Keys to the Game

The air has a definite feel of fall as we head into Week 4. It is a lighter week in the county as Hampton and Elizabethton have Friday night off. However, Cloudland, Happy Valley and Unaka have work to do on the last Friday night before fall’s official arrival. We take a look at the keys to this weekend’s matchup.

Cloudland at Unaka: It is homecoming at Orr Field, and that means the Highlanders must deal with all the distractions that come with it. The state’s third-ranked team in Class A is coming off a big win against Johnson County, and need to continue to grow the momentum they have built up so far this season.

In addition to avoiding the distractions, Cloudland just needs to come on trucking. The ‘Landers are clicking on all cylinders, and if they continue to play as they have this season the offense will put up points while the defense will keep Unaka in check. However, history has shown that Unaka is a team that can’t be taken lightly.

For the Rangers, they must limit the chances the high-powered Cloudland offense gets on the field. Simply if the ‘Landers are on defense, the offense cannot put points on the board. Unaka must win the time of possession battle to have a chance, and if they don’t capitalize on the opportunities, it could be a long night.

Happy Valley at Johnson County: The Warriors had their first victory of the season snatched away in the final minute of the game last week. With that said, Happy Valley must take the fight that took them down the wire with the Bulldogs to Mountain City.

The Warrior rushing attack, led by senior Phillip Garland, continues to improve as the season goes along, and Happy Valley has been able to line up against some of the area’s best so far this season and that has made them better. Happy Valley must establish their offense early on Friday to have a great shot at picking up their first win of the season.