Horns will get tested against North
By Tim Chambers
Johnson County had a nice comeback win over Sullivan East in their season opener, but it didn’t compare to the one that their next opponent pulled off on Friday. The Longhorns (1-0) will host Sullivan North (1-0) who defeated Sullivan Central 36-28 after trailing at halftime 28-8.
It will be the time that head coach Don Kerley has faced the Golden Raiders since taking over the Longhorns’ football program in 2014. And there is reason to be concerned.
The Longhorns were fortunate to escape Paul McEwen Stadium with a 14-13 win on Friday after trailing 13-0 at halftime. Kerley knows that North will be a tough opponent but said that this week’s preparation would be more about working on the things that they need to fix.
“It’s a win that’s about all I can say,” said Kerley shortly after defeating East on Friday. “But North will present a much tougher challenge for us because they have a lot of people back from last year. They are always well-coached and good offensively, but right now, my concern is us. We have to fix a lot of things this week. One of those is taking care of the football. East exposed a lot of things that we have to correct. That’s going to be a concern for us this week.”
One concern for the Longhorns’ defense will be how to stop North’s senior quarterback Austin Hartsock. The speedy signal-caller scored three touchdowns in 10 minutes in the second half helping the Golden Raiders erase a 20-point deficit against Sullivan Central.
He scored on a 67-yard keeper to start the second half and added a short TD run and two-point conversion to get them back in the game.
His 13-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put North in front to stay at 30-28
He finished the game with 138 yards rushing and four touchdowns. His fullback Dale Potter added 80 yards rushing that included a 35-yard touchdown run and Yancy Dolen provided 77 more.
The trio accounted for 295 yards rushing in the game and five scores.
Johnson County’s defense gave up 13 first-half points but kept the Patriots out of the end zone in the second half. They’ll need to duplicate that second-half effort to slow down North’s prolific ground game.
The two teams last met in 2012, and the Golden Raiders came away with a 36-28 home victory. Tonight game could be the final meeting ever for the two teams because the school will be consolidated with Sullivan South and Sullivan Central next year.
Another large crowd is expected inside of Paul McEwen Stadium on Friday as the Horns try to win their second straight game.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.