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Bulldogs paw their way to a road victory on Cloudland Senior Night

BY NIC MILLER
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Roan Mountain – The stage was set, after the Cloudland Highlanders traveled far from Carter County and emerged with a victory, and the Hampton Bulldogs staying at home and securing the win, it was time for the two to face off on a special senior night at Cloudland High School.
The senior football players that were celebrated on Friday night during halftime included Samuel Birchfield, Elijah Blair, Bentley Gilbert, Eli Presswood, Haden Singleton, Noah Stout, and Luke Tipton.
The Highlanders started the contest with possession of the ball but it was nothing doing as the Bulldogs would get a shot on their first drive.
And it wouldn’t take long as quarterback Conor Jones would take the ball thirty-eight yards into the end zone to put the Bulldogs up early in the first quarter, 7-0.
The ‘Landers, however, weren’t going to stop fighting as Caleb Sluder was able to answer with a long run of his own from sixty-eight yards out to cut the deficit to 7-6 in favor of the visitors.
Following the Cloudland score, the Bulldogs gained great field position on the kickoff, where they would start their drive at midfield.
The high powered Bulldog offense would capitalize on the ground game where they would utilize Morgan Lyons, Aiden Vines, and Jones to bring the ball inside the ten where Vines would punch it in, giving his team a 14-6 lead.
After one, it was a one-possession game in favor of Hampton, 14-6.
On the first play of the second quarter, a fumble by the Bulldogs would be recovered at midfield by Sluder where he would take the ball to the five-yard line.
Capitalizing on the momentum, the Highlanders’ Seth Birchfield would take it in for an easy score, shortening the Bulldog lead to 14-12.
The remainder of the second quarter was relatively quiet, until right before the half where the Bulldogs would run for a score once again with Jonathan Greenwell punching it in from ten right before halftime where the score would sit at 21-12.
After a slow start to the second half, Hampton would take possession with two minutes left in the third where they would march down the field once again until Vines would score again, this time from the five to give the visitors a 27-12 lead over the Highlanders.
It was a back and forth contest in the final quarter of play as the Bulldogs were focused on running as much of the clock as possible while the Highlanders were coming close but not being able to put any more points on the board.
That was until halfway through the quarter when Jones would call his number once again from eighteen yards out to increase the Bulldog lead to a 34-12 advantage.
With four minutes remaining, Hampton would take over once again where they would run the remaining time out to give the Bulldogs a road victory against the Highlanders, 34-12.