Highlanders wallop Hancock County in conference opener

Published 12:51 pm Saturday, September 16, 2017

A dominant first-half performance would be all the Highlanders needed to open league play in style.

Cloudland scored early and often in the first two quarters, securing a 48-12 win over Hancock County Friday night in Sneedville.

With the win, the Highlanders move to 4-0 on the season while Hancock slip to 2-3.

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“We’re taking it one game at a time. This was our first conference game, so it was our biggest game so far,” Lunsford said. “(Hancock County) was undefeated in the conference and won a couple of ball games. They played hard and tough, but our guys executed things pretty well. We had some mistakes early but we got to get better. There’s still room to improve.”

Highlander Jordan Coffey did the honors for the first score of the game, capping off a 60-yard drive with a 12-yard run around the 9-minute mark.

After shutting down the Hanock County offense on their first possession, fullback Josh Blair rumbled and stumbled his way over 70 yards to paydirt. Cloudland quarterback Malachi Benfield followed up the rush with an 8-yard pass to Tristan Lacy, ultimately giving Cloudland the 20-0 lead at the end of the first.

The four-headed monster reared its head again in the second with Blair, Benfield, Lacy and Coffey contributing a score each. Coffey added two with a 4-yard rush and 32-yard touchdown reception.

Friday’s game continued a trend for the 2017 Highlanders. This season, Cloudland has surpassed the 40-plus plateau for scoring.

While citing the offensive production, Lunsford added he was impressed with the defensive effort and the victory was the result of the team’s hard work in the offseason.

Logan Sellers put Hancock on the board late in the second quarter with a 4-yard rush while the Indians final score came from another 4-yard plunge from junior Seth Hipshire.

Nonconference action awaits both teams next week. Hancock County will square off against Union County while Happy Valley awaits the Highlanders.

For a full recap of Friday’s game, including statistics, comments, and photos, be sure to check out Gridiron Weekly, available in the Tuesday print edition of the Elizabethton Star.