daniel Boone at 6:30.

Tolley era begins at David Crockett
The Lady Longhorns will begin play under new head coach Leon Tolley at David Crockett with games set for 5:00 and 6:30.
They were set to play at home on Saturday, but that’s up in the air due to a team dropping out.
Tolley will be assisted by former Hampton assistant, Garry Smith, and last year’s middle school head coach, Kechia Eller.
Fans are urged to come out and support both teams.

Horns Happenings
The Junior High team will host Happy Valley on Thursday night with four games on tap starting at 4 pm. They’ll travel to University High on Monday and to Ashe County on Tuesday.
The eighth grade boys are currently undefeated after three games.

NOTE: The first home game for boys and girls will take place on Tuesday, November 21 against Cloudland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim’s Tomahawk Talk – A tribute to Steven Marshall

By Tim Chambers

There are some things I’ve learned in life as I approach my 59th year on this earth. Friends come and go, and some can never be replaced.
That was the case with Steven Marshall who lost his life on November 3 in a motorcycle accident within a rock throw of his home.
I had just seen my buddy on Thursday at Hunter Elementary during the basketball game. He was there to watch his son, Tanner, play in the seventh grade game.
That’s one thing I remember about Steve so well. He was a good family man, always there for his kids and many others.
I found that Friday would be my toughest night ever to try and cover a football game. Not just any football game, but a home playoff game for the first time in 29 years.
I got back inside my car as tears streamed down my face when I first learned of his death. I had to try and regain my composure.
I later got out again, walked to the press box and stared down at the sidelines. I recalled seeing Steve on those same sidelines every Saturday. He always had a kind word for me.
But it was his love for all the kids he coached that stood out.
Many Johnson County youth athletes saw their names in the paper because Steven Marshall took the time out of his busy schedule to call their games in to me. He didn’t just call with the game scores.
He kept up with every yard gained and tackle made.
He mentioned every player who did something that day regardless if it was big or small. He wanted them to make the newspaper. It didn’t matter who they were. Steve had a special love for all of them.
I got to be good friends with Steve when my grandson attended Mountain City Elementary. He and Steve’s son, Sawyer, never got to play ball as a Longhorn together but ended up as rivals on the gridiron.
Sawyer was a Longhorn and Evan a Cyclone, but it didn’t matter to Steve. They were all special, just like his sons, Sawyer and Tanner.
Steven was an icon to every child in Johnson County. He served as an assistant coach and role model to many.
Brad Reece got to experience having Steven around as his assistant coach in baseball. He said it was a great fit from the start.
“He always had the same demeanor and was a good role model for the kids to be around,” said Reece. “He had that sense of humor that snuck up on you. I would be real serious and he would say something that would absolutely tickle you. He made the kids feel good and all those around him. He will definitely be missed.”
JCHS head basketball coach, Austin Atwood, spent the fall coaching football with Marshall. It was something he’ll always cherish.
“I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that close to anyone like I did Stephen the last two years,” said Atwood. “He was one of the best people that I’ve ever known and he went above and beyond to help out all our kids. He did the stuff that nobody wanted to do like keep up with stats and coach the kids up from the sidelines. It was like losing a family member for me and a lot people involved with sports up here.”
I agree that Steve was an icon to every child who played sports in Johnson County. He was also highly thought of by his rival coaching buddies including my son, Rusty, and Cyclones coach Brandon Blevins.
Many traveled to Mountain City to pay their last respects on Tuesday. But my mind is still on that Friday.
The high school game began at 7 pm and the sidelines were full of players and coaches standing. The same sidelines that were empty at 5 pm just two hours before kickoff.
I had a vision of Steve on the sideline, telephone out, pen and paper in hand, keeping stats. He was making sure they were accurate but more importantly making sure that every Johnson County kid got their name mentioned in the newspaper.
Steve leaves behind his lovely wife, Danae, sons, Sawyer and Tanner, his surrounding family. He leaves behind a ton of friends including me.
I will no longer receive emails, text messages or phone calls about the game from my little buddy. He recorded his biggest and final statistic on Friday.
Steve’s name could be found written in the “Lamb’s Book of Life” resting in paradise, awaiting that one way flight to Heaven upon Christ’s return.
God got the helper he needed. He also got one of the best assistant coaches and family men ever.
Rest in peace, my friend. You’ll forever be remembered and never forgotten.

 

Austin-East Roadrunners rally past JCHS Longhorns 30-21

JC’s Nathan Arnold #12 completes a 19-yard TD pass

By Tim Chambers

Brooks and Dunn’s “You’re going to miss me when I gone” was the fitting tune for Longhorn fans to sing after Friday’s contest with Austin-East. Twenty-plus seniors and company gave Johnson County its most memorable football season ever before coming up just a little short inside of Paul McEwen Stadium.
The Roadrunners put together one “beep-beep” of a second half to earn a hard fought 30-21 come-from-behind victory in the second round of the TSSAA Class 3A state playoffs.
The historic Horns ended their storybook campaign with an 11-1 mark.
They walked off Paul Arnold Field with a ton of hurt but earned the respect of high school football fans from across the state.
Head coach Don Kerley praised his squad when trying to sum up the game. He said the things they had done well in recent games came back to haunt them against A-E.
“I’m proud of the team and the leaders we had,” said Kerley. “They had to fight through a lot of adversity but they kept plugging and did what we said. It seemed like everything didn’t go our way last year with injuries and all but they worked on it in the off-season. Our kids left it on the field every night. They played 48 minutes as hard as they could. We just had too many turnovers tonight and we have not had that all year.”
The Roadrunners opened the game with a 46-yard kickoff return from Isaiah Ligon that gave them great field position at the Longhorns’ 37. Elijah Jeter would later score on a 2-yard run giving the Roadrunners a 7-0 lead.
Johnson County stole back the momentum on their first play from scrimmage.
Nathan Arnold’s 64-yard touchdown pass to Shane Greer was on the money allowing the Horns to tie the game at 7-7 after Tyone McFadden’s PAT at the 9:02 mark.
The Longhorns continued to make big plays. Nathan Lane picked off a pass near midfield that set up another score.
Arnold hit Greer a second time with a 54-yard bomb to make the score 14-7. Greer carried two would-be tacklers the final five yards after giving them the old stiff arm around the 15.
That closed out the first quarter scoring for both teams.
The Longhorns got down near the red zone at the 25 in the second quarter but a costly penalty and interception would end the threat.
Edward Hakizimaha kicked a 31-yard field goal late in the period for A-E’s only points. Johnson County led 14-10 at the half.

Second Half
The second half didn’t start well for Johnson County.
Calvin Wilson recovered a fumble deep in Longhorn territory that led to their next score. Isaiah Ligon put the Roadrunners in front 17-14 with an 8-yard touchdown run but the cardiac kids from Mountain City wouldn’t go away.
Arnold and Greer burnt the Roadrunners defense for a third time with a 19-yard touchdown pass that gave them a 21-17 advantage after McFadden’s PAT but a second fumble on their next possession would lead to another A-E score.
Ligon scored on an 8-yard run after hauling in a 23-yard pass from Jeter to get them inside the 10. They led 24-21 with 7:23 remaining in the game.
Johnson County was moving the football on their next possession but a costly phantom unsportsmanlike penalty put them back on their own 13 and forced them to punt.
The Roadrunners capitalized on the short field with a final 36-yard touchdown by Kiwantoe Warren.
“We hadn’t turned it over all year but tonight things didn’t bounce our way and some calls went against us,” added Kerley. “But give credit to Austin-East because they had something to do with that. They’re a good football team and very athletic. Ligon was an exceptional runner and receiver and tough to bring down.”
Johnson County reached the 17 on their final drive but was unable to punch it in.
Jeter ended the game completing 10-19 passes for 145 yards. He was 6-of-8 in the second half. Ligon rushed for 60 yards and caught five passes for 75 more.
But the night’s biggest numbers were recorded by Arnold and Greer. Arnold ended his final game throwing for 243 yards and three touchdowns, completing 18-of-35.
Greer had nine catches for 178 yards and three scores. Bud Icenhour hauled in five receptions for 40 yards. The Longhorns were held to 47 yards on the ground.
The defense was led by a quartet of heavy hitters. Hayden Osborne and Tyler Norris led the assault with 13 tackles apiece. Seniors R.J. Snyder and Jordan Edes-King added 10 each. Lane contributed seven tackles and an interception. Will Kerley bagged a half dozen in his final game. Zach Eller and Josh Herman each broke up a couple of passes.
Coach Kerley said his kids left everything on the field.
“I’m so proud of these seniors for what they have meant to the school and community,” added Kerley. “We had so many good leaders out here and the kids gave their all every game. We wish it didn’t have to end but they played Longhorn football the way it’s meant to be played. They made us all proud and will always be remembered. It’s the first time since 1988 that we’ve won a conference championship and hosted two playoff games.”
——-
2nd Round TSSAA 3A playoffs
Austin East 30, Johnson County 31

