Avery County dominates Cloudland in Stateline rivalry, 42-16

Published 1:09 am Saturday, September 28, 2019



The Avery County Vikings made the short trip across the state line on Friday night to face their rivals- the Cloudland Highlanders in Roan Mountain.

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The Highlanders came into the game after taking a big win last Friday night defeating Hancock County 30-6 to get their first win of the year. A win against the Vikings (3-2) would go a long way in boosting the spirits of the Highlanders for the rest of the season.

Avery County had other plans, however, and they came to the game with vengeance in their eyes after suffering a lopsided loss last year on their home turf. They took their frustrations out on the Highlanders by taking a 42-16 victory.  

The first quarter opened with the ‘Landers moving the ball well behind the running of Tristain Lacey but came up short when the Vikings stopped the ‘Landers on the Viking 45-yard line.

Avery took over on downs and did not waste any time getting into the end zone. Avery quarterback Troy Hoilman connected several passes with Jessie Jones and Ty Smith and soon hit pay dirt on a nine-yard scoring pass to Smith.

After Viking kicker Serafim hit the extra point, Avery took a 7-0 lead.

Cloudland took the next possession of the ball and fumbled it. Soon Avery’s Hoilman scored again from four yards out, and after the point-after kick, Avery took a 14-0 lead.

The Highlanders took the ball again and moved it with a strong running game. As both teams entered into the second quarter, the game was placed on a lightning delay, and both teams headed toward their locker rooms to wait out the delay.

When the delay ended, Cloudland picked up where they had left off and moved the ball down the field with a series of strong running plays from Tristain Lacey, Seth Birchfield, and Hunter Blair.

Lacey took the ball up the middle and scored from the four-yard line putting Cloudland on the board. After another run by Lacey for the two-point conversion, the scored sat at 14-8 with Avery in the lead.

Disaster struck on the next play as Avery’s Mason Thomas took a kick return 75 yards for a touchdown. After the extra kick from Serafim, the score went to 21-8 Vikings.

Cloudland showed that they had a lot of life left when they took the next possession down the field. Chase Shell threw a perfect 48-yard touchdown pass to Lacey for another score.

Lacey then dived into the end-zone for the two-point conversion and the score went to 21-16 Avery.

Cloudland stopped the Vikings on the next possession and took the ball down the field with time running out in the first half. After using all three of their timeouts and strong running from Seth Birchfield, Chase Shell, and Tristain Lacey.

Cloudland drove to the eight-yard line when the horn sounded to end the half. Both teams went into their locker rooms with the score 21-16 Avery County.

Cloudland held the Vikings to start the third quarter and forced them to punt. Two plays later Avery jumped on a Cloudland fumble and took it down the field. Lucas Andrews then ran into the end-zone from the five for a score.

With the point after completion, Avery held a commanding 28-16. They were not done yet.

Cloudland showed some life when Bentley Gilbert recovered an Avery fumble at the 40-yard line. Avery stopped them, however, and during the fourth quarter, Avery scored again when Hoilman hit a receiver with a perfect pass in the end zone for a six-yard score taking a commanding lead 35-16.

On their next possession, Cloudland fumbled again and Avery marched once again down the field. This time they were stopped on fourth down at Cloudland’s 26.

The scoring would end with another perfect pass by Hoilman to a wide-open receiver with time winding down, and the score went to 42-16 Avery County.

Cloudland’s record went to 1-4, and they will play the Unaka Rangers on Stoney Creek next Friday in a tough conference matchup. The game time is 7:30 pm.