Huskies invade Orr Field

North Greene, Cloudland seek first win




Asst. Sports Editor


  The moment of truth has finally come for the Cloudland Highlanders. After starting off to a disappointing 0-3 season, they will face their first Watauga Valley Conference foe in the North Greene Huskies tonight at 7:30 in an attempt to head off Ivan the Horrible, which is currently pounding the South with heavy rains and winds and predicted to hit Northeast Tennessee with a vengeance on Friday.
  The 'Landers are looking forward to finally getting back to Orr Field and are hopeful that the weather will not deter the Roan Mountain faithful from coming out for their first home game of the season.
  The 'Landers and the Huskies come into the match in very similar situations; both have new head coaches and both have yet to see a victory as of yet in the 2004 season. One of these teams will overcome their winless burden tonight.
  North Greene went 4-6 in 2003 but have some quality returnees. Matthew Ormsbee, wideout and linebacker, is one of their standouts. Josh Allen provides some outstanding speed. Cornerback Micah Dearstone, linebacker Robert Moorman, brothers David and Dalas lynch at running back and lineman Bart Gaby will be other players the Landers will have to keep an eye on.
  "They are a good ball team, especially when they have their quarterback in there," Cloudland head coach Gary Keith said. "That Ormsbee kid, when we went and watched them at Unaka, he was out and I don't know if he will be back or not. We will have to contain him if he is. They are a very formidable ball team. They have a good receiver. He is a big tall kid and we will have to keep him from getting the ball.
  The Huskies' last visit to Carter County left them in a 53-19 deficit to the Happy Valley Warriors. Huskies quarterback Dusty Neal completed a 50-yard touchdown pass to Cory Cutshall and the offensive line prevented any sacks.
  In last season's matchup in Baileyton, the Huskies scored a quick touchdown in their first drive but they couldn't prevent the 'Lander offense and suffered a 62-14 loss. Neal paced his squad to the end zone after a 45-yard throw. Neal then called his own number on a 2-yard scoring run.
  The key to a 'Landers victory tonight will likely come down to how well that can contain Neal and his passing arm.
  "That is what we have worked on all week," Keith said. "I hope that it won't be an issue."
  The Landers totaled 14 first downs last year to the Huskies six and had 561 yards of total offense, 409 in rushing, compared to the 170 of North Greene.
  Former quarterback Mark Byrd found current quarterback Toby King through the air before a 12-yard pass score was completed by Dakota Benfield. Jon Harrison took a 1-yard score before the Huskies could come back on their final play when Neal found Ormsbee wide open for a 52-yard touchdown.
  Jonathan 'Possum' Pritchard had three sacks on Neal early in the game before an injury took him out of it.
  Cody Jones went five for 31 yards rushing while Jonah Horney went two for 28. David Lynch went seven for 48 for the Huskies while his brother Dalas went nine for 26. King completed one pass in his brief play at QB for 22 yards while Neal completed six of 17 for 132 yards.
  King went three of 54 receiving yards and Horney went two of 25. Ormsbee had one catch for 52 yards. The 'Landers completed five sacks on Neal and had two interceptions.
  While many may be justified in their predictions for the game tonight, at press time Wednesday, no one could predict what the conditions will be tonight for the various area teams who have moved up their schedules. Last week, both the Roan Mountain and Baileyton communities experienced flooding, but everyone has their fingers crossed that the conditions at the minimum will be favorable for some Thursday night football.
  "I hope so," Keith said. "I hope we have a big crowd. I have a few injuries that are going to hurt us. It is hard to get them all together, but at the same time, I am developing some depth in the team. We have had these past two weeks to get better.
  "I am not overlooking North Greene. We have to come out and jump on them. I just hope that we play well. I think I have done everything that I can to prepare them. The ones that have been here have worked their butts off. I hope that playing at home will give them a little push.
  "Let's hope that rain isn't here because it will cut down on the crowd, it cuts down on the cheering and all of that good stuff."
  The good stuff would truly be a win for the Highlanders, who have been working hard on rebuilding their program.