'Dogs knock heads with Chuckey-Doak

By Jamie Combs
SPORTS EDITOR
jcombs@starhq.com
Chuckey-Doak's football team checks in as a Watauga Conference lightweight, but the Black Knights have been showing marked improvement, and they know the option game the way good auto mechanics know their way under a hood.
"They look pretty good," said Coach J.C. Campbell, whose Hampton Bulldogs entertain Chuckey-Doak in Watauga action tonight. "I don't know where people picked up they can't play. I don't know why they haven't beaten many people -- they've got a good looking little team.
"They run the option awfully well. They run it three or four different ways in two or three different sets."
In their home finale, the 'Dogs (2-2, 4-4) aim to subdue the force of the Knights (1-3, 2-6), who enter the contest riding a two-game winning streak.
Hampton turned in what was probably its best performance of the season just last week, going on the road to rough up Cumberland Gap 32-14 in a conference affair.
"It would be very nice if we can pick up where we left off and play well," Campbell said. "We play a little different type of team than (Cumberland Gap). Chuckey-Doak's not going to throw it 40 times. They're going to run that ball right at you. That's their forte."
Brandon Bowling, a standout tackle for the 'Dogs, added: "We didn't have too good of a week of practice, but I think as long as everybody keeps their heads in the game like last week, and as long as the line blocks and we play well on defense, we should do real well."
Getting on the winning side of the ledger by defeating West Greene, the Knights, on the strength of a 258-yard rushing effort and five takeaways, followed up with a 41-10 thrashing of Cosby.
Quarterback Nick Havers is the main man in Chuckey-Doak's option-oriented scheme.
"The quarterback is a real good runner," Campbell said. "He throws it well, too."
Top running backs for the Knights are Bronson Winters, who comes off a 7-carry, 93-yard game, and David Taylor.
The Chuckey-Doak defense is anchored by Taylor at linebacker, while A.J. Pricenor and Deandre Claridy aid the Knights from an all-purpose standpoint. Serving out a suspension the first six games of the year, Pricenor saw his first action in the West Greene tilt and instantly made his team better.
Although Hampton has dominated its series with the Knights, last year's conference champion 'Dogs went to Afton and had a tougher-than-expected battle with Chuckey-Doak, not putting away a last-place team until the fourth quarter of a 32-7 conquest.
"They played us a good game down there," Campbell said. "They played us tough. They did some good things, too. A whole lot of it was us, but a whole lot of it was them, too."
In spite of their superb outing at Cumberland Gap, the 'Dogs realize there are aspects of their play that need upgrading.
Asked what things Hampton focused on the most while preparing for this week's game, Bowling said: "Getting a little bit better on blocking, and working a lot on pass blocking. The (tail)backs have been working on running harder and hitting the holes."
While Campbell was pleased with how his team defended Cumberland Gap's high-powered passing attack, he mentioned that he'd like to see the 'Dogs do a little better job of knocking down passes, and positioning. Ultimately, Hampton left no stone unturned during practice time.
"We've just been going over everything," Campbell said. "We're trying to hone what we're doing."
Hampton doesn't need much honing on its plays to the fullback. Justin Waycaster ran for 84 yards and three touchdowns from the position last week, pushing his season rushing totals to 666 yards and five TDs.
Quarterback Mitchell Morton also fared well at Cumberland Gap. Morton, who rushed for 37 yards, tried a mere four passes, but one of his two completions went to Eric Swain for a 17-yard score, and the other completion went to Dustin Crumley for 24 yards, setting up a TD.
Bowling and Adam Potter were solid run blockers against the Panthers, while linebackers Martin Winters and Sean Moody, linemen Eddie Lance and Johnny Price, and Waycaster, who was tops in the secondary, showed the way defensively. Cody Walsh returned a kick for a score.
For the 'Dogs, duplicating last week's overall wealth tonight would likely result in a sound victory and a thick head of steam heading into their Week 10 matchup with South Greene. Hampton will probably need to beat Chuckey-Doak and South Greene to make the playoffs.
"Now's the time to get the momentum going," Bowling said.