Tomahawk Talk: Horns have already logged its biggest win in 2018


Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County’s playoff win over Northview Academy last year was big. Beating Sullivan East on Thursday would be just as big for this year’s young team.
Knocking off Hampton next week in their home opener would be even bigger, but none of those games will ever compare to the battle just won by Johnson County’s football coaching staff.
Longhorns’ assistant football coach and defensive coordinator Tom Kerley was recently hospitalized with what started out to be an abscessed tooth. It turned out to be a battle for his life.
Coach Tom was hospitalized for several days in the ICU unit at Abingdon, Virginia. Prayers were being offered up in mass numbers because the Longhorn nation was worried about one of their own.
Kerley life was in jeopardy due to an infection that had reached him, and he spent some time hooked up to a ventilator.
Coach Tom battled death down to the wire for four quarters, before coming out on top in overtime. That is a huge example of willpower, determination and never quit attitude that can be learned by all his
players. It’s also a testament about how prayer can change things.
Not only did Coach Tom cheat death but his dad was in the hospital at the same time with a broken hip, which left Coach Don Kerley to try shuffling his football duties around his heavy heart for Tom and his dad.
He logged several miles back and forth from Abingdon to Mountain City and other places.
But that wasn’t the only issue to hit the Horns’ coaching staff.
Their assistant coach Matt Bray lost his dad around the same time, so their hearts got even heavier. It forced the team and staff to rally around one another for a third time.
The Horns will open up at Sullivan East on Thursday. They would love to start the season off with a win, but no victory will ever be bigger than the one coach Tom shared with them just recently.
I know why and fully understand.
My wife just survived two heart attacks and triple bypass surgery three weeks ago. Doctors told her she cheated death too.
It was a victory for my family and me just like Tom was to Coach Don and his family.
We all have a lot to be thankful for.
Let the football season begin.

This week schedule:
Johnson County’s volleyball team will be taking part in Elizabethton’s Invitational on Saturday. The youth league football kickoff their regular season on Saturday with four Johnson County teams on the card. Listed below are the area football games scheduled for this week.

JCMS forced to overhaul football schedule

JCMS’ Dalton Brown (22) is show being chased by three Highlanders in last year’s game.
Cloudland’s chase to field enough players for a football failed in 2018. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

It’s been a difficult task for JCMS’ head football coach Devin Shaw when it comes to making out his football schedule for 2018.
Shaw was recently informed that Cloudland will not have a middle school football team this year due to lack of players.
It’s a shocking situation for a community that absolutely prides itself on their football programs. Several attempts were made to try and get enough players to fill a roster but they came up short due to lack of numbers.
The handful of players who showed interest will now be allowed to join up with Hampton and play during the 2018 season.
“I really hate it for all the middle school kids up there,” said Shaw. “Cloudland has always been a great rival for us because they’ve always had a good football program. I hope they can get it started back soon. They have a great tradition up there.”
Shaw will take his team to Jonesborough on Thursday for a game-type scrimmage and will also play a couple of team out of North Carolina to fill their void.

Horns fly past Eagles

JC’s Taylor Parsons (24) goes high above the net for one of her 13 kills against TCC. Parsons helped the Horns dominate the front line play in their win. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County didn’t disappoint a good size crowd inside Ray Shoun Gymnasium on Monday for their volleyball home opener. The Longhorn netters knocked off Tri-Cities Christian in consecutive sets 25-15, 25-9 and 25-16.
Johnson County’s head coach Donna Poteet liked what she saw from her team other than a sluggish start early in the game.
“We had a little bit of a rocky start because we were swinging away,” said Poteet. “We got things going later in the match and played really well in the second one. The girls pulled together when they had to. I thought our size at the net created some problems for them.”
Poteet hit the nail on the head about her team’s early start. They fell behind 9-8 after jumping out to a 6-1 advantage.
Margaret Morrow helped them regain the momentum by serving up two aces while Taylor Cox provided three.
The Horns took an 18-11 lead on Abby Cornett’s kill and a skillful dig from Natalie Winters that resulted in a point. A couple more aces from Renie Morrow and Kaylee Wittenberg would extend the Longhorn’s lead to 23-15.
Taylor Parsons dazzled the crowd by capping off the match with back-to-back kills that allowed them to take the first set 25-15.
Horns find their groove
in the second set
The Longhorns came out smoking hot in the second set with Parsons leading the way. She served up three aces while Emily Garr and Renie Morrow added a pair of nice touch shots that resulted in a 10-3 lead.
The Longhorns got some excellent libero play from Winters, who collected six digs during a 6-1 run. Wittenberg turned one of those into a kill while Rhiannon Icenhour and Sydney Souder connected on a pair of nice corner shots that inflated their cushion at
Cox put on a show to end the second match with two aces, a kill and two digs, one of which resulted in a mammoth kill by Parsons while Margaret Morrow hammered home the other one in convincing fashion.

More good play in the
third match
Coach Poteet went to her bench in the third set, and a couple of them provided some outstanding play.
Hannah Brooks served up three aces, while Winters did one better with four. Bella Miller had a nice shot on the front line that resulted in a point while Parsons, Cox, Icenhour, Dixon, and Wittenberg all contributed late points.

Leading players
Parsons led the front line with 13 kills while Margaret Morrow provided 10 over the three sets played. Winters amassed 20 digs while Cox served up 13 aces in the match.
Poteet saw plenty of things that they can build on.
“It’s a good way to start the season, but we can play better,” said Poteet. “I did like
the way the girls encouraged one another. They all played hard, and that’s something
you always want to see as a coach.”

Junior Varsity
Johnson County won the junior varsity game 25-17 and 25-8.
Hannah Brooks served up
10 aces in the last match.
Rhiannon Icenhour, Olivia Dixon, Maddi Edington and Cassidy Lakatos contributed multiple points apiece in the first set.

Longhorns look to pummel Patriots

JC’s Troy Arnold (1) will move over to quarterback after starting every game at fullback last year. File photo by Tim Cambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

The wait is over for Johnson County football fans as the Longhorns will kick off the 2018 high school season at Sullivan East on Thursday due to Friday’s NASCAR race being held in Bristol.
The Longhorns finished 11-1 last season and went undefeated during the regular season. East ended the year at 4-6 overall and 2-4 in the region.
Three of those losses were to state 4A champion Greeneville, state 4A ranked and playoff team Elizabethton and the Longhorns who were ranked No.3 in 3A for eight weeks.
The Patriots would love to avenge the 34-0 loss they suffered to the Horns last year and believe they have the talent to do so. They got it going late in the year and ended up scoring a school record 62 points versus Volunteer in a game they won 62-25.

