Warriors to face traditional rival Longhorns

Published 12:25 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2022

STAR CORRESPONDENT
Both Happy Valley and Johnson County snapped five game losing streaks last week and will look to continue winning ways as they clash on Friday night in Mountain City. The Warriors got a pair of touchdowns from junior RB Joseph Sowards and senior quarterback Reagan Ensor last week as they trimmed Cumberland Gap 35-32 in a conference contest.
Johnson County (1-5 overall) comes off a big 22-21 conference win over Claiborne County in which the Longhorns scored all 22 points in the second half, including 14 fourth-quarter points to complete the comeback win.
“Any time Happy Valley and Johnson County face each other it is going to be a competitive game,” Warriors head coach Jason Jarrett said. “They are fast and athletic and we will have to avoid turnovers. That has been our Achillies Heel this season and we need to avoid those.”
Happy Valley (2-5 overall) opened the season with a big 22-14 victory over Cloudland, then seemed to fall off a cliff with five consecutive losses but had offensive success against the Panthers, which included a kick return for a score by Jamie Esterline.
“We have been working extra hard on special teams and it paid off last week,” Jarrett said. “We were able to tap into our special teams and that has been a point of emphasis. We have had a hard time overcoming adversity this season but last week, we showed a lot of maturity. We are getting some kids back and our focus is going to be trying to finish strong.”
Longhorn quarterback Connor Simcox had a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to cut the Panthers lead to 21-14 and freshman RB Juan Mejia rushed for a touchdown and added the two-point conversion to complete the comeback win.
Snapping their losing streak was big for Happy Valley as the Warriors didn’t falter when Cumberland Gap rallied to close to within a touchdown and instead they remained focused and closed the game out with a touchdown run from Ensor and the two-point pass to Esterline.
The Warriors had a visit to Carson-Newman University this week and Jarrett believes the visit may help the team adjust its mindset.
“It was a breath of fresh air,” Jarrett said. “The kids had a good time looking over the campus and stadium and meeting with the players. We had a good lunch in the team’s cafeteria and it was a good overall experience and we want to use the momentum from last week to propel us forward.”
Game time is set for 7:30 pm.

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