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Icenhour stands out on defense, plays through adversity

JC’s Ethan Icenhour (44), right, with his Pawpaw and longtime Longhorn fan Delmer Icenhour. Ethan was a defensive standout during Friday nights 40 – 27 win over seventh ranked Claiborne County.Submitted photo

By Tim Chambers
Sports Editor

Friday was a bittersweet day for Johnson County’s stud linebacker Ethan Icenhour. The junior standout played his best game of the year on defense leading his team to a 40-27 win over the states No. 7 team in Class 3A and undefeated Claiborne County. On the same day, they buried his papaw and longtime Longhorn fan Delmer Icenhour.

Icenhour led the Horns with 11 tackles and added a sack that sealed the victory on the game’s last play. He also had three tackles behind the line of scrimmage when Claiborne was trying to run the option. Icenhour was coming back from an injury that had sidelined him. He said there was never a thought about sitting out Friday’s game.

“Papaw would have wanted me to play,” said Ethan. “He would have told me to go out there, play hard, and do my best; that is what he tried to do. I believe he would have been proud of me.”

He would have been, and so was his head coach Don Kerley who commented after the game.

“I thought our defense played well, especially Ethan Icenhour,” said Kerley. “He seemed to be around the football all night long. They all did a great job of keeping those two backs hemmed in. We beat a good football team tonight. The kids stepped up and played.”

Icenhour said the key to the game was, knowing what Claiborne was going to do.

“It was no secret as to what they were trying to do,” said Icenhour. “They were going to their strong side a lot like Hampton did. We weren’t going to let them create big plays against us.”

Icenhour closed the game with a jarring sack of Stone on the last play of the game.

“I looked up because I believe he was looking down smiling,” said Icenhour. “He would have loved to have been here for a big game like this one and see us win.”