Jr. Bulldogs turn back Cloudland

By Wes Holtsclaw
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   The Hampton Junior High football team did a good job of bouncing back Thursday night at J.C. Campbell Stadium.
   Despite two comeback shots from Cloudland, the Bulldogs rallied after a missed onside kick with a late score from D.J. Oliver to oust the Junior Highlanders 22-12.
   "It was our first game and we took on the hardest hitters in the league," said Hampton coach Kelly Oliver. "I'm pleased with the win, but we've got a lot of work to do. Cloudland did a heck of a job without (Michael) Lunsford.
   "If he were playing, they would be hard to handle, but Robbie Turbyfill does a great job. We had three different people score, which is a good job. Jared Oliver just came out this week and did a heck of a job. Dustin Jaynes and D.J. Oliver are the nucleus of the team, and the line did good going against Cloudland.
   Hampton rallied with opening scores in both halves of play, but Cloudland came right back behind a sharp passing attack. Two missed conversion opportunities with the missed onside kick hurt Cloudland late, but Coach Robbie Turbyfill was proud of their effort.
   "We played hard, but we've still gotta improve the best that we can," said Turbyfill. "Logan Buck was out there at quarterback doing the best he could do, but we're still hurting a little. You have to tip your hats to Kelly Oliver and Hampton, (Dustin) Jaynes is a heck of a back."
   "Happy Valley beat Johnson County today so we're still in the hunt. We're improving every game. Jared Kodak did great; we gotta work on our blocking and corners. I'm proud of the line tonight."
   Both teams swapped a possession a piece in the first quarter before the scoring stampede began. After a Cloudland punt, Dustin Jaynes took a first-down run 49 yards across the Doe River Gorge, but a missed conversion kept Hampton at bay with a 6-0 lead.
   Jared Kodak followed that with a 27-yard return for Cloudland, and with some good runs from Josh Harrison and Rodney Hill set up a big play. Harrison took a pitch from Buck and tossed it to Kodak for a nice 47-yard gain.
   Two plays later, Harrison took a nine yard run into the hole with a nice comeback score from the Junior Highlanders. A missed conversion kept the game even going into the second half.
   Hampton bounced back in the second with a passing game, when Jonathan Lyons hit Josh Cole with a nice 30-yard gain to set up a nice 11-yard scamper from Jared Oliver for another Junior Bulldog score.
   Oliver followed the run up with a two-point conversion giving Hampton the 14-6 lead. Both teams battled throughout the remainder of the quarter, but Cloudland struck hard in the fourth.
   After some good plays from Kodak and Harrison, the Junior 'Landers used the pass game again with another halfback strike. This time it was for six points with a 12-yard skip into the south end of the stadium.
   A missed conversion hurt Cloudland as Hampton regained a two-point lead with three minutes to go in the game. A blooper tap to the football by the Cloudland kicker gave Hampton field position on the opposing forty.
   Dustin Jaynes, Adam Townsend, and D.J. Oliver switched it up before Oliver smashed into the end zone with a three-yard strike, giving Hampton the 20-12 lead.
   A fumble on the conversion attempt almost gave Cloudland another chance at redemption, but the ball was recovered in the end zone by a Hampton lineman to take the 22-12 charge, and the game would stay there.
   Cloudland's Harrison led the game with 147 total yards of offense (88 yards on the ground and 59 yards in the air), with two scores. Jared Kodak contributed 77 total yards and a score to the 'Lander cause.
   Hampton's Dustin Jaynes picked up 88 yards and a score, D.J. Oliver ran 33 yards with his score, and Jared Oliver scampered for 49 yards on his two carries and a score.
   Hampton plays Happy Valley (away on Tuesday) and Johnson County (home on Thursday) next week, while Cloudland entertains Unaka on Thursday.