By Tim Chambers
Two Longhorn football players were honored by the Tennessee Football Coaches Association by being selected to the Class 3A All-State football team.
Quarterback Nathan Arnold and linebacker Hayden Osborne were among the elite after Johnson County’s record setting football season in 2017. Arnold completed 152-of-245 passes for 2112 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was Co-Player of the Year in the Mountain Six Conference. Osborne racked up 157 tackles in 12 games including 14 sacks and 13 for losses. He also blocked an extra point against Northview Academy in the first round of the playoffs to preserve their win. He was Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain Six Conference. Arnold and Osborne were named to the Johnson City Press Elite 11 Squad and were offensive and defensive MVP’s on the Tomahawk’s All Johnson/Carter County football team.
Both players were excited about being selected.
“It’s a great feeling and I wouldn’t have accomplished it without my offensive line, receivers and running backs,” said Arnold. “I also want to thank my coaching staff for all the time and hard work they invested in me. Shane (Greer) played a big role in this because he’s been my go-to receiver for three seasons. Winning 11 games in a row was exciting because nobody had done it before. It’s a season that I never will forget.”
Arnold committed to play at the University of the Cumberland over the weekend and a formal announcement will be made later.
Osborne caught the eye of all the coaches in Northeast Tennessee with his toughness and gutsy play. He was stoked about being named to the team.
“This means a whole lot to me because I know that it means a whole lot to our school and community,” said Osborne. “I want to thank my coaches because they taught me so much. The guys around me deserve a lot of credit because they got me through a lot. We’re all like family. This award is about them too.”
Hayden wasn’t sure if he would pursue playing at the college ranks. He will have surgery on his knee later in the month.
“I played with an injury for most of the season so I’m going to get that taken care of,” added Osborne. “I don’t know if playing is in the cards but I sure would love to come back here and help coach one day if it isn’t. I want to stay involved in football up here.”
Perhaps head coach Don Kerley summed it up best when talking about Arnold after being selected as Co-Offense Player of the Year in the conference and Osborne who was MVP of the defense.
“You couldn’t ask for two better young men to have on your football team,” said Kerley. “Both were a big reason why we were able to go undefeated and each is a role model both on and off the field. They were deserving of this.”
The same can be said for being selected to the Coaches’ 3A All-State Team. Congratulations on a job well done.