JCMS Jace Stout (22) runs for a first down against Happy Valley. He ran for 75 yards and a TD in their 22- victory over the Warriors. Photo by Joey Icenhour
By Tim Chambers
Despite missing over two weeks of quality practice time due to COVID, the Junior High Longhorns managed to dispose of Happy Valley 22-0 in their season opener on Thursday inside of a rainy Paul McEwen Stadium. They did it with a ground game led by the Shady Valley Speedster Kyle Sluder and bruiser Jace Stout. Sluder rushed for 163 yards on 18 carries while Stout ground out 80 yards on ten attempts. Neither team’s offense could get on the board in the first quarter, but Johnson County’s defense did. They recorded on safety on the very last play in the period to go on top 2-0.
They were able to take a 10-0 lead into halftime after Sluder bullied his way in from the two. Sluder saved his best run on the night for the Horns’ final score when he broke free on a 54-yard touchdown run with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter. Johnson County’s final score came when Jace Stout broke free for a 48-yard touchdown run late in the game. A rain-soaked head coach Devin Shaw was proud of his team’s effort after the game.
“I thought our backs ran hard Kyle and Jace and Jake Doorman and those guys were making holes for them to run through,” said Shaw. “This was a big game for us with Hampton coming in here on Thursday. I thought out kids played hard because we lost a starter before the game who didn’t get to play. It feels good to win the way we did by controlling the clock and running the football.”
Shaw was correct about controlling the football. The Horns kept the football almost the entire first half after a 94-yard touchdown run by Happy Valley got wiped off due to a penalty. Sluder added six tackles in addition to his rushing yards and two touchdowns. Stout also had a half dozen.Nate Dorman was a beast in the middle, collecting a team-high eight tackles. Gunner Hutchins, Hayden Parker, and Landell Walker collected five apiece. Jack Csillag and Juan Mejia provided four stops apiece. Sluder also collected a sack.
The Junior Longhorns will play a big conference game on Thursday at home against the Hampton Bulldogs. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.