By Tim Chamber
Tomahawk Sports Editor
The 2017 Longhorns became the first team ever in school history to go 10-0 during the regular season. They finished the year at 11-1, the best record ever by a Johnson County High School football team.
Some talented players from last year’s squad want to make more history in 2018. That group got things off to a good start over the weekend.
Johnson County took first place at Hampton High School on Saturday in their annual 2-day passing league camp. The Longhorns logged victories over Chuckey-Doak, Unaka, Silver Bullets, and Happy Valley in addition to defeating Cloudland and Hampton in the semifinals and championship game.
The Longhorns hadn’t won the event in two years so doing something that the 2017 bunch couldn’t do left the team with a lot of confidence.
It is especially true for starting quarterback Troy Arnold who has waited his turn for three seasons. He was the backup to Nathan Arnold who is now playing at the University of the Cumberland.
“It meant a lot to win it because our seniors were a special group of football players last year,” said Arnold. “We were able to find some new leaders and go-to players over the weekend. We gained a lot of confidence going into our workouts, which begin on Monday. I was able to learn a lot from this.”
Arnold started on Friday by throwing an interception against Chuckey-Doak on their first possession but warmed up on his next three series. He tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Jared Kimble and another one to Zack Eller who also broke up a touchdown pass against the Black Knights.
“Last year was special but I believe that we can be a good football team again this year,” said Eller. “I like the passing camps because you develop a good chemistry with the quarterback and receivers.”
Eller proved his point
by catching seven-touchdown passes in the two-day event. He along with Nathan Lane
and Jared Kimble showed the Horns have plenty of playmakers in addition to talented linebacker and fullback Tyler Norris.
“We have some talented receivers and good running backs,” added Arnold. “We want to show everyone what this team can do. Last year was great but we have to put all that behind us.”
Eller added. “Our goal this year is the same one as last year. We want to go 10-0 and get into the playoffs. We want to establish a winning football program here at JCHS.”