Teams show stuff in Little Watauga Jamboree


STAR Correspondent

  Every kid wishes that they would get to play football in the rain. Thursday night at Happy Valley they got their dream.
  Happy Valley and Johnson County took the opening quarter, with some good defenses coming out from both teams. Johnson County's big guns up-front was able to give them good field position. Travis Grindstaff blasted through the hole for a twelve-yard touchdown on an opening drive to give the 'Horns a 6-0 advantage.
  Later on, the defense played its part. The 'Horns and Warriors each traded possesions with fumbles, then Johnson County ended the quarter with an interception.
  "Johnson County is loaded this year, and at the same time I believe we were a little nervous," rookie head coach Josh Wandell said about his young Warriors.
  The second stanza saw two young teams, who both look to regroup. Matt Wilson's Rangers and Jon Julian's 'Landers went against each other, who both would like to rebuild this season after succeeding last year.
  On the opening drive, Cloudland forced the ball in good territory, but was stopped by the Unaka D-line to force a loose ball. Unaka's offense later went rolling. Dustin Carden led the group with a fifteen-yard quarterback keeper and again later on an eleven-yard pickup. Two plays later, Carden saw the endzone with a forty-yard blast for six. Carden later went to the air to find Kelly Rapert for the PAT to give the Rangers a 8-0 slide.
  Randall Johnson took control of the 'Lander offense with some junky jukes to set the 'Landers in good position.
  Unaka's defense wouldn't quit. The Rangers swarmed the 'Landers' offense to cough up the football and to reset the chains. Unaka ended the contest, with a couple of runs from Carden to finalize the period.
  "I was pleased with our effort, but we still made some mistakes," Wilson said. " I think we will improve, but overall I am proud."
  "We're young, we're still learning," Julian said. "We have got to learn how to handle the ball better. I think we just have got to learn more."
  The Halftime Show featured a little bit of speed, a long throw, and some special teams. Nick Sluter of Cloudland proved to everybody that he was the fastest back out of the group. Hampton's Dustin Roberson arm gave him bragging rights in the passing contest. The punting and kicking went Josh Produmme of Johnson County.
  The third quarter of the day featured a monsoon. Johnson County and Hampton took the field a little wet and left drenched. Johnson County's line paved the offense in that stanza to set-up a touchdown and a PAT for the 'Horns. Hampton had some offense going at times, but the rain was the defense in that period to force a fumble for the 'Dogs.
  Johnson County coach Delsa Noba, had nothing but good things to say about his squad.
  "I'm tickled to death about my kids tonight," he said. "They played great on both sides of the ball."
  The fourth and final period was between the host Happy Valley and the 'Dogs. Just like in the third quarter, the rain played a big part in this one.
  Garrett Dykes sprinted twenty yards late in the contest to give his team a 6-0 edge. Willie McVey answered on the PAT with a dive up the middle to increase the lead to eight.
  "The second game, we came out a lot better," Wandell said. "I believe going up against Johnson County first kinda gave us small scare."
  Brett Price and Logun Shell gave Hampton some good runs in the frame, to promise the 'Dogs some good things in the future.
  "For some of these guys tonight, this was the first time that they have made contact," 'Dogs coach Kelly Oliver said. "We are open next week and I believe the main thing we have to focus on is the line."
  Happy Valley will travel to Unaka next Thursday to open up the season while Johnson County and Cloudland will suit up against each other.