Carter County clash as Cloudland visits Hampton

Published 8:33 am Tuesday, September 6, 2022

STAR CORRESPONDENT
For the second consecutive week the Cloudland Highlanders will take on a 2A powerhouse as they travel to J.C. Campbell Stadium to take on the number one ranked Hampton Bulldogs. It will be an uphill battle as the ‘Landers have not defeated the ‘Dogs since 2017-18 and endured 14 consecutive losses from 2004 to 2017.
“It will be tough,” Highlanders head coach Zac Benfield said. “Hampton is a great team and has been for a long time. They are disciplined and have good players and are well coached. They probably have a little more speed than last year. We are going to have to play with no turnovers and penalties. Hampton is a team that can beat you when you don’t make mistakes so we have to not hurt ourselves with penalties and turnovers.”
History is, of course, irrelevant as the game is played between the white lines and anyone can prevail if conditions fall their way. Conditions were not fortunate for Cloudland (1-2 overall) last week as Rockwood took a 36-6 victory at Orr Field despite 209 rushing yards from Gage McKinney.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Benfield said. “We would play good for a few plays and then play bad for a few plays. We had a lot of penalties and had some guys sick and some with injuries, but Rockwood has a good team and I’m not taking anything away from them. We didn’t play well.”
Hampton comes into the contest 3-0 overall and with a number one state ranking in 2A classification after taking a 36-27 win at Avery County (NC). Levi Lunsford rushed for 170 yards with Jonathan Greenwell good for 107 ground yards.
The ‘Dogs cannot afford to look past Cloudland as consecutive conference matches follow this one. The ‘Dogs will take on Happy Valley then travel to South Greene and then a road game with Gatlinburg-Pittman before finishing the conference slate with Cumberland Gap.
For Cloudland the next few weeks will see them travel to Cosby for a conference showdown and then Mosheim for a battle with West Greene before a home contest with Unicoi County.
“For a team to play well on Friday night, they have to play well in practice on Monday through Thursday,” Benfield said. “It’s not like we are going through the motions Monday through Thursday but you have to practice with the same intensity that you want to have on Friday night.”
Game time is 7:30 pm.

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