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Longhorns place second at Liberty

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

Johnson County’s performance in Saturday’s passing league competition at Liberty University raised some eyebrows. It’s also starting to make some area coaches scratch their heads.
The young Longhorns dazzled the large field on Saturday with their gutsy effort. It was quite a performance by the entire team.
They lost the first game they played to Smithfield by a large margin. They would later defeat them in the first round of the tournament format.
Johnson County went on to win four games after their early morning loss. Their efforts pleased head coach Don Kerley.
“We played to the level of our competition,” said Kerley. “The kids showed a lot of resilience and heart. I was pleased with our effort because they all wanted to win. Our goal was to make the top four and play in the big stadium. All our games were do-or-die after that first loss in competition play. We weren’t that fatigued after playing all day long. That speaks a lot for them.”
The Longhorns won four consecutive games to get them in tournament play after their opening loss. They proceeded from there to win seven in a row before losing in the championship game. They finished the event 11-2.
“It was special getting to the championship game,” said senior receiver Cody Bailie. “Only the top four teams got to play on the big field. It was special walking out there and playing in such a nice facility. This was a big confidence booster for our team.”
Bailie had a pair of circus catches in one contest including one for a touchdown. He knows that he’ll be targeted when the season begins.
“I’m expecting to be doubled on some,” added Bailie. “But it won’t matter this year because we have several receivers with speed who can catch the football. It sort of like, ‘pick your poison.’ We’re much more athletic now than what we’ve been. I know that Dakota (Wright), Sam (Icenhour) and Bud (Icenhour) can make plays. And Nathan (Arnold) has proven that he can get us the ball. If we can balance out our running game then we’ll be pretty good. Our line is young so we have a lot of work to do between now and our first game. But I’m expecting good things.”
Dakota Wright hauled in 11 touchdown passes during the tournament. He was excited about his team’s play.
“The competition level was so much better here and there were more teams,” said Wright. “There were two All-Star teams from Florida and Virginia. We just showed up and played our best football. I wasn’t expecting us to do that well down here.”

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