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JCHS Longhorns look to upend state-ranked Hampton Bulldogs

By Tim Chambers

Watching Hampton run the football last Friday against Avery County was like watching a UPS truck deliver packages during the Christmas season. The Bulldogs never slowed down, compiling over 500 yards of total offense while knocking off the Vikings 46-12 at J.C. Campbell Stadium.
Their dominant performance earned them a No. 7 ranking in the Class 2-A state polls that came out on Tuesday.  It’s also caught the eye of JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley and his entire coaching staff.
“They know how to win plus they are big and strong,” said Kerley. “They had 575 yards of offense last Friday so they know how to move the football. They don’t play a whole lot of kids but the ones they do are men. We’ll have our hands full trying to block their big lineman.”
The line is made up of Dan Winters (6’0, 250), Clay Fletcher (6’1, 245), C.J. Wilson (5’10, 250) and Ty Breland (6’1, 305) at center.
Their ground attack is led by three-year starter Adam McClain. He ran for 75 yards on 13 carries last week including an 82-yarder. He also had an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown called back.
Hunter Davenport added 114 yards rushing on eight carries. His longest TD run was 62 yards. But the weapons of mass destruction don’t stop there.
Junior quarterback Jason Russell completed 3-for-4 passes for 100 yards. Chris Holtsclaw hauled in a 61-yarder while Jared Andrews had a catch near the goal line that totaled 22 yards.
“They have very few weaknesses,” added Kerley. “Their backs run the ball hard and with speed. Their quarterback didn’t turn over either. We’ve got to find a way to slow down their offense.”
Johnson County will need several players to step up and play well in order to pull off an upset.
Quarterback Nathan Arnold completed 10-of-14 passes for 135 yards and rushed for 31 more against East.
Tight-end Shane Greer had two 40-yard receptions and Gage Hampton led the ground game with 60 yards on 15 carries.  The junior trio will rely on senior linebacker, Nevada Woodard, and junior Jordan Edes-King to spearhead the defense in addition to senior defensive back, Jimmy Brown.
The Longhorns will need to shed the youth and inexperienced label in a hurry in order to play with the Bulldogs.
Hampton leads the all time series 35-31. The Bulldogs won a lop-sided 50-14 contest last year.
“We’ve got to step up our game and play with teams like Hampton if we ever want to host a home playoff game,” said Arnold. “We’ve got a lot of work to do but everything is fixable. We can make a big statement by beating a good football team like Hampton on Friday.”
Kickoff is set to begin inside of Paul McEwen Stadium at 7:30 pm.