Key returning players for East:
The Patriots will be led by junior quarterback Dylan White who threw for 956 yards, 12 touchdowns and rushed for five more last year.
He’s a duel threat on offense that loves to take chances both on the ground and through the air.
The Longhorns must be aware of fullback Tanner Leffew and Eric Hare who will slide over to the running back slots. Corbin Patrick returns after leading the team in rushing last year. Mason Hayworth will be one of the team’s leading receivers.
The offensive line has good size up front with Dayne Davis, Clayton Rose, Jake Cross and Ethan Sneed. Jeff Jones and Clayton Ivester will share time at the tight end spot. Lake Mullins and Corbin Patrick will be the team’s top receivers.
“They got some good athletes especially their quarterback White and running back Leffew,” said JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley. “They also have some big kids in the line. We have 23 players gone off last year’s roster and 19 of them played. We got some good players returning but we’re also going to play a lot of young kids too. We’re going to try and play as many kids as we can.”
The Longhorns must move the football against the gigantic defensive line of East. Davis, Gabe Voorhees, Cameron Tolbert and Cross will tower over the smaller Longhorns O-line.
Tyler Lopez will lead the linebackers who should be young but athletic. Leffew and White will hold down the outside linebacker position while Mullins, Blake Scher and Dakota Deels will lead the secondary.

Longhorns’ lineup features new faces:
Johnson County will counter with a lot of different faces on both sides of the ball that include some freshman and sophomores.
Christian Krupsky will anchor the offensive line that includes freshman John Stout at tackle and sophomore Logan Gilley at center. Sophomore Ricky Fenner and Junior Lucas Walters will get the nod on the left side despite having no varsity experience.
The same can be said about the backfield that will feature senior Troy Arnold at quarterback.
“Troy has played well in our scrimmages and makes good decisions with the football,” said Kerley. “We’ll try and run him between the tackles some.”
The Longhorns would like to get the ball into the hands of their dynamic duo, Zack Elller and Nathan Lane who both possess lots of speed.
Stacey Greer and Jared Kimble could get a lot of reps in the back field while Eric Neely will line up as a wide receiver.
The defense will be led by senior standout Tyler Norris at middle linebacker who is expected to put up some massive numbers.
Cody Norris, Colt Moody, Curtis Lowe, Andrew Dugger, Krupsky, and Troy Arnold will all share time in the defensive line.
Kimble will play the stack linebacker spot as will Tyler Phillips Tyrone McFadden and Ethan Icenhour. Weston Troop and Stacey Greer will handle the outside linebacker spots while Lane and Eller will lead the secondary. Ethan Bower, Nathan Mink could see time while Cory Neely, another freshman will see time in the defensive backfield and as a receiver.

Final comments from
Coach Kerley:
“We’re young and inexperienced at a lot of positions,” added Neely. “We have four, possibly five freshmen in Stout, Nate Rice, Neely, Icenhour and Zack Parsons who could all see some playing time plus a bunch of sophomores. I am proud of our kids because they got after it in our practices and scrimmages. All of them have done a good job. We’ve got a lot of big shoes to fill from the guys that we lost last year but our kids want to show everyone what they can do.”
Kerley said the game plan is simple.
“We have to cut down on our mistakes and take care of the football. I want them to play with confidence and go all out. We won some games last year that could have gone either way. I am hoping we can have another good year and it all starts on Thursday at East.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 at the Patriot Pasture.

Little Horns fare well in jamboree

JC’s Mason Luckett (23) picks up a loose ball and races 40-yard for a score versus
Morristown. Luckett played well in his team’s 18-13 win on Saturday in the jamboree. Photos by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

Scattered showers for most of the day couldn’t keep football from being played at Hampton High School on Saturday.
The 2018 youth football league kicked off its annual jamboree on J.C. Campbell Field with only two Johnson County teams emerging with a victory.
The Mighty Mites coached by Josh Allen came away with a hard fought 18-13 victory over the Morristown Gladiators.
M-town struck first by scoring on a 50-yard touchdown run but the Horns battled back with one of their own.
Grayson Hensley broke loose on a 60-yard scamper that evened things up at 6-6.
The Little Horns defense rose to the occasion on the next series getting back-to-back sacks by Hunter Stanley and a bone-crushing tackle from Mason Luckett.
Luckett sparked the Horns next offense series with a 40-yard run while Easton Snyder had a nice run that resulted in a first down.
Hensley broke loose for another touchdown by racing to paydirt from 20-yard out but back came the Gladiators.
A long run by the boys from M-town put them in front with 3.54 remaining but back came the Little Horns with one
final surge and a play to remember.
Hensley found the end zone from 40-yards out after picking up the loose pigskin off of a shotgun snap that went haywire and running it in for their final score.
Morristown’s attempt to get a game winning score ended with a stop in the backfield as time ran out.
Hensley finished the day with 140 yards rushing on
five carries and three touchdowns. Mason Luckett added 45 yards on two carries. Easton Snyder picked up 25 yards on three carries to account for 210 yards of total offense.
The defense was just as impressive getting four sacks and 10 tackles from Hunter Stanley. Luckett added three tackles. Masyn Allen had a big day with two sacks and two tackles.
Coach Josh Allen was happy with his team’s play.
“We couldn’t handle a snap and we had trouble with everything we tried
to do said Allen about his
team’s performance the prior week. My assistant coaches Trent Snyder and Andrew Hensley did a good job of working with our backs and getting the kinks out. I thought our defense really stepped it up to. I’m very proud of the improvements that were made because all our kids did a
good job.”

