By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Saturdays championship football game between Johnson County and Cloudland featured little kids playing with big hearts. The game went down to the wire where Cloudland prevailed 14-8 inside Citizens Bank Stadium at Elizabethton High School.
Like the high school game, this was another contest of two halves. The Highlanders jumped out to a 14-0 lead but didnt score over the final 23 minutes of the game. The last time the two teams met Cloudland came away with an impressive 31-0 victory.
Head coach Austin Atwood was proud of his teams play but felt like the first half hurt them.
We just couldnt make a big play there when we needed it, said Atwood. We moved some kids around, put Carson (Jennings) in the middle of the field which took away the wide stuff but hurt us some too in the middle. He had to make tackles 10 and 15 yards deep instead of at the line of scrimmage. But hes the only one we had that could catch Isaiah Adams. Our kids just came up a play short. We couldnt have asked anything more from them. Im very proud of how they played.
The Highlanders scored their first touchdown with 1:59 remaining in the first quarter. Sully Eli broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run, then caught a conversion pass from Isaiah Adams for an 8-0 lead.
They added another one with 2:21 remaining in the second quarter. Adams burst free up the gut for a 62-yard TD run to put them up 14-0.
From that point the Longhorns defense got stingy. The Highlanders were held without a first down on their next three possessions.
Carter Atwood had a big sack to halt one drive. Bryson Kimble and Eli Tester added a couple of tackles for losses that stopped another drive only inches from a first down.
The Longhorns got on the board with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter. Carson Jennings bulled his way over from the 2-yard line on a fourth and goal. He also caught Atwoods conversion pass to close the deficit at 14-8.
Both squads had their chances at putting more points on the boards but their defense would bend.
Jennings used his speed to shut down the outside lanes. Tester, Jamie Jones and Atwood played like a trio of beasts in the middle.
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