Highlanders looking to knock the Devil out of Jellico
Published 9:43 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023
When the Jellico Blue Devils invade Orr Field Friday night, the Highlanders of Cloudland will be looking to bring the pop in hopes of driving the Devils completely out of the Region 1 1-A top spot and claiming it for themselves.
After dropping back-to-back games against non-conference opponents Johnson Co. and Hampton, the Highlanders got the ship uprighted once again on Friday night when they dealt the Huskies of North Greene a 46-8 defeat to stay unbeaten in the region.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils come into Friday’s contest with an unblemished Region 1 – 1A record of 3-0 and there has not been a more critical game for the homestanding ‘Landers than Friday night if they want to keep in the driver’s seat for a region title.
“Jellico is a really good team,” said Highlander coach Zac Benfield. “We will have to play with the whole package and focus a lot to beat them. They have more of a balanced running attack than they do passing.”
Benfield knows that for his team to have a shot at victory, they will have to stop senior ace running back Kozson (Tray) Jefferson, who on the season, has carried the football 94 times for 553 yards and three scores. He has 624 all-purpose yards on the season.
“Jefferson is a really good player and he is a hybrid brand of athlete,” said Benfield. “The key for us to win the game is to win at the line of scrimmage by taking up a lot of space and on offense, we have to execute well.”
Leading the way for the Highlanders offensively will be Kyle Birchfield who is coming off a 34 carry, 242 yard performance against North Greene with five touchdowns. Birchfield had almost half the yards in one game that Jefferson has had on the season.
Benfield will also be looking for Cam Peppers, Jacob Stinnett, and Auston Caraway to have repeat performances like they did in leading the Highlanders over the Huskies. The coach knows that it is going to take a complete game effort from everyone for the Highlanders to stay in the hunt for a regional championship.
“We just have to do the things that we do all the time and do them well to have success against Jellico,” said Benfield.