By Tim Chambers
Don’t expect Johnson County to be “cliff gazing” on Friday against Sullivan Central. The Longhorns found out on Thursday what can happen when you overlook an opponent.
Chuckey-Doak gave the Horns all it wanted and more in a 14-13 loss at the Black Hole. The Longhorns escaped by the skin of their teeth and are trying desperately to get some of their starters well by Friday.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Chuckey-Doak because they played well,” said JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley. “ I commend them because #26 (Isaiah Long) and #20 are two excellent football players. We had some kids that were sick on Thursday and that hurt us a lot. We didn’t seem to play with any enthusiasm and we made too many mistakes early. We got down there deep four times and came away with one touchdown. We helped them out a lot by not executing. We stopped ourselves several times.”
The Longhorns won’t be concerned with crowning a queen on Friday. They’ll try to stay “King of the Hill” after moving up to fourth in the state in Class 3-A this week.
“Everybody is going to give you their best because it’s like having a target on your back,” added Kerley. “You have to have some luck sometimes to win a game or two and we were fortunate last week. I don’t look for that this week against Central. I’m sure our kids will be ready to play.”
The Cougars are 0-2 with losses to Sullivan North and Chuckey-Doak.
The Cougars are led by quarterback Jackson Harrison and wide receiver Parker Mumpower. The duo hooked up for 86 yards on four receptions. He completed 14-27 passes for 127 yards but was only 3-17 against the Black Knights.
“It’s more about us than it is them,” added Kerley. “Last week we got a touchdown called back and then we had to overcome some penalties and a couple of sacks. If we execute the way we should then we have a good shot of winning. I don’t think this team will be overlooking anyone from here on out.”
The Cougars’ defense has given up over 400 yards in the air in two games and has been outscored 50-13 by its opponents.
Johnson County’s offensive line must do a better job of protecting quarterback Nathan Arnold. He was pressured several times at Doak and was forced to throw on several occasions outside the pocket.
The Horns have yet to have a 100-yard rusher in their first three games.
Linebackers Hayden Osborne, Tyler Norris and R.J. Snyder lead the team in tackles. Gage Hampton is the team’s leading rusher and Shane Greer and Bud Icenhour are tops among the receivers.
Game time is set for 7:30 inside Paul McEwen Stadium.