By Tim Chambers
“Make every game count,” is the motto for JCMS’ football team with only five games on its schedule. Mission accomplished on Thursday night atop Warrior Hill.
The Longhorns ran roughshod over Happy Valley 34-12 with Corie Neely and Nate Rice leading the way. Neely ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Rice added 80 yards rushing and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Dalton Brown.
His TD reception came with 19 seconds remaining before halftime after Brown’s hit on a Warrior running back caused him to fumble. Neely secured the loose football like Rice did the TD pass.
“That no doubt was the biggest play in the game,” said JCMS’ head coach Devin Shaw. “It gave us the momentum back after the long run they had on the kickoff. I thought our defense played outstanding in addition to our offensive line. Everyone stepped up and did their part. This was a very good win for us.”
The Longhorns (3-0) compiled 302 yards of total offense while limiting the Warriors to only one offensive touchdown which came with 1:36 remaining in the game.
“Our defense went out and took control of the game,” added Shaw. “They stopped them at the 12 on their first drive and that was huge not letting them get into the end zone. The O-line opened up some big holes for Corie and Nate to run through.”
Shaw was spot on when talking about his line’s play.
They paved the way for the Longhorns’ dynamic duo yet Neely got a good chuck of his yards on second effort. He tallied 49 yards on four carries during Johnson County’s first drive but it stalled at the Warriors’ 18. That wouldn’t be the case over the final three quarters.
John Stout blocked a punt out of the end zone on Happy Valley’s next possession to put the Longhorns up 2-0. Preston Greer’s third down sack plus tackles in the backfield Brown and Rice set up the safety.
The Horns stretched it to 10-0 on Neely’s 13-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion with 2:13 remaining in the half but Happy Valley was quick to answer.
Trey Rutledge took the ensuing kickoff 68 yards to get the Warriors on the board but they trailed 10-6. The Warriors had a chance to go into halftime ahead but fumbled the football after the Horns had turned it over to them at the 50.
The Horns took advantage and snatched back the momentum.
Brown’s 40-yard TD pass to Rice with 19 seconds remaining was a thing of beauty. The dagger came from Neely just moments later after they provided the two-point conversion.
Neely begin the third quarter with runs of 23 and 21 yards that got them inside the 10. He later scored from the 5-yard line to make it 26-6 after his third two-point conversion with 5:30 showing in the third.
The Longhorns tacked on their final score on a 59-yard touchdown run by Rice who provided the conversion run. Zane Jarrels had a big interception that gave the Horns possession near midfield.
“That was Zane’s first interception ever,” added Shaw. “I was very happy for him because he works extra hard in practice. That was one of many big plays we had.”
Icenhour and Rice led the defense with seven tackles each. Stout added six in addition to a sack and his safety. Greer and Neely managed five apiece. Rice, Greer and Shawn Forrester also collected a sack each.
Stout, Forrester, Icenhour, Jacob Phipps, Nick Speed and Greer were singled out by Shaw for the stellar offensive line play.
The Longhorns will play Unaka on Thursday at Harold Arnold Field. Kickoff is set to take place at 6 pm
JCMS 34, HV 12
JCMS 0 18 16 0— 34
HVMS 0 6 0 6— 12
JC—Neely 13 run (Neely run)
HV—Rutledge 68 kickoff return (pass failed)
JC—Rice 40 pass from Brown (Neely run)
JC—Neely 5 run (Neely run)
JC—Rice 59 run (Rice run)
HV—Garman 2 run (run failed)