Spotlight falls on HV, EHS

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com
Elizabethton and Happy Valley, the two biggest schools in Carter County, will face off in what becomes a much-anticipated contest this Friday night.
The war of words will be spread all week between teams, as the majority of Elizabethton will be in attendance for a much closer contest.
If the Happy Valley Warriors wish to seek revenge on the two previous Cyclone victories, they better take care of things on the field this week. They return, in my opinion, the best line in the Watauga Conference and are a speedy, young squad.
The same can be said of the Elizabethton Cyclones after their big 14-13 victory over Tennessee High. The Cyclones went in and did everything they had to do to get in the driver's seat for the Mountain Lakes Conference.
Of the match-ups this week, the one I'm personally looking forward to is Lester Bailey versus Tim Whaley. Both whom are arguably two of the best backs in the area.
Lester likes to talk and his actions speak for his words on the field. Tim likes to enforce big hits and pounding runs. Bailey is fast and if he breaks loose, who's going to catch him? Tim can cut and it will take a lot to bring him down.
Many people said, before the season, that Elizabethton and Happy Valley would be in the midst of down years. Neither team would count for anything in their conferences.
Both teams have silenced most critics as THE teams to beat in their respective regions. Both teams could use Friday night's win to add that needed boost.
We'll have to wait and see how it turns out.
--THE BEST--
Offensive Player: Lester Bailey, Elizabethton - The senior carried 18 times for 150 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run, in the Cyclones' 14-13 win at Tennessee High.
Defensive Player: Drew Davis, Happy Valley - Davis recorded two interceptions in the Warriors' 48-6 rout of West Greene.
Special Teams Player: Mark Byrd, Cloudland - Byrd turned in an electric 94-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Trench Performance: Happy Valley Offensive Line Unit - The Warriors ate the Buffaloes and it showed, paving the way for 355 yards on the ground.
Quote: Elizabethton player Jake Jenkins (on Tennessee High game) - "We realize we still have a long way to go and a lot of obstacles still ahead, but this has put us on cloud nine and we feel like we can move the ball all the time."
--PICKS OF THE WEEK--
(Overall Record 54-11, Last Week 15-5)
Happy Valley at Elizabethton - The game of the week takes place on Dave Rider Field. The Cyclones and Warriors are riding high off impressive victories and Elizabethton has something else to prove this week against their rival.
Both squads have the numbers, the talent and the heart, but this is redemption for the Warriors. You know Happy Valley won't forget last year's loss, but Elizabethton beat Tennessee High and Bailey's quick, therefore ELIZABETHTON 22-17, unless Whaley rushes for a buck-thirty, then, HAPPY VALLEY 20-15.
Hampton at Johnson County - Hampton faced two tough opponents to begin the season, and now it runs into a Longhorn squad with two straight wins. If Johnson County plays like it has been, it might come out on top. JOHNSON COUNTY 18-13.
Unaka at Kings Academy - The Rangers make their second long trip of the season, against the Division II squad. Unaka has had a rough start to their season, and personally, I don't know if they can handle this one. KINGS ACADEMY 16-11.
Statewide Picks
Unicoi County 30, Chuckey Doak 12
Cherokee 35, South Greene 10
Oak Ridge 28, Dobyns Bennett 21
Tennessee High 18, Science Hill 14
Daniel Boone 7, David Crockett 6
Gatlinburg-Pittman 26, Pigeon Forge 6
Jefferson County 38, Morristown West 12
Greenback 40, Gordonsville 21
MBA 33, BGA 22
USJ 16, Bruceton 9
Anderson County 42, West 28
Antioch 31, John Overton 19
Franklin 25, Oakland 21
Whitehaven 19, Melrose 17
South Pittsburg 23, Grundy County 0
Chester County 21, Fayette Academy 20
Riverdale 44, Lincoln County 26
--BY THE NUMBERS--
2 - Drew Davis' interceptions against West Greene
6 - First place votes top-ranked Cloudland received in the first TSSAA AP rankings in 1A.
40.5 - Cyclone punter Brandon Blevins' average Friday night
117 - Dusty Neal's passing against Unaka
135 - Johnson County's offensive total against Central
--OTHER NOTES--
As you read in the above column, Cloudland is ranked number one in the 1A AP Poll. Happy Valley is ranked 11th in 2A.
Dobyns-Bennett is third in 5A, while they face the fifth ranked Oak Ridge. Both Cloudland's Mark Byrd and Happy Valley's Tim Whaley received honorable mention selections for state player of the week.
Knox Catholic's Nick McFadden earned Division II Player of the Week honors after his 323 all-purpose yard performance at Hampton.