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Beating Hampton is better than eating

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

A good crowd was on hand Friday night inside of Ray Shoun Gymnasium for Johnson County’s game with Happy Valley. The fans at times were spirited on both sides but it didn’t have that feel as a true rival game.
Neither did Sullivan East nor some other games that have been played so far.
Who comes to mind when trying to come up with a rivalry for the Longhorns? I think it’s a toss up between Hampton and Elizabethton.
The Cyclones, just because of who they are. It’s “mountain men” versus “city slickers” when these two meet. We can all smile about the comparison.
But “dislike” comes to mind when talking about Hampton. Much of that is because of its location. Some of the players know and worship with one another. Sammy Icenhour pastors Little Milligan Baptist Church where many of his youth attend Hampton. It’s also the place where his son, Samuel, goes who is a member of the Longhorn football team.
Ask any Hampton player and they will tell you. “We would rather beat Johnson County than eat.” It’s no different up here either.
Tight end Lucas Holtsclaw said it best after Hampton’s win in football this year.
“This game means the world to me,” said Holtslclaw. “I don’t ever want to lose to them.”
Well spoken from a player who attended Little Milligan School. It’s been that way for quite some time.
The late great Barry Phillips was one of the best three sport athletes to ever come through Hampton High School. Rumor was that the Bulldogs stole him out of Johnson County’s back door. That might have been partly true. But there was another reason. His brother, Doug, was head baseball coach and the top assistant football coach at Hampton during that time. And Longhorn fans watched Phillips for four years torch them on the hardwood.
His 33 points inside of VanHuss-White Gymnasium during his junior campaign triggered a brawl after the game between a few fans. It definitely was a rivalry back then. I honestly believe that it still is today.

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