By Tim Chambers
There is no doubt that Johnson County faces another monster football schedule in 2016. The Longhorns will open up at Sullivan East, then play two of four home games at Paul McEwen Stadium.
Included in the 10-game schedule will be six road games. Two of them are eye catching.
September 30 and October 13 should be marked on every Longhorn fan’s calendar. Those will be the two longest road trips of the year and one has been rescheduled to a Thursday night.
Northview Academy and Johnson County will hook up on October 13 during fall break. Head Coach Don Kerley stated that Northview wanted to play the game on Thursday night which could be tough on some fans unless they plan ahead.
Claiborne County will be a three-hour drive for most Longhorn fans. But it all starts with the first three games.
Sullivan East looked superior in their spring scrimmage game with Hampton. And the Cyclones just reload every year.
The Longhorns had a productive spring according to Kerley. Some of that time was focused on shoring up the offensive line.
Cody Neely moved to center and Sam Allen returns after a good spring practice. Bob Stout adds more depth and size. He too had a good spring.
Phillip Dugger’s return to football in 2016 should be a huge boost to the offensive line. Nevada Woodard is the team’s strongest player and could find himself in multiple places that might include helping within some blocking schemes.
Over 35 players took part in spring drills which did not include incoming freshmen.
“We should have around 55 players with them and our spring sports athletes,” added Kerley. “We’re hoping that our numbers will be up some.”
Johnson County returns several skill players that should benefit them as well.
Nathan Arnold threw for over 1500 yards last season and Dakota Wright has proven himself to be lethal on special teams. Bud Icenhour will shore up the backfield upon his return from baseball. Benji Bower and Hayden Osborne will anchor the defense that played lights-out in their recent scrimmage with Happy Valley. Gage Hampton has also been impressive running the football and is much stronger than last year.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.