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Longhorns lose tough game to Hampton

The JCHS Football Team looked on its way to evening the season series with Hampton, then Dylan Ward put on a fourth quarter explosion.
The Hampton quarterback rushed for 61 yards in the fourth quarter after being relatively quiet early and propelled Hampton to two fourth quarter touchdowns to give the Bulldogs a 34-21 win at J.C. Campbell Stadium Friday night.
The Longhorns drop to 2-3 overall, but are still 2-0 in the Three Rivers Conference heading into a matchup with Sullivan North on Friday in Kingsport.
Ward became a threat at quarterback in the fourth quarter after JCHS went ahead 21-20, but then a 27-yard run by the Hampton leader gave Hampton new life and totally turned the momentum of the game.
After the run, it was all Hampton.
Hampton scored what was the game-winner when Ward kept the ball for a one-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 28-21 following the two-point conversion.
After a three and out by JCHS, Hampton scored again on 21-yard run from Philip Waters.
Hampton led 34-21 and finished it off with an interception.
JCHS head coach Mike Atwood thought that Ward’s play in the fourth quarter was too much to overcome.
“They made an offensive adjustment right at the beginning of the fourth quarter and we just never adjust defensively like we should have,” Atwood said. “We couldn’t figure out how to stop him.”
The Longhorns came into the game on a two-game win streak, but Hampton was undefeated.
A lot of people wondered whether the Bulldogs were for real and Atwood is a believer.
“Hampton has a good team and it’s going to be a tough game no matter what,” Atwood said. “We just made too many mistakes and you can’t make mistakes and expect to beat Hampton.
The Longhorns defensive line got worn down in the fourth quarter and Hampton’s offensive line was stronger.
The Dogs rushed for 138 yards in the fourth quarter.
“They went back to a little shot gun look and wore us down and Ward is a better athlete than anyone we’ve got and they just used him and that’s what happened.
Hampton made a statement early when it scored on its first possession of the game on a eight-yard run by Waters to give the Dogs a 7-0 advantage.
The Longhorns responded with 2:02 to go in the first quarter when Mark Jennings finished off a drive from five yards out to tie the game at 7-7.
The second quarter belonged to the Bulldogs as Hampton dominated the ‘Horns and took a 20-7 lead into the locker room.
The Horns only had 48 yards in the first half.
“We made a lot of mistakes and turnovers and a couple of blocks in the blocks,” Atwood said. “I thought we played fairly well take away the mistakes. Every time we made a big gain it was called back because of penalties. We weren’t ready to play coming out and they were.”
The only real bright spot of the night came in the third quarter when the JCHS offensive line, propelled by new starter Aaron Charsha, made some huge holes for the running backs.
Austin Humphrey’s 26-yard scoring scamper cut the Hampton edge to 20-14 with 5:58 left in the third.
The Longhorns dominated Hampton in the third quarter as the defense stepped up and the offensive line really played well.
Despite having a little bit of an off-night for his standards, Mark Jennings still finished with 131 yards rushing on 25 carries and JCHS rushed for 166 yards on the evening.
“We moved the ball, but we had almost 200 yards called back,” Atwood said. “It’s hard to win ball games when you do stupid stuff.
The Longhorns were very disappointed not to win, but now it’s not the end of the season.
“We try to tell them that the conference games are the ones you have to win, that you need to win your conference games and to finish in the top two of your conference to make the playoffs for sure. We’re hoping the boys can bounce and will see how important this game is.”
The Longhorns are in a rare situation of having their biggest rival being a non-conference game and it’s hard to convince the kids that it’s not the end of the world.
“It feels like the end of the world to the coaches and players both,” Atwood said. “We’ll get over it. We have a pretty good rivalry with Hampton and we’ll play them again next year. When I was in high school it usually came down to the conference championship, so it probably bothers me more than it does the kids, but we’ll get over it.”
If the Longhorns are going to defeat the Raiders, something they haven’t done in three years, JCHS is going to have to stop a Raider running game that has given the squad fits.
“We’ve had a hard time trying to stop their running game the last two years and I think they’ve been one-touchdown games both times. We’re going to have to stop their run game in order to win.”
RUSHING: Jennings 25-131, Humphrey 8-46, Miller 1-0
PASSING: Steele 4-12-2
RECEIVING: Arnold 3-15, Jennings 1-23
SACKS: Baxter, Reece, Arnold
TACKLES: Gibson 4, Baxter 5, Stollings 2, Miller 9, Reece 10, Herman 7, Poteet 1, Arnold 4, South 1, Snyder 1, No. 53 3, Humphrey 1, T. Hannah 1