By: Tim Chambers
ELIZABETHTON Its not often that a junior varsity contest can bring a crowd to its feet but Mondays game inside of Brown-Childress Stadium had both sides standing. Johnson County remained undefeated by knocking off Elizabethton 22-20 in a game that had more excitement than a porcupine running around inside a helium balloon factory.
The junior varsity Longhorns are now 7-0 on the season and will host Sullivan South at home on Monday in their final game. Varsity head coach Don Kerley was pleased with their performance after watching them win over a quality program. He indicated that the future looks bright for Johnson County football if they all stick with it.
Its a big game for these kids, said Kerley about playing Elizabethton. This is a good group of kids that do the things theyre supposed to. They expect to win regardless of who they play and thats a good attitude to have. They play hard and they play with excitement.
The Longhorns showed true team spirit for four quarters. And they held on at the end by a whisker.
Elizabethton scored first on a 29-yard touchdown run by Jacob Turner in the first quarter. But Johnson County battled back to take an 8-6 lead.
Dakota Wright scored on a 35-yard run to tie the score. Nathan Arnolds two-point conversion pass to Bud Icenhour gave the Horns an early advantage.
Betsy would surge in front 14-8 on a two-yard plunge from Turner who also added the two-point conversion.
Johnson County used a 41-yard kickoff return by Alex Trussler to set up their next score.
Arnold rewarded Trussler by tossing a 12-yard scoring strike to him four plays later. This put them back on top 16-14 after Samuel Icenhours two-point conversion catch from Arnold at the 6:22 mark.
The Longhorns stayed in front until deep into the third quarter when a nifty interception by Jordan Simerly gave Betsy back the momentum.
Trey Burlesons 26-yard touchdown pass to Conner Johnson put the Cyclones up 20-16 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Longhorns turned to the crafty Arnold who would march them downfield for the game winning touchdown.
He first hit Trussler with a 27-yard strike and would later hook up with Icenhour on a 23-yard gain.
Bud Icenhour scored from a yard out which stood when the final horn sounded.
But it took a great defensive effort by Johnson County to escape Rider Field with a victory.
They stuffed the Cyclones on a fourth and one at the five thanks to a huge surge by the entire defensive line.
A couple of spectacular catches by Samuel and Bud Icenhour on Johnson Countys last drive enable them to run off some valuable clock.
The Longhorns had the ball inside the red zone late in the game but Burleson picked off a halfback pass that allowed Elizabethton one last chance at winning.
His 41-yard screen pass to Turner put Elizabethton inside the 10 with .37 remaining. But a fourth and two at the six-yard line got stuffed by Benji Bower and Nevada Woodard allowing the Horns to celebrate the win.
It feels great to win down here because Ive grown up and played on teams with most of them, said Arnold. Were trying to build our program up so beating a good team like Elizabethton gives us confidence.
To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.