Happy Valley takes on Hampton in colossal early season tilt

Published 1:38 am Friday, September 6, 2019

On Friday night Happy Valley will welcome Carter County and conference rival Hampton to Warrior Hill in an early-season test of who will rule the roost.
Last season the Bulldogs snapped a two-season losing string to the Warriors with a 17-7 victory to ease the sting of 2017’s 41-0 debacle.
“We instill in our kids the tradition of Happy Valley and Hampton,” Warriors head coach Jason Jarrett said. “Conference wise they are one of the most competitive teams in the area and when you add in the county rivalry it just makes it that much more intense.
“They will bring the intensity and we have to match it and exceed it if we are going to come away with a win.”
The Warriors (2-0) come off a penalty plagued 14-6 win over Chuckey-Doak while the ‘Dogs ran roughshod over Unicoi County by a 32-13 tally.
HV was whistled for more than 120 penalty yards in their week two victory but Jarrett knows that his team has to clean that up to have a chance against Hampton.
“We definitely have to clean up our penalties,” Jarrett said. “We have to be more disciplined and we have to win the turnover battle.
“That is something we talk about every week. Take care of the football and try to force opponent mistakes. We know that Hampton is coming with their power running game, and they are very good at it.
“But, they also have talented players on the perimeter that can beat you.”
In the power run game, Hampton counts on fullback Caleb Oaks to help clear the way for tailback Isaiah Greenwell and wide receiver Gage Chambers who scored a pair of touchdowns in the win over the Blue Devils.
Conor Jones triggers the ‘Dogs offense from his quarterback position and has a host of weapons to choose from both on the ground and through the air.
Senior back Matt Hughes gashed Unicoi County for 70 yards on 14 tries.
The Warriors have played solid defense in both of their victories allowing just six points in both games in wins over Cloudland 19-6 and C-D and that trend must continue on Friday night.
“It is hard to find a weakness with Hampton,” Jarrett said. “So all 11 of our guys have got to be on the same page and move in the same direction.
“We know they bring size, physicality and speed and quickness. They were the preseason favorite to win the conference and nothing has changed in that regard.”
Offensively HV has shown a big-play capability but has not been able to complete long sustained drives which have held them back on the scoreboard.
Too many times drives have stalled due to penalty and that trend must change for the Warriors to take charge in the conference.
Senior quarterback Noah Stevens is as accurate as you will find throwing the long pass and he has a lot of weapons at his disposal with senior tailback Will Tittle who caught four passes for 75 yards against the Black Knights and sophomore Andrew Little who had 85 yards receiving.
The run game is where HV has yet to shine with just 181 ground yards in the two games combined on 51 rushes with junior tailback Matthew Bahn leading the way with 92 yards and two touchdowns.
“These are two good communities coming together and they are proud of their teams,” Jarrett said. “Traditionally this is a slobber knocker of a game and I expect nothing less of Friday night.”
Game time is 7:30 pm.

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