NASHVILLE — With Chronic Wasting Disease occurring in Tennessee, the TWRA has established the goal of keeping CWD from spreading, keeping the number of diseased deer in the affected area to a minimum, and reducing disease rates where possible. To achieve that goal, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission established a CWD (chronic wasting disease) Unit with specific regulations to achieve our goals that are science-based and data-driven.

The aim of Unit CWD hunting regulations is to increase the deer harvest by empowering hunters to harvest more while targeting high-risk deer and allowing the agency to sample more deer to better understand the disease. Data collected to date indicates that bucks are twice as likely as does to have CWD. Older bucks are three times more likely to have CWD than younger bucks. Other research proves that bucks have a much larger home range so the likelihood of bucks transporting CWD to new areas is higher. For all these reasons, the harvest of bucks will help the most with accomplishing these goals; however the harvest of does is also very important since they can spread the disease as well.

The following hunting regulation changes were made to Unit CWD counties to accomplish the above-stated objectives:

  • Earn-A-Buck
    • Tennessee’s antlered deer bag limit (2) did not change; therefore it still applies to hunters hunting Unit CWD as well as the rest of the state.
    • Only hunters hunting in Unit CWD counties may earn additional bucks.
    • Unit CWD hunters may earn up to two bucks for harvest, in addition to the statewide antler deer bag limit of two.
    • Earned bucks are received by harvesting two Unit CWD antlerless deer, checking them in, submitting them for CWD testing, and being notified by TWRA.
    • Earn-A-Buck will increase the number of deer (does and bucks) harvested and the numbers of deer tested for CWD.
  • Replacement Bucks
    • Unit CWD hunters will receive a replacement buck if they harvest a CWD-positive buck and the lab result is confirmed by TWRA.
    • There is no limit on the number of replacement bucks.
    • Replacement bucks will encourage hunters to continue hunting and harvesting and be an added incentive for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD.
  • The August 3-day hunt now allows the use of muzzleloaders, in addition to archery, and applies to most public lands (Presidents Island in Shelby County is excluded).
  • Muzzleloader season will begin on October 28th in Unit CWD
  • Gun season will begin November 9th in Unit CWD
  • Antlered harvest allowed during the January 5-day private lands hunt (traditionally antlerless only)
  • Mandatory physical check stations on 2-3 and Nov. 9-10 for Unit CWD counties except Hardeman and Fayette.

The CWD hunting regulations only apply to CWD positive counties of Fayette, Hardeman, and Madison and CWD high-risk counties of Chester, Haywood, McNairy, Shelby, and Tipton. Carcass export and wildlife feeding restrictions remain in place for Unit CWD.

Boat registration fees to see first increase in 12 years

Photo By Tamas Mondovics

TWRA Press Release

Tennessee boaters have the month of June to renew their boat registration before the first fee increase in 12 years goes into effect on July 1, pending approval by the Government Operations Committee of the Tennessee General Assembly.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports there are about 264,000 vessels registered.
Any boating vessel operated by a gas engine, electric motor or sail is required to be registered. The increase is in line with the rise of the
consumer price index since the last fee increase was made.
The current fee for a 16-foot boat and under is $13 for one year, $24 for two, and $35 for three. The new fees will be $15, $28, and $41, respectively. Vessels with a length over 16-feet to 26-feet will increase from $25 to $29 for a year. Those over 26 feet to 40 increases from $38 to $44 and vessels more than 40 feet moves from $51 to $59 for a year.
Boat owners have the option to have their vessels
registered for one, two, or three years. The registration term may not exceed three years and 30 days. Boat owners will not see the increase until their current registration expires.
Those vessels that are powered only by paddle such as canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and rafts are not required to be registered.
Boat registration can be made online at, or on Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at any TWRA regional office located in Jackson (Region I), Nashville (Region II), Crossville (Region III), and Morristown (Region IV), or by mail.

JC Hikers cover local trails

The Johnson County Hikers enjoy beautiful weather while exploring Linville Falls State Park in NC. Photo by Joe Ray

By Tamas Mondovics

Members of the Johnson County Hikers have enjoyed four scheduled hikes so far
this season posting positive results.
The hikes included the Virginia Creeper Trail, Appalachian Trail at Watauga Dam, Linville Falls and Grayson Highlands State Park.
“We had beautiful weather for the hike to Linville falls along the Blue Ridge,” Angie Stout said. “The hiking group that day included three new hikers, and we got to hike to three different locations to see the falls, one of which went right down to the waters’ edge and the highest one gave us a stunning view from a distance.”
Stout emphasized that the sight was beautiful and certainly worth the effort to see the water spill over the rocks and plunge to the deep gorge below.
The trails were reportedly well kept, and the route easy to follow. After the hike, the group enjoyed some ice cream at a local eatery on the way back to Mountain City. “A great way to spend a summer Saturday,” Stout added.
Johnson County Hikers is open to everyone. One does not have to be highly experienced, though the ability to complete the length of the hike of the day is essential. Beginners and supervised children are welcome.
Stout mentioned that the group typically schedule a hike for every other Saturday as they meet in the parking lot of the Food Lion on Hwy 42 at 8:45 a.m. and leave at 9 a.m. sharp unless otherwise stated.
“We carpool to hike sites when possible. A walking stick, lunch, plenty of water and sunscreen or a hat are all encouraged to be brought along each hike.
All hikes are on Saturday unless otherwise stated. Unexpected weather or events may necessitate a destination substitution for something more fitting to the conditions.
The next hike is scheduled for Saturday, June 22 in the Irwin area. The group is promising to do parts of a pair of trails that are pretty close together by hiking up to High Rock Vista and then move on to the Lower Higgins Falls, totaling about five miles.
For questions, please call Carol at 727-5947.
Photos: Hikers pose for a photo during a recent hike at Linville Falls. The members of the Johnson County Hikers encourage all to join their hikes at nearby trails. Please see the calendar in this edition of The Tomahawk for the group’s next scheduled hike.

