'Horns roll past 'Blazers

By Matt Hill

   MOUNTAIN CITY-- In the land of television, Batman and Robin were always a dynamic duo.
   On Friday night, Jonah Dunn and Adam Johnson answered the "bat phone" and combated the enemy.
   Johnson and Dunn combined for five touchdowns as the Johnson County Longhorns whipped the Daniel Boone Trailblazers 34-14 at Paul H. McEwen Stadium on homecoming night.
   Johnson, the Longhorn quarterback that rushed for 148 yards on 13 carries, was fired up to play after Johnson County's 35-0 loss to Class 2A Happy Valley last week.
   "The humiliation from last week's game set us off," Johnson said. "I deserve it, and we deserve it. We were prepared to play this game."
   Johnson and Dunn resurrected a running game that had been nonexistent. In addition to Johnson's heroics, Dunn had 97 yards on 15 carries. Overall, Johnson County rushed for 272 yards, compared to 115 for Daniel Boone.
   On total offense, the Longhorns had 382 yards, while the Trailblazers could only muster up 193.
   "The boys came out and played hard," Johnson County head coach Mike Atwood said. "We knew this was the turning point of the season. The season was going to go good or bad on this game. We killed them in practice, and they left it on the field tonight. They played hard, and I was real proud of them. We just need to keep rolling off of this."
   The Longhorns were tested in this game, especially early on. After Dunn put the Longhorns on top 7-0 early with a 1-yard touchdown run, the Trailblazers rallied back.
   Chris Clear scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 6:36 left to go in the first quarter, cutting the Longhorn lead to 7-6. The play was set up by a Byron Tolley fumble recovery of a ball dropped by Dunn, which just made the tailback hungry to do damage.
   "After that fumble I knew I was going to make up for it as much as I could," Dunn said.
   Boone then scored on its next possession when quarterback David Diehl hit paydirt on a 6-yard keeper. After the score, Diehl found Clear on the conversion to give Boone a 14-7 lead.
   That was all she wrote for the Trailblazers.
   Johnson County started its domination after the 'Blazers' go-ahead score. Boone threatened to score early in the second quarter, but Johnson County's defense shut them down on four plays inside the Longhorn 15-yard line.
   The Longhorns got the ball rolling on offense again late in the second quarter, as they were propelled by several stellar running plays from Johnson that put the Longhorns at the 5-yard line. Then Johnson took the ball into the end zone from that mark to tie the game at 14-all.
   It was in the second half that saw Dunn make up for his costly fumble. On the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Dunn found a hole and scored from 46 yards out to put the Longhorns up for good at 21-14.
   "I told them at halftime I was going to make up for it," Dunn said.
   The score remained 21-14 until late in the third quarter when Dunn hit paydirt again, this time from 2-yards out to make give the Longhorns a 28-14 lead. The touchdown was Dunn's third on the evening.
   The Trailblazers were staging one last rally with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter when Diehl was intercepted by Tommy Short inside the five. This pretty much sealed the deal for Johnson County, but the Longhorns delivered a knockout punch.
   On the next play, Johnson flew past several defenders en route to taking the ball into the end zone from 94 yards out to bring the game to its final score of 34-14.
   "We were really just trying to run the clock out," Atwood said. "We weren't going to take any chances on handing the ball off. We just tried to spread them out and call a sneak. We didn't have any idea it was going to go that far, but of course we want him to if he can."
   Even though the offense was explosive for the first time this season Friday night, the defense has been strong except for the Happy Valley game. Friday night, they came to play.
   Justin Bishop, Wes Hamby and Tolby Lowe all had 10 tackles. Lucas Moreno had two fumble recoveries for Johnson County.
   "Our defense played great," Atwood said. "Bishop, Hamby, Lowe, Jesse Cranford, Matt Eggers and Moreno all played great. They really played hard."
   While Boone falls to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in Big Eight play, Johnson County is now 3-3 overall, but 2-1 in league games. The 'Horns will attempt to take their third conference game against winless Sullivan East next Friday night at McEwen Stadium.
   Atwood isn't taking the Patriots for granted.
   "Sullivan East is dangerous," Atwood said. "They've got some good athletes. They worry us a lot. If we don't play as well as we did tonight we won't beat Sullivan East."
   But Atwood is very proud of his team. The Longhorns were picked to finish last in the Big Eight by one local newspaper, so they have definitely proved the critics wrong.
   "I don't think we're going to finish eighth, but of course I never did," Atwood said. "I believe in this team. I'll take my 11 boys over anybody else's."
Johnson County place kicker Adam Leonard continues to be very consistent. Friday night, he went 4-for-4 on extra point attempts.
   Congratulations are in order for JCHS student Jessica Hampton. She was crowned Johnson County's 2001 homecoming queen during halftime festivities at McEwen Stadium.