Tuesday night is an important night for the Watauga Valley race with one of the top rivalries in the area when Cloudland makes the trip to Hampton.

Other important games on the docket include Unaka’s trip to South Greene in the Watauga Valley. Three River Conference battles include Elizabethton hosting Sullivan North and Johnson County at Happy Valley.

In Hampton, two old rivals will get together for the second time in just over a week and a half. We have some outstanding rivalries in the county. However, there is only one Cloudland-Hampton.

The gridiron matchup is known across the Tri-Cities and Tennessee, but the basketball court matchups are becoming just as hotly contested. The series is special for a variety of reasons – the proximety of the schools, the fact some families have members on each side.

After a pair of close games in Sonny Smith Gymnasium, Tuesday’s clashes will have an impact on the race for district tournament seeding. In both the boys and girls tournament, it will be important to finish in the top two to get an automatic bye into the region tournament. Wins on Tuesday night will go a long way in helping achieve that goal.

On Rebel Hill, the Rangers look to get back in the fray of the conference race for the boys, while the girls’ squad is in the midst of a tightly race. State ranked South Greene has a game lead over the Lady ‘Landers and Lady Rangers – who are both a game ahead of North Greene and Hampton.

In the Three Rivers, the Cyclones will look to inch closer to the top of the district against a struggling North squad, while the Lady Cyclones look to stay in command of the conference race. On Warrior Hill, Happy Valley looks to also move into contention on both sides of the ball.

Simply, it should be a fun night of basketball across the county.

On another note, Monday’s reports of Mike Lunsford going to Cloudland surprised even our staff with the timing. Our staff has been on top of the Cloudland position since it became open, but decided we would let the story play out officially before reporting.

With the story – in some places incorrectly – breaking on Monday, we decided we needed to publish with what we know is true as a special circumstance. We want to stress that nothing is official with either position as of Tuesday morning, and that you can keep checking back for more news.

However, we want to apologize to Coach Lunsford as well as both Cloudland and Hampton football teams because he wasn’t able to tell either team first when it becomes official. Our stance has always been that teams should hear coaching changes and the like from the people they look up to – their coaches.

Coach Lunsford’s record speaks for itself, and we feel he should have had the right to tell both teams the news himself. Likewise, both programs are full of outstanding young men that deserved to hear the news from the coach and administration.

We will let them have that chance when the move is official.