Ralph Stout to be inducted into National High School Hall of Fame

TSSAA referee, Larry Hutchinson talks about his friend Ralph Stout, while being interview by NFHS documentary film producer in preparation of Stout’s induction into the National High School Hall of Fame. Stout will be the twelfth person and third official from the state of Tennessee to be inducted. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Tamas Mondovics

“Ralph was the best, and I wanted to learn from the best,” said The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA), referee Larry Hutchinson while asked to say a few words about his friend, the late Ralph Stout, one of the greatest basketball and football officials to ever put on a striped shirt.
Hutchinson was just one four people interviewed in Mountain City, TN by Rick Waggner a National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) documentary film producer last month ahead of Stout’s, upcoming induction into the National High School Hall of Fame.
Stout will become the twelfth person and third official from the state of Tennessee to be inducted.
The event, which in itself will be a special time for all associated with NFHS as hosting its 37th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and the 100th NFHS Annual Summer Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, June 30 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Sports memorabilia, including photos, and gear, honor the late Ralph Stout, one of the greatest basketball and football officials to ever put on a striped shirt.

Stout, passed away on August 18, 2017, at the age of 96, and was a loving husband to Margie for 75 years and a wonderful father to Sonny, Mary Beth, Linda, Carole, and Jeff. He will be inducted posthumously.
Of course, there is no shortage of stories and fine memories connected to Ralph’s career, thanks to his famed and one-of-a-kind officiating high school football and basketball from 1946 until 1992.
“Ralph was a special person and highly committed, to his work,” Hutchinson said, adding, “He knew the rules. Everyone was well aware that if Ralph did not have or know the answer to an officiating question, nobody knew.”
During his 65 years with the TSSAA, he served as an official, a supervisor, and commissioner. He officiated in conferences including Southern, OVC, SEC, ACC, VSAC, and NBA.
He refereed eighteen district tournaments and twelve regional tournaments for the association. He served as the official’s supervisor for Region 1 football and basketball from 1990 until 2000.
Ralph boast of a plethora of awards and accolades including (in order) being inducted into the Naismath Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (1968), TSSAA Hall of Fame (1984), Northeast Hall of Fame (1989), Lincoln Memorial University Hall of Fame (1989), and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (1992) just to name a few.
In a statement to the media, Bernard Childress, Executive Director of TSSAA, spoke highly of Stout and was proud of him representing the state.

“We are extremely happy for Ralph’s family. He was such a well-known and respected official in Tennessee, and not just at the high school level, but at all levels. Ralph Stout made so many contributions in both basketball and football throughout his officiating career. We are honored to have him represent our state as an inductee into the National High School Hall of Fame. This is a very proud moment for the state of Tennessee and TSSAA, but most of all, it’s a proud moment for Ralph’s family. We appreciate all of his years of service to TSSAA, it’s member schools, and the student-athletes that he had an impact on. He is greatly missed.”
Ralph worked in his family jewelry business for over forty-five years. He was elected mayor of Mountain City in 1947 and served with distinction for nineteen years but that he gave his all to officiating there is little doubt. For this, he holds a place of honor in the proud history of Tennessee sports.
Hutchinson recalled that his friend “passed on a Friday night, while teams around the state were playing the game.”
TSSAA supervisor and friend Jim Cradic agreed, adding that Ralph was reading the ruled book the night he died.
“He studied that book until the end, and he knew it inside out, that’s for sure,” Cradic said. I will miss him and his knowledge of the game.”
At the end of June 2019, Ralph will take his rightful place among the previous Tennessee inductees such as Rick Insell, Catherine Neely, the late Jim Smiddy, the late Buck Van Huss, and the late Boyce Smith, all coaches. The late Bill Pack was inducted into the Hall of Fame as an official, as well as the late Billy Schrivner of Jackson. Ronnie Carter, former Executive Director of TSSAA, was inducted as an administrator. Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Nikki McCray-Penson, and Steve Spurrier have all been inducted as athletes from Tennessee.
The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, performing arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and performing arts programs. This year’s class increases the number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 482.

Splash page

Photos by Tamas Mondovics


Johnson County swimming pool certified lifeguards, DeAnna Greer 17, and her brother Preston 15, sit at poolside before getting ready for their shift earlier this week.