Austin East 7 3 7 13 — 30
Johnson Co. 14 0 0 7 — 21

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter 
A-E—Jeter 2 run (Hakizimana kick) 9:22
JC—Greer 64 pass from Arnold (McFadden kick) 9:02
JC—Greer 54 pass from Arnold (McFadden kick) 6:45
2nd Quarter
A-E—FG 31 Hakizimana .17
3rd Quarter
A-E—Ligon 8 run (Hakizimana kick) 3:05
4th Quarter 
JC—Greer 19 pass from Arnold (McFadden kick) 11:47
A-E—Ligon 7 run (Hakizimana kick) 7:23
A-E—Warren 36 pass from Jeter (kick blocked) 5:22

Team Stats
1st Downs A-E 15 JC 15
Rushing yards A-E 46-135 JC 18-57
Passes A-E A/C/I 10-19-1 JC 18-35-2
Passing Yards A-E 146 JC 243
Total Offense A-E 281 JC 15  300
Fumbles A-E 0-0 JC 15  2-2
Punts A-E 2:32 JC 15  4:31
Penalties A-E 10-75 JC 15  7-60
Individual Stats
Rushing: JC— Hampton N. Arnold 10-27, Hampton 5-15, Icenhour 4-15
A-E—Ligon 16-60, Grindstaff 9-15, Murphy 18, Cruz 1-4, Bromley 1-(-9)
Passing: JC—N. Arnold 18-35-2 243. A-E—Jeter 10-19-1 146
Receiving: JC—Greer 9-178, Icenhour 5-40, Gage 3-30, T. Arnold 1-(-5).
A-E—Ligon 6-75, Warren 3-71
Sacks: JC—Norris ½, Snyder ½. A-E—Wilson
Fumble Recoveries: Wilson 2
Interceptions: JC—Lane. A-E—Webb, Warren
Tackles (JC only, 5 or more) Norris 13, Osborne 13, Edes-King 10, Snyder 10, Lane 7, W. Kerley 6

 

Johnson County Middle School Horns crush Hunter Tigers 50-32

JCMS’ Tanner Marshall #22 goes up for a shot vs. Unaka.

By Tim Chambers

JCMS managed to salvage the final game of the night at Hunter on Thursday in the season opener for both teams. The varsity boys looked impressive in their 50-32 win.
The Lady Longhorns fell to Hunter 41-28 in the girls’ varsity and 25-23 in the seventh grade game. Hunter rolled to a 37-21 victory in the boy’s contest.
They bounced back in a big way sweeping three games at home against Unaka on Monday. There was not girls’ junior varsity game.

Boys Varsity
Johnson County 50
Hunter 32
Corie Neely and Gavin Wilson scored 15 points apiece to lead the Longhorns to their lone win in the season opener. Head coach Devin Shaw was happy with the outcome.
Wilson and Neely set the tone in the opening period, combining for 16 of Johnson County’s 19 points. Johnson County led 19-13 after one but turned up the defense in the second quarter.
They held the Tigers without a field goal and outscored them 7-1 to extending their lead to 26-14.
Neely had the hot hand in the third quarter, scoring two quick baskets followed by one apiece from John Stout, Dominic Kelly and Dalton Brown. They held the Tigers to a pair of deuces and comfortably led 39-18 going into the fourth.
Zack Parsons ended any threat of a comeback by scoring twice in the paint to start the fourth quarter. Baskets from Kelly, Ward and Nate Rice would allow Coach Shaw to play his entire roster.
Parsons gathered nine rebounds and Stout added seven for the Horns. Neely dished out five assists and added six rebounds.
Landon Ramsey scored a game high 17 for Hunter. Jordan Slagle helped the cause with 11 points.

Girls Varsity
Hunter 41
JCMS 28
The Lady Tigers dominated the second and final quarters to win by a baker’s dozen over the Longhorns. The game was tied 5-5 after one, but Hunter led by a half dozen at the half.
The Horns tried to slice the deficit getting baskets from Sydni Potter and Peyton Gentry to start the third. Savanna McKinney canned a jumper along with Jacey Eshleman and Macie Luckett that also scored. The Longhorns got within one early in the fourth but Hunter closed the game on a 17-4 run.
Potter led the Lady Longhorns with 10 points and six rebounds. McKinney added seven points. Luckett finished the night with five.
Lyndie Ramsey led the Tigers with 15 points while Sadie Shoun added 10 points and five assists.

JV Girls
Hunter 25
JCMS 23
Ramsey also played the Junior Varsity game and scored 16 of her team’s 23 points.
Autumn Lewis (9 points), Brookanna Hutchinson (8 points) and Peyton Gentry (7 points) were tops for the Lady Longhorns.

JV Boys
Hunter 37
JCMS 21
Landon Ramsey scored 11 points to lead his team past JCMS by 16.
Christian Lipford scored eight points for the Longhorns. Graham Reece and Hunter Marshall added three assists each.

Boys Varsity
Johnson County 44
Unaka 22
The Longhorns ran their season record at 2-0 by doubling the score on the Rangers 44-22. They outscored the Rangers 10-0 in the scored quarter that enabled them to build a comfortable 23-8 halftime advantage.
Corie Neely led the way with 10 points. Gavin Ward and Hunter Wilson tallied nine each and John Stout followed with eight points. Nate Rice, Zack Parsons and Seth Condor added a bucket apiece. Dalton Brown and Dillon Kelly closed out the score with 1 point each.
Dan Shearl had seven points for the Rangers.

Girls Varsity
Johnson County 44
Unaka 25
The Lady Longhorns placed three girls in double figures giving new head coach Brooke Boone her first ever coaching victory.
Macey Luckett led the way with 16 points. Jacey Eshleman provided 11 and Sydni collected 10. Savanna McKinney closed out the scoring with a strong seven points.
Tara Whitehead led the Rangers with 15.

Boys JV
Johnson County 43
Unaka 15
Graham Reece blistered the nets for 12 points and Chris Lipford added 11 in the Longhorns win. Nick Speed collected six points and Dalton Osborne tallied five who also got some strong play from point guard Tanner Marshall.
Brady Taylor led the Rangers with 8.

The Longhorns will travel to Providence Academy to battle the Knights on Thursday.

