Vikings blank Longhorns

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF
mhill@starhq.com

   MOUNTAIN CITY- It was a game that the Johnson County Longhorns could be proud of.
   Even though Mountain Lakes Conference champion Tennessee High knocked off Johnson County 31-0 Thursday night at Paul H. McEwen Stadium on senior night, the Longhorns, now 1-8 overall and 1-5 in league play, had their heads held up high following the contest.
   "We all decided to come out and have a good time in our last home game no matter what happened," senior defensive end Justin Bishop said.
   Even though Johnson County never mounted a serious threat in this one, it didn't exactly get blown out of the water either.
   The Vikings looked like they were going to have an easy time of it after a 24-yard field by Glen Black and a 10-yard touchdown run by Brandon Anderson gave the boys from Bristol a 10-0 advantage with 6:43 to go in the first quarter.
   But the Longhorn defense stepped up during the rest of the half. A Bart McMillin 3-yard touchdown was all the Vikings could muster the rest of the half.
   Johnson County's defense allowed the explosive Tennessee High defense to 208 yards on the evening.
   "I'm proud of the way we played tonight," Bishop said. "We played better than we did last year against them."
   The Vikings added a couple of touchdowns in the third quarter to bring the tally to the final score of 31-0.
   A lot of the scores came with the Longhorn defense starting in its own territory, so Johnson County head coach Mike Atwood was extremely pleased with the effort.
   "We gave a good effort, and played good," Atwood said. "With the field position, we just never could get anything going. We turned the ball over in bad spots a couple of times, and gave them a short field to work with. With their kicking game and special teams, they're going to have a short field most of the time anyway.
   "We just helped them out. We made a few mistakes, but I was proud of our boys. They played hard and they didn't quit the whole game. I was proud of the way they played."
   Like most games with the Longhorns this season, Atwood thought his team just couldn't get the breaks.
   "We thought it should have been 10-0 or 10-7 (at the half)," Atwood said. "That's the way our season has been all year. We just haven't gotten any breaks. That's just the way it goes."
   It was a night that the Longhorn seniors could be proud of. These 15 guys haven't enjoyed many wins this year, but Thursday Atwood is proud of this bunch.
   "Coming in as freshmen we knew they were going to be a good group of kids," Atwood said. "This is the first time they've not been in the playoffs. But they're the group that helped turn this program around."
   Bart McMillin led all rushers with 63 yards for Tennessee High. Chris Boyd had 52 yards passing for the Vikings.
   Johnson County finished with 118 total yards.
   The Vikings actually clinched the conference outright with the win, coupled with the stunning upset by Sullivan Central over Elizabethton.
   Tennessee High head coach Greg Stubbs thought the Longhorns gave it their all against his team.
   "They hit us pretty good in the first quarter, and on special teams they hit us," Stubbs said. "We knew coming in here that if we stood around it would cost us."
   Tennessee High will take on Sullivan East next Friday night, while the Longhorns travel to Sullivan South.