Makayla Church, 7, and her sister Emma 4, of Mountain City, TN make a splash at the Johnson County Swimming Pool in Mountain City earlier this week. The girls attend school in the morning and are rewarded for their hard work with some much-deserved poolside fun the rest of the day. The Johnson County pool is managed by Earl Gambill and is enjoyed by young and old during the summer months. See more pool fun photos on page B-8. Photo by Tamas Mondovics


 Dalton Matherly, 15, Neyland Lunceford, 14 and Noah Reece, 11, get some air at the Johnson County swimming pool earlier this week.



UT/TSU Extension kicks off water aerobics program

Members of the UT/TSU Extension Office in Johnson County were excited to announce the offering of its annual in-the-pool exercises program throughout the summer. Photo submitted by Sarah Ransom

Submitted by Sarah Ransom
UT/TSU Extension Office – Johnson Co.

Classes are now scheduled to be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at the Johnson County Swimming Pool at 10 a.m. to exercise and have fun for an hour.
According to program organizers, the American Council on Exercise says working out in the water reduces a person’s weight by about 90 percent, which makes exercise much easier if one struggles with back or knee pain or arthritis.
One additional benefit of these classes is that for each hour spent in water aerobics, the Aquatic Exercise Association says one can burn between 400-500 calories.
Ransom explained that Monday’s classes will take a participant through a variety of basic moves.
Wednesday’s classes bring out the pool noodles for some target training and maybe a few competitions, while Friday’s class include those basic moves along with some choreographed routines “to bring fun in the sun to a whole new level.”
Area residents are urged to come and join the program for some great workout in the water.
Cost is $2 per class or $20 a month.
For further information, please call 727-8161 or email

“Water aerobics is considered a low-impact exercise option,” “This is a great way to work on mobility, weight loss and endurance without all the pain that usually comes with exercising.”

UT/TSU Extension
Office Johnson County,
Sarah Ransom.

Lady Longhorns take advantage of summer practices

“Taking care of the ball and scoring the ball is what we will be working on this summer. Repetition will be our key in practices.”
JCHS Girls Basketball Coach, Leon Tolley

By Beth Cox
Freelance writer

The dedication of high school athletes starts with their commitment to summer practices; the Lady Longhorns basketball team is no exception.
Coach Leon Tolley had the girls in the gym this week practicing on the Austin Atwood court and later playing games against regional teams at King University.
Tolley emphasized that he feels summer practices allows the girls to play together and for the coach to see how his team is looking for the upcoming year.
“The girls have a long way to go, but I see a glimpse of what the team can be,” Tolley said, while stressing two areas the girls need to work on. “Taking care of the ball and scoring the ball is what we will be working on this summer. Repetition will be our key in practices.”
The Lady Longhorn coach is expecting a lot from the girls, especially his seniors. Since the Horns did not lose any seniors last year the whole varsity team will be back for the upcoming school year.
Another added benefit is that the girls have been playing together since middle school, so they know what to expect from each other. The team has great leadership qualities that is also promising to be a nice fit with their athletic abilities, all of which was evident in the games at King University this week.
Natalie Winters and Sadie Stout did a great job controlling the ball and making some important baskets, while Taylor Cox and Abby Cornett were consistent with outside shooting and passing to post players Taylor Parsons, Emmy Miller, Rhiannon Icenhour, and Hazlee Kleine all who were aggressive inside the paint with both rebounding and shooting.
Abby Lipford and Tiffany Price were significant contributors coming off the bench as both outside and post players. The girls’ basketball team made a lot of progress last year and will be a competitive force in
the Three Rivers Conference for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Lady Longhorns will traveled to Sullivan South on Tuesday for more summer basketball action.

Doe Mountain Recreation Area sees increase in tourism

Hitting the ATV Trails Saturday at Doe Mountain Recreation Area.

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

That Tate Davis, executive director of Doe Mountain Recreation Area (DMRA), is optimistic about the direction of DMRA; there is little doubt.
Memorial Day weekend sales that have steadily increased since 2017 saw a 20 percent increase in permits sold this year compared to last year.
“Permit sales had increased double digits for the year by the end of May,” said Davis, who credits social media as being a huge reason for the growth of DMRA.
Facebook gets the word out about DMRA through the Facebook boost for people interested in all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and dirt bikes within a 100-150-mile radius reaching an estimated 5000-6000 people. DMRA board member, Dave Jones was instrumental in giving tips on how to maximize social media exposure.
Another significant factor that has helped is the rating from Northeast Tourism Association listing DMRA as fifth, for ATV and off highway vehicles (OHV) and fifth, as being the best winter hikes in Northeast Tennessee.
“I knew once people came, they would like it and want to come back and it shows through the number of annual permits we have sold this year,” Davis said.
The Kettlefoot Fire Tower restoration has been “the crowning jewel” and one of the biggest tourist attractions for DMRA as it has brought a lot of publicity and more visitors to the region.
“We are one of the few places that restore old fire towers due to the liability and cost,” Davis added.
As for moving forward, DMRA has big plans.
“I would like to see more rental vehicles and have guided tours available, Davis said adding that he would also like to have an OHV festival in the future, but anticipates having at least an organized OHV ride this summer.
The last thing on the executive director’s wish list is zip line, which he feels would also increase sales, thanks to their popularity, especially in Northeast Tennessee.”
Davis expresses his appreciation for the support of the DMRA board, “I have big ideas, and I am encouraged by the help I get through the DMRA Board of Directors.”
For more information about Doe Mountain Recreation Area contact the office at 423-460-1295.

