Hampton Jr. Bulldogs secure Little Watauga Conference title with thrilling victory

Published 12:46 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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By Tyler Scalf

Star Correspondent

In a thrilling showdown for the Little Watauga Conference Champions, the Hampton Jr. Bulldogs and Cloudland Jr. Highlanders delivered a heart-pounding game that had spectators on the edge of their seats. Taking place on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at Hampton High School, this game marked a fierce contest between two middle school teams, each with their own score to settle.

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The stage was set with the Hampton Jr. Bulldogs boasting victories in their previous two meetings with the Cloudland Jr. Highlanders this season. The Jr. Bulldogs remained undefeated, while the Jr. Highlanders’ only losses came at the hands of their rivals.

In a hard-fought match, the Hampton Jr. Bulldogs clinched the Little Watauga Conference title for the first time in 20 years, securing a 44-28 win over the Cloudland Jr. Highlanders.

The Jr. Highlanders won the coin toss and kicked off the game from the 50-yard line. They quickly took the lead when Gavin Shell scored a three-yard touchdown with 1:43 remaining in the first quarter. The two-point conversion attempt fell short, but the Jr. Highlanders claimed a 6-0 lead.

The Jr. Bulldogs promptly responded. On their first possession, Kaden Jones delivered a remarkable 58-yard touchdown run, putting them ahead 8-6 by the end of the first quarter. Jones also executed a two-point conversion on an end-around play, showcasing his dynamic skills.

The second quarter was equally eventful, with the Jr. Bulldogs extending their lead. Colby Clark intercepted a pass and dashed 75 yards to score, with a successful two-point conversion. Hampton led 16-6, leaving the Jr. Highlanders with some catching up to do.

It was a rollercoaster ride with back-to-back turnovers and recovered fumbles. Kaden Jones capitalized on an interception, running 31 yards for another touchdown with 3:14 left in the second quarter. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but the Jr. Bulldogs maintained their lead at 22-6.

Halftime came with the score reading 28-6 in favor of the Jr. Bulldogs, thanks to Kaden Jones. However, a holding call voided another long touchdown by Kaden Jones to close out the second quarter, and the score remained at 28-6.

The Jr. Highlanders, displaying remarkable resilience, rallied with Gavin Shell’s 90-yard touchdown run. Although the two-point conversion failed, the score moved to 28-12 at the end of the third quarter.

The game continued with both teams showcasing their strengths, but the Jr. Bulldogs, led by Kaden Jones, secured a convincing 44-28 victory, extending their undefeated streak.

Coach Brandon Jones of Hampton expressed his pride in his team’s perfect season, emphasizing the effort and heart they displayed. Coach Conner Birchfield of the Highlanders applauded both teams’ sportsmanship and shared that he wished he could change a few calls during the game. Nonetheless, the exciting and competitive match will be remembered as the Jr. Bulldogs achieved a monumental victory to secure the Little Watauga Conference title.