Tim’s Tomahawk Talk – Blue-collar kids make it happen – unsung Longhorn heroes

By Tim Chambers

Andy Griffith was a hit show back in the 60’s that featured Don Knotts and Ronnie Howard as co-stars. Andy needed Barney just like he did Opie and Aunt Bee.
But the show wouldn’t have been what it was without all the other characters behind the scene.
Goober worked on cars and Floyd cut hair. Ellie ran the drugstore and they even had a preacher. Andy dated Helen and a few others and Barney had his time with Thelma Lou.
Even town drunk, Otis, was a character that stood out. So were the grouchy mayor, Clara, Howard, Ernest T. Bass, the Darlings and some others.
What’s all this got to do with football? It takes role people to make the stars stand out just like it did in Mayberry.
That’s what happened on Friday in Johnson County’s 21-20 victory over Northview Academy.
Hayden Osborne blocked a PAT that prevented Northview from tying the game, but Cameron Clawson deserves some credit. He almost got one the time before and forced Northview to make a mistake.
“I saw the outside man double down on me and I told Hayden to go get it,” said Clawson who contributed five tackles. “We almost got the one before and we figured out a few things. I wasn’t surprised when he got his hand on the football. I was more surprised that they didn’t try for a two-point conversion.”
Steven Osborne picked a great time to gather his first interception of the year. He was jumping around like a jack rabbit after the play, happy as a lark.
Josh Herman had a fumble recovery, caused one and broke up a couple of passes. He too spoiled one of the Cougars’ best drives.
“It’s all about making plays for the team,” said Herman. ”Everyone has a position that we play and we know what our responsibilities are. We didn’t give up a lot of big plays but they did get a few in the second half. We have to not let that happen against Austin-East. Everyone has to be ready to make big plays.”
Herman’s advice was well received.
Caden Arnold’s interception was definitely a back breaker for the Cougars on one drive. He doubles as a starting defensive back and backup running back.
“We had beaten them two years in a row and we’re a much better team now than last year,” said Caden. “I thought they were better last year so we had a lot of confidence going in. We all played for one another and knew our roles. We stepped up when we had to.”
None more than the offensive line led by Nate Shepherd and Jordan Edes-King.
“We had watched them on film and saw their linebackers liked to stunt,” said Shepherd. “We knew what was coming and used our skills and fundamentals that our coaches had taught us to open up holes. We played with a lot of confidence and we’re not afraid to sacrifice for one another.”
That’s evident when it comes to Edes-King. Nobody has sacrificed more with very little fanfare.
He took over last week as the starting offensive tackle after Tristan Dishman was lost for the season to an injury. He said it’s all about the team and winning.
“I hadn’t played there since middle school but I knew we needed help,” said Edes who was starting at defensive end and backup tight end. “You have to make sacrifices in order to win big games. My job as a leader is to help us win and I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen.”
So will Hunter Wright, Christian Krupsky, Dylan Shepherd, A.J. Eller, Tyrone McFadden, Curtis Lowe, Jimmy Bower, Sam Kerley and Will Kerley. That goes for Zack Eller, Bud Icenhour and Nathan Lane too. I’m sure there are others who play an important role.
These are the blue collar workers on the team that very few hear about but are so important. So are the ones that get and deserve the press.
“We are 11-0 and undefeated Johnson County. We are a good football team.”
Enough said.
In the words of Barney Fife, “Let’s nip it in the bud.”
Tim Chambers is the sports editor for the Tomahawk. He can be reached by email at tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JCHS Longhorns aim to stop Austin East Roadrunners

Bud Icenhour #9 celebrates with Shane Greer #22 after his TD against NV. They hope to do some more against A-E.

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County will look to do something the Coyote couldn’t. They’ll try and stop a speedy bunch of Roadrunners on Friday night in the second round of the TSSAA 3A state playoffs on Harold Arnold Field.
Austin-East is faced with a task that could be more difficult. No Roadrunner or anyone else has figured out a way to beat Johnson County in 2017 despite a few coming close.
The latest came in the first round when they got past Northview Academy 21-20. It took Hayden Osborne’s block of a game-tying extra point to preserve the win.
The same Northview squad that led the Roadrunners by seven with 10 minutes remaining in the game just two weeks ago. The same Roadrunners that needed a late first half touchdown to lead Unicoi County 7-0 at the half.
“They are good and have lots of speed but not like the ones back years ago that had Leroy Thompson and that crew,” said Johnson County’s head coach Don Kerley. “They do have one really good player that stands out at quarterback. He was defensive player of the year last season and they’re all pretty athletic, especially their wide receivers and running backs. They’ve been able to put a lot of points on the board. We’ll have to limit that and control the football. We can’t have turnovers or blown assignments either. We’re at our best when we take care of the football. Our kids are excited about the opportunity.”

Kerley was right on the money talking about Austin East. Quarterback Curtis Hunter is one of Knoxville’s top players and has already signed to play with Army next year. He has thrown for over 1800 yards and is one of the team’s top rushers.
His primary target will be Kevin Andrews who leads the team in receptions and yards per catch.
Their only other loss was to 4-A powerhouse Knox Fulton 20-14.
Austin East is averaging 29 points per game against its opponents and has allowed only 12.
Johnson County has outscored its opponents 233-136. They are averaging nearly 22 points per contest and have held opponents to 12.
Johnson County must eliminate costly penalties.
The Longhorns have shot themselves in the foot over the past two weeks with silly penalties that have hurt them on both sides of the ball. Most of the offensive ones have occurred inside the red zone.
They must capitalize on every scoring opportunity at hand and not be afraid to open it up.
The defense must prevent A-E’s receivers from making big plays in the secondary and keep their all-state quarterback in the pocket. They need to make this an old-fashioned slobber-knocking, knock-down and drag-out type of game.

“HOME” Field Advantage”
Paul McEwen Stadium needs to see a multitude turn out and support the Longhorns. Austin-East has a 100-plus mile trip to make and most of them have never been on roads that wind around the lake like we have. The banks in town need to close early and the bank overlooking the stadium needs to be full along with the stands. The Roadrunners need to view a sea of maroon when they walk out on Harold Arnold Field.

Possible Revenge
The 1988 squad lost in the second round of the playoffs to Alcoa, who will likely be next week’s opponent at home if we win. Let’s not put the cart before the horse.
Stopping a Roadrunner is more important this week than tracking down a Tornado.
Go Longhorns.
Kickoff is set for 7 pm.

Longhorns win first round in playoffs, hold off Northview 21-20

JC’s Tyler Norris #5 & Cameron Clawson #32 tackle Northview’s Justin Howard.

