Highlanders, Indians eye league title

By Travis Brown

   In the words of Jefferson Starship, the Cloudland Highlanders (3-0, 6-1) and Powell Valley Indians (3-0, 5-2) will be "Laying it on the Line" at Orr Field later on this evening.
   This week's contest of Region 1-A opponents will go down as the Mountain Athletic Conference title game.
   With a win this week, either team can seal up the championship and take command of at least two home games in the TSSAA state playoffs.
   With the 'Landers coming in with state approval, the 4th-ranked boys from Roan Mountian are taking no chances against the aggressive defense of Powell Valley.
   'Lander skipper Mike Lunsford is concerned about the Indians, due to the lack of knowledge on the upcoming contest.
   "We haven't seen enough of them to know their blitz tendancies," said Lunsford. "If we can pick up the blitzes, we can get big plays."
   With solid threats from the reciever and tailback positions, the Indians are looking to offer up some solid competition for the big favorites.
   For Cloudland this week, look for some packages to include Cole Gouge and some added personel changes as the 'Landers are still having problems with nagging injuries. Due to the added depth of this year's squad, Cloudland can afford to mix up personnel and still perform.
   But, bottom line this week for Cloudland is stopping the defensive package they will see from the Indians. If the correct adjustments can be made early, the 'Landers might well run away with the contest.
   Added responsibilty will fall on Cloudland to throw the football as well. With so many different blitzes looking for big plays, the Indians will isolate their corners on an island this week.
   If 'Lander receivers can get behind the secondary, look for Gouge along with Mark Byrd to go up top early for the big play.
   Offensively, Powell Valley will look for its running game to come up big against the Highlander defensive line, a d-line that has looked good but is slightly banged up as well.
   Those injuries will be nursed this week in light of the upcoming playoffs, but that does not mean the 'Landers will be a pushover this week. Look for the Highlanders to play strong defense against the sweeps and traps the Indians will showcase.
   With playoff time rolling near, Cloudland must be careful not to overlook the opponents left on the schedule. Although favored against the Indians and already one up on the Bulldogs from Hampton, the season is far from over.
   However, with a victory this Friday, the 'Landers could very well run the table for the remainder of the season, rolling downhill towards a playoff picture that could be favorable to the boys in blue.
   Catch the 'Landers at home tonight at 7:30.