“Now, that’s Hampton”:Bulldogs hold on to top Johnson County in classic

Published 11:09 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

MOUNTAIN CITY—As Bulldog fans erupted into cheer after Friday night’s win over Johnson County, a Hampton player said, “Now, that’s Hampton.”
The player’s sentiment came after a hard-fought four quarters in which the ‘Dogs topped Johnson County 20-19.
“We overcame so much adversity,” said a visibly emotional Michael Lunsford, head coach of the Bulldogs. “We had so many opportunities to fall and crumble, but we just kept fighting. That’s what I expect from our kids. To never give up and keep on fighting.”
The Bulldogs looked to senior Lane Potter throughout the night as the Bulldog rushed for roughly 108 yards on 21 carries while recording a touchdown. Potter played a big part in the defensive game as well, and made the game-winning play when he deflected a pass on the Longhorns’ last fourth-and-10 chance with just seconds left in the contest.
“When we got down, I was hoping and praying we would keep our heads up,” said Potter. “They did and stayed true to the game. It was a great win for us up here.”
The Bulldogs, leading 20-19 with 5 minutes left to play, made two big stops. The first came when the ‘Dogs D-line made a stand on a fourth-and-3 at their own 37. Desperately needing a first, the Longhorns went to Nathan Lane who was brought down by a host of Bulldogs. The ‘Dogs drove for three plays and ran the clock down to under 2 minutes left in regulation before having to punt.
The Longhorns took over on their 30 before a big pass play from Troy Arnold to Aric Neely put them on the Bulldogs’ 40. Johnson County would have three straight incomplete passes before Potter’s pass deflection ended the Longhorns’ chances, and the Bulldogs went into victory formation.
“Coach Jake Jenkins and the defensive guys have done a tremendous job,” Lunsford. “I think we are on our number three safety, our number four and five defensive ends, and those guys have stepped to the plate.”
After taking advantage of miscues from the Longhorns’ offense, the Bulldogs picked up a touchdown on their first drive. A lengthy drive that ate up much of the first quarter would end with Hampton quarter connecting with Matt Hughes on a corner route for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Hampton’s Michael Harrison booted through the point-after attempt, the Bulldogs led 7-0 with 2:46 left in the first.
On the ensuing kickoff, Harrison recovered a fumble by the Longhorns to the give Hampton the ball back on JC’s 33-yard line. On six plays that saw Potter carry the ball five times, Potter drove the ball in from 1-yard out as the first quarter ended. Harrison made easy work of the PAT, and ‘Dogs held a 14-0 edge.
The ‘Horns finally got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter with Nathan Lane battling his way into the end zone on an 11-yard carry. Despite a valiant effort from JC’s Zach Eller to get a pass off which was almost caught, the Longhorns’ 2-point conversion attempt came up short. Hampton led 14-6 with 8:31 left in the half.
On the last drive of the first half, the Bulldogs embarked on a 16-play possession that ended on the Longhorns 1-yard as the time ran out.
With 5:05 left in the third quarter, the Longhorns cut the Bulldogs’ lead to just 14-12 as Johnson County QB Troy Arnold fumbled the ball before picking it back up and tossing a 26-yard touchdown pass to teammate Zach Eller. The 2-point conversion failed.
In the fourth, Johnson County took the lead with Arnold finding Lane on a 53-yard TD pass that saw Lane pull the pass down before breaking a tackle and speeding to the end zone. JC’s Jared Kimble booted through the PAT, and the ‘Horns led 19-14 with 6 minutes left.
The Bulldogs, however, quickly answered. Hampton’s Isiah Greenwell pulled in a screen pass from Hardin before speeding down to the Johnson County’s 15 after a 50-yard pass play. Hardin followed up with 11-yard carry to the 4-yard line, before he ran a 4-yard touchdown on the next play. The 2-point failed, and Hampton led 20-19 late.
The Bulldogs will open up conference play next Friday as they host Happy Valley.

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