Phase One of the Longhorn football field is completed

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

Football season begins on Friday, August 23, but before the first kickoff, the
Longhorns need a football field.
That is why program head coach Don Kerley is working tirelessly to ensure the football field will be completed by the end of June. Kerley has been out on the field most nights along with other dedicated coaches, families, and volunteers to make sure they stay close to the timeline of completion.
The new drainage system has been installed, so now the focus is on getting the field leveled out, and in June the Bermuda sod can be put down.
The football field project is a huge undertaking and can be quite costly, so the Longhorn coach stressed the importance of utilizing the resources of others in the community.
“All of this would have been impossible if it weren’t for the great people of our community coming out and helping with either their talents or financial resources and sometimes both,” Kerley said.
Jimmy Phipps Hauling has worked hard on the field throughout the whole process. Joe Herman, Joe Clawson, Jerry Redden, and Hoilman Construction have also played a pivotal part in the construction of the football field. Farmers State Bank made a generous donation that helped with the overall cost of the renovation.
“It’s all coming along nicely, and I really appreciate everyone who has come out and helped,” he said, adding that “The field goal has been moved to give the Longhorns six more feet on the sidelines. Mountain Electric came out and helped with the project. Without their help, it would have taken us a while to get that field goal out of the ground and probably cost us more money, so I’m glad we had them here helping us.”
Everyone feels good about all the work that has been done, but more help is needed. Coach Kerley stated, “we could still use some volunteers; we are here most evenings working, so if anyone wants to help, we will be here,” He also encourages everyone to buy a banner as soon as possible so they can be up for the first game. The money made from the sale of the banners will go toward the field renovation project.
If anyone would like to volunteer or donate, please call Coach Don Kerley at 423-444-9724.

JCMS softball looking ahead to 2020

By Tamas Mondovics

That the Johnson County Middle School softball team enjoyed another outstanding season, there is little doubt.
But when things go well, the pressure to maintain success can become a concern. That was something that coaches of this year’s softball team have to contend with especially in the wake of a four-peat district championship title.
“We have some big shoes to fill with the 2019 season coming to a marvelous end and losing so many outstanding players,” said program head coach Haley Miller
Miller and assistant coach Mark Humphrey are wasting no time to gear up for the upcoming season.
“We wanted to get an early start on the 2020 season by having early tryouts this year,” Miller said.
Tryouts were held on the Thursday and Friday, May 16 and 17 with beautiful weather to accompany the event.
Miller was pleased with the two-day tryouts, which welcomed 30 students with a large variety of potential.
“Together, Humphrey and I decided only to keep 20,” Miller said. “This leaves room for each player to receive more one-on-one time with the Coaches and more playing time in games.”
Understandably, the program is looking forward to continuing its recent streak of success.
“We want to build on what they have learned in previous years and make our team mentally and physically strong,” Miller said, adding, “We may lose some and we may win some, but our take away from every game should focus on what we can do better next time. We should never be suited. Bettering ourselves on the field, in academics, in our relationships, and most of all, bettering our relationship with the Lord, should be our top priorities. I cannot instill the power of hard work in my girls enough, but that, for me as a coach, will be my number one goal.”
To be prepared for the upcoming season, the JCMS softball team has planned open field sessions throughout the summer.
The program is also looking into the possibility of attending a softball camp, which both coaches agreed would be a superb experience for the girls to see what hard work and dedication does for them in the future, while also recognizing the benefits of college athlete’s working with the young students.
All in all, Miller is looking forward to another successful season, while giving credit to a higher source when she said, “Whether we win or we lose, we will always be the thanking the Good Lord for the game of Softball.”

The 2019-2020 Johnson County Middle School softball team roster:

8th Grade
1. Emily Walker
2. Ashlynn Beam
3. Lexie Proffitt
4. Harley Wykle
5. Lauryn Bishop
6. Zennia Bouchelle
7. Braden Eastridge
8. Shawna Arnold
9. Sara Icenhour
10. Aden Thomas
11. Mattie Jones

7th Grade
1. Emma Eller
2. Sara Ward
3. Chloe Lackey
4. MiMi Zaldivar
5. Meleah Johnson
6. Kaylee Roark
7. Kayden C. Epperly
8. Emily Brooks
9. Ivy Lakatos

Cox Twins end season at state playoffs

Johnson County Longhorn tennis duo Olivia, left, and Taylor Cox playing in TN High School state tennis finals in Murfreesboro, TN Thursday. The Cox twins lost to Jordan and Cameron Reed of Halls High School. Photo by Beth Cox

