The weather held off and it turned out to be a perfect night for football last Friday night in Carter County. Hampton and Elizabethton picked up big wins as we continue to march towards the playoffs. As we get ready to turn the page, we take a look at our thoughts on the night.

-Ethan Thomas is claiming his place as one of the most dynamic backs in East Tennessee history and rightfully so. Thomas set the Northeast Tennessee rushing record on Friday night as he neared 5,600 yards. Thomas finished the game against Happy Valley with 189 yards.

With Thomas leading the way, the Cyclones are one of the most dynamic teams in the area. In addition to the senior running back, Elizabethton can get an explosive play from quarterback Caleb Armstrong, running back Caleb Jones and wide receiver Markus Olds. With that kind of depth, Elizabethton is poised to make a run.

-Hampton’s Jerry Lunsford continues to be a great compliment to Coby Jones. The junior running back has shown no ill effects of last season’s knee injury, and has become a valuable weapon for the Bulldogs attack. In the absence of Adam McClain, Lunsford and Jones have carried the load along with the talented group of wide receivers.

We also have to give a shout out to the Hampton offensive line. The Bulldogs have controlled the line of scrimmage in every game this season, and they appear to be growing stronger as the season marches on. Senior Zach Guinn, Phillip Arrington, Lucas Holtsclaw and CJ Wilson have played key roles, and will continue to do so as playoffs approach.

-Happy Valley went through the gauntlet and it made them a better team. However, the bye week will be a welcomed relief as they turn their attention to Unicoi County. The resolve and effort of the Warriors has not went unnoticed and Larry Shivley’s team should be commended for not giving up. Phillip Garland, Josh Hammonds, Brayden Sams along with Austin Hicks have made strong presences so far for the Warriors.

-Unaka was unable to build off the momentum of their first win of the season, but Micah Hunt picked up where he left off against Hancock County. Hunt recorded 100 yards of rushing against the Vikings, and played a solid game. The young Rangers have had a season of adversity, but they are better off because of it. With games against South Greene, Tri-Cities Christian, North Greene and Cosby, the Rangers could get on a roll to make a push to the playoffs.

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