‘Landers look to wrap up district 1A

Published 11:46 am Tuesday, October 25, 2022

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With a win on Friday night at Orr Field against North Greene, the Cloudland Highlanders can wrap up the District 1A title and the number one seed in the TSSAA playoffs. The Huskies (1-8 overall, 1-2 conference) have lost five in a row after a 32-28 September win over Jellico while the ‘Landers (4-5 overall, 3-0 conference) have revived their season with two consecutive wins.
“North Greene has some good athletes,” said ‘Landers head coach Zac Benfield, “They have length and their running back is fast, instinctive and elusive. North Greene is good at pulling their linemen in the run game. We’ll have to play at a high level and avoid mistakes.”
North Greene quarterback Grayson Collins can call upon sophomore tailback Yeshua Vaught in the ground game. Vaught averages 104 yards per game on the ground with eight touchdowns and while Collins completes just 30.6 percent of his passes he has thrown for five scores and has rushed for five touchdowns.
For Cloudland, senior RB Gage McKinney can eclipse the 2,000-yard mark with 150 yards after a 401-yard rushing effort in the ‘Landers 54-44 victory over Johnson County. In that contest, McKinney scored five rushing touchdowns and threw for another from the Wildcat set.
“These kids are beginning to learn and understand that they can change the trajectory of the Cloudland program,” Benfield said. “We have planted the seed and it is up to us to let it come to fruition going forward. We have to be selfless and avoid mistakes. I am talking about this game and beyond this game.”
The ‘Landers have incorporated the Wildcat offense in their scheme and McKinney is the key and he understands his role in the system which gives him a two-way option of running or passing from the set.
“I am very comfortable in the offense,” McKinney said after the win over the Longhorns. “It gives me the option of running or throwing if someone is open and the guys up front do a great job of blocking.”
The Huskies have surrendered a lot of points defensively averaging giving up 48.3 points per game which includes a 76-7 contest with Chuckey-Doak last week and that bodes well for the ‘Landers who averages 23.5 points per game but has scored 92 points in their last two games as the offense has kicked into high gear.
Game time is 7:30 pm.

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