Bulldogs look to snap back against Huskies

By Jamie Combs

   "Haven't Got Time For The Pain." Carly Simon hit song in the 1970s, or reality for the Hampton Bulldog football team entering the second week of the season?
   Well, it's actually both.
   In Hampton's case the Bulldogs are shaking off the sting of a 42-14 season-opening loss at Cloudland while getting ready for Friday night's game at North Greene. The 'Dogs need a good performance and a victory heading into next week's Watauga Conference showdown with Happy Valley.
   "A dog's got run over worse than that one time, and he lived," Hampton head coach J.C. Campbell said about his team's showing against the Highlanders. "Maybe we will, too.
   "It's just amazing what a good practice will do for your outlook on a situation. We had a real good practice (Tuesday), and showed a little more spunk, a little more interest and a little more attention to what you're saying.
   "It went pretty well. It makes you feel a little bit better coming off of something like that."
   Hampton figures to feel even better if it knocks off North Greene, a club that occasionally gives the 'Dogs a close battle.
   The game will be the first of the year for the Huskies, who tied for fourth last season in Region 1-A.
   "We're ready to play," said North Greene head coach Tim Bailey. "I'm not sure if we're ready to play the likes of Hampton, but that's who we've got on the schedule, so we've got to play them.
   "I watched them play Cloudland, and the score is no indication of what kind of team Hampton has. They played a great Cloudland team again, and there's going to be a lot of scores like that when Cloudland is involved. I'm sure Hampton will be able to rebound and come in ready to get on the winning side."
   Paramount for the 'Dogs is eliminating the defensive shortcomings (poor tackling, little penetration) and field-position woes that killed off their chances in Roan Mountain.
   Campbell said that better play up front will go a long way toward helping the defense out. While defensive back Kevin Harrison was a bright spot versus the Highlanders, recording a team-high 11 tackles, it's generally not a good sign when a player from the secondary leads the way in stops.
   "Maybe we've got our line going a little bit forward," Campbell said. "What bugs me is we kept giving (Cloudland) good field position. You can't give them the ball on your 30 or 40-yard line and beat anybody who can play a lick."
   Offensively, fullback Jimmy Sarrett, quarterback Mitchell Morton and receiver Eric Swain offered glimpses of solid play in the Bulldog opener. Tailback Michael Peterson (14 carries, 43 yards) ran hard and well, but found few open spaces.
   Bailey feels like the Huskies have to keep their defense fresh in order to give themselves a shot at victory.
   "We've got to hold onto the football and have long, sustained drives whether we score or not," said Bailey, whose team committed seven turnovers in a 35-6 loss to Hampton last season. "We play a lot of people both ways, but if we can keep the offense out there the defense is more rested."
   The Huskies rely heavily on talented quarterback Dustin Collins, whose availability is a bit in doubt as he's nursing a strained MCL. Thomas Ormsbee is a solid threat at tailback, while Tyrone Miller brings a physical presence to the fullback position.
   Robert Moorman, Matthew Ormsbee and Allen Guinn are capable receivers.
   "They've been able to move the ball better the last four or five years," Campbell said of the Huskies. "They like to stretch you out and throw it, they like to run the option and they also like that wishbone power game."
   Standouts on the North Greene defense include linebackers Cody Parks and Miller.
   "We're a little more confident this year than we were last," Bailey said. "These kids have great attitudes. This is my 12th year, and I've enjoyed coaching this bunch maybe more than any in the past."
   Kickoff is set for 7:30.