Hampton drops season opener to Pigeon Forge
Published 12:28 pm Monday, August 21, 2023
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It wasn’t the start that Hampton head coach Michael Lunsford was hoping for to begin the 2023 season.
Lunsford’s Bulldogs fell to visiting Pigeon Forge by a score of 24-14 at JC Campbell Stadium despite putting up an eye-bulging 400 yards of total offense.
The game was tight in the early going as Pigeon Forge cracked the egg on the scoreboard first when Aiden Howard plowed through the Bulldog defense to stake the visitors to an early 8-0 advantage.
Hampton drew blood in the second quarter when senior ‘Dog quarterback Dylan Trivett called his own number for a touchdown and added the two-point conversion to bring the game dead even at 8-8.
A late score allowed the Tigers to regain the advantage heading into the halftime intermission leading 16-8.
The Tigers kept attacking coming out of the break to build a 24-8 lead before Trivett managed to add the final score of the night as Hampton fell to 0-1 on the season.
“Our biggest thing was that we didn’t tackle well,” said Lunsford about his team’s performance. “We had long drives but just didn’t capitalize on them by turning the football over. I am not taking anything away from Pigeon Forge because their big 220-pound running back ran the ball hard and was hard to tackle. Their quarterback also got out of the pocket and made some plays.”
Lunsford added that although there were some things corrected at halftime that the damage had already been done.
Hampton lost a keep part of its offense when standout receiver Chance Point went down with an injury.
“They thought that he might have broken his collar bone but the x-rays came back negative,” Lunsford said. “He has to go to the Orthopedic doctor to see about the ligaments in his shoulder. We will just have to wait and see what they say. It really hurt us from a receiving standpoint to lose Chance to the injury.”
Lunsford took the loss on himself personally.
“This loss falls on me,” said Lunsford. “I didn’t have the guys prepared good enough but that will change this week. We are going to get after it and practice harder this week so we can be ready for Johnson Co..”
In the game, Burleson finished with 17 carries for 106 yards while Geno Carrico added 51 yards on 10 carries and added two catches for 52 yards.
Trivett rushed nine times for 76 yards with two touchdowns. He was 6-of-7 passing in the game for 73 yards.