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Longhorns battle hard in defeat to Hampton

If you look at the box score of the JCHS-Hampton game last Friday, you might think it was a total train wreck.
However, it just might have been the Longhorns best performance of the year.
Two early interceptions, a fumble and a bad punt cost the Longhorns dearly, but other than the mistakes JCHS played fairly decent in a 40-6 defeat to Hampton at McEwen Stadium.
The Longhorns dug a hole they couldn't climb out of four key first half mistakes had the Longhorns down 26-0 at halftime.
There were though a lot of positives in the game, especially by the younger players who were seeing significant varsity action.
“We played a lot of young players and two young quarterbacks I thought we did a lot of good things, but we had some bad mistakes,” JCHS head coach Mike Atwood said. “Overall, this was our best game of the year.”
Two freshmen played on the line, Tristen Hill and Scotty Tester and Warren Kerley saw significant action at quarterback.
“Tristen and Scotty played 90 percent of the snaps on the defensive line and we played a freshman quarterback and a sophomore quarterback. We played a lot of young players and made a lot of young mistakes.
“You're always playing for the future, but we're still trying to win games. It just so happens these are the guys who give us the best chance to win. It is going to help this year and the year after.”
Though it may say that the Longhorns allowed 40 points, the defense actually played well and held its own against the Bulldogs.
“If we can be more consistent on defense and not make the mistakes on offense than I think we'll have a chance to win,” Atwood said. “The whole game was played on our side of the field and we couldn't get any field position. It's hard to make mistakes against a team like Hampton and have a chance to win.”
Lucas Henson started the game with Kerley coming in after the second series. Henson played one more series and Kerley finished.
Kerley went 1-for-5, but he didn't throw an interception and also had the lone touchdown of the game for JCHS when found Skylar Reece from five yards out,
Kerley also did a good job of managing the game and knowing when to throw.
Starting quarterback Chase Kleine was injured last week in practice, forcing the two inexperienced quarterbacks into the fire.
“We talked to them both and said they were going to get two series each and Warren managed the game better and took care of the ball a little better so we stuck with Warren the rest of the game.”
Atwood was very pleased with the offensive line, especially David Eller and sophomore running back Patrick South, who rushed for 121 yards on 27 carries.
“Our offensive line played well and really stepped up,” Atwood said. “We played well on the line of scrimmage. Athletically we're just not where we need to be right now.”
Linebacker Seth Little led the team in tackles with nine while lineman Connor Icenhour had eight.
This week is Homecoming week and it's against undefeated Sullivan North.
The Raiders look like the cream of the crop of the Three Rivers Conference this year, having already defeated Elizabethton by three touchdowns.
“It's going to be a big game and it's our Homecoming,” Atwood said. “We expect them to play well and play hard.”
JV Report
The Longhorns defeated Sullivan East last Monday night 30-6 at the Patriot Pasture.
JCHS played an outstanding game en route to the win.
“That's a big win for us and all our sophomores have been playing varsity ball so it's been hard to get them any experience against kids their own age and it really helped,” Atwood said. “We played better as a team and Lucas Henson had a great game and you have to win a few games to teach the kids how to win.”
PASSING: Lucas Henson 0-4-2, 0 yards, Warren Kerley 1-5-0, 5 yards
RECEIVING: Skylar Reece 1-5 yards
RUSHING: Luke Poteet 4-19, Patrick South 27-121, Lucas Henson 1-(-2),Chris Stollings 2-27, Warren Kerley 1-0.
PUNTS: Ryan Mahala 3:20 avg.
SACKS: Connor Icenhour
Tackles unavailable due to incomplete roster