By Tim Chambers
The old clichés of “backs against the wall and must win” fits Johnson County to a tee on Thursday in their game at Northview Academy.
The Longhorns playoff hopes are on the line when they travel to Kodak to take on the Cougars.
Northview comes in at 5-2 overall but 4-0 in the conference. Those losses came to Volunteer 41-21 and Coalfield 58-28.
They’ll travel to Unicoi County next week and finish off with Elizabethton at home in their regular season finale.
Johnson County has games remaining with Pigeon Forge at home and Unicoi County on the road but none more important than Friday’s contest.
A loss would eliminate any chance they have of hosting a first-round playoff game. It would also put them in a must-win situation against Pigeon Forge and Unicoi County just to make the playoffs.
Northview will enter the game with revenge on their minds. They suffered a 41-21 loss to the Horns last year inside of Paul McEwen Stadium.
Bud Icenhour had two touchdowns in the win and Nathan Arnold added another but this team has yet to mirror what last year’s squad looked like.
Johnson County rushed for 220 yards against the Cougars and threw for 201. No back has run for 100 yards in any game this year and their longest run from scrimmage has been 31 yards.
That poses a problem against a team that comes in averaging 39 points and over 400 yards per game of total offense.
The Cougars scored seven times in the first half at Chuckey-Doak behind the outstanding quarterback play of Justin Howard.
The talented junior ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns and completed 7-of-12 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns in only two quarters of play. Haiden McGee was on the receiving end of all four touchdown passes.
His first reception was a 71-yard bomb from Howard on the first play of the game and a 43-yarder on their next possession. Howard ran 53 yards on their third possession for a score and 13 yards for another one. All the above came during the first quarter, helping Northview build a 28-point advantage.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.