2020 – 2021 Longhorns Boys Varsity
By Tim Chambers
It won’t take Johnson County very long to determine if this year’s team can play among the elite. The Longhorns will open up at Science Hill on Thursday night in their first game of the season. Head coach Austin Atwood said that 90 percent of the scoring is gone from last year’s team that totaled only four wins after making the sub-state only two seasons ago.
If the Horns are to be successful, they’ll have to rely on several newcomers to carry the load. It all starts with returning players Zack Parsons, Ethan Bower, Clayton Cross, and Trevor Gentry. The quartet will form up with Watauga High School transfer Jackson Earnhardt a 6’3 wing who can score.
“He’s a great kid that fits in well with the guys,” said Atwood. “They’ve taken him in as if he’s been here all along. He’s definitely going to help us when he gets the feel of everything. I think we can be a pretty good team by the time February rolls around if we get to keep playing.
Earnhardt was equally excited.
“The guys have been great to me,” he said. “I love playing with this team, and I think we can be pretty good. We’re not where we need to be, but we are going to get there. I love it here at Johnson County.”
Another player that Atwood was happy to see rejoining the team after a year was Clay Stanley, a 6’1 senior.
“He’s the type of kid whose motor runs wide open,” said Atwood.
“It’s going to take a little while, but he’ll do some really good things for us. We’re happy that Clay rejoined the team. We’re expecting some good things from him.”
Atwood says the team got three transfers from Hampton that have helped add a lot of depth to practices.
“They played in our youth leagues up here and decided to come back. “We sure are glad they did.
Dalton Robinson and Moonlight Graham Reece are a trio of sophomores that will add depth to the varsity squad.”
Connor Simcox, a 6’5 freshman, will turn some heads.
“You can’t teach size, and he has that and a lot of good basketball skills,” added Atwood. He’s going to play some for us, but next year he’ll be a force.”
Atwood feels like Sullivan East, and Unicoi County could be a force to reckon with in league play. They’ll be good, and you never know what Elizabethton will have coming back with football and all, but they’ll be good. We could go anywhere from the top four to last. We’re hoping to improve as the season rolls on. Everyone that knows me knows that I want to be good by tournament time. That’s our goal right now.”