Hampton hurdles Highlanders, 64-28

Published 12:18 am Saturday, September 17, 2016

Star Photo/Curtis Carden                                Bulldog running back Adam McClain pushes his way in for a score in the second quarter against Gatlinburg-Pittman.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
Bulldog running back Adam McClain pushes his way in for a score in the second quarter against Gatlinburg-Pittman.

Needing a little push, the Hampton offensive line gave a huge heave instead.
The Bulldogs’ run game paid dividends with Adam McClain and Hunter Davenport combining for over 450 yards and nine touchdowns en route to a 64-28 win over Gatlinburg-Pittman Friday night at J.C. Campbell Stadium.
With the win, Hampton (4-0, 2-0) moves into a first place tie in the Region 1 Class 2A standings with Happy Valley while the Highlanders fell to 1-1 in the conference, 2-2 overall.
“This is a good start,” Bulldog head coach Michael Lunsford said. “It’s a great momentum builder. Like I told the team, though, the only game that matters now is the next one. This really builds your confidence. We came out injury free and that’s probably the most important thing. It kind of propels you on to the next one. In the tough games like these, you find out what you’re good at, what you can do and what you can’t do.”
Hunter Davenport (17 carries, 207 yards, 4 TDs) and Adam McClain (26 carries, 249 yards 5 TDs) set the tone early with runs of 55 and 1 yard in the first.
“We’ve got two good runners,” Lunsford said. “They both bring a little bit of a different aspect to the game. We changed some things up to get the both on the field at the same time. I just felt like they were too good of runners to have one not in the game. I thought they both did a phenomenal job.”
And a solid run game is credited up front, Lunsford added, with the likes of Austin Boling, Joseph Fleenor, Daniel Winters, Gavin Hardin, Curtiss Carden, Ty Breland, C.J. Wilson, Clay Fletcher and Phillip Arrington all opening up lanes for their runners. Along with blocking, Dakota Sanchez finished with 29 yards on four carries.
“Our offensive line played amazing,” the head coach added. “(Gatlinburg-Pittman) would have 10 or 11 players in the box, they were bringing them and we were able to block them. Hats off to them on that.”
Matt Sides put Gatlinburg-Pittman on the board with a 95-yard score to have the deficit within eight points, 14-6, at the end of the first.
McClain continued to pound away in the second with a pair of touchdowns to help his team extend the lead out to 28-12 at halftime.
As a senior leader of the team, the bruising back gave all the credit to his line.
“They’ve been working hard all season long,” McClain said of the line. “They’ve been doing a great job. G-P had some big boys out there and I think our boys handled them out there pretty good. Ever since the offseason, they’ve been working hard and they opened up the holes for us tonight. Hunter (Davenport) was running hard, too … we were able to get through tonight.”
Coming out of the second half, Albert Werner helped the Highlanders maneuver through some rough spots but it was the play of senior Chris Holtsclaw in the secondary that stalled a pair of G-P drives.
“I talked to Chris after the game,” Lunsford said. “Chris means a ton to us on defense. He did a great job. He had two or three interceptions … he brings another dimension back there.”
Davenport, who also finished with an interception, also provided praise to his teammates post game.
“Coming out in the second half, Chris had a pair of big interceptions that really changed the path of the ball game for us,” Davenport said. “We couldn’t have done it without our offensive line. Our line blocked outstanding. We were able to run the ball very well and you can’t be mad about that. It was a great win.”
Quarterback Jason Russell provided a steady comeback performance following an injury, going 4-5 through the air, connecting with Dakota Crumley with 35 yards and adding 31 yards on the ground.
With a heated nonconference rival in Cloudland awaiting them next week, McClain said the ‘Dogs will be ready.
“This was a real big conference win,” he said. “G-P has such a great tradition and they always have a great team. We just came out and executed. We have to get a little bit better on defense but I definitely think we’ll get there.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox