By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
A wounded dog can be a dangerous one that may bite at any time. That could be the case with Hampton on Friday when they are coming calling on the No.7 state-ranked Longhorns in 3A.
Johnson County won’t be looking past their neighboring rival who they defeated 20-8 at J.C. Campbell last year. The Bulldogs were surprised at home by Trinity Academy last week 28-6 in a game where they turned it over numerous times.
Johnson County’s head coach Don Kerley knows all about the rival game and can attest that records mean nothing when the ball is kicked off.
“Hampton played in a rainstorm last week and turned it over several times when they had chances to score,” said Kerley. “They also had a lot of holding infractions in the first half. We know they will come in here wanting to make up for last year’s loss. They have several good athletes on offense including their quarterback, running back and two receivers. Don’t let last week fool you. They have some pretty good athletes on their roster.”
That includes Alex Hardin who will start at quarterback along with Lane Potter and Caleb Oaks at running backs. The Dogs are big in their offensive line and especially at fullback with their bruiser, Matt Hughes.
Johnson County will counter with a defense that played lights out in their 14-0 win at Sullivan East. The Patriots had four possessions where they didn’t log one positive yard
and totaled only 110 yards of offense for the entire game.
Tyler Norris was a man among boys logging 13 tackles and was seen assisting several more. Jared Kimble provided nine stops and averaged 41 yards per punt. The secondary led by Nathan Lane and Zack Eller bottled up the Patriots receivers all night long.
Tyrone McFadden kicked a pair of field goals that totaled 43 and 42 yards. The Horns averaged 33 yards per kickoff return with Eller leading the way.
“We’ve got to come out ready to play and not wait around like we did last week,” added Kerley. “We got on them pretty hard at halftime because we weren’t moving the ball. Our kicking game was outstanding last week, and we didn’t turn the ball over a single time. We have to play the same way against Hampton, but we’ve also
got to be able to move the football.”
Kerley said the ranking
was nice but likes it when
his team can fly under the radar.
“People need to remember that we lost 19 seniors off of last year’s squad,” he said. “We played five freshmen against East, and several sophomores also started that game. We’ve got a lot to learn and do
before we can claim to be a really good football team. I like the makeup of this team because they all work hard. They’ll definitely have to play well on Friday because
Hampton will come in here ready.”
Kickoff is set for Friday at 7:30 inside of Paul McEwen Stadium.