By: Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Savor the moment. It’s the best advice that I can give Longhorn football fans six weeks into the season.
Johnson County’s No. 3 ranking in the latest Class 3A poll is the talk of the town among many local residents. Not to be overlooked is the middle school’s 4-0 start in 2017.
Have we suddenly become a football factory? Probably not, but things sure are looking up.
Some fans say that the current schedule is watered down from the teams they’ve played in past years. Gone are Elizabethton and Sullivan South who moved up in classification. Pigeon Forge and Northview Academy is now in Region 2 3A.
Watered down was just what the doctor ordered for a “red hot” Johnson County team. The late Al Davis that owned the Oakland Raiders coined the phrase “just win baby.”
That’s what the 2017 Longhorns are doing.
They whipped Sullivan East soundly to start the season then took care of Hampton on the road. Both teams have been ranked over the past two seasons, but nobody called our schedule “water downed” when the Bulldogs and Patriots were supporting identical 9-1 marks in 2016.
Close road wins at Chuckey-Doak and West Greene could have gone the other way, but they didn’t. The Black Knights are 4-2 with their only other loss at Northview Academy. West Greene’s Julian Lane is definitely one of the top players in East Tennessee. Their only other loss was at Pigeon Forge.
Much of the credit for Johnson County’s success should go to Head Coach Don Kerley and his staff. There is harmony among this group of players and rightfully so.
Nearly everyone gets to play in this system. The Longhorns played 25 people in the first half against West Greene and those that didn’t play on Friday would likely get a chance in the junior varsity game on Monday.
Athletes today enjoy playing under the Friday night lights. The ones at Johnson County are no different.
Kerley has pushed all the right buttons so far, but just like a Tootsie Roll Pop, the winning streak at some point will disappear. Every team gets bitten at least one time unless you go undefeated and win the state championship. We all can dream, but it’s not likely to happen.
Let’s enjoy every lick that we can, like the one RJ Snyder delivered on West Greene’s quarterback. Hayden Osborne turned it into a game clinching 56-yard touchdown run.
We might not reach No. 1 in the 3A poll the same way that many will never get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop.
But let’s enjoy every lick while we can.
Savor the moment.
The Longhorns didn’t fare well in the regional golf tournament played in Elizabethton.
They shot a 429 to finish sixth among the six teams there.
Reece Stout was the Horns’ low medalist with 100. Jaiden Joiner followed with a 101. Gavin Reece shot a 109 and Petie Pavusek a 119 to close out the scoring.
Johnson County remains #3
in latest AP 3A poll
The latest AP 3-A poll has Johnson County with a solid lead on its No. 3 ranking. The Longhorns trail only Alcoa and Raleigh Egypt. All three teams are undefeated.
Elizabethton moves up to No. 4 in Class 4A. A couple of future Longhorn opponents remain in the top 10.
Happy Valley moves up to No. 6 in Class 2A but did receive two first place votes. Cloudland was tied for No. 9 in Class 1A despite its 43-0 loss to the Warriors on Friday.
Rcrd Pts. Prv
1. Alcoa (14) 4-2 164
2. Raleigh Egypt (3) 6-0 153 2
3. Johnson County 5-0 130 3
4. Austin-East 4-1 101 5
5. Pearl-Cohn 4-2 100 6
6. Bolivar Central 5-1 83 7
7. Smith County 4-1 62 4
8. Red Bank 4-1 61 8
9. South Gibson 5-1 38 10
10. Cheatham Co 5-1 10 NR
NOTE: The Tomahawk has voted in every poll this season.
The junior high Longhorns will play at Hampton on Thursday at 6 pm for the league championship. The high school can likely clinch a home playoff game with a win over Claiborne on Friday.
The Lady Longhorns Volleyball team will be playing in the District Tournament at Sullivan East which begins on October 3.