By Tim Chambers

In the words of Rascal Flatts, “We’re moving on.” Johnson County’s road to a state championship remained unbroken on Friday thanks to their dramatic 21 -20 victory over Northview Academy in the first round of the TSSAA 3A state playoffs.
A packed house inside of Paul McEwen Stadium watched the Longhorns remain perfect at 11-0. They will now host Austin East (9-2) on Harold Arnold Field in the second round. The Roadrunners defeated Unicoi County 39-0 at home on Friday.
The Horns salvaged its biggest game ever with maybe what will be one of the most talked about plays ever. All-state linebacker candidate Hayden Osborne blocked a potential game tying extra point with 1:20 remaining to preserve the victory.
“We weren’t about to let them steal a win from us,” said Osborne. “Cameron (Clawson) told me to go get it and I did when they doubled on him. Their end or tackle never punched me and I got through clean. I jumped and extended out and felt it hit my wrist. We played great in the first half but it was a grind in the second. A good team has to make big plays. We had a lot of people make some big ones tonight.”
Osborne’s heroics came after Justin Howard had scored on a 41-yard touchdown run that got the Cougars within a point. Head coach Don Kerley wasn’t surprised by his effort.
“Hayden is our leader and a man among boys,” said Kerley. “I thought our defense played well. I thought they did too. They lost four games to teams ranked in the top 10 in 3A and now a fifth one. We had to dig deep to win and we’re very fortunate. I felt like playing at home in front of our fans was a huge factor too. Our kids made a lot of big plays and we didn’t turn it over but one time. That was the difference in the game.”
Ironically it was Kerley that quarterbacked the 1988 squad that earned the Horns’ first home playoff win ever. Several senior leaders made sure that streak wouldn’t end on a night that history continued to be made.
It took a while for the offense to get going after Northview held the Longhorns in check on their first two possessions. The third one however would be a charm.
Johnson County put together a 7-play, 80-yard drive to get on the board first. Gage Hampton capped it off with a bizarre 20-yard touchdown run, putting the Horns in front 7-0 after Tyrone McFadden’s extra point.
Hampton appeared as if he might be stopped but was able to keep his balance and run around a would-be tackler. Shane Greer’s 34-yard reception from Nathan Arnold was the biggest play on the drive.
The bizarre plays continued in the second quarter and Hampton once again was a key player. The Horns had driven from their 16-yard line with the help of a 57-yard pass from Arnold to Greer that got them down near the red zone.
Facing a fourth down, Arnold threw one to the end zone that was tipped into the hands of Hampton for a 26-yard touchdown. That came with 9:35 remaining in the second quarter, giving them a 14-0 advantage.
The Longhorns tried to blow the game open when Arnold hooked up with Bud Icenhour for an 8-yard touchdown, giving them a comfortable 21-0 cushion. The senior signal caller completed 16-30 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He factored in 205 of the team’s 385 yards of total offense after rushing for 20 more.
“We had some success passing but they couldn’t stop Gage tonight,” said Arnold. “Our offensive line did a great job blocking and Gage just took the game over. He did the same thing down there against them last year. Hayden had a big game and our defense played outstanding. We’re excited about going to the second round and playing Austin East. We didn’t want our season to end.”
Northview took advantage of a 41-yard pass from Josh Howard to Zeb Petty to set up their only touchdown in the first half. Howard’s three-yard plunge with 1:29 showing left them trailing 21-7 at the intermission.
They continued to chip away at the deficit after Johnson County failed to put any points on the board in the second half.
The Longhorns got the ball near midfield when Stephen Osborne intercepted Howard’s pass after a heavy rush from Cameron Clawson and Will Kerley.
The Horns shot themselves in the foot Barney-Fife fashion with several penalties that cost them valuable field position after the turnover.
They had a golden opportunity to put the game away thanks to Caden Arnold’s interception to start the fourth quarter but couldn’t muster a scoring drive. That’s when the Cougars clawed their way back into the game.
Howard tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Erik Chandler after his 45-yard completion to Caleb Cruz helped set up the score. Josh Gomez booted the PAT that left them trailing 21-14 with 5:59 remaining.
Johnson County tried to run out the clock but was forced to punt on their ensuing drive. That’s when a gusty effort by Howard got erased.
He was knocked out of the game for one play after a hard tackle but came back onto the field gimpy. That’s when he broke free for the 41-yard TD but Osborne broke their hearts with his game winning PAT block.
The Longhorns took the final two snaps in victory formation marking only the third playoff win in school history.
Hampton capped off a brilliant night compiling 227 all-purpose yards. He carried 24 times for 175 yards and added six receptions for 42 more.
“We had to establish the running game because they had a very good pass defense,” said Hampton. “We had success tonight running between the tackles and right up the gut because our line opened up holes. This is the best team I’ve ever been on because we all play for one another. It’s a great feeling being undefeated and moving on into the second round. We know our next game will be much tougher.”
Greer led the receivers with 6 catches for 100 yards. Bud Icenhour added three receptions and 42 return yards.
This was big because we’ve tried for four years to get a home playoff game and finally got one here,” said Greer. “It’s a lot of fun knowing that we’re still playing in November and moving into the second round. We have a chance to advance if we can play four quarters like we did the first half tonight. Austin East is really good. We’ll have to play our best.”
Hayden Osborne’s 10 tackles topped the defense. Norris and Nathan Lane added eight apiece and R.J. Snyder logged a half dozen. Clawson, Will Kerley, Josh Herman and Zack Eller stood out with five each. Steven Osborne and Caden Arnold added interceptions. Lane and Herman provided fumble recoveries.
The blue collar work of offensive linemen Jordan Edes-King, Nate Shepherd, Hunter Wright, Dylan Shepherd, Christian Krupsky and fullback Troy Arnold paved the way for 385 yards of total offense.
Howard rushed 14 times for 106 yards and completed 9-of-19 passes for 168 yards to lead the Cougars. James Turner led the defense with nine tackles.
The Longhorns won the turnover battle 3-1.
The Longhorns are hoping to make their win total an even dozen when they take on the speedy Roadrunners on Friday.
Kickoff is set for 7:00 and fans are urged to get there early.
——-
1st Round TSSAA 3-A playoffs
Johnson County 21, Northview Academy 20

Northview Academy 0 7 0 13 — 20
Johnson County 0 14 0 0 — 21

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
JC—Hampton 20 run (McFadden kick) 4:27
2nd Quarter
JC—Hampton 26 pass from Arnold (McFadden kick) 9:32
JC—Icenhour 8 pass from Arnold (McFadden kick) 3:25
NV—Howard 3 run (Gomez kick) 1:29
4th Quarter
NV—Chandler 18 pass from Howard (Gomez kick) 5:59
NV—Howard 41 run (kick blocked) 1:20
Team Stats
NV JC
1st Downs 11 118 Rushing yards 27-120 38-200
Passes A/C/I 9-19-2 16-30-1
Passing Yards 168 185
Total Offense 288 385
Fumbles 2-1 0-0
Punts 4-35 3-31
Penalties 5-60 10-105
Individual Stats
Rushing: JC— Hampton 24-175, N. Arnold 5-20, T. Arnold 5-6, Icenhour 4-(-1).
NV—Howard 14-106, Grindstaff 9-15, Murphy 1-8, Cruz 1-4, Bromley 1-(-9)
Passing: JC—N. Arnold 16-30-1 185. NV—Howard 9-19-2 168
Receiving: JC—Greer 6-100, Hampton 5-42, Icenhour 3-23, Eller 1-13, T. Arnold 1-7.
NV—Petty 3-40, Trent 2-17, Cruz 2-47, Grindstaff 1-41, Chandler 1-17
Sacks: JC—Herman, Snyder, Norris
Fumble Recoveries: JC—Herman
Interceptions: JC—C. Arnold, S. Arnold
Tackles (JC only, 5 or more) Osborne 10, Norris 8, Lane 8, Snyder 7, Clawson 5, W. Kerley 5, Eller 5, Herman 5

 

 

JCHS Longhorns looking to cage Northview Academy Cougars

Nathan Arnold is shown completing a pass against Northview last year. He has now thrown for 5025 yards in his career.

By Tim Chambers

It’s been 29 years since Johnson County has hosted a first round playoff game but the long wait of nearly three decades is over. The Longhorns earned that right by finishing with a perfect 10-0 record for the first time in school history.
They’ll put all that on the line on Friday against Northview Academy (5-5) from Kodak, Tennessee and the Cougars are expected to be a tough foe.
Northview knocked off Chuckey-Doak 35-0 in their season opener, a team that Johnson County narrowly defeated 14-13. They also have wins over Sullivan North 42-14, Oliver Springs 35-7, Pigeon Forge 28-20 and Scott County 35-8.
Four of their losses have been to ranked teams.
There were defeated by Alcoa 38-7, Austin East 41-24, Kingston 34-20 and 4A Loudon 43-35.
They lost to Gatlinburg-Pittman 35-18, a team that Cloudland defeated 46-42 in their season opener.
The Cougars are no strangers to Johnson County. The Longhorns defeated them 34-24 on the road last season and 41-21 at home in 2015.
Head coach Don Kerley is well aware of their opponent. He touched on what they needed to do in order to reach the second round.
“We’ve had a lot of success because we’ve eliminated our turnovers from the past two seasons,” said Kerley. “We’ll need our seniors to step up and play well and we have to take care of the football. We’ve not given up a lot of big plays and they’re a team that can make them. Their quarterback is a really strong player and they’ve got three or four kids who are athletic and can hurt you. They led Austin East the entire game until the fourth quarter. They beat a good Sullivan North team pretty bad. We definitely need to play well to come out with a win.”
The Cougars’ offense is built around senior quarterback Justin Howard.
The three-year starter has completed 92-of-161 passes for 1458 yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s also rushed 91 times for 475 yards.
Robert Grindstaff (5’10”, 190, Sr.) is the leading rusher with 520 yards on 120 carries. He leads the team in scoring with 11 touchdowns.
The Cougars have a pair of talented receivers.
Zeb Petty is the go-to guy with 39 catches for 613 yards and three scores. Caleb Cruz has 18 catches for 488 yards and six touchdowns.
Joshua Gomez kicked one field goal and is 28-32 on extra points.
Northview has been successful on the road. They are 4-1 away and 1-4 at home.
“Some of those losses at home were to very good teams,” added Kerley. “That league they play is probably the toughest one in the state in 3A.”
The Longhorns have their arsenal of big play guys too.
Senior quarterback Nathan Arnold has completed 118-of-180 passes for 1684 yards and 17 touchdowns. They’ll need a big performance from him.
Gage Hampton leads the team in rushing with 515 yards and has scored 104 points. Shane Greer is the top receiver with 640 yards and leads the team in receptions. Bud Icenhour has compiled over 600 all purpose yards.
The defense is anchored by Hayden Osborne whose 132 tackles is near the top in East Tennessee. Tyler Norris has logged 112 stops. R.J. Snyder and Jordan Edes-King have compiled 84 and 75 tackles respectively.
Nathan Lane with 6 interceptions and Zack Eller with 5 picks rank among the top leaders in East Tennessee.
Northview has played varsity football for only three seasons and has made the playoffs the last two. Johnson County will be making its fourth trip in five years trip after missing out in 2016.
A capacity crowd is expected to be on hand inside of Paul McEwen Stadium for Friday’s showdown. Johnson County would play the winner of Austin East and Unicoi County at home next Friday if they defeat Northview.
All playoff games begin at 7:00 pm. Fans are urged to arrive early well before the kickoff.

