By Tim Chambers
Trying to knock off Sullivan East on Thursday could be like trying to drop kick the late great Andre the Giant for Johnson County. But the Longhorns will need to find a way to take down the mighty Patriots if they expect to make a third straight playoff appearance.
Both teams are tied for third place at 3-2 in the conference with losses to Elizabethton and Sullivan South. East comes in at 6-3 overall while the Horns are currently 4-5.
Johnson County has played the tougher schedule on paper. Four of its five losses have come against state ranked opponents. East had yet to defeat a team with a record over 500.
None of that will factor when the two teams collide inside of Paul McEwen Stadium with a guaranteed playoff spot on the line.
The Patriots ran roughshod over Happy Valley 48-21 on Friday after getting trounced by Sullivan South 40-0 the week before.
The Longhorns have dropped back-to-back games to Elizabethton and South after defeating Unicoi County, Sullivan North and Happy Valley in conference play.
Head coach Don Kerley was ready to put Fridays night loss behind them after the game. He knows the East matchup is their money game.
Weve got ourselves in position to make the playoffs if we can beat East on Thursday, said Kerley. We would probably play at West Greene should we win.
Kerley was half right on his assessment.
The Horns would likely play at West Greene or Chuckey-Doak should they win. They might be able to limp in should they lose but more than likely would wind up playing top ranked Alcoa.
We know that East has a good team but the coaches have done a great job of getting us ready for games like this all year, said senior wide receiver Cody Bailie. Weve got to come out more ready to play in this one than we have all year. We need to have our best week of practice. All our focus has got to be on them.
Bailie along with Chase Phillips, Greg Roark, and Dakota Wright have proven they can catch the football and make big time plays. Warren Kerley has been a gunslinger behind center throwing the ball 43 times in their loss to Sullivan South.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.
By Tim Chambers