Happy Valley to take on surprising Buffs

By Wes Holtsclaw

   It will be a showdown in Mosheim.
   After losing their previous two contests, the Happy Valley Warriors will be making a trip to West Greene to face the Buffaloes. The only difference between this year and years' past is that these Buffaloes are 3-0.
   For perhaps the first time in their school's history, West Greene has begun its season unscathed, but this Friday night the Warriors are on the rebound with this big Watauga Conference match-up.
   "It means an awful lot," said Happy Valley coach Stan Ogg. "It's a conference game and we're looking for the win. We're still an upbeat team with two losses. We're definitely not happy with the losses, and we're looking to this game."
   The Happy Valley squad is coming off of a big game against the Elizabethton Cyclones, and even in defeat Coach Ogg saw some positives with his team.
   "We've still got some young people in places," he said. "Our front eight played well on defense. Elizabethton is a solid team with speed, and we felt good about that. Our defense has to be leaders.
   "I look at statistics, and we're not real happy with it. We came out giving big chunks of yardage, and we should be better than that.
   "Our turnover ratio was not too bad until the other night against them, we want to be able to take care of the ball. Anytime you have breakdowns in kicking and punting, it's hard to sew that up, doing things we've always done."
   The Warriors had a good stand from Cody Cannon this past week, but are looking to elevate the tailback status more in the upcoming weeks.
   "Last week we had a lot out of our fullback (Cannon)," Ogg said. "We have been more tailback oriented, especially against Unicoi County and Hampton. We've got to strive to get a mix in there."
   Coach Barry Carter's West Greene club features a strong mix of rushing and passing with a strong defensive secondary.
   Josh Dearinger leads the Watauga Conference in passing, and with a strong 8 of 17 for 134 yards against North Greene, it seems to be effective for the Buffaloes.
   He has thrown for nearly 350 yards thus far, and with a tailback like Bryan Sauceman, who has had stable numbers against their opponents this season, it could pose a challenge for Happy Valley.
   "West Greene throws the ball a lot," Ogg said. "They have a lot of true I-back formations, and scheme more to a wide-open game.
   "We're still searching, wanting to throw the ball some. Since Lamar is limited, we're bringing the young ones on to get them acclimated."
   One thing is for sure, the Warriors will have to be aware of a strong secondary led by Mike Franklin and Frankie Ottinger, both coming in with two interceptions apiece.
   Happy Valley will need a lot from its line in this contest to control the ground game and inflict pressure on the Buffalo backfield.
   "They're 3-0 and we're 1-2," Ogg said. "We know that and I'm sure they know that. They've got our full attention."
   The attention will be fully focused this Friday in Greene County.