Warriors face tough challenge at Hampton

Published 9:47 am Tuesday, September 13, 2022

STAR CORRESPONDENT
The 2022 season opened well for Happy Valley with a 22-14 victory over Cloudland. From there things have not worked out so well as the Warriors have dropped three in a row including a 41-6 loss to Unicoi County despite 160 rushing yards from Joseph Sowards.
Happy Valley (1-3 overall, 0-1 conference) will visit J.C. Campbell Stadium on Friday night for a conference clash with number one ranked Hampton.
“They will be disciplined and I see a team that does a lot of things well,” Bulldogs head coach Michael Lunsford said of his team’s opponent. “I know the scores haven’t really showed it, but they were in the ballgame for three quarters against South Greene. It was just 13-0 and they had the ball going in to score. I think they are a better team than the record shows.”
The Warriors fell to South Greene in its conference opener by a 34-0 tally on Warrior Hill, but it was a late collapse that saw the contest get away from Happy Valley in the fourth quarter. In that contest, Sowards rushed for 46 yards and senior quarterback Reagan Ensor completed 8-of-17 passes for 68 yards.
Hampton (4-0 overall) comes off a 38-6 win over the Highlanders in a game where junior quarterback Dylan Trivett showed his toughness and grit with 103 rushing yards on 13 carries.
“More than anything is he is getting reps,” Lunsford said. “That was the first game he started and played the entire game. He ran physical and hard. The passing part will come as he gets more and more reps. We just want to get him into the flow.”
Senior tailback Levi Lunsford rushed for 101 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns as well as scoring a pair of two-point runs. The defense also scored when Jonathan Greenwell picked off Cloudland quarterback Camden Peppers and raced 30 yards for the score.
“We have high hopes for kids like Johnny,” Lunsford said. “He is a weapon we can use at a lot of different spots.”
So far this season the Bulldogs have averaged 34.5 points per game offensively while surrendering just 12.25 points a game defensively while the Warriors offense has struggled to an average of 8.75 points a game on offense and 34.5 points per game defensively.
In the Warriors opening game, Ensor passed for 73 yards on 7-of-8 completions including a 39-yard touchdown strike to Cole Deakins and HV will need a similar effort to stay with the high scoring ‘Dogs. The Warriors will also have to control the ball on the ground and will need Sowards to duplicate his rushing effort against the Blue Devils in order to benefit their defense.
Game time is 7:30 pm.

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