New kids on the block

Tyler Phillips

Weston Troop








By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

The key to having a successful sports program is when each team can share its athletes. Two seniors will take their talents from the baseball diamond to the football field in hopes of helping the team try and duplicate in 2018 what it did last season.
Weston Troop and Tyler Phillips are already making an impact on the team despite this being their first year in the program. Phillip and Troop are currently holding down two of the starting linebacker slots and each one brings a lot of athleticism to the table.
Neither player participated in high school football for three seasons yet it doesn’t seem to be a pressing issue.
Head coach Don Kerley is happy that the pair chose to play during their final campaign. His staff is currently molding them into good football players with a lot of extra fundamental drills and after practice workouts.
“We always love it when the good athletes decide to come out and play,” said Kerley. “You would prefer to get them early but we lost almost 20 seniors so getting them out will definitely help our depth. Both run well and are very athletic and each is willing to work extra and do what it takes to play. I think that both of them can help us. I’m expecting them to be on the field and contributing.”
Tyler said it was a no brainer when asked about why he chose to play. He wanted to be a part of it after watching how successful the team was in 2017.
“We saw how good they did last year plus I’ve always loved football but didn’t play,” said Phillips. “I feel like we can help them win. I believe they have some high expectations about what we can do because both of us are starting. I wanted to be out there when I saw them playing especially in the playoffs. This is my senior season so I wasn’t about to look back and not regret playing my final year.”
Troop’s step-brother Troy Arnold is the team’s starting quarterback. He wanted to wear the maroon and white during his final campaign.
“I didn’t come out here to sit and watch,” said Troop. “I came out here to play and help them win. I want to bring a high level of energy to our team plus the expectation to win. I’m hoping to help us achieve the success that they enjoyed last year. I want to be a good team
The duo will get their first varsity action on Thursday night August 16 when the team opens up on the road at Sullivan East. They all smiled when I asked them what it would be like.
“I’ve always dreamed about playing on Friday nights under the lights,” said Troop. “I want to help this program carry on that winning tradition they established last year. I want to do what they did and more in 2018.
Phillips added. “I have not got to do this before so I’m going to make every game count. I’m going all out and playing my hardest because I want it to
be another season they remember.”
The Longhorns will need a slew of good players to duplicate what they did in 2017. Phillips and Troop are the “new kids on the block” and their hoping to lead them back to the playoffs “step by step.”

Tomahawk Talk: 2017 is over, enough said

Wide Receiver: Zack Eller

Quarterback: Troy Arnold

Linebacker: Tyler Norris

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

It’s always nice to roll back the clock and think of the way things were. Barbara Streisand had a hit song in the 80’s that said just that.
She sang a particular line in the song that caught my attention when thinking about the upcoming football season. Wouldn’t it be special if we could do 2017 all over again?
She raised the question, could we? Would we?
The answer is simple, but it’s time to put those questions on the back burner for now.
It’s time to focus on the 2018 football season, the remaining cast and some others who will likely be thrown into the mix.
People often want to compare so let’s have a little fun with this.

Troy Arnold versus Nathan Arnold:
They have some similarities but are entirely different players.
Nathan holds the record for the most passing yards thrown in a regular season and career. So how does Troy compare to that?
Both have the same last name, and both are like
having a coach on the field. Nothing else needs to be
said about Nathan, who is
now a freshman quarterback for the University of the Cumberlands.
He’ll be remembered as one of the best, but a lot can be said about Troy.
You won’t find a tougher competitor anywhere. He showed that by throwing two touchdowns in a recent scrimmage at Tennessee High.
He’s the type of quarterback that makes good decisions, but he’s also that type of player that can be physical.
Hitting Troy when he leaves the pocket is like trying to tackle a tractor-trailer. He’s also a physical force when he lines up at defensive end.
Enough said.

Tyler Norris versus Hayden Osborne:
Hayden collected 157 tackles last year including 15 for losses and 11 sacks. He will be remembered as one of the toughest kids ever to wear a Longhorn uniform. His 157 tackles is also another school record.
He and Nathan were members of the All-State team.
Tyler can be the same type of player and has been for the most part. He collected 130 tackles last season and had the
98-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Happy Valley that kept their record unblemished.
Norris is one of the most underrated players in Northeast Tennessee. He has a nose for finding the football like a bloodhound does in finding evidence.
Enough said.

Zack Eller versus Shane Greer
Shane left Johnson County as the school’s all-time career leading receiver. He had 121 catches for 2311 yards over a three-year span.
That definitely earns him the nod as one of the best receivers to ever play here.
Eller is an entirely different type of receiver but just as effective. He is a big-time threat to turn a small gain into a score.
His value to the team can’t be measured due to his athleticism. Eller is the league’s top kickoff return specialist averaging over 30 yards per return last year. He also possesses excellent hand and is a standout defensive back.
Enough said.
We could go on and on comparing this one to that one but why bother? This is a totally different team and an entirely different season.
The 2018 Longhorns won’t have 19 returning seniors, but they do have a roster with some quality football players. It’s nice to set your goals high and dream of a repeat but this year’s squad needs to look past nobody.
Maybe Nathan Lane will help take them down memory lane for a second time. It could be somebody different stepping up each game.
Barbara Streisand’s song “the way we were” is nice to remember but I prefer “a star is born.”
We will know more in the upcoming weeks.
Enough said.
Tim Chambers is the sports editor for the Tomahawk. You can reach him by email at

Golf team on course to win league title

Golf team, L-R: Josh Jones, Zack Winters Jayden Joiner, Reece Stout, Gavin Reece and Breanna Jones.
Back row: head coach Eric Crabtree. Photo by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County boys’ golf team appears to be the team to beat on the links this fall returning nearly everyone off of last year’s squad. To do so they will have to prove themselves as “road warriors” because all their matches will be played away from home.
The team will continue to practice at Red Tail Golf Course, which is now a private nine-hole course with 10 playable holes.
Head coach Eric Crabtree said that it’s not a bad setup for his squad.
“We really appreciate Red Tail and their staff for allowing us to practice up there,” said Crabtree. “They’ve always been good to our high school kids and still are but we just couldn’t work out getting a match there with the other teams. We don’t mind going on the road because out kids love to play. We have around 15 matches scheduled and that’s a good amount to play. We feel confident going into the season.”
The team is loaded with experience in the first three spots. Reece Stout will play in the one spot, Jayden Joiner at two and Gavin Reece at three.
“Reece can play in the high 30’s if he stays focused on the course,” said Crabtree. “Jayden is capable of playing there to but both of them should always be in the low 40’s or below. Gavin can play in the low to mid 40’s when he is on his game. I believe that all three of them will play well for us.”
Petie Pavusek, Jackson Mays and Josh Jones are battling for the four, five and six spots.
“Petie pretty much played the four last year although it was his first year of every playing,” added Crabtree. “Jackson and Josh are both capable of getting there. We want our No. 4 player to shoot in the mid to upper 40’s. We should be in all our matches if we all can play up to our potential.”
Six golfers play during the match with the top four individual scores factoring into the outcome.
Zack Winters and Jordan Poe will round out the squad and Crabtree likes what he has seen so far from both of them.
Breanna Jones is the lone girl golfer on the squad.
“We would love to have a girl’s team if our numbers can pick up,” stated Crabtree. “This is Breanna’s first year of playing so we’ll bring her along slow before throwing her out
Crabtree see University High as the team to beat but thinks they will be right in the mix.
“They have a lot of kids returning just like we do. There is no reason why we shouldn’t play well. The kids have been working on their game since July. All of them are anxious to get the season started.”