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

Taylor and Olivia Cox traveled to Murfreesboro Thursday to play in the state finals in doubles tennis for the small school division.
The girls felt good about their chances of going all the way as Olivia expressed how hard they had worked to get this far.
“We practiced, and we looked good going into the tournament,” she said.
Taylor followed up, “We literally warmed up right before the match, my serves were going in, Olivia was killing it at the net, we felt good about everything.”
It was a different story once the match against Halls High School’s players and ironically twin duo of Jordan and Cameron Reed got underway as the Cox twins struggled to make things happen.
“The Reed twins could place the ball pretty well, but we had played tougher matches, we just couldn’t get it worked out and then we got frustrated,” Olivia said, as Taylor agreed, “We couldn’t get anything in the court, we were rattled a bit, and it affected us.”
The girls had some good plays down the line, which was hard for the Reed twins to return, but the consistency just was not there. The momentum was clearly in the Reed court, and they made the most of it.
Arthur Ashe once said, “Success is a journey, not a destination,” which of course, can apply to the Cox twins, who can look back on their tennis journey and see many accomplishments.
The girls’ record was almost perfect except for the loss against 6A Dobyns Bennett High School. The dynamic duo was both district and regional champions and got the respect of all those around them.
They also were part of the top eight in the state for the small school division two years in a row.
Olivia and Taylor have made their mark on JCHS tennis, by motivating other students to notice tennis as a competitive sport.
There is still more to accomplish on their journey going into their senior year.
Arthur Ashe finished his statement, “The doing is usually more important than the outcome.”
The outcome is uncertain, but the duo will have one more year to enjoy their tennis journey and make memories that will last long after any awards or accolades they receive.
“We will be back at state and who knows maybe third time’s a charm, Taylor said.”
Olivia added, “My dad always said we would win state our senior year, so who knows.”
Both girls also wanted to express their sincere appreciation to their supporters.
Taylor concluded, “sometimes the hardest part is the feeling of letting down
those who supported us, so we want to thank everyone, especially our family for believing in us and being so nice.”

Horns to conduct basketball camp

Staff Report

Johnson County Longhorns will hold their annual youth basketball camp beginning on Monday, May 27 through Thursday, May 30, at Johnson County High School. The camp will start at daily at 8 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m.
Longhorns head coach Austin Atwood and his 2018-2019 team will teach fundamentals, stress team play and show campers the proper shooting technique. This camp is for boys and girls (1st grade through 8th grade) with a variety of activities to take place, it’s goal is to see the kids improve their basketball knowledge and enjoy themselves. The cost is $50 per player. There is a reduced deal for siblings. Two siblings for $80. Three siblings for $100. Camp fees include a camp t-shirt and awards. Concessions are available daily (pizza, drinks, & candy). For additional info call Austin Atwood at (423) 742-2870.

Girls historic tennis season ends with sub-state loss

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

There is a quote in tennis, “Love is nothing in tennis, but in life, it’s everything.” The love for the JCHS girls’ tennis team was well demonstrated Thursday afternoon at JCHS by the large number of fans that came out to cheer the Lady Longhorns to victory against Gatlinburg Pittman.
The Lady Longhorns fought hard, but the Gatlinburg Pittman Highlanders just had too much experience for the first-time regional champions.
District Player of the Year, Taylor Cox had the top spot of the sub-state competition and started the event off by dominating her opponent with a two-set win (6-4) (6-3).
No. 2, Olivia Cox’s opponent had a pretty good lob-net game and kept Cox moving; eventually, the Highlander went on to win, (6-3) (6-4).
No. 3 Taylor Parsons and No. 4 Margaret Morrow would be worthy competitors in singles action but could not take control of the match, both losing their matches in two sets.
No. 5, Rhiannon Icenhour approached her match with the Lady Longhorns already at a (1-3) disadvantage so the outcome of her game would determine if the girls continued to play.
Understandably, the pressure of what was at stake weighed heavily on the sophomore. Icenhour would not gain much ground in the first set, which led to a 2-6 defeat. The second set did not start well for the Lady Longhorn, down 1-2, but the netter had something to prove. She wasn’t going down without a fight and caught up with her opponent (5-5).
However, as in the previous matches before, the strategic game plan of the Highlander would be too much for the JCHS tennis player, so Gatlinburg Pittman got its fourth win and became the sub-state champion allowing the team to advance to the state playoffs.
Icenhour may have lost her match, but thanks to her never-give-up attitude, she gained the respect of her competitors.
The Lady Longhorns ambition of going all the way to state may have come to an end last Thursday afternoon.
But, the girls exuded qualities of a champion throughout the whole season and will be able to accomplish even more next year with all players returning except for senior Margaret Morrow.

Craig and Doyle Tester win big at The Holston

Father-son team, Craig and Doyle Tester enjoy the spotlight after winning the Holston tourney in Morristown TN. The men took home a total payout of $11,080.00 for the win and big smallmouth. Submitted photo.

