The first Best of Carter County Sports category set the trend for close votes. Narrowly edging out Hampton basketball and Elizabethton football, the 2014 Best of Carter County Sports Male Team of the Year is the Cloudland football team.
The ‘Landers started the season 9-0 before falling in the season finale to Hampton in a thriller, and then was unable to rally late as they fell in the playoff second round to Midway.
Cloudland, in just their second season under Head Coach Brock Pittman, was just two years removed from a 1-9 season before Pittman took over the helm. The ‘Landers were paced by sophomore duo Austin Whitehead and Colby Birchfield, while ETSU signee Asley Haynes anchored the line. Senior Mason Carnett was a tackling machine for the ‘Landers to pace the defense. Zac Benfield, Nick Johnson and Matt Houston also played critical roles during the season.
After outlasting Avery 12-6 in the season opener, the ‘Landers forced a turnover in the final seconds at Happy Valley to eek out a 21-18 win, and then reeled off wins at Cosby, Johnson County and Unaka. Cloudland celebrated homecoming with a 40-0 win over Tri-Cities Christian and then recorded their second straight 40-0 victory with a win over North Greene.
Cloudland escaped Rebel Hill in a thrilling 25-14 win over South Greene, and then picked up their ninth win of the season with a 52-12 rout over Hancock in sub-freezing weather.
However, the ‘Landers were not able to overcome late turnovers against Hampton or Midway as the two losses ended the season.
Check back tomorrow for more results from the Best of Carter County Sports!
Male Team of the Year: Cloudland Football