Volleyball Horns ready to challenge

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

There is optimism on the hardwood for the first time in several years for the Johnson County volleyball team. The Lady Longhorns return eight veteran players from last year’s squad that won a total of three conference matches. Head coach Donna Poteet has all the ingredients to put together a squad that could make some noise in what might be the state’s toughest volleyball conference in the AA classification.

“We have a lot of experience and the best size we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Poteet. “We have four seniors and four juniors back who got a lot of varsity playing time last year. This is a talented group this is willing to do what it takes to be good. They don’t care to work hard and all of them get along with one another. I’m expecting some good things from them.”

Seniors Margaret Morrow, Renie Morrow, Bella Miller and Kaylee Wittenberg will show the way. The Morrow twins will lead the front line and will both be hitters. Wittenberg’s main role will be as a setter while Miller is the defensive specialist on the back row.

“Our seniors are high character kids with outstanding GPA’s,” added Poteet. “They’re the type of kids that are a pleasure to work with. Our juniors are the same way. These kids don’t care to work hard for it. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to be winners. Both classes want to elevate their play and I believe they all will be able to do that.”

The junior class will be led by three year starter Taylor Parsons and libero Nathalie Winters. Abby Cornett and Taylor Cox will also play a key role on the team.“Parsons is a very strong player on the front line that is very athletic,” stated Poteet. “She will definitely be one of our team leaders and somebody we expect to get our scoring from. Winters will be our libero and will direct our defense. She will call out the switches and keep everybody straight. Cornett can play the front line or the back row wherever needed. Cox is a versatile player that can play as a second setter or hitter.

The coach is also expecting some solid play from junior Emily Garr who was missed nearly all of last season with an injury. Juniors Sydney Souder and Olivia Dickson along with sophomore Rhiannon Icenhour will round out the varsity roster. Poteet agreed that each of them could see some playing time.

“Garr has some size and can help us on the front line. Dickson, Souder and Icenhour will head up our junior varsity squad but all could see varsity time as well.”Poteet said that softball players Hannah Brooks, MaddI Eddington and Cassidy Lakatos could all work their way onto the varsity and see some playing time as well.

“They have been out over the summer but all three can be good players. It’s going to take a little time to see who can do what. We need a little bit of time to jell. I think the second half of the season will be a different story but we need this first half of the season to compete. We could surprise a lot of people by the time tournaments roll around.”

Poteet tabbed Sullivan South as the team to beat. She feels like Elizabethton and Sullivan East could challenge along with Unicoi County.
“Everybody can play in this league,” said Poteet. “You don’t have any weak teams because Happy Valley is much improved. I am hoping that our girls that play multiple sports will carry over their competitiveness to the volleyball court. I believe we can be a pretty good team with the girls that we have here now.”

We expect their competitiveness to carry over on the volleyball court from the other sports that they play.

Horns Roster

Twin towers ready to spike opposition

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

Johnson County’s opposition could be seeing double-trouble on the volleyball court in 2018. Margaret and Renie Morrow are ready to show the opponent that the Lady Longhorns are no longer a pushover. The Morrow twins will tower above the opposition with Margaret standing 6’0 and Renie just a tad under. Both are in their fourth year and are eager to set the bar high for the future players.

“I like to inspire our younger players to keep going with it because volleyball can be hard as a freshman or sophomore,” said Margaret. “The upperclassmen are so much stronger but you have to keep your goal of working up to where they are at. I want to be there ready to answer questions when the younger players ask for help. I want to be a leader for them as well as our varsity players.”

Renie is one player that has climbed her way up in the ranks. Coach Donna Poteet called her the most improved player. “I always had a love for the game so I worked hard on the court and at practices to get better,” said Renie. “I always tried to listen to my coaches and do everything they ask me to do. It was hard at first but I wanted to be good and I wanted our team to be better. I’m hoping that all the hard work pays off this year.”

Margaret believes that all the hard work they have put in will show when the season begins. She feels like that team chemistry and athleticism will be their strong suits.“I think this group has a whole different level of connection with one another,” stated Margaret. “We all enjoy being around each other and this carries over on the court when we play. We all pull for one another to do well because we know that our team is best when we all are playing good together. This group wants to win and we’ve got the athletes to do that now.”

Renie agrees with Margaret about this year’s squad being better than in years past. She agrees it’s all about having the right pieces to the puzzle.
“We are definitely very athletic,” said Renie. “We have size on the front line which should help us to knock some shots down. We came away from the camps with a good feel for one another and a great level of improvement. We’ve got much better since last season.”

Margaret and Renie are the daughters of Anny Morrow and Sonny Patterson. Their dad played sports at the college level. They both agreed that Coach Poteet has had a positive influence on them. “She has always been a big inspiration for our team,” said Renie. “Coach is always pushing us to be our best on the court and in the classroom. She definitely has help Margaret and me.”

Coach Poteet was ready to hand back the compliments to her team leaders. “They both are four years players that have worked hard to be where they are at. This is my second and third players to play four years for me. They are top notch kids that are strong in academics, have high character and possess an excellent work ethic. I can see them doing well in whatever they decide to pursue.”

Both plan on attending Tennessee Tech University after graduation and they won’t rule out trying to play either club ball or for the school.
They’ll put all that on hold for now. “I hope that we can have a great season and not get down like in past years,” said Renie. “I want us to work together and not give up. I know we can win a lot of games if we apply ourselves.”

Margaret added. “I don’t think that we’ll be the team that anyone wants to play on senior night. We plan on showing up and giving everyone a fight.”

