October 17, 2018
By Tim Chambers
Thirty years ago the 1988 Longhorns were embarking on a great season and ended up losing to state powerhouse Alcoa in the second round of the playoffs. Could history repeat itself in 2018? The thoughts of duplicating last year’s 10-0 regular season record in No.3 state ranking seemed only an afterthought for this year’s squad. It’s hard trying to replace 20 seniors that all contributed to breaking the school record for the most wins in a season and fewest losses. But the 2018 Longhorns took an entirely different approach to getting back to last year where they were. They wanted to make a name for themselves. Those were comments that have been given to me at various times throughout the season. I kept them in my secret stash until I felt like the time was right to share. And that time appears to be now.
Tyler Norris was an All-Conference performer in 2017 at linebacker. He feels like he’s had the best of both worlds.
“It was fun playing on last year’s team and doing all the things that we did. We did something that no other team had done in football and went undefeated during the regular season. But this year’ team wanted to do something special too. Nobody gave us much of a chance to repeat as conference champions, so that’s something we want to do. We would like to host another first-round playoff game. That’s something that all of us have talked about.”
Norris and his teammates no longer need to talk about it. They’ll play a first-round home game in three weeks and can win the conference championship if they can defeat Unicoi County on the road week.
Blake Atwood Watch
Johnson County senior Blake Atwood is making the most of his basketball opportunities so far. Atwood has established himself as one of the top players in the Pilot Rocky Top League and also as a member of the Tennessee Fury AAU basketball team. He is currently playing with and against some of the top Division One players across the state and is averaging over 20 points per contest. See next Wednesday’s Tomahawk for a complete story on Atwood and his basketball adventures over the past several months.
Longhorns move up two spots to No. 5
Johnson County got plenty of respect from the sportswriters in this week’s state football rankings. The Longhorns are currently No.5 this week after spending the last two weeks at No.7 in the poll.
The Longhorns’ next two opponents, Cloudland and Unicoi County also make the polls.
The Highlanders stayed at No.6 in the Class 1A poll. The Blue Devils cracked the top 10 as the No. 10 team for the first time this season. Here are the rankings for Class 3A
Associated Press Class 3A State Football Rankings