 

 

Longhorns finish number three in AP’s 3A poll

By Tim Chambers

This week’s Associated Press 3A poll saw very little change in the rankings.
Alcoa, Raleigh Egypt and Johnson County held firm to the top three spots after posting impressive wins on Friday.
Alcoa defeated Austin East 28-7 dropping the Roadrunners from the No. 4 spot to No. 7.
The state’s No. 2 ranked Raleigh Egypt closed out their 10-0 regular season with a 36-8 victory over Trezevant.
Johnson County has held the No. 3 spot since week 3 and remained there with its 28-14 conference clinching victory over Unicoi County. It’s the first time in school history that the Longhorns have finished the regular season 10-0.
Pearl-Cohn moved up to No. 4 after crushing Whites Creek 54-0. Covington (9-1) moves to No. 5 after beating Bolivar Central 47-20.
Red Bank 8-2 bounced No. 9 Loudon down a spot with a 49-24 victory. South Gibson remains at No. 8 defeating Milan 27-14.
Fairview (7-3) held down the No. 9 spot with its 62-18 thumping of Cheatham County. Loudon rounded out the top 10.
This is the final ranking for 2017.

Tennessee Associated Press Final Football Poll

Class 3A
Record Pts. Prv.
1.Alcoa 8-3 144 1
2.Raleigh Egypt 10-0 134 2
3.Johnson Co 10-0 120 3
4.Pearl-Cohn 8-2 103 5
5.Covington 9-1 96 6
6.Red Bank 8-2 65 7
7.Austin East 8-3 58 4
8.S Gibson 8-2 42 8
9.Fairview 7-3 36 10
10.Loudon 7-3 8 9
Others receiving votes: None

Local Ranked Teams
5A: Daniel Boone (8th)
4A: Greeneville (1st)
4A: Elizabethton (5th)
1A: Cloudland (8th)

All Associated Press members in Tennessee are eligible to participate in the high school football poll. Those who voted for this week’s poll are: Cleveland Daily Banner, Cleveland; Cookeville Herald-Citizen, Cookeville; The Tennessean (Nashville), Murfreesboro; State Gazette, Dyersburg; The Jackson Sun, Jackson; Johnson City Press, Johnson City; Marshall County Tribune (Lewisburg); The Daily Times, Maryville; The Tomahawk (Mountain City), Mountain City; The Commercial Appeal, Memphis; The Mountain Press, Sevierville; Union City Daily Messenger, Union City; WCMT, Martin; The Williamson Herald, Franklin.

 

Tim’s Tomahawk Talk – It’s been fifty-nine years but it was well worth the wait

By Tim Chambers

It was the year that football added the two-point conversion to the college game and the last time that Johnson County enjoyed an undefeated football season.
That year was 1958 when the Longhorns went 8-0 under the tutelage of the late legendary coach Harold Arnold. He was in his sixth season as head football coach, assisted by Jay Nidiffer who later coached college basketball at East Tennessee State and Auburn University.
Current head coach Don Kerley is in his fourth season at the helm. How does his team compare to Arnold’s back then?
The Longhorns returned 18 seniors from last season’s 4-6 squad who had gained some valuable experience. The 1958 team had 13 returning letterman that had lost only one conference game in the previous year.
The 1957 squad was defeated by Unaka 28-7 but had ties to Happy Valley 0-0 and Boones Creek 6-6. Arnold knew that 1958 would be special.
Just like many expected good things for the 2017 Longhorns. But did anyone ever dream of them making school history?

Common Opponents
The 1958 Longhorns ran roughshod over Happy Valley 26-6 in a game played at the old Hampton High School.
The state’s third ranked 2017 Longhorns needed a strong defensive effort to knock off the No. 9 ranked Warriors 14-7 in a Class 3A versus 2A battle.
Arnold spoke of the speed possessed by running back Billy Warden and quarterback Dean Maxwell. The late head coach stated that Warden was the fastest player in the conference and Maxwell was the best overall quarterback and player. He added that Maxwell was one of the best to ever play at Johnson County.
Many great ones have come and gone since then, but you can add quarterback Nathan Arnold to that mix.
He now has thrown for over 5000 yards in his career and just like Maxwell is the league’s best.
The 2017 Longhorns might not have a back with the speed of Warden but seniors Gage Hampton and Bud Icenhour are definitely versatile.
Hampton leads the team in scoring with 104 points and rushing 515 yards and is second on the team in receiving. Icenhour is a gifted runner and receiver with lots of speed out of the backfield.
Hayden Osborne’s play mirrors that of Ford Plummer of the 1958 team. Arnold described Plummer as small and scrappy but tough as a pine knot. That also best describes Osborne who plays lights-out and pound-for-pound is the toughest player in the league. His 132 tackles ranks as tops in Northeast Tennessee.
Arnold singled out Jerry Nave as a player full of energy who would knock your block off. That too describes Johnson County’s Tyler Norris and R.J. Snyder.
Both could knock the mortar out of a solid cinder block with their bone crushing tackles. They along with Osborne are three of the league’s best linebackers.
It’s only fitting that one family represents both squads.
Jessie Eller was a standout player on the 1958 team just like Zack Eller is now. Arnold said that Jessie was one of the best ever to play in the Watauga Conference.
Zack is the type of athlete that excels on defense and as a receiver and return specialist. His two interceptions and fumble recovery against Unicoi County led to a pair of Longhorn touchdowns in their conference championship clinching game.
The late Jessie would have been proud of Zack and his play.
Coach Arnold had high praise of his standout receiver John Paul Phillips whose 45-yard touchdown against Unaka that year saved the day.
“He was the first of many good athletes out of that family,” said Arnold. “His brother Doug was one of the best to ever play for me and Barry was one of the best to ever play at Hampton.”
Arnold could have been describing the Greer family.
Shane has proven to be one of the area’s top receivers despite drawing double coverage in several games. He has caught 40 passes for 640 yards including five for 140 in their championship victory versus Unicoi County. Jake is now at Milligan College participating in track and field after leaving his mark in football for the Horns. Freshman quarterback Stacy Greer is a three-sport standout and a talented musician and singer. He can knock the cover off a baseball and is expected to be under center in the near future.
Both teams have a lot of similarities.
The 1958 Longhorns defeated Cloudland 33-0. The 2017 squad won 30-16 over the No. 8 Highlanders in a 3A versus 1A showdown of state ranked teams. They also had impressive wins over Hampton.
Seven wins came on the field.
The 1958 team actually finished 8-0 record wise. They were awarded a 6-0 victory after Damascus called and canceled a week before their scheduled game. Both the 1958 squad and 2017 team went 6-0 in league play.