Longhorns find success in Kentucky

Jo Co volleyball at UK

JCHS volleyball team went 3-0 in pool play at UK. Front row, L-R: Abby Cornett, Taylor Cox, Natalie Winters, Kaylee Wittenburg and Bella Miller. Back Row, L-R: Rhiannon Icenhour, Taylor Parsons, Olivia Dixon, Emily Garr, Renie Morrow and Margaret Morrow. Submitted photo

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

Several Longhorn volleyball players recently traveled to the bluegrass state to take part in a volleyball camp at the University of Kentucky. They returned with a great deal of knowledge and championship in pool play. The Lady Longhorns went 3-0 on the final day which pleased head Coach Donna Poteet.

“We took our varsity team and a few junior varsity players,” said Poteet. “We had a lot of individual instruction at first and then we played games. We played in a very tough pool the first day with a few state champions and held our own. We went undefeated on the final day and did very well. I was pleased that our kids played hard and never gave up. We are still at the stage of learning how to play with one another. We only had two practices before going so I’m real happy with what they accomplished.”

Poteet thought the team bonded during the three day event. She saw a lot of things that she was looking for from several players.
“We were looking at players who could fill the hitting and defensive positions. I want to find a group who were competitive and one that would hustle and fight.”

That was evident in a few games where the team got down but wouldn’t quit. It was there Poteet saw what she was searching for.“You always want your kids to play hard and we did. They gave that maximum effort in every match. We made some mistakes but all of them were picking one another up. That’s what you love to see as a coach from your players. We had some coaches from the other teams comment on how hard that our kids played. I think we can be a pretty good team once we get in the gym every day. I’m expecting a lot out of this group.”

Players that participated at the camp were; Renie and Margaret Morrow, Kaylee Wittenberg, Bella Miller, Taylor Cox, Natalie Winters, Taylor Cox, Abby Cornett, Emily Garr, Rhiannon Icenhour and Olivia Dixon. The team will open their regular season on August 13.

Kerley is taking his talents to a higher level

Will Kerley tackle

Former Longhorn Will Kerley #26 was a key contributor for the 2017 Longhorns. He hopes to make a difference as a pastor like he did on the football field. Tomahawk File Photo.

By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor

The birds sang about it and the Bible spoke of it. “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”
No one will ever question that the 2017 football season was the most successful one in Johnson County’s school history. A lot of special young me could be found on that team. Many of them will take their talents to variety of schools to participate in college athletics. One however is ready to answer the highest of all callings. Will Kerley has decided to attend Fruitland Bible College in Hendersonville, North Carolina to pursue his calling to the ministry. It’s one that he’s felt since age 14.

Kerley statue was small on the football field but he played like a giant on defense. His coaches always labeled him as one who had heart. Now Kerley ready to give his “heart” to a different profession although he admitted to missing football.
“Last year was a special season for all of us,” said Kerley. We had some great players but it was really all about the team. We all enjoyed helping one another to try and be at our best. That’s want I want to do as a Christian and pastor. I want to work for Christ to try and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Kerley didn’t get to play his sophomore season and the team struggled at times during his junior year. Kerley could relate those struggles. He spoke of failing his first true test.
“I failed as a Christian athlete for a while because I wanted to blend in. I pretty much lived for me until the spring of my junior year. That’s when I made up my mind to live for God and do His will. I wanted to be a leader for Him. It was time to get serious.”

Kerley was an excellent leader on the field and is now proving himself in the pulpit as a young pastor and gospel singer. He learned one thing in life that helped him behind the pulpit and on the gridiron.
“I had to fully submit because I wasn’t all in it for God. I had to totally surrender and be a part of God’s team. That’s the only way you can have success in trying to win people to Christ.”

Kerley was that type of player for the Longhorns. He made numerous big plays on defense and was a key contributor and leader. His goal is to continue be that type of contributor at Fruitland.
“I want to show my friends and all those around me that there is a better life. I want them to know that nothing comes easy, that you must work hard to reach the top.”

Kerley praised his dad Tom and uncle Don as two of the biggest influences in his life. He also applauded his other coaches for setting good examples and making football fun.

“It was like a dream come true, a great accomplishment as to what we did last year going 11-1 and being undefeated and ranked third in the state. But there is so much more in life that is more important than sports. I’m always asking, did I do enough and was I a role model? Fans don’t always see everything we do on the football field and sometimes we can get by with a missed assignment or two with our coaches. That’s not the case with God. He sees all we do in our daily walk for Him and doesn’t need to watch a game film.”

Kerley won’t leave Johnson County with any individual football records but he hopes people will remember him for one thing.
“I hope people will say that Will loved Jesus and told people about the Lord. I hope they will see that I tried to give his all for Him.”

Will Kerley

Will Kerley loves to pick and sing as part of his ministry. He will be attending Fruitland Bible College this fall.

TWRA to launch new boating regulations

TWRA has announced the installment of two new laws concerning recreational boating safety.

By Tamas Mondovics


The 2018 summer recreational boating season is well underway as local residents and out-of-state visitors take advantage of their favorite vacation spots and the state’s breathtaking waterways.
To increase safety while boating on Tennessee waters, TWRA has announced the installment of two new laws concerning recreational boating, which went into effect on Sunday July 1.
According to TWRA officials, the first of the two new laws now in effect is a requirement similar to the “Move Over” law on land.
As written, the new law will require boaters to slow to no wake speed within 100 feet of a law enforcement vessel that is displaying flashing blue lights, TWRA said.
The agency also reported that effective this month, exemption from boating education for renters of watercraft is no longer be available.
The law now states that “Tennessee residents born after Jan. 1, 1989 are required to pass a boater education exam administered by an approved representative of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in order to operate any motorized vessel over 8.5 horsepower. Out of state residents born after Jan. 1, 1989 must show proof of successful completion of a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boating safety course. Non-resident certification may be from their home state or any state issued course.”
Officials explained that those who have already made reservations or entered into contracts with marinas are encouraged to continue with their plans, but are asked to complete an approved boater education course before renting again.
In a recent online interview TWRA officer Rusty Thomson emphasized several basic laws for all to keep in mind.
“Just like hunters were required to take a class since 1969, if you were born after January 1, 1989 boaters have to take a boating education class,” Thomson said.
Thomson added that in his opinion the boating education test is a “fairly hard test” to take loaded with boating terminology, which would be good for new or experienced boaters to be familiar with prior to taking the class.
Tennessee residents born after the Jan.1, 1989 can purchase a Type 600 Exam Permit online or from any hunting and fishing license vendor for a cost of $10 and go to a testing location to take the exam or take a class. Locations for testing and for classes can be found on the TWRA website under the boating section.
If your boating safety card is lost or stolen, you may purchase a Type 605 license from a license agent for $5.00. The duplicate card will be mailed approximately two weeks from purchase date.
For study materials telephone (615) 781-6682.

