Conference games boon to Week 4 schedule

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com
Conference games highlight the fourth week of the TSSAA football season, with a few added blockbuster road games to put the icing on the cake.
Perhaps the biggest game in the area this week is in the Big East Conference, where Scooter Houston and Jefferson County host the rival third-ranked Dobyns-Bennett Indians.
The Indians will come into the game off of a big 35-28 comeback victory over fifth-ranked Oak Ridge at home, while Jefferson County toppled a strong Morristown West team.
The biggest test in the area takes place on Warrior Hill, as the Happy Valley Warriors face a lot of adversity in their contest against the Gatlinburg-Pittman Highlanders.
The Warriors will have to battle through injuries and a missing Tim Whaley against a strong Highlander team that thrashed rival Pigeon Forge last Friday.
Johnson County will be forced to come back from a tight loss to Hampton when it faces rival Unicoi County in Erwin. The Blue Devils are a much-improved team on a roll, and may have the slight edge coming in.
The Highlanders of Cloudland will face perhaps their biggest conference test of the season in North Greene. Tim Bailey's Huskies are perhaps the second best team in the Watauga Valley Conference and will be gunning for the upset.
In other games, Elizabethton hosts Sullivan South, Hampton hosts West Greene and Unaka entertains Twin Springs, Va.
--THE BEST--
Offensive Player: Justin Waycaster, Hampton - Earned 102 yards on 17 carries for the Bulldogs against Johnson County. Contributed 9 tackles defensively.
Defensive Player: Tim Whaley, Happy Valley - Whaley had a key interception to set up the lone Warrior score, not to mention a pair of sacks and a load of tackles against Elizabethton. He also had 116 rushing yards.
Special Teams Player: Brandon Blevins, Elizabethton - Averaged 34.8 punting due to a blocked punt; however, he did a good job getting the ball downfield for the Cyclones.
Trench Performance: Unaka Ranger Offensive Line Unit - Paved the way for 378 rushing yards in a lopsided 46-19 victory over King's Academy.
Quote: Happy Valley's Michael Hollifield (on beating Elizabethton) - "We gained respect when we beat Elizabethton. It's a real big thing to beat them."
--PICKS OF THE WEEK--
(Overall Record 67-19, Last Week 13-8)
Sullivan South at Elizabethton
- This will be Elizabethton's rebound game after their loss to Happy Valley. The Cyclones will need to corral a steady passing game, but should pull away with the victory over an improved Rebel squad. ELIZABETHTON 21-9
Johnson County at Unicoi County - It's a big game with playoff implications for the Longhorns against a Unicoi County team on a roll. The Blue Devils are vying for respect in this contest, coming off a two-game win streak. Are they good enough to beat Johnson County, yes, but the 'Horns are still favored. JOHNSON COUNTY 14-10
Gatlinburg-Pittman at Happy Valley - Josh Lott and Daniel Mitchell will be a load and it will be interesting to see if Happy Valley can unite like they did in the fourth quarter Friday night. GATLINBURG-PITTMAN 35-14
West Greene at Hampton - The Buffaloes travel to Hampton for the Bulldogs' first conference battle of the season. The 'Dogs left Mountain City in good spirits after a victory over Johnson County, looking to bring the momentum into this week. HAMPTON 36-8
Cloudland at North Greene - I will be nice with this one. Even though the Huskies are an improved squad and look to be the second best team in the league, the Highlanders will go to Baileyton and beat North Greene as bad as they want. CLOUDLAND 58-0
Twin Springs, VA at Unaka - The Twin Springs Titans invade Goddard Field with a 2-1 record and a strong running game behind Anthony Head and Kendall Gibson. However, the Rangers pulled off a big win on the road Friday night, which could fuel their fire this week. TWIN SPRINGS, VA 32-16
Statewide Picks
Maryville 38, Morristown West 12
Tennessee High 14, Daniel Boone 8
Sullivan East 16, Sullivan Central 6
Dobyns-Bennett 24, Jefferson County 16
Greeneville 21, Cherokee 8
Volunteer 32, David Crockett 17
Austin East 44, Loudon 12
Alcoa 22, Sweetwater 18
Wartburg Central 19, Rockwood 18
Ezell-Harding 37, DCA 20
David Lipscomb 24, Goodpasture 12
Crockett County 33, SBEC 30
Cumberland Gap 38, Chuckey-Doak 14
--BY THE NUMBERS--
2 - Times in the last four years Happy Valley has defeated Elizabethton
16 - Tackles recorded by Johnson County's Adam Johnson against Hampton
126 - Charles Guinn's rushing total for Unaka against King's Academy