By Tim Chambers
Johnson County Middle School was chomping at the bit to get their football season underway and they did so with an impressive win over Cloudland on Tuesday. Corie Neely scored three touchdowns and ran for 155 yards in a 32-6 win on Harold Arnold Field.
Neely put the Longhorns up 8-0 with a 62-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a two-point conversion.
Cloudland battled back to score their lone touchdown with Caleb Sluder doing most of the work. He scored on a 13-yard touchdown run after runs of 22 and 17 yards on the drive.
That didn’t set too well with Johnson County’s head coach Devin Shaw.
“We got a little slack on defense after we scored the first time,” said Shaw. “We challenged them at halftime and they responded in the second half. I thought we came out ready to play. We scored quick and put the game away.”
Neely’s 10-yard touchdown run and conversion before halftime gave them some breathing room before intermission. He drove the dagger in deep to start the third quarter.
“Our goal was to score on the opening drive, then hold them on defense,” added Shaw. “We did a great job of executing the screen pass and our line did a good job of blocking up front.”
They Longhorns scored at the 7:03 mark on a nifty 52-yard screen pass and run from Dalton Brown to Neely. He got an excellent block from Big John Stout that made it 24-6 after another two-point conversion run.
Sammy Walters closed out the scoring late in the fourth quarter on a 32-yard touchdown run with 2:47 remaining. Brown had a run of 27 yards on a key third and long that kept the drive alive.
Several players stepped up big for the Horns. They got 209 all-purpose yards from Neely in addition to six tackles. Ethan Icenhour led the defense with 10 tackles. Preston Greer and Brown finished the night with seven apiece. Stout logged six tackles as did Nate Rice who also added a sack. Zane Jarrels was in on five stops.
Seth Birchfield rushed for 44 yards to lead the Highlanders. He and Sluder collected six tackles apiece.