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Longhorns 'bombard' Claiborne County Bulldogs 42-7

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

The Johnson County football team paraded through town prior to their homecoming game with Claiborne County, then marched all over them just hours later. The Longhorns rushed for 333 yards and amassed 412 yards of total offense in a 42-7 blowout win over the Bulldogs.
Not only did the offense shine but so did the defense. The first string unit tossed a shutout before departing midway through the fourth quarter. Claiborne’s lone score came on a 56-yard run by Jacob Butler with 1:10 remaining in the game.
“I thought our defense played outstanding,” said head coach Don Kerley. “Everyone on both sides of the football played well. They all did. It was a good way to celebrate homecoming because everyone got in the game. This was our best effort of the season. I feel like the two weeks off allowed us to heal and get better in several areas. We only had one turnover on a muddy field with a wet football. I’m extremely proud of everyone’s effort. It wasn’t just one player that stood out. It was all of them.”
One Longhorn that stood out was senior linebacker Alex Tressler who played a huge role in their first two scores.  
His fumble recovery at 40 led to Samuel Icenhour’s 28-yard touchdown run with 9:21 showing in the first quarter. But it was his second defensive gem that brought the large crowd to its feet.
Claiborne County was inside the red zone looking to tie the score late in the first half. That’s when Tressler picked off a pass and raced 83 yards to the four-yard line.
Nathan Arnold scored on the very next play giving the Longhorns a 14-0 halftime lead after Rico Ortega’s extra point.
“We knew the defense had to step up because they score a lot of points,” said Tressler. “We went out and did our jobs. We’re back in the race so we have to keep this thing going. We won’t look past anyone. It’s time to get ready for West Greene.”
Tressler’s play provided the momentum needed that would carry the ‘Horns through the long halftime.
It was another big play in the third quarter that started the rout.
Arnold fired a strike to Dakota Wright across the middle which resulted in a 42-yard touchdown at the 4:55 mark.
“It was a combination of our line blocking well and the backs running hard,” said Wright. “Our defense stepped up and played good too. Everybody had pretty much written us off but now we’re back in the hunt. This think is back on our shoulders.”
Arnold praised his protectors.
“Give a lot of credit to Jake Bower, Codie Neely, Evan Martin, Rico Ortega, Alex Tester and Shane Greer,” said Arnold. “We wouldn’t have scored that many points if it hadn’t been for them. They played really well on the offensive line tonight.”
That play triggered an impressive 21-point output by the ‘Horns in the final quarter which Wright would play a big part in.
His 64-yard touchdown run on the first play made it 28-0 after Ortega’s fourth successful extra point.
Their final two scores were produced by a pair of sophomores.

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