Warriors hang on for 7-6 win

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   MOUNTAIN CITY--The Happy Valley Warriors and the Johnson County Longhorns came into Friday night's contest very evenly matched. They were so evenly matched that the game was decided by one yard.
   A stop by the Happy Valley defense on a Johnson County two-point conversion attempt preserved a 7-6 Warrior win on homecoming night for the Longhorns.
   After Jonah Dunn bulldozed his way into the end zone from the one for the Longhorns to cut the Happy Valley advantage to 7-6 in the final seconds, Johnson County decided to go for two.
   On the two-point conversion attempt, Dunn was stopped at the one by Michael Everhardt.
   "He told us to just huddle up tight, and make sure the quarterback didn't sneak it," Everhardt said. "I was just there."
   Everhardt knew somebody had to make a big play for the Warriors after giving up the touchdown, and he was more than happy to make it.
   "The coach came out there and told us that if we didn't stick them we would lose the game," Everhardt said. "We played our guts out. We just stopped them and won the game."
   With the game being decided by one yard, Happy Valley head coach Stan Ogg was relieved to leave a muddy Paul H. McEwen Stadium with a win.
   "A win is a win," Ogg said. "In this weather, in these situations, just an outstanding defensive play."
   While Happy Valley was celebrating its win, Johnson County head coach Mike Atwood was searching for answers.
   "We felt like the defense played good enough to win," Atwood said. "But somebody is going to have to get us that extra yard when we need it.
   "We feel like the defense is going to give us a chance to win every game, the offense is just not doing its part."
   What had been an explosive Happy Valley offensive was held to just 110 total yards, but the Warrior defense held the Longhorn offense to just 145 yards, and that unit made the biggest play of the game.
   "It was excellent," Everhardt said. "We couldn't have played it any better. We couldn't have planned it any better, either. The coaches did good, the players did well, and we came through with a win."
   Said Ogg: "We bent a little bit the end but like Coach (Greg) Hyder said, we never broke. I can't say enough about the defensive effort."
   It was also a good effort by the 'Horns, and they didn't go down without a fight.
   With Happy Valley up 7-0, the Longhorns had 2:35 to make a run at the Warriors. After a huge stop by the Longhorn defense, a 20-yard punt return by Junior Paisley put Johnson County at the Warrior 26-yard line.
   The drive looked like it was coming close to being stopped by Happy Valley at the Warrior 17 with the 'Horns facing fourth and one, but Dunn got the first down with a two-yard run.
   The Longhorns showed that they meant business when quarterback Adam Johnson, who started the game at tailback but was moved back to the position he started the season in midway through the first half, scampered for eight yards to put Johnson County at the HV 2-yard line.
   Dunn scored three plays later to bring the game to its final score of 7-6.
   Even though there wasn't much offense in this contest, the Warriors only scoring drive of the night was very impressive.
   Happy Valley started out at its own 46 with four minutes to go in the first quarter, but Tim Whaley quickly gave the Warriors better field position by finding a huge hole and running for 35 yards to get HV to the Longhorn 19.
   Two plays later, a 13-yard run by Cody Cannon put the Warriors at the Longhorn one-yard line.
   The Warriors hit paydirt two plays later when quarterback Lamar Rollins scored on a keeper. A Casey Shatley extra point put Happy Valley up 7-0, and that was all the scoring the Warriors needed.
   Even though Ogg was happy about the win, he was not exactly pleased with the penalties. The Warriors totaled 91 penalty yards on the night, as they saw a couple of potential scoring drives scrapped due to the yellow flags.
   "I looked up and every time we had field position with them in third quarter the next thing you know we've got the ball on the 30 and the next thing it was second and forty," Ogg said. "We just kept holding or clipping. We kept shooting ourselves in the foot, and you can't do that."
   Happy Valley's win makes the Warriors 3-2, while the Longhorns are 1-4. It's been a tough season in Mountain City so far, and Atwood feels bad for his team.
   "It's been pretty tough," Atwood said. "They're a good bunch of kids, and they'll come back. The conference games are coming up, and they're more important. I hate it for these seniors. It's tough to lose all these close games, and it's tough to lose on homecoming night."
   Whaley led the Warriors in rushing with 73 yards. Johnson topped the Longhorns with 26 yards on the ground.
   Whaley also had eight tackles to lead Happy Valley. Aaron Payne and Justin Bishop also had eight tackles for the Longhorns.
   The Warriors and the Longhorns will return to conference action next week. Happy Valley will square off with Chuckey-Doak, while Johnson County travels to Daniel Boone.