Local residents earn medals at 38th Annual Tennessee Senior Olympics

Participants in a golf tournament held at Catails Golf Course in Kingsport, Steve Arnold, Rudy Lucas, Hank Bontrager
and Robert Glenn of Mountain City pause for a photo during this year’s senior Olympics. The four
competed in different age groups. Submitted photo

By Paula Walter

This year marked the 38th annual Tennessee Senior Olympics and Tennesseans from 10 district areas from all across the state recently competed in the 2018 state finals held
last month in Franklin, Tennessee.
Several Johnson County residents were medal recipients and lots of participation.
The mission of the Senior Olympics, of course is to promote healthy life styles through fitness, sports and being physically active in all aspects of life.
The competitions are held for those 50 and above and include a wide range of activities, from ping pong to golf to tennis, swimming, archery, bowling, pickle ball and beyond. There are different age groups that are set in five-year increments. This attempts to put all competitors on the same level.
According to Dr. Robert Glenn, of Mountain City, competitions for the various activities are held at both the local level followed by winners reaching the state level event in Franklin.
“They are qualified to go onto state as long as they have won a medal,” Glenn said, stressing the motto, participation.
Glenn emphasized that Johnson County Senior Center’s Kathy Motsinger wanted to help make seniors aware of the importance of being physically active.
“It’s fun, but also good exercise,” he said. “You just have to get active and let people know you don’t quit after high school.”
The oldest competitor at the recent the Senior Olympics was 96 years old. Motsinger has already started encouraging people to begin practicing their favorite activities in preparation of entering next year’s completions.
Joan Payne and Janet Rhea Payne were competitors in this year’s event on the local level. Both came in first in shuffleboard in their age category in the singles and doubles competition.
Steve Arnold, Rudy Lucas, Hank Bontrager and Robert Glenn were the participants in a golf tournament held at Catails Golf Course in Kingsport, all of them in different age groups.
This event fell into the local category. Glenn came in first place, followed by Lucas, Bontrager and Arnold.
“We play golf all year to be the best we can be,” Glenn stated.
Both Bontrager and Glenn came in second in doubles in table tennis, also known as ping-pong, in the district category.
The two moved onto state and earning Glenn second place in mixed doubles and third in doubles. Bontrager placed in third.
Glenn stressed the importance of practicing your
sports on a regular basis.
He and Dr. Joe Ray can be found at several local ping-pong tables, having a lot of fun and working on perfecting their games.
Exercise for seniors has been shown to offer many benefits, including extending lives.
Statistics show only one in four people between the ages of 65 to 74, exercise on a daily basis. The Johnson County Senior Center offers opportunities for seniors to exercise on a regular basis.
The center has several pieces of exercise equipment. Silver Sneakers is offered three
times a week, and the exercise class for those with arthritis are held twice a week. Additionally, there are other exercise opportunities within the county.

Orioles go undefeated in coach pitch league


Big Johns Closeout Orioles: Team members include; Katelynn Marshall, Grayson Hensley, Gage Grissom, Scotty Orndorf, Shannon Brooks, Ian Lewis, Gavin Mahala, Hunter McElyea, Jonah Adams and Eli Norris. Coaches include: Craig McElyea, Cliff Mahala, and Jeff Lewis.and Andrew Hensley. Not pictured: Chris Brown and Joey Norris

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

One team left little doubt as to who the top dog was in coach pitch Little League play. The Orioles ran the table finishing 11-0 and winning games by lopsided margins.
They outscored their opponents 101-22 and many times didn’t bat but three innings in a game. The team was made up of 10 players and all of them contributed.
Assistant coach Cliff Mahala said the team went through a few growing pains last year, which helped them a lot this season.
“We had to draft several players last year so most of our kids had experience,” said Mahala. “We finished a tough third last season behind two good teams. This was definitely a veteran group of kids.”
The team had several standout players, which started, in the infield.
Gage Grissom (first base), Hunter McElyea (second base), Gavin Mahala (shortstop), Ian Lewis (third base), Grayson Hensley (pitcher) and Scotty Orndorff (catcher) made up that group.
The outfield consisted of Shannon Brooks, Katelynn Marshall, Eli Norris and Jonah Adams.
“Our outfield was always stepping up and making plays,” said head coach Cliff Mahala. “We hit the ball hard and played great defense.”
Grissom, McElyea, Mahala, Lewis and Hensley swatted the ball for high batting averages, as did Orndorff. The younger players complimented the older ones by getting on base and being the table setters.
“It’s one thing to have talent but this group was coachable,” added Mahala. “It’s a good combination when they are talented and coachable.”
McElyea also continued to hand out the compliments to his special group.
“I couldn’t have asked anymore out of these kids. They knew where to go with the ball to get the outs and we hit the ball better than any team I’ve seen at this age. We only had to draft three players because almost all of them played for us last year. I think they all can be very good Little League players.”
Mahala feels like this could be a special group as they continue to develop.
“It speaks volumes about kids when they all love to play. They would go anywhere to practice on an hour’s notice. That’s just the type of kids they were. That’s why they had the success that they did.”


Kimble, the comeback Kid

Jared Kimble was a key player on last year’s squad.
Tomahawk File Photo

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

It was mid October at North Greene High School. Johnson County would destroy the home standing Huskies 54-8 in a non-conference game.
Everything was going well for the State’s third ranked squad as they scored on their first four possessions to go up 28-0. Then disaster set in during the third quarter with the clock running continuously and the Horns up by a lopsided margin.
Jared Kimble had just scored on a 30-yard touchdown run but it was called back due to a penalty. We can only speculate the “what if” factor had the flag not be thrown.
Kimble was hurt on the following play and left the game with a leg injury. It was later determined to be a season ending torn ACL.
He left that game with100 yards on only eight carries and had kicked four extra points. He was leading the conference in punting with a 39-yard average per kick and had booted 29 extra points and a field goal in eight games.
The Horns would go on to complete their banner season with one of their key players on the sideline for the final four games.