All Conference Honors
Warden, Maxwell, Plummer, Phillips, Ralph Blevins and Jerry Nave were named to the All Conference team. So were Eller, George Nevers and Jerry Cretsinger.
The current Longhorns should have several players that make the Mountain 6 All Conference team. It will be the league’s first ever squad.
Just like the 1958 Longhorns were the school’s first ever undefeated football team at 8-0.
Just like the 2017 Longhorns whose 10-0 record will go down as the first ever in school history.
Almost six decades later.
Tim Chambers is the sports editor at the Tomahawk. Feel free to send him an email at tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com

 

 

 

Historic Horns pummel Unicoi County 28-14

By Tim Chambers

Johnson County’s storybook season added another chapter against Unicoi County on Friday before a packed crowd inside of Paul McEwen Stadium. The “Historic Horns” won the first ever Mountain Six Conference outright with an impressive 28-14 win over the Blue Devils, capping off a 10-0 season for the first time in school history.
Their 10 wins eclipsed that of the 1958 Horns by three, the only other undefeated team during the regular season in school history.
Longhorns’ jubilant head coach Don Kerley was happy about how his team performed in a playoff type atmosphere. He praised their efforts and the efforts of his entire coaching staff.
“They’ve worked all year long to reach this milestone,” said Kerley. “I’ve got a great staff and they have put in a lot of time and the kids have worked hard in the weight room and during the offseason. They’ve heard stories about the 88 team from us and others and they were determined to win the conference and host a first round playoff game. Going 10-0 in the regular season is a first up here. I’m happy for our kids, the school and our community. It’s something that none of them will ever forget.”
The game was a series of highs and lows for the Longhorns in the early going.
Unicoi County fumbled the opening kickoff and Johnson County recovered it at the 16. That definitely got the crowd pumped. They became deflated after a crucial penalty and sack allowed the Devils to take over on downs at the 37.
Hard luck continued for the Horns when a 29-yard touchdown run got wiped off due to a penalty. They followed that up with an interception allowing the Devils to escape by the skin of their teeth for a second time.
Things got better for the Longhorns on their following possession on a play that set the tone for the game. Zack Eller stopped a Blue Devil drive with the first of his two interceptions. Next came a little icing on the cake.
Shane Greer outran the Blue Devils secondary and hauled in a 77-yard touchdown pass from Nathan Arnold. This gave the Longhorns a 6-0 lead with 8 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
“It was a double move so I ran one route and made another move off of that,” said Greer. “Once I made the second move the defender sort of fell down. The line gave Nathan protection and he made a great throw. That gave us the momentum and the defense stopped them on their next drive. We just got rolling from there.”
The defense continued to shine by creating a second turnover. A strong pass rush allowed Eller to pick off another Brock Thompson pass giving Johnson County possession near midfield.
“We were dropping back two deep to take away the long pass,” said Eller. “I think they got a little frustrated when they couldn’t throw the long ball on us. Our goal was to shut down their two receivers because they had a size advantage. Everyone stepped up and made plays. Our offense did a good job of capitalizing off their turnovers.”
Eller’s comments hit the nail on the head.
His pick set up an electrifying 22-yard touchdown run by Troy “the bull” Arnold on a screen pass from Nathan Arnold. The Longhorns led 12-0 after the missed 2-point conversion attempt with 3:07 remaining in the quarter.
Unicoi County scored with 34 seconds remaining in the half on a 3-yard run by Brett Strother. Martin Porras added the PAT edging his team closer at 12-7.
That seemed to light a fire under the Longhorns as they came back out in the second half with a different swagger.
Linebacker Tyler Norris got things started by sacking Kody Lewis in the end zone for a safety. Bud Icenhour followed with a 24-yard kickoff return that gave them possession at the Devils’ 38.
They capped off a nine-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Arnold to Gage Hampton. The duo had hooked up earlier on a 20-yard reception that got them inside the red zone at the 15.
“We felt like if we got low and made plays that they would turn it over,” said Norris who ended the night with 13 tackles and a sack. “We wanted to get pressure on their quarterback and not allow him time to throw.”
Tyrone McFadden kicked the extra point for a 21-7 lead yet the big plays kept coming.
The defense continued to make the blue collar plays and the offense capped it off in business-like fashion.
Josh Herman’s hit on a Blue Devil’s runner caused a fumble that was recovered by Eller. Troy Arnold’s 3-yard run stretched their advantage at 28-7 with 11:13 remaining after McFadden’s PAT.
Thompson scored Unicoi’s final TD on a 2-yard run with 7:52 remaining. The Blue Devils had one final drive but were stopped at the Longhorns’ 24. Pressure from Hayden Osborne, Will Kerley and Cameron Clawson caused the Devils to rush their final three pass attempts. R.J. Snyder’s jarring tackle for a loss on first down forced them into a passing situation.
Hampton’s 12-yard run on first down enabled Johnson County to milk away the final minute of the game that set off a jubilant celebration.
Arnold capped off senior night with a spectacular performance completing 17-of-25 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns.
“This win means a lot because we wanted to do it for coach Kerley, the assistant coaches and ourselves,” said Arnold. “When you go 5-5- and 4-6 as a starter the past two seasons you don’t feel that well. We came into our senior year with confidence and wanted to push forward. Our goal was to finish the regular season 10-0. We now have to put this behind us and get ready for the playoffs.”
Several seniors made their final regular season game one to remember.
Greer had five catches for 140 for a touchdown. Hampton caught six passes for 70 yards and rushed for 55 more, giving him 125 all purpose yards and scored a TD. Icenhour had 45 return yards and caught three passes for 32 yards.
Hayden Osborne collected 12 tackles, two for losses. He gave props to the secondary play of Eller, Caden Arnold, Nathan Lane, Jimmy Bower, Will Kerley and Josh Herman for making things tough on the Blue Devils.
“Their play really helped the rest of us out tonight,” said Osborne. “They covered their big receivers well all night long. We were putting pressure on them and didn’t give them a whole lot on the ground. Our offense made big plays and they didn’t. That was the difference in the game.”
Eller had a fumble recovery, two interceptions and blocked a pass to cap off his stellar night. Snyder and Lane added six tackles each. Cameron Clawson and Will Kerley collected five tackles apiece. Sam Kerley contributed a sack and quarterback hurry.
It was a total team effort for the Horns who got some good line play from Nate Shepherd, Hunter Wright, Christian Krupsky, Dylan Shepherd and Jordan Edes-King.
Kerley agreed that everyone had a hand in the win.
“We play a lot of kids and that’s helped us win a bunch of games. I thought we wore them down in the second half when we got the 21-point lead. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids to work with. We’ve still got a lot left to play for.”
——-
Johnson County 28, Unicoi County 14

Unicoi County 0 7 0 7 — 14
Johnson County  6 6 9 7 — 21

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
JC—Greer 77 pass from N. Arnold (kick failed) .08
2nd Quarter
JC—T. Arnold 22 pass from N. Arnold (pass failed) 3:07
UC—Strother 3 run (Porras kick) .34
3rd Quarter
JC—Norris (safety) 5:40
JC—Hampton 1 pass from N. Arnold (McFadden kick) 1:13
4th Quarter
JC—T. Arnold 3 run (McFadden kick) 11:13
UC—Thompson 3 run (Porras kick) 7:53

Team Stats
UC JC
1st Downs UC 10 JC 17
Rushing yards UC 16-53 JC 30-110

Passes A/C/I UC 12-27-2 JC 17-25-1
Passing Yards UC 115 JC 279
Total Offense UC 171 JC 389
Fumbles UC 2-1 JC 1-0
Punts UC 2-21 JC 1-47
Penalties UC 10-81 JC 14-125

Individual Stats
Rushing: JC— Hampton 14-55, T. Arnold 4-40, N. Arnold 6-15, C. Arnold 1-5, Icenhour 5-(-5).
UC—Lewis 8-43, Podvin 3-15, Thompson 4-0, Nicholson 1-(-5)
Passing: JC—N. Arnold 17-25-1 276, Thompson 12-27-2 115
Receiving: JC—Greer 5-140, Hampton 6-70, Icenhour 3-33, T. Arnold 1-22, Eller 1-12, C. Arnold 1-2.
UC—Strothers 5-51, Nicholson 3-28, Podvin 3-28, Higgins 1-13, Lewis1-(-5)
Sacks: JC—S. Kerley, Norris, Clawson, W. Kerley
Fumble Recoveries: JC—Eller
Interceptions: JC—Eller 2, UC–Hensley
Tackles (JC only, 3 or more) Norris 13, Osborne 12, Snyder 6, Lane 6, Clawson 5, W. Kerley 5, Eller 3, S. Kerley 3, Edes-King 3.
UC—(Leaders) Smith 10, Higgins 9, Armstrong 8

