From the top… Bulldogs hope to start the season with a bang against Pigeon Forge

Published 11:08 pm Monday, August 16, 2021

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As the school year gets underway for prep students all across the region, the start of the high school football season draws ever closer with week one coming on Friday night for teams in Carter County.

One team, the Hampton High School Bulldogs are coming off of a strong playoff run last season, are looking to bounce back and do the same, if not better, during the upcoming season.

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The football season for Hampton doesn’t just begin with the inaugural kickoff this Friday night, it began this summer with countless hours of work to prepare for that first kickoff.

Bulldogs head coach Michael Lunsford spoke on his team’s dedication to prepare for Friday’s game, saying, “This Summer was all about the basics; getting the lineman in shape, getting our timing down, and overall figuring out what we are the best at and where each player can provide their maximum potential.”

Lunsford is excited for the 2021 season in Hampton, and as always, the head coach wants the maximum amount of effort from his team, saying, “I expect for our guys to compete for every game and to do the best that we can every week. We have always had high expectations at Hampton for us, the coaching staff, as well as the players.”

When starting a new campaign, things can become stressful and nerve-racking for players. This is no different in Hampton, and Lunsford spoke on how his team plans to overcome those nerves, saying, “There’s really nothing you can say to calm the nerves, you just have to have some experience playing good competition, which our scrimmages this Summer have provided.

“The guys just need to be comfortable in what they are doing out on the field, and I do not believe that our guys will be in awe of anyone we play this year because of the preparation we have done.”

In terms of this week’s matchup, Lunsford believes his team will use that preparation to put on a good outing against Pigeon Forge on Friday, saying, “Pigeon Forge is a quick team, but they do not really have the size that our guys do. If we can make those guys play in a phone booth, I believe that will work to our advantage and our guys will be able to get the job done.”

Kickoff for Hampton against Pigeon Forge will take place Friday night at 7:00 pm at J.C. Campbell Stadium in Hampton.