The ride back around Watauga Lake was a sweet one for Hampton on Friday.

The Bulldogs found a way to hold off Johnson County for a 20-19 hard fought win at Paul McEwen Stadium on Friday.

The Longhorns never lived up to their No. 7 ranking in the AP’s Class 3A poll that was released this week and Hampton’s play was a total turnaround from what it was in their 28-6 loss to Trinity Academy last week.


Johnson County shot themselves in the foot early and often that started on their first drive.

A bad snap over the quarterback’s head went for minus 27 yards in addition to a pair of penalties that occurred after they had moved the ball past midfield.

The Bulldogs got on the board first on an 11-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Alex Hardin to Matt Hughes. Michael Harrison kicked the extra point giving them a 7-0 lead.

Hampton took advantage of a Johnson County miscue on the ensuing kickoff that set up their second score. Harrison recovered Zack Eller’s fumble that set up Lane Potter’s 1-yard plunge on the final play of the first quarter.

Hampton led 14-0 after one.

Johnson County’s lone score in the first half came on an 11-yard run by Nathan Lane but their two-point conversion attempt failed leaving them trailing 14-6.

The Bulldogs were within two yards of getting another score but Hardin was sacked by Jared Kimble on the final play of the first half that kept them in the lead by eight.

Johnson County’s second touchdown came early in the third quarter. Troy Arnold hit Zack Eller with a 26-yard touchdown pass to pull them within two at 14-12 after another missed two-point conversion.

The Longhorns grabbed their first lead of the game with 6:31 remaining in the fourth quarter. Lane hauled in a 53-yard touchdown pass from Arnold giving them a 19-14 advantage after the extra point. But the Dogs would answer with a big play of their own.

Hardin hooked up with Isaiah Greenwell for a 50-yard pass that got them down to the 15. Hardin scored on a 5-yard run to push them back in front 20-19 with 5:01 remaining.

The Longhorns got the ball back and moved down past midfield to the 35 but watched four straight passes fall incomplete allowing the Dogs to escape with the victory.

Potter ended the night with 111 yards rushing on 22 carries. Hardin completed 4-5 passes for 80 yards and a score.

The Bulldogs outrushed Johnson County 173-35. Two bad snaps for center netted minus 37 yards for the Longhorns.

Johnson County’s Tyler Norris amassed 20 tackles in the contest. Lane added 11 stops, had 55 yards rushing on seven carries in addition to his 53-yard TD reception.

The Bulldogs are now 1-1 and will host Happy Valley at J.C. Stadium on
Friday. Johnson County will be at home versus Chuckey-Doak on
Thursday.