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Prayers answered Horns rally past West Greene

West Greene goes for the tackle against the Longhorns. The Longhorns narrowly won against West Greene in Greeneville Friday night. Photos by Beth Cox

By Tim Chambers
SPORTS EDITOR

Mosheim—It would be hard to put Johnson County’s win over West Greene into words, but I’ll try. You could say the Longhorns made a pact to win one for their late assistant coach Randy Smith and they did so in dramatic fashion.
Stacy Greer and Corie Neely sparked a fourth-quarter rally, and Nate Rice added some icing on the cake that left the Buffaloes fans shaking their heads after the Longhorns walked away with a 22-21 victory.
JCHS’ head coach Don Kerley was happy that his team was able to stay in the game despite some mistakes. He said it was a hard game for his coaches to coach and the kids didn’t know at the end how they should react after the win.
“We’ve been down all week plus we lost some key players in the game with injuries, so that made it tough,” said Kerley. “We didn’t line up right at times, but our kids played hard all night long, and I’m proud of them for that. It was hard on our coaches because we made some mistakes, and at the end, our kids didn’t know if they should celebrate or not. We could have played a little better, but we pulled it out under some difficult circumstances. Coach Randy Smith was heavy on our hearts. Emotionally that was a big win for us.”

The game-winning drive
The Longhorns trailed 21-14 with 8:51 remaining in the game when they begin their 11 play, 68-yard drive that would be the game-winner.
What made matters difficult was their senior standout Jared Kimble had to leave the game with a shoulder separation, and another senior standout Curtis Lowe was on the sidelines too with an injury.
But Greer and Neely would come to the rescue by hooking up for two humongous plays and Rice was nice on Greer’s third completion as his heads up play was a thing of beauty.
Neely’s kept the drive alive by catching a deflected pass on a third down and six for a gain of 11 yards. His second reception was a short screen pass that he turned into a 43-yard gain.
“I was thinking that we needed a big play because Jared was out of the game,” said Neely. “I was confident once they got me the ball in the open field. I made a tackler miss me on the screen pass, and we got it down close for us to score. We all played our hearts out, and Coach Smith was my motivation on Friday. This was a big win for us because we wanted it more than anything.”
Greer got the ball down to the 6-yard line with four straight runs, but a penalty moved the ball back five yards to the 11. Greer saved his best for last on a play that showed the fans there was no “quit” in the Horns.
A bad snap sailed over his head, but he hustled back nearly 10 yards to pick the ball up. He bought time and found Rice open for an 11-yard yard TD pass to make it 21-20. The Horns were forced to go for two with its kicker Kimble on the sidelines hurt. Both teams took a timeout, but everyone on the range knew that Greer was going to get the football. And he did.
He took the ball between the left guard and tackle to score the 2-point conversion and take a 22-21 lead with 2:59 remaining in the game.
“I felt comfortable running the football, but Coach Kerley told me to be ready to move back to quarterback after Jared got hurt,” said Greer. “We had some guys make big plays. Our offensive line blocked their tails off on the two-point conversion and especially on that last drive. Corie made two huge plays and especially on the screen pass, and Rice did too catching the pass and scoring. It was definitely a team effort, and all of us were thinking of Coach Randy. We all knew that we were going to get it done for Coach Randy, his family, and our coaching staff. It was a huge win for us.”
The defense with Coach Smith watching them from above would finish off the Buffaloes on four downs to win their first conference game of the year.

How the Greene game started
West Greene got on the board first by going 69 yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Chase Jennings caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Allen Vaughn capping off a drive that lasted over seven minutes.
Johnson County would better that one by compiling an 82-yard drive that ended with Neely hauling in a 23-yard touchdown pass from
Kimble who then booted the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
Johnson County took the lead after the Buffaloes muffed a bad snap that resulted in a 16-yard loss and the Horns regaining possession at the 29-yard line. Kimble’s 12-yard touchdown run gave the Horns a 14-7 lead on a scoring drive that took 55 seconds.
The Longhorns got the ball back and could have run out the clock in the first half by keeping it on the ground but elected to air it out. Kimble’s pass was picked off by Alick Daughtry which led to them tying the game.
Daughtry hooked up with Jennings on a 32-yard touchdown pass with 03 seconds remaining in the half to deadlock the game at 14 all.
Mistakes would continue to haunt the Horns to start the third quarter.
Colton Falk intercepted Kimble for the second time at the 30 that led to a 4-yard touchdown run by Keaton Gobble that put the Buffaloes up 21-14. That set the stage for the Horns’ comeback victory.

Jamal Scott celebrates a close, heartfelt 22-21 victory against West Greene High School in Greeneville Friday night.

Longhorn leaders
Greer finished the game with 55 yards rushing on 16 carries. He also completed 5-of-6 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Kimble threw a touchdown pass and ran for one before leaving the game with what is thought to be a separated shoulder. They also got a super effort from sophomore sensation Neely who had two touchdown catches and three receptions that totaled 76 yards.
Curtis Lowe, Neely, Ethan Icenhour, Danny Medley, and Jia Webster registered five tackles apiece for the defense.
Joe Fox provided four tackles and three assists. Logan Gilley had a strong game at nose tackles and registered four stops as did Rice.
“I was proud of the defense especially there at the end,” added Kerley. “I thought that the return of John Stout to the offensive line was big for us. Stacy had a very big game, and so did Neely and Rice. I could brag on all of them because everyone did something special. The best thing was we won the football game as a team and overcame a lot of adversaries. That says a lot about these kids.”

JCHS 7 7 0 8 – 22
West Greene 7 7 7 0 – 21