Jr. Bulldogs close season by shutting out Unaka

By Marvin Birchfield

   The season finale for Hampton and Unaka junior high football teams was played on Thursday night at J.C. Campbell Stadium, which the Bulldogs won convincingly by a final of 32-0.
   Hampton finished up the regular season at 7-3 by winning their last four ballgames, only to be edged out by Johnson County in making to the championship.
   "We lost two close games to Johnson County and it's going to be a heck of a championship, but I think we're as good as anybody right now in the conference. It's just a little too late," said Hampton head coach Kelly Oliver.
   The Bulldogs got off to a quick start, when Dustin Jaynes ran a 41-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage.
   "They came out playing, and you can expect a letdown at this point in the season, but they wanted to go out on a good note and stepped it up," said Oliver.
   Unaka was held on their its possession as the Bulldog defense forced the Rangers to go three plays and out.
   Hampton struck again on its next possession, after a 23-yard scoring pass was delivered by Jonathan Lyons to Jared Oliver to make it 12-0 at the end of the first period.
   Another touchdown run coming from Jaynes covered 51 yards down the left side, as he broke a tackle and managed to find his way in the end-zone.
   Oliver added the two-point conversion off a run, giving Hampton a 20-0 advantage going into halftime.
   "Coach Weddle, Coach Hardin and Coach Arnett have done just an excellent job with these kids this season, and I couldn't have done it without them," said Oliver.
   Unaka got the ball to start the second half, and attempted to make a successful opening drive.
   Michael Carpenter rambled for a nine-yard run to move the sticks, plus a five-yard penalty for a facemask.
   Carpenter was picked off by Jarred Irick on a third down and nine pass play, but a roughing the passer call kept the Unaka drive alive.
   The Hampton defense contained the Unaka's backfield, making Jeff Wilson and Steven Lapp a non-factor.
   "D.J. Oliver has carried this defense all year, and the whole eighth grade has done a great job this season," said Coach Oliver.
   The Rangers tried a trick play on fourth down, when punter Terry Campbell threw a pass to Carpenter, but was well short of the first.
   "Tonight I tip my hat to Hampton because Coach Oliver does a great job with them. They were well coached and disciplined, and it's real hard to move the ball on this bunch," said Unaka head coach Matt Wilson.
   Hampton drove the ball down and scored, after almost losing the ball when Lyons was shaken up and fumbled, but Brandon Potter made the recovery to keep the drive going.
   Jaynes took it in from 13 yards away, capping off a 10-play, 57-yard drive.
   It looked like Unaka might get a spark of offense, after Wilson shot through the gap with a burst of speed, but was stripped of the ball after gaining 10 yards.
   "All and all I proud of my kids," Coach Wilson said. "I think they've played with great effort all year long."
   Jonathan Scalf came up with the loose ball leading to Hampton's last score, with Jared Oliver running a 52-yard touchdown.
   "We're a young team. I'm sending only eight eighth-graders away, so we've got a lot to build on, and I'm proud of this eighth-grade bunch," Coach Wilson said. "Hopefully they've started a good trend for Unaka Middle School."