Lane pick-six brings down Highlanders

Published 12:18 am Saturday, October 20, 2018

ROAN MOUNTAIN—In a defensive standoff, the Johnson County Longhorns were able to keep alive a seven-game win streak as they held off the Highlanders 14-8.
With just 40.9 seconds in the game and the score tied at 8-8, the Highlanders went for a hook and lateral, but ‘Horns senior Nathan Lane read it all the way and picked off a pass from Cloudland’s Malachi Benfield and took it 55 yards to the end zone.
“They like to pass to the flats,” said Lane after the win. “I saw one of their guys run out, and I guess he just made a bad pass. I caught it and just kinda took it.”
The Highlanders, in desperate need of a touchdown as the clock ran down, went to the air. But it was all Lane again as he made his third interception of the night to end the ‘Landers’ chances of a comeback.
The loss dropped the Highlanders to 7-2 on the season. Cloudland struggled to produce offense in the second half as penalties plagued their possessions.
“That definitely slowed down some drives,” said Cloudland head coach Mike Lunsford. “It’s hard to go 25 yards for a first down. We got more penalties than we have all year in the second half. I don’t know what we were doing different tonight.”
The second biggest moment of the night came in the fourth quarter. The Highlanders were well on their way to a touchdown as they went into a power set. Starting at their 17, the Highlanders drove down to the Longhorns 27 with no signs of slowing down as Cloudland senior Jordan Coffey churned for 43 yards on the drive. Coffey, however, would fumble the ball on the eighth play of the drive cutting short his team’s chance of a go-ahead score.
In the second quarter, the Highlanders ended a 0-0 stalemate as Coffey made it into the end zone on a 7-yard carry that was followed up by a 2-point conversion, making it 8-0 heading into the half.
With 28.7 seconds left in the third, the Johnson County, aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct call against Cloudland, made it into the end zone as Lane scored on a 3-yard run which was followed up by Troy Arnold hitting Zach Eller on a 2-point conversion pass to make it 8-8.
“We had some missed opportunities,” said Lunsford. “We should have scored more than what we did. Part of that is them and part of that is us. We didn’t do a really good job of finishing a drive. They stepped it up when they needed to and stopped us.”
The Highlanders will travel to Copper Basin to finish off the regular season next week.

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