Cloudland heavily favored vs. Cosby

By Travis Brown
STAR STAFF
tbrown@starhq.com

   Following up a hard-fought victory is often a tough task. However this week's opponent for the Cloudland Highlanders is none other than the struggling Eagles of Cosby.
   The two teams square off tonight in a Region 1-A game at Orr Field.
   Last week's stellar victory over 4-A Cherokee has the 'Landers (1-0, 4-0) stoked, and looking forward to the rest of a fine season. With one more hurdle out of the way, the 'Landers are taking it one week at a time.
   The hurdle tonight will not be very high though as the Eagles (0-1, 1-3) have had trouble winning football games. The task will be even tougher this week, as they square off against the Highlander juggernaut.
   Although his controversial ejection last week will prevent him from being on the sidelines, Cloudland skipper Mike Lunsford is hoping his team will continue to improve despite facing the outmanned Eagles.
   "We had a really hard scrimmage early this week first and second team intrasquad," Lunsford said. "We've had some physical practices this week, and I think the kids are focused."
   That kind of optimism has carried the 'Landers to new heights this season, and this Friday looks to be yet another stepping stone on a familiar path towards the playoffs.
   The No. 1 ranking from the Tennessee Associated Press has carried with it new responsibilities, and the young men on Roan Mountain have responded with enthusiasm.
   "These kids want to play like the number one rated school in the state," said Lunsford. "This is a pretty level-headed bunch of kids, and they are trying to step up to that level."
   Lunsford summed up this week's contest. "This Friday, we play Cosby," said Lunsford. "We have to focus on our opponent -- that No. 1 ranking doesn't mean anything."
   The main priority this week will be to maintain a healthy roster of troops as off the field injuries have the 'Landers a bit banged up.
   Recent developments off the playing surface have created another cause for concern in Roan Mountain, as quarterback Mark Byrd's playing status will be a gametime decision verses the Eagles.
   During this week of practice Byrd complained of stomach pain, as of press time the official word remains unclear, but a preliminary doctor visit has diagnosed the problem as a cyst.
   Should Byrd not be in the lineup, the 'Landers will have plenty of firepower left to handle Cosby. With backfield talent to spare, the 'Landers can afford to give Byrd the rest.
   The game marks the second conference matchup for the Highlanders this season. Kickoff will be at 7:30.