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Austin-East eliminates Johnson County

JC’s Curtis Lowe (1) breaks the tackle of A-E’s (3) Isaiah Ligon. Lowe rushed for 63 yards in his final game as a Longhorn, but they lost 41-0. Photos by Joy Icenhour

By Tim Chambers

KNOXVILLE—The “Coyote” never could catch the “Roadrunner” in the classic Warner Brothers cartoon that we all grew up watching as a kid.
Johnson County’s defense found out what “Wiley E. Coyote” must have experienced because they too couldn’t catch another “Roadrunner” on Friday.
Treyveon Foster showed why he was named a Mr. Football Finalist in Class 3A last week by accounting for 407 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in Austin East’s 41-0 win over the Longhorns inside of George “Dusty” Lennon Stadium.
It was the Longhorns’ fourth consecutive trip to the state playoffs and their second loss to A-E in three years. The Roadrunners eliminated the Horns 30-21 in the second round of the playoffs on Harold Arnold Field back in 2017.
Foster made sure it wasn’t that close this time around.
He rushed for 225 yards on only nine carries and completed 4-of-8 passes for 123 yards and two TDs. He averaged 25 yards per carry before leaving the game in the fourth quarter.

Hats off to the Longhorns
Johnson County fought their tails off to stay in the game for nearly 15 minutes midway into the second quarter. They trailed after the first period 6-0 and could have made it interesting after driving down to the 12-yard line early in the second quarter. A touchdown-saving tackle by their two-time All-State defensive back Isaiah Ligon on Curtis Lowe kept them off the board; then, they were thrown for a six-yard loss that forced them into a field goal situation.
Jared Kimble’s 32-yard attempt just missed, and the Roadrunners were off and running from that point.
“I thought the boys played hard,” said Longhorns’ head coach Don Kerley. “We would have won our last two games had we came out and played like that. They’ve got three All-State Players (Foster, Ligon, and Keon Smith) that can do it all, and their team is well-coached. I appreciate all our seniors for what they have done for the program, and we’ll try and get better with the returning players. We just played a superior team tonight.”

JC’s Colt Moody (59) goes through a couple of Roadrunners to make the tackle on Julius Trice (21). Mood had four tackles in their 41-0 loss.

Mixing it up
The Longhorns’ defense got a steady diet of Ligon on A-E’s first drive. The speedster had a 23-yard run before 20-yard touchdown scamper that made it 6-0 with 8:24 remaining in the opening frame.
Johnson Count defense stiffened on A-E’s next possession and stopped them stone cold. The offense took over and came within 12 yards of reaching par dirt but got turned away.
Curtis Lowe had two strong runs of 8 and 11 yards, and Sam Mann was able to gain 11 more. Thanks to Ligon’s tackle, they were turned away and never could recover from there.
Foster took to the air on their next touchdown. He threw a 58-yard TD pass to Keon Smith then added a 43-yard yard touchdown pass to Kandell Robinson to make it 21-0 with 4:36 remaining in the half.

Putting on the
finishing touches
A-E’s Ligon recovered a fumble on Johnson County’s next possession, and Foster quickly turned it into a score. His 70-yard touchdown run with 1:08 remaining in the half gave them a 28-0 lead after the third extra point kicked by Ezzuldin Fawwaz.
That’s where the score stood at halftime.
It didn’t take long for Foster to add some finishing touches to start the third quarter. He broke loose on the first play of the second half for a 65-yard TD run to make it 35-0. From there, the clock would run continuously that shortened the game considerable.
A-E’s last TD came on a 6-yard run by Chris Smith late in the fourth quarter.
The Longhorns had the football for only 11 plays in the second half, four in the third quarter. They were able to muster only 13 yards of total offense in the final two quarters.

Stat Leaders
Lowe played well his final game as a Longhorn. He carried the ball 15 times for 63 yards. Sam Mann added 20 yards on seven carries.
Stacy Greer completed 2-of-2 pass for 17 yards
but was sacked twice. The Longhorns finished the game with 130 yards of total offense.
In addition to Foster, Ligon picked up 55 yards on seven carries. Smith caught two passes for 69 yards.
Joseph Gambill led the Longhorns’ defense with seven stops. Nathan Mink added five tackles. Colt Moody and Logan Gilley were in on four apiece.
The Longhorns finish the season at 4-7. Austin East (8-3) will play Gatlinburg-Pittman (8-2) at home next week. The Highlanders defeated Unicoi County 62-21 in their first-round playoff game at Erwin on Friday.

Johnson Co. 0 0 0 0 – 0
Austin-East 6 22 7 6 –41