Jr. Bulldogs squeak by Johnson County

By Jeff Birchfield
Brooks Price powered in the end zone from four yards out with only 1:27 left in the game to give Hampton a 12-8 win over Johnson County at J.C. Campbell Stadium Thursday night.
The run capped off a 9-play, 62-yard drive that was highlighted by Dustin Jaynes breaking a head-on tackle for a 26-yard run.
"He got stronger and the line started helping him more," said Hampton coach Kelly Oliver about Jaynes. "I guess we came alive a little at the end. We still didn't run like we are capable of. In eight years, we never have been able to get outside of Mountain City.
"Coach (Delza) Noble did a great job. They were ready to play. We didn't come out to play and they beat us everywhere but the scoreboard."
The winning drive was set up when Timmy Campbell made the big fourth down stop on Longhorn quarterback Austin Phipps with 5:47 left in the contest.
"He stepped up big," said Oliver about Campbell. "We had to have the stop. We didn't have a choice right then. Then we moved the ball on them."
The Jr. Longhorns almost pulled it out in the final minute. A halfback pass from Tyler Leonard to Christian Prudhomme for 66 yards took the ball down to the Hampton 4, before the play was called back for an illegal man downfield.
"One of our boys went downfield," said Johnson County coach Delza Noble. "They called that play back and it cost us the game. That wasn't the only mistake we made tonight.
"Hey, they're 13 and 14 year old boys and they're going to make mistakes. We just have to shake it off. That's part of it."
It looked like the end finally did come a play later when the Jr. Bulldogs' Lucas Andrews picked off a Leonard pass. A roughing the passer call gave the 'Horns back possession, but it was all for naught one snap later when Brandon Potter recovered a Johnson County fumble.
The teams fought to a scoreless first half, in which the Jr. Longhorns tallied a scant nine yards rushing. They ended up with 92 yards for the game with Leonard beating the team's total with 103 yards.
"I fussed at them a little bit at halftime and got them motivated," said Noble. "We weren't getting great line blocking, but they started doing better. I'm not proud that we lost, but I am proud of the improvement during the game."
The defensive effort couldn't have been faulted. With Hampton challenging to score late in the second quarter, Ronnie Roark fought through a block to make a key tackle for a loss. Phipps got an interception two plays later.
Hampton (3-0) took the upper hand in the third quarter after a 20-yard punt return by Jaynes gave them possession at the JC 35. The next play Jonathan Scalf took a pitch for the end around 35-yards to paydirt and a 6-0 lead.
After bringing the kickoff back to their 40, Johnson County immediately responded with Leonard busting through the gap and going 60 yards for the score. He ran in the two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead which the 'Horns held until the final Bulldog drive.
Hampton's running game was on track the second half. Led by Jarred Irick with 61 yards, the Jr. Dogs racked up a game total of 193 rushing yards on 28 carries.
Despite falling to 1-2 on the season, the Jr. Longhorns found some positives to take from the game.
"We played better than we have the last two games," said Noble. "I think we're starting to get it in gear. If we keep improving, we will be all right at the end of the year."