There are only three games on the Carter County docket this Friday night, but each game is big for the teams involved. We take our weekly look at the keys to the game.
Cloudland vs. Johnson County– This could be the most interesting matchup on the docket. The ‘Landers are 3-0 and ranked third in the Class A AP poll, while the 4A Longhorns are much improved with a 1-1 record with the one loss being to a solid Tennessee High squad.
For Cloudland, this game will be won in the trenches. Johnson County is a physical team, and certainly remembers last year’s game in Mountain City. The Cloudland offense has proved it is one of the most potent in the state, and that all starts up front. The ‘Landers will be looking to get Austin Whitehead and Colby Birchfield running early, and can loosen the Johnson County defense by spreading the ball to Zac Benfield and Noah Arnett. However, if the ‘Landers aren’t able to get traction up front it could be a challenge to keep up the offensive pace.
Elizabethton vs. David Crockett– It is homecoming in Elizabethton, and the 2-1 Cyclones host a surprising 2-1 David Crockett squad. In fact, both squads fell to Science Hill on back-to-back weeks.
For the Cyclones, they must avoid the slow start that plagued them against Science Hill and shake off the homecoming jitters. Elizabethton has weapons all over the field – we don’t have to tell you about Applebee’s Player of the Week Ethan Thomas and Caleb Armstrong – and this game will be the perfect time to showcase the weapons.
Happy Valley vs. Hampton– The only matchup showcasing two county schools this week also features teams in different places. The Bulldogs are 2-1 and ranked ninth in the Class 2A poll, while the Warriors are still looking for their first win after a brutal opening schedule.
Hampton is a team that isn’t the healthiest, but it hasn’t slowed them down. With Coby Jones and Jerry Lunsford in the backfield, the Bulldogs offense has been clicking with the exception of their loss to Onieda. Hampton will have to control the line of the scrimmage and spread the ball around to counter the Happy Valley defense.
For the Warriors, this is a big game to get in the win column. Happy Valley must establish the run game so that Phillip Garland, Josh Hammonds and Austin Hicks can do what they do best – run the football. The Warriors line has been tested in every game this season, and they hope that challenge pays off against the Bulldogs.