Report by Morristown Marine Tournament

The father-son team of Craig and Doyle Tester beat the elements and a robust field of talented anglers to claim victory on the third stop of the Morristown Team Trail at beautiful South Holston Lake in Bristol TN/VA.
The Tester-duo of Butler, in Johnson County TN, led the way with a monster sack of 21.25 lbs, anchored by a 5.80 smallmouth that also gave them Big Smallmouth for the tournament. The rain halted a post-tournament interview, but Craig and Doyle have put in their time on South Holston. The men took home a total payout of $11,080.00 for the win and big smallmouth.
The weather was nasty, with a late spring cold front all but killing the bedded smallmouth bite and an all-day rain that soaked everything under the sun and brought the lake up several inches. The fishery went from on fire to tough in a matter of three days.
A total of 229 boats registered and 167 of them weighed fish. The total tournament weight was 2,281.95 lbs, with 796 full fish weighed and 794 of them successfully released.
Tourney officials paid out $47,680.00 in 38 places and contingency money, with 15.88 lbs being the cut weight. There was a tie at 38th place, so both teams were paid.
Right on their heels were Jack Faulkner and Ronnie Carey of Jacksboro, TN and Middlesboro, KY with a total weight of 20.37 lbs. The two took home a total payout of $7,000.00 for their second place finish and contingency money for Highest Finishing Skeeter ($3,000.00), Highest Finishing Enigma Rods($200) and Highest Finishing Gray Insurance($250).
Third place went to JR Henard and Travis Carpenter, both of Rogersville, TN, with a mixed bag weighing 19.27 lbs. The team took home a check for $2,550.00 for their efforts.
Fourth place was Knoxville, TN angler Jordan Card and Bobby Drinnon of Rogersville, TN with a 19.22 lb bag. Jordan and Bobby took home $1550.00.
Closing out the top five was Preston and Jalen Shuffler of Greeneville, TN with a five-fish limit weighing 19.18 lbs. The Shufflers cashed a check worth $1050.00 for their day of fishing.
The Citizens Bank Big Largemouth went to Vince Salyer and Michael Ervin of Kingsport, TN with a toad weighing 6.48 lbs. Additionally, Vince and Michael also won the second Highest Finishing Skeeter and 8th place overall. Congrats, gentlemen!
The Citizens Bank Big Smallmouth went to the overall winners, Craig and Doyle Tester with their hawg 5.80 brown fish. Event organizers would like to thank Yamaha outboards, Skeeter Boats, B&H Sales, Citizens Bank, B&M Tire, Taylor Battery/Deka, Gray Insurance Agency, Cumberland Gap Spring Water, Old Stage Printing and Sullivan County/Observation Knob Park for hosting this event.
For more information, please visit,

Cox Twins get second chance at state berth

Cox twins Olivia and Taylor smile and proudly display their medals after wining the regional tournament and claiming a second chance at state. Photo by Beth Cox

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

Neither a rain delay nor colder temperatures could get in the way of Cox
twins, Olivia and Taylor’s dream of getting a second chance at the state playoffs this week.
The girls, along with teammates Mason Stanley, Noah Cox, Dalton Sluder, Margaret Morrow, and Hannah Bauer traveled to Greeneville Tennis Complex for the regional tournament.
The Cox twins admittedly struggled early against South Greene’s Scout Hopson and Chloe Kinsler. Taylor stated she was concerned at first because the courts were wet and slick, and following the rain delay, she and Olivia found it difficult to get back into the rhythm of the game until Assistant Coach and the twins’ dad, Craig Cox had a few words to say.
“He told us to get our heads in the game and concentrate on what we were doing,” Olivia said.
Craig added, “I reminded them what was at stake if they didn’t play their game.”
The reminder seemed to have paid off as the girls won a very heated first match 6-4, followed by stepping up their game and winning the second set 6-4 as well.
After eliminating South Greene, the twins faced Claiborne County that won earlier against JCHS teammates, Morrow and
Bauer. Claiborne County’s Madison Edwards and Rebecca Williams simply could not handle the powerhouse of the Cox twins, so the girls easily won their second match, (6-1) (6-2)
and thus, winning the regional tournament and a second chance to win at the state playoffs.
While the girls reflected on their season success, Stanley battled his regional finals once again facing Adam Nelson from Sullivan North. Stanley started out strong, but after Nelson gained some ground on the JCHS tennis player, the Longhorn struggled to find his momentum and would eventually lose to Nelson (7-5) (6-1).
Cox and Sluder played one of their best matches against South Greene’s Lawson Burns and Aiden Hawk, but it just wasn’t enough to get a win for the duo. (6-4) (6-3).
Morrow and Bauer played well, but just could not get past the net game of Claiborne County’s Edwards, which eliminated the girls in first round action.
Olivia emphasized how eager she was to get a second chance at the state prize.
“Taylor and I want to go back and do better,” she said. “Nerves got the best of us last year, so this year we know what to expect.
Hopefully, we can play our game.”
The Cox sisters will be facing Halls High School from Lauderdale County Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Live daily coverage will be streaming on WGNS FM 101.9/100.5.

Longhorns Ladies Four-Peat!

The 2019 JCMS Lady Longhorns Little Watauga Conference Championship team. Back Row, L-R: Assistant Coach Mark Humphrey, Hannah Fritts,
Aden Thomas, Aubrie Baird, Amy Gunter, Kendyl Kleine, Autumn Lewis, Audrey Savery, Head Coach Haley Miller. Front Row, L-R: Eden Potter, Manager Isabella, Zennia Bouchelle, Autumn Shepherd, Mackenzie Poe, Mattie Jones. Photo by Tia Thomas

JCMS Lady Longhorns end 2018-2019 season as conference and district champs.
The Lady Longhorns won their fourth district title in a row