The Comeback Begins
The junior standout was expected to contribute on the hardwood for Coach Austin Atwood but those plans got shelved after the surgery. His road to recovery and back on to the football field would be a long one.
“I’ve worked hard nearly every day since my surgery to get back in shape for football. That has been the main thing that has kept me going. The rehab has been hard at times but the support of my family and teammates has enabled me to get me through this. I’m ready to show people what I can do and how hard that we all have worked.”

The show begins
The show started during the passing league on Friday. He caught two touchdown passes including one where he had to make a sharp cut before finding the end zone. He simply sprinted past the defender on his second touchdown reception.
“It’s good to have Jared back on the field,” said head coach Don Kerley. “He’s a very talented football player who does a lot of things for us.”
Kimble smiled when I asked him about the speed that he displayed on his second touchdown catch.
“I feel a lot better now than I did last year after the North Greene game,” said Kimble. “It’s my time to step up and shine and help this year’s team win a lot of football games. We still have some talented players here and we all want to win. We won’t ever forget last season and being state ranked but now is the time to build on that. Nobody is expecting us to be the team we were in 2017. We’re out to prove them wrong.”

Horns capture first in HHS passing league

JC’s Troy Arnold threw several touchdown passes on Saturday in wins over Cloudland, Happy Valley and Hampton. Arnold gets ready to launch one against C-Doak. Photos by Tim Chambers

By Tim Chamber

Tomahawk Sports Editor

The 2017 Longhorns became the first team ever in school history to go 10-0 during the regular season. They finished the year at 11-1, the best record ever by a Johnson County High School football team.
Some talented players from last year’s squad want to make more history in 2018. That group got things off to a good start over the weekend.
Johnson County took first place at Hampton High School on Saturday in their annual 2-day passing league camp. The Longhorns logged victories over Chuckey-Doak, Unaka, Silver Bullets, and Happy Valley in addition to defeating Cloudland and Hampton in the semifinals and championship game.
The Longhorns hadn’t won the event in two years so doing something that the 2017 bunch couldn’t do left the team with a lot of confidence.
It is especially true for starting quarterback Troy Arnold who has waited his turn for three seasons. He was the backup to Nathan Arnold who is now playing at the University of the Cumberland.
“It meant a lot to win it because our seniors were a special group of football players last year,” said Arnold. “We were able to find some new leaders and go-to players over the weekend. We gained a lot of confidence going into our workouts, which begin on Monday. I was able to learn a lot from this.”
Arnold started on Friday by throwing an interception against Chuckey-Doak on their first possession but warmed up on his next three series. He tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Jared Kimble and another one to Zack Eller who also broke up a touchdown pass against the Black Knights.
“Last year was special but I believe that we can be a good football team again this year,” said Eller. “I like the passing camps because you develop a good chemistry with the quarterback and receivers.”
Eller proved his point
by catching seven-touchdown passes in the two-day event. He along with Nathan Lane
and Jared Kimble showed the Horns have plenty of playmakers in addition to talented linebacker and fullback Tyler Norris.
“We have some talented receivers and good running backs,” added Arnold. “We want to show everyone what this team can do. Last year was great but we have to put all that behind us.”
Eller added. “Our goal this year is the same one as last year. We want to go 10-0 and get into the playoffs. We want to establish a winning football program here at JCHS.”

Longhorns ready to resume football workout


By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

The two-week dead period is officially over for high school athletics and many football teams took advantage of it on Monday.
Johnson County took part in a passing league day at Elizabethton with the host school and Tri-Cities Christian.
The Longhorns will play on Friday and Saturday at Hampton High School in their
annual passing league weekend.
They’ll also scrimmage Sullivan North at home on August 3 at 6:00 pm and at Daniel Boone on August 9.
Head coach Don Kerley was happy to see the dead period end.
“It’s a tough two weeks because you don’t get to see any of the players or come around the facilities,” said Kerley. “We have three days of passing league play this week and then we’ll get back out in short and into the weight room. We have a couple of early scrimmage games set because we open up at Sullivan East on August 16. That doesn’t give you very much time to prepare.”
Media day for Johnson County High School athletics will be held on Saturday, July 24.

Johnson County falls to JC Nationals 16-10

JC’s 11-12 year old All-Stars played well but in losses to Erwin and Johnson City Nationals over the weekend. Front row (L to R): Nathan King, Chris Reece, Ethan Reece, Graham Reece, Eli Dickens, Nate Dorman Back row (L to R): Coach George Grill, George Grill, Connor Stout, Ezra Howard, Coach Dirk Simcox, Connor Simcox, Dalton Adams, Tyler Bouchelle, Coach Daniel Dickens.

By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

BRISTOL—The sleeping giant awoke just a little too late against Johnson City Nationals on Sunday afternoon. Johnson County fell behind 14-2 after two innings but rallied for eight unanswered runs over the next three frames before falling 16-10 in the District 5 All-Star tournament in Bristol.
The loss eliminated Johnson County who lost to Erwin 8-4 on Saturday.
The Longhorns trailed the entire game after failing to score in their first at bat.
Three hits by Noah Hazel, Boaz Lipscomb and Holden Davis allowed the Nationals to take a 3-0 lead after one. It would only get worse from there.
Johnson City broke loose for nine runs in the second inning to go up 14-0. It looked like game might end early due to the mercy rule but that wouldn’t be the case.
The Longhorns got on the board by scoring two in the bottom half to begin their comeback.
Eli Dickens led off with a single down the right field line and moved to third on a base hit by Conner Stout. Conner Simcox got the Horns on the board with a double then Nate Dorman followed with an RBI base hit to cut the lead at 14-2.
Johnson City was able to log a couple more runs in the third thanks to base hits by Brayden Barnett, Petie Corvy and Nakota Graham but the Horns would not be denied.
They continued to chip away at the large deficit by scoring four times in the bottom half to get within 10 at 16-6.
Graham Reece led off with a single then scored on a two-out base hit by Dickens. The hit parade continued with back-to-back one-baggers from Ethan Reece and Tyler Bouchelle. Simcox cleared the bases with a two-run double before Johnson City could record the third
out but the Horns still trailed 16-6.
Johnson County elected to bring in Chris Reece to pitch the fourth inning and it proved to be an excellent move.
The crafty right-hander got his team out of a jam by retiring
the third out of the inning on one pitch with runners at second and third. He went on
to pitch scoreless baseball
over the final two frames allowing only one and two base runners.
Johnson County tallied a pair of runs in the fourth inning that kept the game from ending due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Dalton Adams slapped a two-run single scoring the Reece duo of Graham and Chris that cut the deficit in half at 16-8.
They duplicated that feat again in the fifth inning that edged them with rock-throwing distance at 16-10.
Simcox smacked his third base hit of the game and Ezra Howard laced a solid single. Some heads up running by both runners enabled them to come home after a sacrifice fly off the bat of George Grill got misplayed.
Johnson City was able to retire the Longhorns in their
final at bat to preserve the victory.
Reece was dynamite on the mound in his two plus innings of work. A pair of
good defensive plays form shortstop Graham Reece and one in right field by Howard aided him.
Simcox had a big day at the plate for Johnson County going 3-for-3 with three RBI’s. Graham Reece and Dickens added a pair of hits each and scored twice. Stout, Bouchelle, Dorman, Howard, Adams and Ethan Reece all had one hit apiece.
Hazel and Lipscomb had three hits apiece for Johnson City Nationals. Corvy and Holden Davis provided two apiece.

