By Tim Chambers
It’s not been a good season for North Greene in 2017 and it probably won’t get any better on Friday. The Huskies (1-6) will host undefeated Johnson County (7-0) and ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press Class 3A football poll.
The Longhorns are coming off a huge 14-7 win over Happy Valley ranked No. 9 in this week’s 2A football poll. The Huskies dropped a 42-12 contest to South Greene but they did break a three game scoreless drought.
North Greene elected to move up and play in Class 3A when the TSSAA did its reclassification. They chose to play more locally than to enter play in District 2 where the travel down below the Knoxville area would have been extensive.
The Huskies opened the season with a 26-14 win over Unaka but haven’t won since. They have been outscored 281-18 in the six losses and have been shut out four times.
North Greene is coached by former Happy Valley and Emory & Henry standout player Scotty Verran who was also head coach of the Warriors
Johnson County’s head coach Don Kerley understands the situation quite well.
“They’ve been overmatched at times but they play hard,” said Kerley. “We’re not going down there to run the score up on them. We didn’t get to play a junior varsity game this week so we’re hoping to get up early and play a lot of our reserves. I fully understand what it’s like to be playing a bigger classification against some better team. They do a good job and they play a lot of young players.”
The numbers are down on the Huskies’ roster and so is the number of upperclassmen. Kerley expects his team to go out and play hard and see what happens.
“We canceled the junior varsity game up here with Happy Valley on Monday so those kids are wanting to get some playing time,” added Kerley. “But we can’t just show up and not play hard. We need to play hard, make plays and not turn the ball over. We’ll get all the kids in if we can get up big in the early going.”
It’s worth noting that Johnson County is well represented among the statistical leaders in Northeast, Tennessee. Hayden Osborne is closing in on another 100-tackle season. He has seven sacks and nine tackles for losses. Quarterback Nathan Arnold has now thrown for over 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Jared Kimble is averaging 40 yards per punt on the season. He averaged 43 yards per punt against Happy Valley including a 44-yarder that went out of bounds at the one-yard line.
Zack Eller had a 48-yard kickoff return to up his average at 30.5 yards per return.
The Longhorns defense has outscored its opponents 175 to 68 in seven games. The offense is putting up 25 points per contest while the defense is holding teams to 9.7 points per contest.
The main number is 7-0. That should get one better on Friday.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
Two common opponents
North Greene played Johnson County’s next two opponents earlier in the year. They fell 59-6 at Cloudland and lost to Unicoi County 43-0.
Fans should take Exit 36 (Baileyton) off Interstate 81 going toward Knoxville. When coming off the exit, take the first right. Go to the first stop sign and turn right. This will take you back over the interstate and North Greene High School will be about 10 minutes away on the right.