Submitted by
Mark Humphrey
Assistant Softball Coach Johnson County Middle School

The JCMS Lady Longhorns were prepared to defend their District title last week with the Unaka Lady Rangers wanting revenge for their late-season loss to the Horns.
In the end, of an intense and close game, however, the Lady Longhorns defeated Unaka 10-8 to win their fourth district title in a row and the chance to host next year’s tournament.
The Lady Rangers came out hitting, but Hannah Fritts cut down the runners at second to get out of the inning. Mattie Jones got the Longhorns off to a great start with a leadoff double. She then scored on Hannah Fritts’ double giving the Horns an early 1-0 lead.
The Rangers got a one-out triple from Alyssa but were unable to get her home as the defense stiffened. Kendyl Klein doubled with one out, but the Lady Ranger’ Reagan threw Kline out at the plate after Mattie Jones’ single.
The Lady Rangers scored five runs in the top of the third inning to take a 5-1 lead. The Lady Longhorns came roaring back with three runs on doubles by Autumn Lewis, Aubrey Baird, and Makenzie Poe cutting the Rangers lead to 5-4.
The Longhorns held Unaka scoreless in the top of the fourth inning then turned up the heat scoring four more runs on hits by Amy Gunter, Aubrey Baird, and a bases-clearing triple by Zennia Bouchelle making the score 8-5.
The Rangers roared right back scoring three runs tying the score back up at 8-8.

Autumn Lewis snags a throw to second to force the last out against Unaka to secure the Lady Longhorn’s fourth consecutive Little Watauga Conference Championship. Lewis was later awarded All Conference honors.

Hannah Fritts and Autumn Lewis got on base with singles but were left stranded on the bases leaving the score tied.
The Rangers were three up and three down in the half of the sixth inning. Aubrey Baird led off the bottom of the sixth inning with her third hit of the night. Maddie Jones walked with two outs setting the stage for Autumn Shepherd to blast a two-run double to put the Longhorns up 10-8.

JCMS pitcher Hannah Fritts makes a big play at home to prevent another Unaka run in the battle for the title between the two conference powerhouses. The Lady Longhorns edged Unaka out with a final score of 10-8 to earn their fourth consecutive Little Watauga Conference Championship at their home field in Mountain City on May 14.

The Lady Rangers would not give up as they banged out three hits, but the Longhorns defense would not allow them to score to shut the door on their upset bid and take a hard-fought 10-8 victory.
All-Conference honors went to Hannah Fritts, Autumn Lewis, and Mattie Jones. Honorable Mention All-Conference honors went to Autumn Shepherd.
The Lady Longhorns close out the season as Conference and District Champions and a 16-8 overall record and 11-1 in conference play.

Congratulations to Coach Hailey Miller on her first season as a head coach and to all the girls on the team that made this possible.

JCMS defeat Cloudland in District crown quest

Autumn Lewis hammering a stand up triple during the JCMS Lady Longhorns battle against the Cloudland Lady Highlanders for a spot in the Conference Championship. The Horns defeated Cloudland 7-3 at Bob Kirksey Field in Mountain City to earn the opportunity to defend their conference championship title. Photos by Tia Thomas

Submitted by Mark Humphrey

The JCMS Lady Longhorns started their quest for their fourth District crown against a stubborn Cloudland team.
Cloudland led 3-1 going into the bottom of the fifth inning when the Horns bats started coming to life.
With the score 3-2, Makenzie Poe smashed a single up the middle to drive in two runs to give the Lady Longhorns a 4-3 lead.
Hannah Fritts came on in relief of Autumn Lewis to slam the door on the Lady Highlanders and pick up the win on the mound.
Autumn Shepherd and Hannah Fritts picked up three hits each to pace the Longhorns, while Aiden Thomas, Lewis, and Poe added two hits each.
Maddi Jones, Audrey Savery, and Aubrie Baird had a hit apiece. Lexie Proffit filled in at shortstop to help the defensive effort.

The Lady Horns capture historic win

The Lady Longhorn tennis team captured a historic win against South Greene in regionals at JCHS tennis courts. They are the first girls’ tennis team to go to sub-state. Pictured Hannah Bauer, Taylor Parsons, Olivia Cox, Coach Zach Pittman, Taylor Cox, Rhiannon Icenhour, and Margaret Morrow. Photo by Beth Cox

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

The JCHS girls had more to prove than just winning a title when it came to the competition against South Greene.
But, according to the TSSAA records, JCHS has never had a girls’ tennis team make it to sub-state, which made the victory over the Lady Rebels even sweeter.
Last year’s loss left a bitter taste with the girls, and they were eager to fight for a long overdue win.
A large number of fans that came out to cheer the Lady Longhorns to victory Thursday at JCHS tennis courts were fortunate to witness the fight these girls had as they went into battle against the Lady Rebels.
For a tennis team to advance to the next level, the team would have to win four out of seven matches. The first team to win four matches would go to sub-state.
No. 1 seed, Taylor Cox would once again face off with her nemesis Jaelyn Casteel. The two have faced each other four other times, with Casteel always getting the win.
However, the tides quickly turned as a determined Cox never let up on Casteel. Cox was behind in the first set, but quickly caught up and the first set would go to a tiebreaker.
Cox expressed how she was already a “nervous wreck,” but when she was faced with a tiebreaker she “about lost it.”
“I had never won a tiebreaker, so I was just about to cry when we reached that point,” she said.
Cox buckled down harder, and everyone watching the match saw an unwavering spirit come over the Lady Longhorn as she would go on to win her first ever tiebreaker.
The defeat from the tiebreaker seemed too much for Casteel, and Cox took full advantage of her vulnerability and quickly captured the second set.
As Taylor Cox was giving her all against her opponent, her twin sister Olivia Cox was also playing one of her best matches. Olivia seemed to have had fire coming from that racquet, and her opponent quickly felt the burn and couldn’t handle the power plays from the junior Longhorn which led to Olivia’s 6-3, 6-3 win.
“I wanted this win so bad, Last year was a tough loss for our team,” Olivia said. “I didn’t want that to happen again.” She continued, “I love my teammates, and it would be so nice if we all could go to state.”
After the Cox twins won their matches, the team had two more wins before they could claim the victory. The next two wins would come from two fierce, strong-willed athletes; No. 3 Taylor Parsons and No. 5 Rhiannon Icenhour. The girls’ do-or-die attitude secured the team’s spot at sectionals.
Assistant Coach, Tim Tugman said, “Winning regionals for this team was an impressive feat, and each player contributed to this success.”


