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NET Preview: Hampton, North face key Region 1-2A battle

Douglas Fritz • Oct 4, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Sullivan North presents a couple of problems for Hampton in a key football game Friday night.

The Raiders like to play physical, and they can keep the opposing offense off the field.

“They are really hard to get off of the field,” said Hampton coach Michael Lunsford. “You have to maximize your possessions and get the most out of them.”

These teams will meet in a Region 1-2A contest in Kingsport. Kickoff is set for 7:30.

Here is a look at that game along with other area encounters.

CLASS 2A

HAMPTON (0-1, 3-2) at SULLIVAN NORTH (1-1, 4-2)

Lunsford said the battle starts in the trenches.

“They are always big up front,” he said. “They pound you and they are satisfied getting three or four yards a shot.”

That would present quite a problem if the Bulldogs play like they did last week against Johnson County in the early going.

“We got off to a slow start,” said Lunsford. “We punted the first three times we had the ball, but got some things fixed and scored 37 points in the second quarter. Against Sullivan North you might not get those opportunities. They might keep the ball the whole quarter. It’s important to come out of the gate kicking and not have a slow start.”

North had a rough couple of weeks after starting 3-0, but bounced back last week in a rout of Pigeon Forge. Coach Preston Patrick said Hampton executes very well.

“Their backs read blocks really well,” said Patrick. “If one person on your defense is out of position, they find the running lane, especially on the toss sweep. They don’t do a whole lot, but what they do they do it well.”

CLASS 5A

DANIEL BOONE (0-1, 1-4) at MORRISTOWN EAST (0-2, 0-5)

After four straight weeks of being big underdogs — when the Trailblazers faced teams with a combined record of 18-2 — Boone finally gets more of a 50-50 shot.

Early-game momentum could tell the story as each team will be looking for positives after recent struggles.

“It will be huge to get off to a good start and sustain momentum,” Boone coach Jeremy Jenkins said.

TENNESSEE HIGH (2-0, 4-1) at VOLUNTEER (0-2, 2-3)

An extra week to prepare should have the Falcons rested and ready, but this is a tough matchup.

The Vikings are on a roll with four straight wins while the Falcons have alternated wins and losses so far.

CHEROKEE (2-0, 5-1) at COCKE COUNTY (0-1, 1-4)

The Chiefs can’t linger on the memory of last week’s shutout loss as they are still in perfect position in league play.

Cocke County, which is coming off a bye, has struggled to stop opposing offenses over the last few weeks. So this is a good bounce-back opportunity for Cherokee.

CLASS 4A

UNION COUNTY (1-1, 3-3) at SULLIVAN SOUTH (2-0, 3-2)

After a shaky start, the Rebels have corrected course in time to still make a run at the league title.

They must take care of business against a Union County team that has been good when working on a level playing field. The Patriots’ three losses came against teams with a combined mark of 14-2.

GREENEVILLE (1-0, 4-1) at SULLIVAN CENTRAL (0-1, 1-4)

After a two-point loss to start the season, the Greene Devils have been their old selves.

Meanwhile, the Cougars are trying to distance themselves from the recent past with a better offense and being more competitive overall.

SULLIVAN EAST (0-2, 0-5) at GRAINGER (0-2, 2-3)

The Patriots’ season has been a tough pill to swallow so far with losses of 1, 3, 7, and 6 points.

This could be a chance to finish one off as the Grizzlies have managed only 12 points over their last three weeks.

ELIZABETHTON (5-0) at WILLIAM BLOUNT (2-4)

Having given up only 41 points in five games, the Cyclones could be tested by a Governors’ offense that rang up 51 points last week against Sevier County in a one-point overtime loss.

But the Cyclones heard that story last week against previously unbeaten Cherokee, and Elizabethton walked away with a 45-0 win.

Cyclones coach Shawn Witten said Blount has some good points.

“It is a well-coached team,” said Witten. “They use multiple formations and have a big offensive line.”

CLASS 3A

UNICOI COUNTY (2-0, 4-2) at CHUCKEY-DOAK (2-0, 3-3)

It’s hard to pinpoint a strong favorite in this battle.

The Black Knights lost to Happy Valley 14-6, while the Blue Devils whipped the Warriors 35-0. However, Chuckey-Doak played South Greene in a 38-33 game while Unicoi was whipped 28-7 by the Rebels.

“(The Black Knights) have some very talented kids,” said Unicoi coach Drew Rice. “They have an experienced quarterback and some athletic kids. They like to run sideline to sideline and really stretch the defense.”

Rice said Chuckey-Doak makes the opponent earn points.

“They don’t give up very many big plays, so you have to put drives together,” he said. “They are a good football team and we are going to have to play well.”

CLAIBORNE (0-2, 2-3) at JOHNSON COUNTY (1-1, 2-3)

If the Longhorns want to stay in the title hunt, this is a must-win game.

Claiborne has scored some points this season, but was blasted 65-14 by Unicoi County two weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Longhorns played four very close games before last week’s blowout loss to Hampton.

CLASS 1A

CLOUDLAND (1-0, 1-4) at UNAKA (0-2, 1-5)

With Scott Potter taking over as head coach this week, it will be interesting to see how it affects the Highlanders.

Cloudland has scored more than 60 points in each of the last three meetings between these Carter County rivals and totaled at least 45 in every matchup since Unaka’s last win in 2011.

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