 

Churchill Panthers rally past Middle School Horns 28-24

By:  Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com

 

A banner year for Johnson County Middle School came to a halt on Tuesday in the TMSAA Sectional 3A championship game. Church Hill scored with 10 seconds remaining to claim a hard fought 28-24 win inside of Paul McEwen Stadium.
The Longhorns had taken a 24-22 lead with 1:10 remaining in the game, but a short kickoff and a personal foul penalty aided the Panthers in scoring the winning touchdown.
JCMS head coach Devin Shaw praised his squad for the way they battled.
“We thought a .500 season at best when we first got the team together,” said Shaw. “They went undefeated during the regular season and reached the finals of the playoffs. Credit the amount of growth each of them had for us getting this far. They got better every game. They showed a lot of resilience and that was evident here tonight.”
The Horns dug themselves a great big hole by getting down two scores in the early going.
Dawson Dykes scored on a 53-yard run on the second play of the game giving the Panthers a 6-0 lead. Johnson County failed to move the ball on their first drive allowing Church Hill to regain possession.
They kept the football for nearly six minutes before finding the end zone for a second time.
Three strong runs by Dykes enabled Garrison Barrett to sneak in from the one. Dykes added the 2-point conversion giving the Panthers a 14-0 advantage with 6:22 remaining in the half.
The Longhorns finally got on the board on their next possession.
Nate Rice broke free up the gut for a 43-yard touchdown scamper. Corie Neely’s 2-point conversion left the Horns trailing 14-8 at the 4:02 mark.
The Longhorns grabbed the momentum that led to their next touchdown. Ethan Icenhour recovered a fumbled punt at the 32 giving the Longhorns excellent field position.
Dalton Brown showed his accuracy by firing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Rice that tied the game at 14-14. Neely’s conversion run gave the Horns their first lead of the game at 16-14 with 43 seconds remaining in the half.
Both teams had a couple of good drives in the third quarter but turned the ball over. The Longhorns got an interception from Neely to stop the Panthers while Heath Miller returned the favor nabbing one for Church Hill.

The fourth quarter provided plenty of fireworks and the game wasn’t decided until the final play.
Dykes scored a 6-yard touchdown and added the 2-point conversion run that vaulted Church Hill back in front at 22-16 with 6:15 remaining.
The Longhorns followed that up with their best drive of the game that led to their go-ahead touchdown.
They marched 60 yards in 10 plays with Brown hooking up with Neely on an 8-yard touchdown pass with 1:20 remaining. Neely’s 2-point conversion put the Horns in front 24-22 but the short kickoff gave Church Hill excellent field position where they scored with 10 seconds remaining.
The Longhorns got the football back near midfield but threw an incomplete pass on the game’s final play.
Johnson County displayed a strong ground game led by Neely’s 101 yards rushing on 21 carries. He also caught two passes for 15 yards and logged six tackles.
Rice added 70 yards rushing on six attempts and scored two touchdowns. He bagged eight tackles from his linebacker slot.
Dalton Brown finished the night with 40 yards rushing and 40 more passing.
Ethan Icenhour played outstanding at linebacker collecting a game high 10 tackles and had a fumble recovery. Big John Stout and Zane Jarrels added five tackles apiece as did Preston Greer. Jarrels and Neely had interceptions.

Dykes compiled a game high 145 yards rushing for the Panthers on 20 attempts. Jared Counts and Jaiden Cutright led the defense with seven tackles each. Counts added 90 yards rushing on 10 carries.
The Longhorns finished the year at 6-1. Shaw said the kids should be proud.
“They left it all out on the field tonight,” said Shaw about his Longhorns. “We would have liked to have taken a little more time off the clock when we scored but you don’t expect to lose with only that much time remaining. I can’t wait to watch them play on Friday nights if they will all stay together. There is no quit in any of them. Tonight was special because this place had a high school game atmosphere. They can walk out of here with their heads held high.”

East TN. Sectional
Championship Large
Church Hill 28, Johnson County 24

Church Hill6 8 0 14 — 28
Johnson Co. 0 16 0 8 — 24

Scoring Summary
1st Quarter
CH—Dykes 53 run (run failed) 7:06
2nd Quarter
CH—Barrett 1 run (Dykes run) 6:22
JC—Rice 43 run (Neely run) 4:02
JC—Rice 25 pass from Brown (Neely run) .43
4th Quarter
CH—Dykes 6 run (Dykes run) 6:15
JC—Neely 8 pass from Brown (Brown run) 1:20
CH—Barrett 1 run (run failed) .10

 

Longhorns remain at no. 3

By:  Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com

Johnson County held firm to its No. 3 state ranking after disposing of No. 9 Cloudland in 1A 30-16. There were no changes in the first six spots.
Alcoa remains at No. 1 after its 45-6 win over Gatlinburg-Pittman. Raleigh Egypt held firm to the No. 2 spot with a 55-7 win over Mitchell.
Austin East follows Johnson County at No. 4. The Roadrunners had a tough time knocking off Northview Academy 41-24 and were trailing after three quarters. Pearl-Cohn won over East Nashville 49-8 and stayed at No. 5. Covington defeated Crockett County 35-30 and remained at No. 6.
Red Bank moved up a spot to No. 7 after knocking off Lenoir City 44-7. South Gibson defeated Craigmont 34-16 and jumped one spot to No. 8.
Loudon came up short against state ranked Marion County of 2A 53-38 and fell to No. 9. Fairview lost to Ravenwood but held off Kingston for the final spot.

Local Ranked Teams:
4A- Elizabethton (5th)
1A-Cloudland (9th)

Division 3A
Record  Pts  Prv
1. Alcoa (9)   7-2     131  1
2. Ral. Egypt (2)     9-0     124  2
3. Johnson Co (2) 9-0     110  3
4. Austin-East 8-1     99   4
5. Pearl-Cohn (1)  7-2     82   5
6. Covington 8-1 75   6
7. Red Bank         7-2     47   8
8. South Gibson   6-3     34   9
9. Loudon             7-2     20   7
10. Fairview          6-3     14  10
 

 

Playoff game still a bit cloudy for Longhorns

By:  Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com

There’s an old saying, don’t put the cart before the horse. That would be wise for Longhorn football fans.
Johnson County has not locked down the No. 1 seed despite its 9-0 record. They can do so with a win over Unicoi County on Friday.
The Blue Devils can earn the No. 1 seed if they defeat Johnson County and Chuckey-Doak beats West Greene.
The Longhorns are No. 1 regardless of their outcome should West Greene knock off Chuckey-Doak. A West Greene win would put Claiborne County in as the No. 4 seed.

Predictions:
1.Johnson County
2.West Greene
3.Unicoi County
4.Claiborne County

Region 2
The top two seeds will be decided on Friday night when Austin East travels to Alcoa. Both teams are undefeated in Region play.
Kingston has already locked down the No. 3 seed. It’s the final spot that’s up for grabs.
Northview Academy is 2-4 in league play and 5-5 overall. They will earn the final spot if Kingston (7-2) can beat G-P on the road.

