By Tim Chambers
Johnson County hit Sullivan North with their best shot to start the game but couldn’t connect on another scoring blow for 47 minutes. That led to their 12-7 heartbreaking loss on Friday night on the beautiful confines at Harold Arnold Field.
The Longhorns went to their bag of tricks on the first play of the game. Jared Kimble fired a halfback pass to a wide-open Lucas Phillips for a 45-yard touchdown with only 19 seconds elapsed. Kimble booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
“We started out well, but North has a very good football team,” said JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley. One scoring opportunity came less than a minute after their first touchdown.
Corrie Neely intercepted a pass that gave the Horns excellent field position at the 45. Sam Mann then ripped off a 23-yard run down to the 22-yard line, but a costly penalty would factor in the Horns fail to reach the end zone.
The Longhorns had trouble moving the football in the second quarter. North’s defense led by Dale Potter, Austin Hartsock, and Yancy Dolan made yards hard to come by for the Johnson County running backs.
The Longhorns went to the air 19 times in the first half and completed 12 for 155 yards but could muster only 34 yards on the ground.
It didn’t get much better in the second half.
The Golden Raiders got on the board with 2:16 left before halftime. Hartsock scored on a 1-yard run, but the conversion failed and left the Horns on top 7-6 at halftime.
The score came after the Horns had driven down to the 23-yard line, but
another major penalty spoiled that
Golden Raiders pitch a
It was tough sledding for the Longhorns’ offense in the third quarter as North pretty much controlled the football and the Horns were unable to move it.
Potter’s 5-yard touchdown run with 1:31 remaining in the quarter put the Raiders in front 12-7.
Turnovers kept killing Johnson County in the fourth quarter. North intercepted them three times, but somehow the Horns managed to stay in the game.
Neely’s 30-yard punt return with 2:26 remaining gave the Horns’ excellent field position at the Golden Raiders’ 35-yard line. Johnson County elected to put the ball in the air but Christian Hill’s interception with 1:20 remaining would seal the victory for the visitors.
Stacy Greer completed 13-of 27 passes for 144 yards for the bulk
of Johnson County’s
Kimble ended the night with six receptions for 67 yards in addition to throwing the touchdown pass. Phillips had three catches for 54 yards including the TD. Will Henson and Sam Mann provided two receptions each that totaled a combined 65 yards.
Mann led Johnson County’s rushing attack with 39 yards on five carries. He felt like mistakes played a key role in them not winning the football game.
“We killed ourselves with penalties, and we can do a better job of blocking in the open field,” said Mann. “I wish we would have run the ball more, but it’s over and we’ve got to regroup. We had the ball in good field position too many times to not score. We have to fix that.”
Curtis Lowe led the defense with nine tackles. He felt like the game changed after halftime.
“We played a pretty good first half but it like they
knew what we were doing in the second half,” said Lowe. “We had way too many penalties, which hurt us on some of our drives by
pushing us back. They
started sending everybody, linebackers, defensive ends, and the whole house. We’ll come back on Monday and get ready for Chuckey-Doak. We’re going to use this as a stepping stone to get better. I believe we’ll bounce back from this loss and win on Friday.”
Danny Medley had five tackles and a couple of sacks, while Joe Fox collected five tackles and a sack. Ethan Icenhour and Jia Webster provided six tackles each.
North rushed for 197 yards on 45 carries.
The Longhorns (1-1) will travel to Afton on Friday for their conference opener with Chuckey-Doak. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Sullivan N. 0 6 6 0 – 12
JCHS 7 0 0 0 – 7