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Looking ahead and not behind… Hampton putting loss in rearview mirror and looking to Volunteer

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
This past Friday night’s contest against South Greene left a sour taste in the mouths of the Hampton Bulldogs but they have had to spit that out and prepare for another big challenge on Friday night on the road to Hawkins County and a showdown with the Volunteer Falcons.

The ‘Dogs were slated to play Unaka but due to COVID-19 concerns that game was shelved and fortunately Hampton head coach Michael Lunsford was able to arrange a game with the Falcons (2-6) which are a Class 5A school.

“I hate to see Unaka shut down and lose that game with them being a county team,” said Lunsford. “We are glad to have the opportunity to have this game for our seniors and the rest of the kids.”

The Bulldogs haven’t had much time to prepare to this point as they had a JV game with South Greene on Monday where the JV ‘Dogs fell 6-0.

According to Lunsford, there has been some film watched to this point and the coaching staff has been looking at things that Hampton can control and make the appropriate changes to ensure to reduce the number of mistakes and miscues that can often lead to a loss.

With the contest being played on a newly installed artificial turf, Lunsford was asked if playing on turf would be a hindrance to his team.

“It’s a little different but two years ago we went to Gatlinburg-Pittman and they had turf and we scrimmage Tennessee High last year over there on turf so these kids are familiar with what it is like playing on turf versus grass,” Lunsford added.

The Falcons present a couple of different challenges for the Bulldogs going into the contest. First, they have a quarterback who isn’t afraid to throw the football, and secondly, Volunteer has two big running backs that will challenge the ‘Dogs defensively to contain.

“We are definitely going to have to execute,” Lunsford said. “They have two good running backs that we are really going to have to gang tackle to bring them down.

“Their quarterback can really throw the football well so we will have to get a lot of pressure on him defensively.”

The ‘Dogs will be looking to use the game to improve as they wind down their season and start looking ahead to the playoffs where they hope to have a shot at redemption against the Rebels.

Kickoff in Hawkins County on Friday night will be at 7:30 pm.