October 3, 2018
By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Johnson County is making a habit of winning on the gridiron in 2018. The Longhorns are 5-1 and riding a four-game winning streak after losing to Hampton 20-19 in Week two. The Horns had to replace 20 seniors off last year’s squad and a couple more key players. But the well hasn’t run dry just yet. That was obvious watching the junior varsity play on Monday. They defeated Trinity Christian 20-6 a team that defeated Hampton’s varsity earlier in the year. A pair of freshmen was responsible for getting them on the board in the second quarter. Ethan Icenhour blocked a punt near the end zone, and Nate Rice pounced on it for a touchdown.
Their second touchdown came on a 10-yard run by freshman Corie Neely who also ran in the two-point conversion to put them up 14-0. Neely was on the receiving end of their final score. He caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Stacy Greer to close out the Longhorn’s scoring. Rice and sophomore linebacker Ethan Woody had 11 tackles each to top the defense. Many of the above players have contributed at the varsity level.
The Longhorns have been getting good varsity play from freshman John Stout who won the job and freshman tight end Zack Parsons who is also logging a lot of playing time on defense. Both players missed the junior varsity game due to sickness. Another freshman, Dalton Brown is out with an injury, but he too has logged several varsity minutes.
“It’s a good class,” said head coach Don Kerley about his freshmen. “They and the sophomores have a lot of talent. We had to replace a lot of kids off last year’s team, so we’re throwing them in the first early. It’s a good experience for them.”
Ranked team awaits the Longhorns
Saving the best for last is just what Johnson County is doing. The Longhorns could be playing two state-ranked teams in Weeks 9 and 10. They travel to No. 6 ranked Cloudland in 1A and close out the regular season at Unicoi County currently ranked No. 11. The Blue Devils could enter the top 10 should one of the higher ranked teams fall over the next few weeks. The week ten show down between Johnson County and the Blue Devils will be for the conference championship.
Longhorns ranked No. 7 again this week. Johnson County remains at No.7 in this week’s AP Class 3A poll. Alcoa received all 17 first-place votes and are a solid No. 1.
Team: Rec: Points:
1. Alcoa 7-0 170
2. Covington 6-0 150
3. Red Bank 6-0 131
4. Upperman 7-0 122
5. East Nashville 7-0 95
6. Fairview 6-1 91
7. Johnson County 5-1 66
8. Pearl-Cohn 5-2 45
9. Austin-East 5-2 28
10. York Institute 5-1 14
Others receiving 5 or more votes: Unicoi County 11, Gatlinburg-Pittman 5. Area ranked teams: Elizabethton No. 3 in Class 4A. Cloudland ranked No. 6 in Class 1A.