'Landers overcome slow start to upend Bulldogs


Photo by Dave Boyd
CloudlandÕs Bill Johnson is wedged between a host of players, including teammates Jonah Horney (37), Jonathan Webb (61) and Brian Simmons, and HamptonÕs Brandon Barnett (18).

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com
When all else fails, do a little of both.
At least that was the motto of the Cloudland Highlander JV squad in its outing against Hampton Monday night.
Cloudland had a hard time getting anything going offensively throughout the first quarter, but changed things around, utilizing its passing game and long run plays to defeat the Bulldogs 24-8 at J.C. Campbell Stadium.
"We came out and looked like we were running in molasses in the first half," said Cloudland coach Gary Keith. "We found an offense to work. Toby (King) started hitting some passes, and he did a good job."
"In the second half, they got tired and we started running it well," he said. "A balanced offense makes a big difference. We mixed it up and it made the difference in the game and I'm proud of that. Coach Lunsford helped out a lot tonight calling some plays and I'm proud of the kids."
Hampton played a solid game, taking a lead on its first possession of the game. However, it was hurt as a whole when quarterback Brandon Barnett went down with an injury.
"It hurt us when Barnett got hurt," said Hampton coach Scotty Bunton. "Lucas (Roark) did a good job, but he wasn't as mobile. We're so thin, once we get the first ones out it kills us."
Hampton moved the ball swiftly during its first possession after some quick gains from Cody Farmer and Jon Potter. Curtis McKeehan broke loose on a 20-yard run, setting up a 23-yard strike from Barnett to Chris Morgan.
Potter busted through the 'Lander line with a one-yard score, adding a conversion to put the 'Dogs up 8-0.
Cloudland struggled with its run game and didn't pick up much momentum until Potter fumbled it over in the second quarter.
The 'Landers opened up throwing the ball when King touched Jordan Buck with a 15-yard throw and struck Jon Pritchard with a 12-yarder to keep the chains moving.
On the next play, freshman Jared Kodak broke loose for King, who hit him with a 34-yard touchdown strike. King tossed Pritchard the conversion to tie it up going into the second half.
Added King: "It went pretty quick (after the drive). We got to where we could catch it well, and everybody started blocking."
A Cloudland fumble recovery and Hampton interception highlighted the first two series of the third quarter.
The Bulldogs caught on with solid runs from Farmer, Oliver and McKeehan, allowing them to move the ball downfield. However, a fumble from quarterback Lucas Roark and an 11-yard sack by Jon Webb forced Hampton to punt.
Potter dropped the snap on the fumble, but ran it to the line of scrimmage to keep the Bulldogs from dangerous territory.
The 'Landers opened with two incomplete passes, but Kodak broke loose again with a 31-yard grab from King. A roughing the passer penalty put Cloudland inside scoring territory as King hit Pritchard with a 7-yarder and scrambled for an eight-yard score. A Bryan Simmons conversion put Cloudland up 16-8, but they weren't through.
After holding Hampton defensively again, the 'Lander line paved the way for three long gains from Jonah Horney to set up a five-yard score from Simmons. The conversion put Cloudland up 24-8, but Hampton had one final chance to score.
A McKeehan 23-yard scamper and a 21-yard dash from Farmer put the Bulldogs where they wanted to be. However, Roark made a valiant lunge as time expired, missing the end zone.
King led the 'Landers with 105 yards through the air, while Horney had 47 on the ground. Farmer and McKeehan had good games running for Hampton with 68 and 58 yards, respectively.
"It helps us a lot going against and behind one of the best teams around," King said of going behind and against Cloudland's first unit. "It makes us better and makes us run harder. And it gives us something to look up to for next year."