Johnson Countys golf team continued to be on a roll last week, traveling to South Greene County and the Nolichucky View Golf Course. Playing against South Greene High School and local rival Hampton, Johnson County had a respectable showing with a team score of 170. The Bulldogs managed to scrape by with one stroke at 169, but the Longhorns were safely ahead of the South Green Rebels at 194.
Competition within the team remains strong, and no one currently in the top six can sit comfortably. Players like Tristan Clawson and Nate Plyler continue to come in just under the mark causing even top players like Brandon Vannoy and Nathaniel Graybeal to keep their own games sharp. Yet, even with this extra pressure Coach Steve Arnold still sees room for improvement, especially when it comes to consistency.
All top six players are in the 40s which is very good for any high school team, said Arnold. Each player has brought his average down since the first of the year, but team wise, we have not played our best golf yet. I hope they are saving it for the districts. Morgan Eggers has been the most consistent player by far. We just as well give Morgan a 42, and let him just stay on the bus. He has really been playing great as all scores have been 42 except for one. Morgan will shoot in the 30s before the season is over.
Despite regularly challenging the top spot, Eggers has not yet been able to topple teammate Nathan Timbs, who came in with a 41 both at Nolichucky as well as at the teams last match of the week at Pine Oaks in Johnson City. This time around the Longhorns faced off against University High and Sullivan South. Once again South dominated the course, with top scores all in the low 30s. With a team total of 142, the real challenge for Johnson County was not to try to keep up with South, but to overcome University High.
A strong showing from the Longhorns younger players helped keep Johnson County in the running, pulling out a tremendous win 177-181. This was the first time the Longhorns were able to pull off a win against the Bucs at their home course, and although Coach Arnold saw several things that needed improving he was still pleased with the results.
We didnt play well, but well enough to pull out a victory, Arnold said. That ran our record to 10-4 with 3 wins at Rye Cove, 1 at South Greene, and 1 at Pine Oaks. Brandon Vannoy has improved and has moved from six to five, but Isaiah Penley has been playing better and that will make these two spots a lot more competitive. Blade Hampton and Nathaniel Graybeal are also posting lower scores, but no player has really self destructed.
With the short season moving quickly, Arnold is already looking ahead and seems to feel pretty confident about Johnson Countys future. Although many tough matches are still down the road, the team has been enjoying their early success and, more importantly, are still having fun on the course. According to Arnold, We have beaten every team in the conference and are playing Happy Valley and North Greene this week for the first time so we should know how we stand after Thursday. These boys just go out and play and have fun, and that is what it is all about. If all their talent comes out on the same day, other teams will be in trouble. We are very solid as a team, and with Nathan carrying us at number one, we have a shot at advancing to regionals.