It was a great night for football on Friday night. With that said, it is time for us to look at some of the things we liked and learned from Week Three in Carter County.
The effort from Happy Valley. At the end of the night, it will go down as a loss, but the Warriors were just seconds away from picking up their first win of the season. Happy Valley played with heart and desire, and nearly upset the number nine team in the Class AA AP poll Hampton. With Phillip Garland, Josh Hammonds and Brayden Sams, the Warriors are going to win their share of the games the rest of the season, especially after going through the scheduling gauntlet in the first four weeks of the season. Happy Valley’s coaches and players have to be encouraged with the effort and fight they showed in Hampton, and encouraged as we head towards the heart of the season.
The resolve of Hampton. The Bulldogs are dinged up, but that didn’t matter to them. They battled back behind the play of Coby Jones, Jerry Lunsford and Dylen Ford, and got the job done when the game was on the line. The Bulldogs continue to improve each week, and Coach Mike Lunsford’s squad is going to be a team to beat as the playoffs roll around, especially when Adam McClain returns in a few weeks.
The fast start of Elizabethton. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, the Cyclones jumped out to a two-touchdown lead over David Crockett. The offense led by Ethan Thomas and Caleb Armstrong is coming alive, and continue to prove they are the team to beat in the Three Rivers Conference. Not to be overlooked, the Elizabethton defense has also made a name for itself.
Cloudland’s offense continues to roll. Much like Elizabethton, the Highlanders jumped out to an early lead that proved to be difference. The added passing game makes Cloudland one of the toughest teams in the area to stop when you look at athletes like Austin Whitehead, Colby Birchfield, Zac Benfield and Noah Arnett. If you focus on one aspect of the offense, the other will move the ball. The offensive line is also coming alive as they held back a strong Longhorns defensive line. In fact, the win over Johnson County is a big win for Head Coach Brock Pittman’s program, and even more so then last year’s win in Mountain City.
Carter County’s reputation in the AP polls. With Cloudland jumping to third in Class A and Hampton ranking ninth in Class AA, Carter County is being well represented. In a strong 4A this year, Elizabethton may have some work to get ranked, but they will earn that ranking at the rate they are going.