By Tim Chambers
It’s okay to dream big.
Johnson County football players are guilty of it and so are their coaches and fans. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big unless the Goliath teams from Knoxville get in the way.
Then your dream becomes a nightmare.
Johnson County’s quest to make the playoffs for the fifth straight season got put to a halt against Unicoi County nearly two weeks ago. Home losses to West Greene and Pigeon Forge factored in the Horns going 0-4 inside of Paul McEwen Stadium.
The Longhorns had a golden opportunity to finish 7-3 but instead fell to 4-6. Star running back and receiver Dakota Wright missed the season due to a torn ACL. They could never overcome losing their star player.
His presence, speed and ability to make big plays would have definitely made the Longhorns a much better squad. I think a 7-3 record would have probably been attainable but I’m not sure it would have mattered in the playoffs.
Here is my reason why.
Elizabethton was the best team in the league hands down. The Cyclones were ranked in the state’s top five for most of the season and rightfully so. They finished 9-1 with their only loss coming against Science Hill 28-21 in a game they easily could have won.
The Toppers won their first round 6-A playoff game 48-0.
The Longhorns probably finish 6-1 in league play with Wright in the lineup and would have likely hosted a first round playoff game.
That probably would have been the end of the line for them. If you doubt me, just ask Northview Academy, Pigeon Forge and Unicoi County.
Teams dream of making the playoffs, but what does the fourth place team have to look forward to in Region 1, 3-A? If your guess is Alcoa, you are absolutely correct.
The 10-1 Tornadoes destroyed every Region 2 opponent by a combined score of 134-14 in 2016.
If that doesn’t impress you, then these figures will.
Alcoa clobbered Scott County 42-7, the same team that manhandled Northview Academy 49-14 on Friday in the first round.
Johnson County defeated Northview 34-24 but trailed by 10 in the third quarter. The tide turned when Northview’s starting quarterback had to leave the game and they couldn’t move the ball effectively afterwards.
Starting quarterbacks are usually the difference maker for teams up on this end but the Knoxville teams have proven backups.
Take CAK for instance.
They lost Mr. Football finalist Cole Smith in Week 9 to a shoulder injury but still managed to defeat Pigeon Forge 56-34 in the first round. Their backup quarterback threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns against the Tigers who defeated the Longhorns 21-7 in Week 9.
That same backup quarterback also collected 12 tackles in the game. CAK puts its best athletes on the field regardless if they have to play both ways. Scott County had eight players that went both ways.
There is more if you are still not impressed.
Scott County’s win over second place Northview was so lopsided that a continuous clock ran during the second half.
Here is some more sound advice.
Stay away from the 2-A and 4-A schools in Knoxville. They too can be lethal.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.