‘Dogs set to hook horns with Johnson County

Published 11:10 am Friday, August 26, 2016


In or out of league, Hampton and Johnson County’s football rivalry gets an excited-renewal vibe each year.

The Bulldogs will make the trip to Mountain City tonight to face the Longhorns in nonconference action at Harold Arnold Field nestled inside Paul H. McEwen Stadium.

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Both teams met last year in Carter County with the Bulldogs taking a 50-14 feather-in-the-cap during the 2015 season.

“It’s always big to play against a rival like Johnson City,” Hampton head coach Michael Lunsford said. “Everyone always gets excited for the game. It’s always a tough game when we head to Mountain City.”

With over 200 yards combined on the ground, Adam McClain (13 carries, 172 yards, 3 TDs) and Hunter Davenport (eight carries, 114 yards, 2 TDs) led the ‘Dogs en route to a decisive 46-12 win over Avery County, N.C., last week at J.C. Campbell Stadium.

“It felt good to get the win,” Lunsford said. “We were able to get a lot of kids some playing time. Adam and Hunter both ran the ball very well.”

The ‘Horns opened up the season with a 34-7 loss to an upperclassmen-heavy Sullivan East squad last week. The Patriots amassed over 300 yards on the ground in the victory but the ‘Horns were able to garner 100-plus yards through the air thanks to quarterback Nathan Arnold.

“Nathan is a great player,” Lunsford said of the signal caller. “He’s hard to get down and he’s able to squirm out of situations to make the throw.”

Along Arnold, Lunsford added that Johnson County pose different threats on offensive, including Gage Hampton and tailback Bud Icenhour.

Arnold’s speed, along with a host of weapons, has the ‘Dogs looking to rely on the play of their defensive ends to keep things in check against Johnson County.

“We’re going to have to rely on our defensive ends, Gavin Hardin and CJ Wilson, to contain the outside and keep an eye on Arnold,” Lunsford said. “Our defense really did have a good game last week. With them, and then we have someone like Danny Winters on the d-line and (Dakota) Sanchez is a good tackler … I was proud of our effort.”

The offensive totals went in favor of the ‘Dogs last week, and Lunsford credits the play hog mollies up front.

“That really does help,” Lunsford said of the experience of the offensive line. “You have four guys in the mix there that have that experience in-game.”

Kickoff for the contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.