Highlanders to host 3A West Greene

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
STAR CORRESPONDENT
On Friday night at Orr Field, the Cloudland Highlanders will play host to 3A West Greene Buffaloes in a non-conference match. The Buffs (4-1 overall, 2-0 conference) have chalked up wins against Johnson County, North Greene, Union County, and Claiborne with a loss at South Greene in the mix.
“West Greene is a good team,” Highlanders head coach Zac Benfield said. “Scotty Verran does a great job with them. On defense, they switch a lot. They will twist and stunt and show some five-man as well as four-man fronts.

“They don’t have any phenomenal athlete’s but they are very disciplined. They do a lot of good stuff defensively and my line is going to have to be disciplined this week.”

That line has been the bell cow for an offense that averages nearly 300 yards per week and has senior Seth Birchfield on his way to a 1,000-yard season and has protected quarterback Chase Shell very well.

Birchfield collected four rushing touchdowns in a 52-18 win over conference foe Cosby and Shell had a touchdown pass to Gage McKinney as well. Fullback Coy Laney is back and Benfield is a happy coach for that saying, “Coy Laney came back against Cosby and I am thankful for that. Otherwise, we are pretty healthy.”

West Greene quarterback Jaden Gregg has been hot of late with several touchdowns passing and running and running backs Keith Valentine and Janson Kesterson have been hard to corral as well with the Buffaloes offense averaging 25.8 points per game and the Buffs come off a 27-0 win over North Greene.

“The quarterback is very good once he gets out of the pocket,” Benfield said. “When he rolls out and doesn’t get contained he throws well and he is a good runner as well. As far as their running backs go I they are hard-nosed, fast and if they get around the corner they can do a lot of damage.”

Kicker Blair Shelton is a weapon on kickoffs and field goals hitting two against the Huskies and pinning them at their one-yard line on a punt. The ‘Landers strength is in the front line with center Landon Johnson anchoring the offensive line and Dylan McClellan who posted an interception in the ‘Landers win over Cosby a force on the defensive line.

Cloudland has won each of the first three conference games they have played – averaging 49.3 points per game – with only North Greene left on their conference slate. The next four weeks see the ‘Landers taking on the Buffs, Unicoi County, Happy Valley, and Johnson County before finishing at North Greene.

Game time with West Greene is set for 7:30 pm.