11-12 Year old Zone 5
All-Star Tournament
Johnson City Nationals 16, Johnson County 10

J. City Nationals 392 200 —16
Johnson Co. 024 220 — 10
WP—Hazel. LP—Adams

Tomahawk Talk: Common bond shared by Coach Kerley and me


By Tim Chambers

Tomahawk Sports Editor

I can remember the month and year as though it was yesterday. I received a phone call from the Tomahawk’s previous editor Angie Gambill asking me to take over the sports at the newspaper in August of 2014.
I had spent 13 years covering sports at the Elizabethton Star but wasn’t retained after the newspaper was sold. At first, I said no, but then I begin to have second thoughts.
I missed covering the high school games, and I figured that a new change of scenery might be good. The second phone call I made to Angie was one of my best calls ever.
I joined the Tomahawk as the sports editor in September of 2014. My first contact made was with first-year head coach Don Kerley. He had replaced longtime head coach Mike Atwood at the helm but had starred as the Longhorns’ quarterback in 1988, which happened to be one of their best teams ever.
It was the icebreaker that I needed because he and his coaching staff welcomed me with open arms; so did all the middle school and youth league coaches.
I found this community to be a very special place, like a second home for me. I still feel the same way nearly five years later.

Kerley stuck to the game plan
I came on board three games into the season, and the Horns were 1-2 with losses to Tennessee High and Cloudland. They had thrashed Grayson County, Virginia in week two but they found their groove in the first game that I covered. They destroyed Happy Valley 34-14 and nearly knocked off Hampton before losing 30-22.
The following week they hammered Sullivan North 28-6, and the play of one gusty senior stood out.
Warren Kerley’s frame didn’t resemble that of a quarterback, but his play sure did. Kerley threw the ball all over the field in the first three games that I covered, racking up nearly 700 yards passing.
But it was the Unicoi game that defined his toughness and that of his uncle, Coach Don Kerley.

Kerley shines despite the rain and cloudy skies
All of a sudden the season turned magical. The Longhorns would route the Blue Devils 26-6 behind the gutsy play of Warren Kerley that pushed their conference record at 3-0.
The offense moved the football up and down the field and only turned it over one time. Coach Don said it best after the game.
“This might have been our best overall game of the year,” said Kerley. “We had people blocking and not standing around. The defense picked us up, and the offense made plays. It was a well-rounded performance by our players.”

Especially by their little spark plug quarterback
He completed a 31-yard pass inside the 10 to Chase Phillips who had faked a punt on fourth down and tossed a 24-yard pass to Alex Trussler to keep the drive alive.
I had a great deal of respect for Coach Kerley after that drive. He didn’t shy away from the game plan and threw
the ball when most teams would have never entertained the thought on a muddy
Aaron Osborne capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run that put them up 7-0 after Rico Ortega’s PAT.
Unicoi answered by scoring their only touchdown but missed the extra point and trailed 7-6.
Coach Kerley didn’t ditch the passing game. He continued to play the role of a riverboat gambler after their second drive was stalled.
Quarterback Warren Kerley continued to impress by completing a 31-yard pass to Greg Roark on fourth down to the three-yard line after alluding two would-be tacklers. Cole Peters would bulldoze his way in from there to put the Horns up 13-6.
Once again Coach Kerley stuck to the game plan.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Johnson County would add a baker’s dozen in the fourth period to gather the win and run their overall record at 4-3.

Mix it up
Peters rushed for 90 yards including 47 on their longest drive of the year at 99 yards. Kerley’s numbers included 101 yards on the ground and 157 through the air. Osborne added 55 more on the ground as the Horns racked up over 400 yards to total offense.

The buck stops here
That would be the last win of the season despite Johnson County making the playoffs. The conference was stacked, and so was the bottom half of their schedule.
The lost to Elizabethton and Sullivan South in back-to-back weeks who were both ranked in the state polls at the time. South had defeated Greeneville 21-20, and Elizabethton had enjoyed
wins over Tennessee High, Daniel Boone, and David Crockett.
The Longhorns dropped their final two games to Sullivan East 8-19 who finished 7-4 and made the playoffs and to state runner-up Alcoa in the first round of the playoffs.
Throughout the rollercoaster season, Kerley made me feel like a part of the team. He
was the same man who I found to be a role model coach
to his players, a father figure and outstanding Christian man.

Coach Kerley was rewarded last season for weathering the storm. It all started with the conference being realigned. Elizabethton and Tennessee High were no longer there,
and neither was Sullivan
The Horns finished the regular season at 10-0 and won their first-round playoff game over Northview Academy 21-20. They lost a close game the following week to Austin East, but their 11 wins and 11-1 record is now in the record books.
They now are remembered as the team with the best record ever, most wins and highest ranking ever. They were the state’s No. 3 team for seven weeks.
Coach Kerley demeanor never changed during my four years of observing him. He was the same when the team was 11-0 as he was in 2014 when they finished 4-7.
He stuck to the game plan despite some criticism. In return, he gave Johnson County fans something special that would last for a lifetime.
I’ve tried to follow his example and give our readers something special each week that they can enjoy.
God willing I’ll be there on August 16 at Sullivan East to begin my fifth season cover Johnson County sports. So will Coach Kerley.
Go Longhorns. I need a new visor Coach Don.
Tim Chambers is the sportswriter for the Tomahawk. He can be reached by email at