‘Landers look to open up 2021 postseason with a win

Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, November 2, 2021

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
nic.miller@elizabethton.com

Last Friday night, the Cloudland Highlanders capped off their 2021 regular season with a road win over the North Greene Huskies, one that ended with a final line of 38-8 in favor of the squad from Roan Mountain.

This week, the 2021 postseason kicks off for teams across the state of Tennessee, and the Highlanders get the opportunity to open things up at Orr Field against Greenback.

Along with the home-field advantage, Cloudland also goes into this postseason run holding the title as the 1-A Region 1 conference champions, a distinction which head coach Zac Benfield said can be a good and bad thing for his team going forward.

“The title of conference champions means a lot to our guys and to our community, and it was great to see that all the hard work that we put in throughout the season paid off,” Benfield said. “However, one thing that I don’t like about last week is that we did not perform to our fullest potential on Friday and that going forward we need to be ready to play our best brand of football.”

Benfield also spoke on what it means to the players on his team about the momentum of ending the regular season with a victory. “It does a lot in terms of the guys’ confidence, and it does a lot for the kids to understand that if they play well that they can win. I love that aspect of it and I hope we can carry that momentum and confidence deep into November.”

Home-field advantage is a very real thing, especially in a place like Roan Mountain. Benfield expanded on that point, saying, “Hopefully being able to play at home will help us out because it seemed to have done so during the season. It is going to be a cold night on Friday, and hopefully, that will be in our favor because we are used to playing in those conditions.”

The Highlanders opponent, the Cherokees of Greenback may hold a 3-6 record during the regular season, but Benfield explained that their record does not reflect the talent of their team.

“Greenback is a 3-6 team, but all of their six losses have come to some very talented teams and they have had four or five starters miss the past three weeks. A majority of those players will be coming back this week so it is imperative that we play to the best of our ability.”

The Greenback and Cloudland game will take place on Friday, Nov. 5th at 7 p.m. and will kick off at Orr Field in Roan Mountain.