Hampton continues playoff run with road test against Rockwood

Published 11:52 pm Monday, November 8, 2021

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

After their 21-0 shutout home victory against Monterey last Friday night, the Hampton Bulldogs will be on the road this weekend as they take on the Rockwood Tigers as they continue their 2021 TSSAA playoff run in the Class 2-A second round.

Bulldogs head coach Michael Lunsford spoke first about his team’s round one matchup last week, and especially their impressive defensive performance in holding Monterey to zero points.

“We played and executed very well in that one and our defensive backs did a great job by only allowing a few catches. I have to give a shout out to McKinley Kuhn, a 360-pound lineman who played both ways all game long which is very impressive.”

With the stellar defensive play last week, Lunsford explained that the team needs to keep that same intensity going into this round two matchup, saying, “We are gonna have to be assignment sound and play our gaps and positions to the best of our ability. Not only that, but one thing we have to focus on in this one is tackling well in the open field.”

But that is only a small piece of the Hampton game plan this week as Lunsford stated, “We are who we are at this point in the season, and it all comes down to being able to do the things that we do well.

“We feel that we are a bigger, stronger, and more physical team, so we need to use that to our advantage and be able to run the ball hard as well as take advantage of passing opportunities when we can.”

Lunsford has reminded his team that they are no longer in the regular season, as one loss could mark the end of the campaign for the Bulldogs.

“Last week was probably the best week of practice that we have had all year and we told the kids that we played one of the best games of the season last week against Monterey. That is all a reflection of the time we spent last week and all of the effort that these guys have put in.”

While the Bulldogs were at home last week, the challenge will be much tougher this Friday night as Hampton will be traveling almost two and a half hours away for their game.

Lunsford understands this and explained how different a road playoff game can be, saying, “It all comes down to having mature guys that can handle going on the road and treating it like what it is, a business trip. We have to be loose when it comes to game time, but on the other hand we need to remember what the task ahead of us is.”

And with Rockwood being a bit of a drive for Bulldog fans, Lunsford had a short message for those still unsure about making the drive on Friday, “Come help us out, because we are gonna need your support.”

Friday’s playoff matchup between the Hampton Bulldogs and Rockwood Tigers will kick off at 7 p.m. at Rockwood High School.