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Hampton Bulldogs 'hammer' Longhorns 50-14

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

All the pre-season hype about Hampton’s football team proved to be true and then some on Friday night at J.C. Campbell Stadium. The Bulldogs lived up to their top billing by amassing 533 yards of total offense in a 50-14 win over Johnson County.
It was quite a performance by the Dogs who ranked up 293 yards through the air and another 240 on the ground. Coby Jones threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns.  Adam McClain and Jerry Lunsford combined for 199 yards rushing and three scores.
Nearly all of their offense came in the first half because they only had one possession in the second one.  JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley complimented their performance. He also liked the fact that his team didn’t quit despite some early miscues.
“We made several mistakes in the first quarter and it cost us dearly,” said Kerley.  “We focused on stopping the run but Coby Jones did a great job of finding his receivers and hitting them.  You have to tip your hat to Coach Lunsford and his staff because they’re very balanced and well coached. Our kids hung in there and played hard. We just never could seem to stop them.”
The Dogs (2-0) came out a bit “ticked” after being overlooked in the AP’s top 10 2-A rankings last week. They had defeated Avery County, NC 54-17 on the road and they weren’t about to let the ‘Horns spoil their home opener.
Jones set the tone by tossing a 52-yard touchdown strike to Jared Wiltshire on the third play from scrimmage. He then hit a streaking Jacob Chambers with another 52-yard TD pass to up their advantage at 13-0.
Wiltshire helped set up Hampton’s next touchdown by picking off Nathan Arnold’s pass on Johnson County’s next possession.
Adam McClain’s 10-yard TD run came after a 47-yard completion from Jones to Chambers. The Dogs missed the PAT but still led 19-0.
McClain closed out Hampton’s first quarter scoring with a nifty 44-yard touchdown run. Jones to Wiltshire provided the 2-point conversion.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons on this team,” said McClain. “I feel like our line is talented and strong and our receivers can go up and make plays. Those guys were the difference. They gave Coby time to throw and opened up holes for Jerry and me to run through. It was a great way to kick things off at home. But give Johnson County credit because they played us hard till the end.”
The Longhorns got its first score on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Arnold to Cody Bailie with 1:25 remaining in the first stanza.
Jones answered with a 20-yard dart to Wiltshire between two defenders to make the score 35-7 to start the second quarter.
Johnson County fought desperately to stay in the game with Samuel Icenhour leading the way. His 64-yard kickoff return would lead to a 19-yard touchdown pass from Arnold to Dakota Wright. Rico Ortega added the PAT but the Horns still trailed 35-14.
Even when the Dogs made a mistake it worked in their favor.
McClain recovered his own fumble in the end zone for a score after getting stripped near the goal line on an 8-yard run.
Hampton’s final touchdown came on Jones’ 24-yard pass to Dakota Crumley with 1:10 remaining in the first half.
They led 50-14 at intermission.
The Longhorns finally found a way to shut down Hampton’s offense in the second half. They kept them off the field by dominating time of possession.
JCHS had the football for most of the second half but couldn’t score.
They mounted a 15-play drive that took the entire third quarter only to see it stall on the seven. They failed to find the end zone on their final possession after getting it down to the 35.
Jones ended the night throwing for 289 yards on 11-14 passing with four touchdowns.  A pair of penalties after two other completions prevented him from topping the 300 yards mark.
Chambers dazzled the crowd with six catches for 165 yards and a score. Wiltshire added three catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
Adam McClain led the ground game with 105 yards rushing on 11 carries. Lunsford added 93 on 10 attempts.
Johnson County’s Nathan Arnold hung tough in the pocket against Hampton’s bull rush. He completed 9-18 passes for 125 yards and two scores. He was under heavy pressure the entire night.

“Hampton was very strong up front and they did an excellent job of covering our best players and shutting them down,” said Arnold. “We saw some things open up so we tried to keep them from blowing us out. We wanted to go down fighting. They’re a great football team.”
Dakota Wright led the receiving with four catches for 66 yards.
“We were able to move the ball some through the air but the simple mistakes killed us,” added Wright. “We had the ball the whole third quarter and didn’t score. You can’t do that against good teams and win. They’re good but we helped them a little bit too.”
Payton Fenner provided a game high 10 tackles for the Longhorns. Alex Tressler, Bud Icenhour, Hayden Osborne and Nevada Woodard provided five apiece.
John Cole, McClain and Lunsford racked up five tackles each for the Bulldogs.
Hampton’s Head coach Mike Lunsford was pleased with his team’s first quarter effort.
“You always want to get off to a good start and tonight we did that,” said Lunsford. “We thought we could throw because they were keying on the run. Coby (Jones) made some big plays at quarterback and our receivers caught the football. The line blocked well and our backs ran hard. I thought our defensive line stepped up and played well. We had to spread it out because Johnson County wasn’t going to let us run it on them.”
The Longhorns (0-2) will travel to Elizabethton on Friday for the first game ever inside Citizens Bank Stadium.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.