My prediction of first round playoff games
No. 4 Northview Academy at No. 1 Johnson County
No. 3 Kingston at No. 2 West Greene
No. 3 Unicoi County at No. 2 Austin East
No. 4 Claiborne County at No. 1 Alcoa

Revenge and lots more on the line for Longhorns Friday night

By:  Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com

Johnson County has enjoyed wins over rivals Hampton, Happy Valley and Cloudland in 2017 but none of those games can equal the importance of Friday’s contest against Unicoi County.
The Longhorns will host the Blue Devils on senior night inside of what is expected to be a jam packed Paul McEwen Stadium.
It’s a must game the Horns need to win in order to secure their first ever Mountain Six Conference championship. It would also clinch top seed in the playoff.
A win by Unicoi County and a Chuckey-Doak victory over West Greene would give the Blue Devils top seed in the playoffs. Johnson County could claim the top spot should West Greene defeat the Black Knights at home on Friday regardless of their outcome.
The Longhorns can finish no worse than second but a lot is riding on this game.
It was the Blue Devils that bounced them from the playoffs last year with a 28-14 home win on the last game of the regular season.
Linebacker Hayden Osborne remembered it well.
“It hurt walking off the field and knowing that we weren’t going to the playoffs,” said Osborne. “We’ve had a year to think about it. There is much more at stake this time around. We want to beat them and we’ll come out ready to play.”
Unicoi County (5-4, 3-1) was off this week and many of their coaches and players witnessed Johnson County’s 30-16 win over No. 9 ranked Cloudland of 1A on Friday. The Blue Devils were defeated at home 23-15 by West Greene in their last outing.
The Blue Devils trailed 23-0 before getting on the board against the Buffaloes. West Greene shut down the Blue Devils’ passing attack and never allowed them to rush for yardage on the outside.
JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley is well aware of the Blue Devils.
“They have a pretty good football team and have played well after those first two games they lost,” said Kerley. “They won five straight before losing to West Greene. They have a wide receiver that is pretty impressive and their running back hits the hole hard and has good speed. Their quarterback is a freshman and throws it pretty well but isn’t as mobile. Their strength is in their receiving core. Strother and Podvin are weapons and could play for anybody. So could Lewis, their running back.
Kerley was referring to sophomore running back Kody Lewis who had several nice runs against West Greene. The Buffs intercepted freshman Brock Thompson three times.
The Devils are 5-2 since he took over the starting job after their second game. Kerley said his team needs to play well.

“The key for us is to take care of the football and not turn it over. We’ve had a lot of balance on both sides of the football. It’s hard to key on one or two players because so many are stepping up and making big plays. We’ll need that type of effort from them against Unicoi.”

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk

No. 3 Longhorns power past Cloudland Highlanders 30-16

By:  Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

tomahawksportseditor@gmail.com

 

Just like Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, the Longhorns were “grrrrrrrrrreat!” on Friday against No. 9 ranked Cloudland in a battle of two state ranked teams. Johnson County, ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, dominated the 1A Highlanders in the second half that led to their impressive 30-16 victory before a capacity crowd inside of Paul McEwen Stadium.
The Longhorns are now 9-0 overall and will play Unicoi County at home on Friday in their final regular season game. Head coach Don Kerley was happy with the way his team took over in the second half.
“They are a well coached team with some good athletes,” said Kerley. “The Coffey kid was averaging nearly 250 yards rushing per game and we held him to 40 yards which is pretty impressive. I thought we should have scored one more touchdown in the first half, and then we gave up one to them on the last play before halftime. That hurt but I was pleased with the way our kids played especially in the second half. Cloudland was 7-1 and ranked in their classification. They’re not coming in here and laying down. They played hard the whole game, but I felt like we wore them down in the second half.”
The Longhorns defense set the tone on Cloudland’s opening drive forcing them to punt after three plays. Pressure by Tyler Norris allowed him to get a hand on the punt that traveled only 12 yards, giving the Horns possession at the Landers’ 48.
Shane Greer’s 10-yard run got the ball rolling, then Caden Arnold dazzled the crowd with a 17-yard sprint that put them inside the red zone at the 15.
The Longhorns finally found the end zone on a fourth and 10 from the 14. Nathan Arnold lofted a beautiful fade pass to Shane Greer who managed to stay inbounds after his circus catch in the end zone.
Tyrone McFadden, back from a recent injury, booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead at the 7:48 mark.
The Highlanders showed their savvy by marching 80 yards in 13 plays to regain the lead at 8-7. Jordan Coffey scored from two yards out and Malachi Benfield ran in the two-point conversion with 2:07 remaining in the quarter.
It would be their last lead of the game.
Johnson County rode the play of Nathan Arnold, who led them to their go-ahead touchdown. The senior signal caller had an electrifying 29-yard run, then fired a strike to Bud Icenhour for another 16-yard gain on their next possession that got them inside the 10.
Gage Hampton’s 4-yard burst to the end zone put them in front 13-8, but the two-point conversion attempt failed. This came on the first play of the second quarter.
Johnson County continued to drive the football after the defense held Cloudland in-check on their next possession. The Horns once again drove down inside the red zone, but Arnold was picked off by Cloudland’s Jacob Singleton that stalled the drive at the five.
The Highlanders moved the ball near midfield, but Coffey’s fumble was recovered by Nathan Lane giving Johnson County another scoring opportunity.
Icenhour cut loose on a 13-yard gain followed by a 25-yard shuttle pass from Arnold to Greer. The duo hooked up again on a 5-yard touchdown pass that put them up 20-8 after McFadden’s Pat with 1:18 remaining in the half.
A short kickoff gave the Highlanders possession at midfield and a pair of successful pass plays had them on JC’s 25. Benfield edged the Landers closer by connecting with Triston Lacy for a 23-yard touchdown on the final play of the half. Coffey added the conversion run keeping Cloudland in the game at 20-16.
Johnson County found the perfect solution to take over the game in the second half. They ran 47 plays to Cloudland’s 22 and kept the football for over 18 minutes.
Cloudland was flagged for roughing the punter in the end zone on Johnson County’s opening possession of the third quarter that proved to be costly.
The Horns got the ball at the 19 then Troy “the bull” Arnold bulldozed his way for a 30-yard gain up the gut that moved the football to midfield.
The Horns were later forced to punt but Cloudland coughed up the football on their first play that was recovered by Lane at the Highlander 30. This time they would find paydirt.
Nathan Arnold shuttled a pass to Troy Arnold for a 16-yard gain and picked up another 10 yards on a successful scramble.
Hampton’s 3-yard touchdown plunge gave the Horns a 27-16 advantage after McFadden’s third PAT. Arnold said that going up by 11 was huge.
“Troy and Gage ran the ball great and that allowed us to control the football,” said Arnold. “Scoring first in the game was huge and we did it again in the third quarter – that was even bigger. Our defense played outstanding and they allowed us to get some great field position. We wanted to beat Coach Lunsford bad because he put 50 points on us my sophomore season while he was at Hampton. It was more about beating him than it was Cloudland.”
It was Johnson County’s next drive that would seal the deal despite not finding the end zone.
They regained possession at their 19 and ran off 14 plays while reaching the 10-yard line. Kerley elected to attempt a 28-yard field goal and McFadden was perfect.
The sophomore had missed the past three weeks after being injured in a JV game. He had to be air-lifted to Mountain States Hospital in Johnson City but received his medical release on Friday morning.
He airlifted his field goal and three extra points in addition to a 47-yard punt that pinned Cloudland deep.

“Coach came down and called out extra point team which surprised me,” said McFadden. “I was so glad he gave me an opportunity to help our team win. I looked up and saw the crowd cheering and it meant so much. I was thinking about Jared (Kimble) who had kicked all year before getting hurt against North Greene. I wanted to do good for him and the team.”
The Horns led 30-16 with 6:37 remaining in the game.
Cloudland’s attempt to move the ball by way of air was grounded when Lane picked off Benfield’s pass at the 35. The Landers got the ball back inside two minutes but failed to connect on three straight passes.
Arnold took a knee on the final two plays with the Horns in their victory formation.
Arnold had a big night, completing 12-18 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 50 on nine rushing attempts.
Troy Arnold once again was solid, gaining 84 yards on nine carries. Gage Hampton added 65 yards on 15 rushes and caught three passes for 26 yards. Caden Arnold who provided some strong play in the secondary, had a 12-yard reception and a 17-yard run.
Shane Greer contributed five catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns. Bud Icenhour provided a good all-around game on both sides of the ball.
The defense got a big time performance by Lane who racked up 12 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. He said their goal was to shut them down after they scored on the last play in the first half.
“We weren’t about to let them win this football game,” said Lane. “We felt like they couldn’t run on us and our offense didn’t let them have the ball much after halftime. I feel like we wore them down by playing a lot of players. Hayden got us fired up especially at halftime. We didn’t give up any big plays after that.”

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.