Cloudland rolls past Hancock

Published 11:05 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

A day earlier than scheduled No. 6 Cloudland raced to take a 44-8 win over Hancock County Thursday to open Region 1-A play.
The game was moved up 24 hours to avoid the potential weather associated with Hurricane Florence.
“A big game last week (win at Avery County), and I thought we came out a little bit flat tonight,” Cloudland head coach Mike Lunsford said. “Hancock County is a better team. We just have to do things right. This game was tough because of it being sandwiched between rivalry games. It’s hard sometimes to focus.”
The Highlanders improved to 3-1 before next week’s visit from Happy Valley. Cloudland also won a 12th straight game against league foes thanks to a seventh-win-in-a-row over Hancock County.
Cloudland took the opening kickoff then only needed three plays to score. Conner Birchfield raced 20 yards then dove for the pylon to score. Birchfield capped the next Cloudland drive with a 6-yard run up the middle. The Josh Blair 2-point conversion made it a 14-0 margin late in the opening quarter.
Blair added a 5-yard touchdown run in the middle of the second quarter to add to the lead. Blair had six carries for 79 yards.
Hancock County had the ball for over 7 minutes on their first drive of the second half, but did not score. Once again it was a quick strike as Birchfield capped a three-play drive with a touchdown run that covered 25 yards. Jordan Coffey added his name to the scoring list with an 8-yard run and converted the 2-point conversion as well.
Birchfield was effective with four carries for 62 yards and the three scores. His other carry was for 11 yards and a first down.
The teams swapped scores in the final minutes which included Coffey breaking a 73-yard run. Coffey had nine carries for 159 yards and the two scores. He also caught a pass for another 29 yards.
The Highlanders outrushed the Indians 292 to 186 Thursday. Hancock County padded their rushing total thanks to reserve running back Darren Collins who had a 64-yard touchdown after the game was decided.
“The (offensive) line is playing extremely well. There are not many carries where we aren’t gaining yards. It’s going to be a big challenge next week. We’re playing really hard,” Lunsford added.

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