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Playoffs special for 14 JCHS Longhorn senior football players

By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
[email protected]

Did anyone think that a playoff game would be possible to achieve after a devastating loss to Chuckey-Doak on September 18?  The Longhorns were reeling after their 39-26 defeat and had won only one time in five games. But not everyone was looking at the total package.
The year began with the ‘Horns being blanked 21-0 by Sullivan East. The Patriots are 8-2 and heading to play Knox Carter in the first round of the TSSAA playoffs in 4-A. And their eight wins is only the second time in school history that this historic event has occurred.

Did anyone expect Johnson County to defeat Hampton or Elizabethton after the East loss?
The Bulldogs finished the regular season 10-0 and ranked No. 4 in the State’s Class 2-A poll. The Cyclones reeled off nine straight wins after a close loss to Science Hill in their season opener.

It was also a game that Elizabethton could have won. They had the football in the red zone on their final possession but couldn’t get it in.
Johnson County’s 14-6 win over Sullivan Central was expected but nobody envisioned Chuckey-Doak leaving Paul McEwen Stadium with a win over the Longhorns a week later.
Talks of making the playoffs were silenced among fans.  They were 1-4. But that wasn’t the consensus among one senior leader. He spoke carefully but confidently.

“We have to play them one game at a time from here on out,” said Alex Tressler. “I believe we can still make the playoffs if we win four of our next five games.   I’m confident that we can do this if we get our hearts right. Each of us needs to elevate their play because nobody believes that we can do this but us.”
The 5’8, 150-pound senior is smarter than the average bear. He carries a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. And he’s quite a football player too.
You won’t find Tressler’s name at the top of any statistics but his name will be included in them somewhere.
His play against Unicoi County was typical.

“He picked off a pass inside the 20 that prevented them from going up by three touchdowns in the first half. He then provided a sack on the Blue Devils’ last possession that helped seal the win.
He ended the game with 10 tackles, a sack, and an interception in addition to the same confidence he had in week six.

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