Bulldogs pull past Cloudland



It was a classic rivalry clash on Friday night at Orr Field.

Hampton used the big play and then held on to take a 42-38 victory over Cloudland in non conference action.

The win sets the stage for a crucial county clash next Friday night as Hampton and Happy Valley will face off in a battle of unbeaten teams in Region 1-2A. Cloudland falls to 2-3 on the year.

Hampton started the game quickly as Hunter Davenport finished a three-play drive with a 20-yard touchdown run on the game’s opening possession. The conversion was unsuccessful.

Defenses took over the remainder of the opening quarter as the teams traded punts and Hampton maintained a 6-0 lead after a quarter of play.

Preston Benfield ended the first Hampton drive with an interception, but the ‘Landers were stopped on fourth down. The Bulldogs fumbled on the next drive which set up a Benfield pass to Tristen Lacy for a 17-yard touchdown with 39.7 seconds remaining in the half.

Hampton wasn’t done in the second quarter. Davenport took the kickoff and raced 72 yards for the score to give HHS a 12-6 advantage at the half.

The Cloudland offense methodically controlled the ball most of the third quarter.

Noah Arnett capped off the first drive with a nine-yard touchdown run and then added the conversion to give CHS a 14-12 lead. The ‘Landers recovered the ensuing onside kick, but was unable to capitalize.

After Hampton forced a punt, McClain raced 65 yards on the first offensive play to push the Bulldogs back into the lead. The Hampton defense recovered a fumble to set up another big play as Davenport scored on the first offensive play with a 50-yard touchdown run.

Hampton led 26-14 after three quarters of play.

The fourth quarter saw McClain push the lead to 20 points in the opening seconds. Arnett struck again for Cloudland with a one-yard score, but McClain answered with a 33-yard touchdown run.

The ‘Landers, however, weren’t going down without a fight.

Josh Blair scored on a  five-yard run to pull Cloudland within 12 points. After CHS recovered the next onside kick, Blair scored on a one-yard run with nine seconds remaining as Cloudland closed the gap to four points.

The ensuing onside kick attempt was unsuccessful as Hampton secured the win.

McClain finished with 200 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns, while Davenport had 115 yards on 10 carries. Arnett had 33 carries for Cloudland for 177 yards. Benfield went 6-of-9 passing for 103 yards.

As a team, Cloudland outgained Hampton 349-344 and held a 33:49 to 14:12 time of possession edge.

The game marked the first time that father went against son as Mike and Michael Lunsford coached against each other.

“Before the game, it was really tough,” Mike Lunsford said. “I couldn’t look at him without crying. I love him so much. I’m very proud of him. Once that game started, it was Hampton versus Cloudland. It was just a football game and I know he felt the same way. He’s done a great job at Hampton and I knew that program would be well taken care of. We’ll get this one going, I’ll do a better job.”

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