By Tim Chambers
It wasn’t your typical pad-popping smash-mouth football, but fans got a taste of it on Friday at Hampton High School in the 7-on-7 passing league games.
Cloudland, Unaka, North Greene, Chuckey-Doak and Silverdale were all on hand but none of those faced the Horns. Coach Don Kerley’s squad went up against highly regarded Happy Valley and Hampton in the two games they took part in.
They topped that off with a trip to Liberty University on Saturday where they compiled a 3-3 mark.
The Longhorns unleashed a strong air attack led by the pin-point passing of quarterback Nathan Arnold at Hampton. The senior signal caller showed a lot of zip on his passes misfiring only five times in two games.
He hooked up with Shane Greer on a 13-yard touchdown pass against Happy Valley to open the game and was on target with a 30-yard scoring strike to Bud Icenhour on their second possession.
Happy Valley got a pair of TD passes from quarterback Brayden Sams to Kai Norman but the Horns did one better.
Arnold connected with fullback Troy Arnold on a 7-yard TD pass for the final score as both teams played well during the 20-minute span.
Arnold kept the hot hand versus Hampton by throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Gage Hampton and another one to Icenhour.
The Bulldogs got a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Jason Russell to Jonah Jones and one to standout tailback Hunter Davenport. Jones hauled in the game winner on the final play.
Saturday’s trip to Lynchburg, Virginia was a success according to head coach Don Kerley.
“We had a lot of kids that played well there,” said Kerley. “We ran them hard trying to get everyone in shape. The basketball boys handled it well and appeared to be in better shape. We’ve got some good kids who are experienced, but we’ve also got several things to work on with our younger bunch.”
One player that stepped up was junior Zach Eller who made several outstanding catches on the day.
Bud Icenhour and Shane Greer showed they are going to be a force to reckon with as receivers as is Gage Hampton out of the backfield.
“Nathan threw the ball well and we need that from him,” added Kerley. “We go in shoulder pads all next week and then in full pads on Monday. We’ll know a lot more about all of them in the next few weeks.”
The defense led by Hayden Osborne and Jordan Edes had some outstanding moments but they also got burnt deep a few times against the Bulldogs.
The Horns wrapped up passing league play at Elizabethton High School on Tuesday. A recap about the events can be found in next Wednesday’s Tomahawk.