By Tim Chambers
The 2016 Longhorns year in review was not one with a ton of highlight reels or championship trophies. Trying to pick a top story was like trying to pick the meat off the bone of a five-pound turkey for dinner at Christmas. It’s there, but you’ve got to dig deep to find it.
It wasn’t a good year for any of the varsity sports especially on the boys’ side.
The basketball team failed to make the regional tournament for the second consecutive year. The football team was eliminated from the playoffs by Unicoi County in their last regular season game after upsetting Northview Academy in week seven who went as the second place team.
The baseball team failed to win a game in the District tournament, but it wasn’t a lot better on the girls’ side.
The Lady Longhorns failed to win a game against any TSSAA school last season and haven’t done so in 2016 despite an 8-10 record against some lesser foes.
The volleyball team had an up and down season but the softball team did earn a win over Unicoi County which highlights our 2016 top Longhorns Sports Story.
Johnson Co 2, Unicoi 1
The Lady Longhorns hadn’t tasted victory since 2006 and winning on the Blue Devils home diamond appeared to be impossible. But the Horns found a way to pull off a stunning 2-1 upset win over Unicoi County behind some clutch hitting and superior pitching and defense.
Current Milligan College pitcher Brianna Snyder tossed a complete game five-hitter and struck out five while earning the win.
They took a 1-0 lead when Michala Cretsinger singled, then scored on a run-scoring double by Courtney Brooks.
The Blue Devils tied the game moments later, but it was quickly erased.
Kelsey Duperry smacked a solo home run for Johnson County which proved to be the game winner. Eden Fenner had a couple of key defensive plays in the game along with an all-important bunt single. Cretsinger added a pair of defensive gems in the outfield.
Dana Smith steps down as head softball coach
The Longhorns didn’t have to look far for a new head coach after Dana Smith resigned to take the principal job at Shady Valley Elementary. Hall of fame college player, Angela Blevins, accepted the job after serving as an assistant for Smith.
The legendary Smith had been at the helm since 1996 and left as one of the area’s top coaches in number of wins.
Junior High Lady
Hannah Brooks crushed a two-run homer and added an RBI double to lead Johnson County past Cloudland 11-9 in the junior high softball championship game.
Adrian Hall added a two-run triple while going 2-4 with four RBIs. Abby Cornett went 4-for-4 and scored three times that included an RBI triple. Natalie Winters was singled out for her great defensive job of catching behind the plate.
Peyton Fenner heads up Tomahawk’s All Carter/Johnson teams
Peyton Fenner earns a top-five spot by being named Co-player of the year in baseball and defensive player of the year in football.
He batted .522 on the diamond for the Longhorns and recorded a massive 151 tackles on the gridiron.
For more sports highlights from 2016, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.