Jayden Joiner signs with Milligan

L to R: Christie Joiner, Coach Crabtree, Jayden Joiner, Paul Hoilman from RBI Tri-Cities, and Steve Joiner. Submited photo.


As the JCHS baseball season comes to an end, one senior is closing the books on his four year career with the Longhorns and is beginning his journey playing baseball at the college level. Jayden Joiner signed his Letter of Intent to play baseball for the Milligan Buffalos starting this fall. He plans to study Physical Education and Exercise Science and hopes to one day be a baseball coach at the high school or college level.
Jayden has started all four years with the varsity Longhorns at short-stop and has also contributed on the mound for the last three years. Coach Pete Pavusek commented, “Jayden has worked so hard at baseball. He has come a long way and it has been a joy and pleasure coaching him. Jayden is off to bigger and better things in life and I look forward to watching it unfold. We will miss him here at Johnson County.”
Jayden stated, “I’ve always loved the game since I started playing T-ball for Coach Brad Reece twelve years ago. I learned more and more about the game at every level and I know I have a lot more to learn. That’s why I was excited to get to be a part of Milligan Baseball and to have the opportunity to play and learn under Coach Grewe. He’s coached at Notre Dame, LSU, and Michigan State. He’s giving me the opportunity to be a student coach/player and I can’t wait to get started. I know I’m going to learn so much from him.”
Jayden has also played travel baseball for RBI Tri-Cities in Johnson City and has played tournaments from Georgia to Kentucky competing against teams from all over the country. He plans on playing this summer for RBI and will be competing in 8 tournaments all over the southeast before starting Milligan in late August.
His parents are Steve and Christie Joiner of Mountain City. Grandparents are Shane and Rita Reece, Larry Woodward, all of Mountain City and Glen Joiner of Valdosta, GA. Jayden also has a brother, Stephen Joiner, who graduated from Milligan and is now a professor of political science at Carson Newman.

Longhorn netters advance to regionals

Small School District One Player of the Year, Taylor Cox, left, and sister Olivia Cox, display their awards for Small School Division One District Champions. Photo by Craig Cox.

By Beth Cox
Freelance Writer

Four groups of the Longhorn netters easily surpassed the first-round action Monday at Milligan College and finished with district finals on Tuesday.
Mason Stanley would be in a battle with Sullivan North’s Adam Nelson. Stanley was hitting well and had good placement, but it just wasn’t enough to defeat Nelson.
Noah Cox and Dalton Sluder got off to a rough start with North’s Tray Williams and Dalton Hatmaker. Nerves appeared to be a contributing factor in the first set, but communication between players provided a much better second set, but Cox and Sluder would succumb to a strong net game provided by Tray Williams.
“Tray’s athleticism and height made it difficult to get anything past him,” Cox said.
Assistant Coach, Tim Tugman spoke highly of Sluder and Cox, “Noah and Dalton have worked very hard this year, not only on the physical aspects of tennis but on the mental aspects and I am proud of what they have accomplished.”
Taylor and Olivia Cox faced a couple of familiar faces during the district finals; their teammates, Margaret Morrow and Hannah Bauer. It would be a valiant effort by Morrow and Bauer, but they were no match for the dynamic duo. The sisters’ experience, strategy and possibly twin connection made them fierce competitors. The tennis partners were excited to win the title of district champs. Olivia said, “last year we didn’t play very well in the finals and lost against Chuckey Doak, so to win the district this year was pretty nice.” Taylor expressed her appreciation for her opponents/teammates, “We love Margaret and Hannah; we had fun playing against them, and I’m happy they still get to go to regionals with us.”
Stanley, Cox, Sluder, Bauer, and Morrow placed second in the district tournament and will play in regionals along with the Cox twins Monday at Greeneville Tennis Complex.
Taylor Cox received the honor of Player of the Year. Taylor’s dad and Assistant Coach Craig Cox was ecstatic about his daughter receiving the award,” Taylor has worked hard all year, and I am glad she was recognized for her effort.” Coach Zach Pittman added, “I wish Taylor could play both singles and doubles because I think she could easily win both.”
Pittman feels good about his team moving forward into regionals, He states, “I feel the Cox twins have a great shot of not only going to state but winning it all and Mason fought hard and will rebound to win regionals.” Coach Zach Pittman also received the award for Coach of the Year.