Bulldogs to host Longhorns in renewal of rivalry

Published 1:17 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2022

STAR CORRESPONDENT
A long standing, storied rivalry was interrupted in 2021 by COVID concerns will be renewed on Friday night when the Johnson County Longhorns visit J.C. Campbell Stadium for a clash with the Hampton Bulldogs.
“This is a long standing rivalry,” Bulldogs head coach Michael Lunsford said. “They have a big team – maybe bigger than we are – and their quarterback is a big kid, athletic with a big arm. He makes all the throws and we will have to play at a high level to win.”
The ‘Dogs graduated 12 players from their 2021 state final team including a good many from the front line like Collin Morgan, McKinley Kuhn and Zack Beam but Lunsford said he is pleased with his line saying, “We felt like we moved the ball well on the ground against Pigeon Forge and the line held it’s own. Geno Carrico blocked well from his tight end position and Levi was able to average five yards a carry. They are learning a lot and they all work their butts off.”
Levi Lunsford rushed for 132 yards and a score and junior quarterback Dylan Trivett passed for 50 aerial yards and he rushed for a touchdown as well as Hampton knocked off Pigeon Forge 20-16 in their road opener.
The rivalry has seen Hampton get the better of it the last five seasons winning four of the last five games played between the two since 2016 including 44-8 in 2019 and 33-0 in 2020, but Lunsford warned that the rivalry is “Pretty even. It’s a highly competitive rivalry that both teams want to win.”
Johnson County fell on hard times last season with a 2-8 record that included a 1-0 forfeit to Alcoa in the TSSAA playoffs as COVID struck the team a second time. The Longhorns were also the victim of Happy Valley’s lone victory of 2021 by a 24-6 tally as the offense struggled down the stretch. The ‘Horns finished with a five game losing streak to end a disappointing season.
Junior Connor Simcox is the quarterback and he has a group of junior hideouts like Brenton Black, Evan Dollar and James Potter and another junior TE in Hank Sauer.
“They won’t run him (Simcox) a lot,” Lunsford said. “They throw a lot of screens but if he should get loose and run he is hard to tackle. He is experienced and smart.”
For Hampton, Jonathon Greenwell, Chance Point and Ty McElyea will be players Trivett will look for in the passing game with Lunsford and fullback Grayson Young doing the heavy lifting in the run game.
Game time is set for 7:30 pm.

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