By: Tim Chambers
AFTON—Johnson County’s “knight in shining armor” knocked Chuckey-Doak’s defense off their high horse on Thursday night in an all important Little Watauga Conference football game. Corie Neely ran for a whopping 300 yards on only 10 carries and four touchdowns leading the Longhorns to an impressive 40-0 victory at the Black Hole.
It was quite a performance by the speedy tailback who managed to break free on three long TD scampers. Head coach Devin Shaw touched on Neely’s play and the entire team’s contributions.
“Corie’s able to run between the tackles now and he struggled with that some last year,” said Shaw. “He broke a couple of tackles at the line of scrimmage on two of his long touchdown runs. I thought our offensive line played well and our defense was outstanding. Our kids knew we had to win this one. Now we can go out next week and play Hampton for the league championship.”
The Longhorns won the toss and deferred to the second half allowing Doak to take the football first, but the Black Knights fumbled the opening kickoff. Neely’s hit forced the returner to fumble that was recovered by Nate Rice at the 43.
Neely would find the end zone from there on their first play from scrimmage. His two-point conversion put them in front 8-0, only 24 seconds into the contest.
And it only got worse for the Black Knights after that.
A nifty 30-yard run by Neely on their next possession would help set up their second touchdown. Dalton Brown made a nice play fake, then took it 22 yards for their second score. Neely’s conversion made it 16-0 with 2:47 remaining in the first quarter.
“Dalton is getting better every game at quarterback,” said Shaw. “He’s good at making decisions and he plays hard. He’s been a good leader on the field. He gives you everything he has.”
The Longhorns would land a huge haymaker on their next offensive possession after stopping the Black Knights within a yard of the red zone.
Three big defensive plays from Jacob Phipps, Big John Stout and Rice allowed the Longhorns to keep the Black Knights out of the end zone. It also enabled Neely to deliver the dagger.
His electrifying 89-yard touchdown run upped the ante to 22-0. He also added a 38-yard score with 16 seconds remaining, giving the Longhorns a 28-0 halftime advantage.
“We wanted to try and score again if we got the ball back after Corie’s long run,” said Shaw. “That was huge – scoring right before the half ended and getting the big lead. We haven’t played very well in the first half in our last couple of games. Tonight we turned that around.”
Neely’s final touchdown came on a 7-yard run with 7:36 remaining in the third quarter that made it 34-0. Rice would factor heavily in Johnson County’s final touchdown.
His sack on fourth down allowed the Horns to regain possession early in the fourth. He then hauled in a 23-yard offering from Brown to account for Johnson County’s 40 total.
“Nate is just an all around good football player,” said Shaw. “He did a lot of good things for us against Doak, especially as a blocker. I thought he and Sammy Walters played excellent, paving the way for Corie and his huge game. Both those guys made a lot of good blocks that got him free.”
Neely added five tackles in addition to his four touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions. Brown compiled 62 yards rushing and threw for 51 more.
Rice and Ethan Icenhour led the defense with eight tackles apiece. Stout collected six tackles and a sack. Preston Greer finished the game with five tackles and a fumble recovery. Aiden Sluder had four tackles and a sack along with Nick Speed. Allen Matheson and Zane Jarrels had interceptions for the Horns.
The Longhorns will play for the league championship at Hampton on Thursday. Game time is 6 pm inside of J.C. Campbell Stadium.
Johnson Co. 40, C-Doak 0
Johnson Co. 16 12 6 6 — 40
Chuckey-Doak 0 0 0 0 — 0
JC—Neely 43 run (Neely run)
JC—Brown 22 run (Neely run)
JC—Neely 89 run (run failed)
JC—Neely 38 run (run failed)
JC—Neely 7 run (run failed)
JC—Rice 23 pass from Brown (run failed)
1st Downs 11 4
Rushing yards 382 66
Passes A/C/I 2-3-0 2-8-2
Passing Yards 51 34
Total Offense 433 100
Fumbles 1-0 2-1
Punts 0-0 2-26
Penalties 4-25 3-20