By Tim Chambers
Johnson County at Happy Valley could create as much excitement as a porcupine running around in a helium balloon factory. There’ll be plenty of “pop” on Warrior Hill.
A capacity crowd is expected on Friday to watch the No. 3 Longhorns in 3A tackle Happy Valley ranked No. 9 in 2A.
The Warriors suffered their first loss of the season to Grace Christian 27-19 last Friday. Johnson County manhandled Claiborne County 34-0.
JC’s head coach Don Kerley knows his team is in for a battle. He expects a tough game from start to finish.
“Happy Valley is big up front and their line has dominated almost everybody,” said Kerley. “They can throw the ball and they’ve got a good quarterback and running back. They’re a very athletic team with some really good players. They could have easily won on Friday had their quarterback not gotten banged up.”
Brayden Sams is expected back under center after leaving the game late in the third quarter against Grace. He has accounted nearly 1000 yards of total offense, throwing for 461 yards on 26-of-43 passing. He has also rushed for 525 yards making him a duel threat.
Will Tittle leads the team in scoring with 11 touchdowns. Landon Morefield (6’5, 305, Sr.) anchors both lines and is getting looks from several colleges.
Johnson County will counter with Nathan Arnold who has completed 77-of-115 passes for 1110 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Shane Greer is the top receiver with 24 catches for 402 yards.
Gage Hampton leads the team in rushing and scoring. Bud Icenhour is coming off a three-touchdown game with 94 yards rushing.
Hayden Osborne is closing in on 100 tackles. He has 77 on the season, nine for losses. He also has eight sacks. Tyler Norris is next with 56 and R.J. Snyder has collected 50. Jordan Edes-King is closing in with 49 tackles and six sacks. Zack Eller and Greer have been phenomenal on kickoff and punt returns.
“Everybody needs to step up and play well on Friday,” added Kerley. “It’s going to be a hostile environment. It’s like a playoff game with a playoff-type atmosphere. We know they’ll come out ready to play. I think it’s going to be a very good game for us to be in.”
Kerley said the game doesn’t have playoff implications but that won’t stop them from giving their all.
“The game doesn’t mean much conference wise but we definitely want to win,” said Kerley. “It’s a big rival game that nobody wants to lose. The schools are close by and that makes it even better.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm.
Longhorns ranked No 3 again
Johnson County remains at No. 3 in this week’s Associated Press 3-A poll but did pick up a first place vote. There was no change among the top three.
Record Pts Prv
1. Alcoa (14) 5-2 166
2. Raleigh Egypt (2) 7-0 149
3. Johnson County (1) 6-0 132
4. Austin-East 5-1 112
5. Pearl-Cohn 5-2 103 6. Red Bank 5-1 81 7. South Gibson 6-1 66 8. Cheatham County 6-1 42
9. Bolivar Central 5-2 26
10. Covington 5-1 15 NR
Others receiving 12 or more points: Loudon 12.