By Beth Cox
Hampton was the center of the storm Friday and Saturday, but it had nothing to do with the summer storms that plagued the region over the weekend. It had more to do with a tourney between West Greene, South Greene, Cloudland, North Greene, Happy Valley, Unaka, and Johnson County’s beloved Longhorns. These teams showed up and faced off with some of the best players in the region at the annual 7-on-7 passing tournament at Hampton High School.
Football players are just coming back from the required “dead period,” but that did not stop them from playing like they were up for a championship game. Each team played hard and showed everyone what a competitive season the upcoming football year would be.The Longhorns tied for third place at the weekend competition in Carter County. Coach Don Kerley was proud of his squad.
“We placed third, but we held our own against South Greene, who won first place in the tournament,” Kerley said. “We just have to work on timing routes and defense, but also we got to get in better shape, so we will be hitting it hard next week.”
Johnson County has a young team this year, but some key players will be returning that will help lead the program. Dalton Brown, Cory Neely, and Nate Rice are expected to be a powerful force offensively this year, with Connor Simcox leading as quarterback. The Longhorns can also count on strong leadership defensively from Grinnan Walker and Ethan Icenhour.
Kerley understands the team is young but states they are a good group of players showing up and working hard and getting better every day. The 7-on-7 tournament also allows Longhorn fans to watch a little pre-season football as they await another promising year for Johnson County Football.