Longhorns quell Hampton second half rally

Published 11:34 pm Friday, August 25, 2017

Consider it a feather back in the cap for the boys of Mountain City.
Flexing their defensive muscle early, Johnson County banked on touchdowns from Troy and Nathan Arnold in the second half to knock off the Hampton Bulldogs 20-8 Friday night inside J.C. Campbell Stadium.
Johnson County, recently ranked in the Class 3A state poll, moved to 2-0 on the year while the ‘Dogs fell to 1-1.
“I’m extremely proud of our kids,” Longhorns head coach Don Kerley said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve been Hampton, especially at Hampton. They’ve got a good team, a good program and their kids play hard. I’m just proud of our kids; they grew up tonight.”
Friday was Johnson County’s first win over the Bulldogs since their 2013 campaign.
Hampton was able to move the ball efficiently on their first possession, marching from their own 35-yard line into the Longhorns red zone.
A failed-fourth down attempt gave the Longhorns life, and Gage Hampton took full advantage by taking a Nathan Arnold 20-yard pass to the house. The point-after attempt moved the ‘Horns ahead 7-0.
Following up a scoreless second, Troy Arnold punched in a 3-yard TD early in the third. Hampton made some noise in the fourth with senior Jason Russell bulldozing his way in for a score, followed up by Alex Hardin’s 2-point attempt, to pull the game with a score, 14-8, with 11:27 to go in the contest.
But Johnson County was able to respond on the ensuing possession with Nathan Arnold effectively putting the nail in the coffin with a one-yard plunge, giving the ‘Horns a 20-8 lead with 7:20 to go.
Hampton didn’t back away with Skyler Cole picking off a pass late in the quarter, but the ‘Dogs final possession was pressed by the Johnson County defensive effort.
“I’m proud our guys didn’t lay down,” Hampton head coach Michael Lunsford said. “They fought until the last horn sounded. Johnson County is a team with 23 seniors, they’re a 3A school, and I think we have 14 kids between our junior and senior class. We’re young, but our young guys are going to have to step up to the plate.”
The Bulldogs get back in the swing of things next week with their conference opener on the road against Happy Valley.
(For a full breakdown of Friday’s game with additional photos, statistics, and comments from both of the coaches, be sure to check Gridiron Weekly – available in the Tuesday print edition of the Elizabethton Star.)

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