By: Tim Chambers
Johnson County made a great showing in the pair of bowl games they played on Saturday inside of Paul McEwen Stadium.
The Longhorn Mighty-Mites took the Toppers Red team down to the wire before losing 19-13. The Grass-cutters were impressive in their 36-6 win over Unaka.
Toppers Red 19
Johnson County 13
The game was a classic from the get-go. Play heated up throughout the contest that took the fans minds off of chilling winds that blew across Harold Arnold Field.
The Longhorns held a 7-6 halftime lead thanks to Nathaniel Walkers 15-yard touchdown run and Kaden Blevins conversion.
The Toppers had trouble moving the football against the stingy Longhorns defense spearheaded by Gage Stout and Carter Atwood.
Stout had three consecutive tackles at one point and Atwood shut down the outside run with a couple of tackles.
The Toppers had moved in front 13-7 thanks to a touchdown run by Ahsan Ewing, one of the three he scored on the day.
But when Johnson County needed a defensive play the duo of Stout and Atwood would step up.
Atwood caused a fumble and recovered it when the Toppers were drive deep in Johnson Countys territory. And Stout would strip the ball and recover it with less than two minutes remaining, giving the Horns a shot at winning the game.
Walkers 18-yard touchdown run with 1:48 remaining tied the score at 13-13 but the Horns fell short on their conversion attempt by inches.
Ewing would break a tackle on the Toppers next play en route to his 67-yard touchdown run to make it 19-13.
Johnson County battled back and came within a play of winning the football game.
Walker got them down the field with back-to-back runs which totaled 34 yards. But time out on the future stars after they had moved the football inside the red zone at the 16.
Walker ended the day with 88 yards rushing and 961 on the season. Blevins had a good game gaining 25 yards.
The seven-year-old Walker smiled as he spoke to me about the game.
It was fun today but I wanted to win, said Walker. I thought we were going to. Im going to go get me something to eat now. We all played okay.
Stout led the team in tackles with six. Atwood added four. Hunter Paisley and Juan MaJia anchored the line play that was outstanding all day against the talented Toppers.
Christopher Thomas, Craig Campbell, Keagan Wright, Matthew Forrester, Kyle Maple, Eli Tester, Rylee Henson, Jamison Jones, Michael Gray, Eli Horne and Brock Jones played well for the Longhorns who gave the fans much more than their moneys worth.
Every one of these kids left it all on the field, said head coach Travis Brown. This is the best bunch that Ive ever had up here. Im proud of the way they played.
David Murray had six tackles to lead the Toppers.
Johnson County finishes the season at 4-4 overall, 3-1 in the conference.
Johnson County 36
The Junior Longhorns lit up the scoreboard early and often in the second game of the day. They sprinted to a 30-0 halftime lead over Unaka and won by the same margin at 36-6.
Head coach Dirk Simcox praised his team for the fantastic turnaround. He applauded them for making all of Johnson County proud.
Last year we didnt win a game but this year has been different, said Simcox. Nathan King joined our team and its been a total turnaround. We finished 5-4 and Im just honored to be a part of it. To see the smiles on their faces and the appreciation theyve got for having a good season makes it all worthwhile to me.
Tarrett Trivette delivered a bone-smashing hit as did Elijah Henson.
Its worth mentioning that Kevin Horner, Braden Cornett, Hunter Taylor, Hank Sauer, Ayden Greenless, Brenton Black, Alex Pennington, Noah Brown, Matthew Swift, Ashton Dollar, Zachary Lunceford, Dominick Black and Gunner Hutchins all played well in the win for Johnson County.
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.