Jr. Landers end season with win over Jr. Rangers
Photo By Kristen Luther
Stephen Lapp, 85, ran for a 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in last night’s game where they lost to the Jr. Highlanders in a 34-6 final.
After playing a close game last week, the Cloudland JV football team came out and executed the plan to defeat the Rangers in a 34-6 final.
The 'Landers had a hard fought game against Unaka in their first meeting last week with Cloudland, getting the edge in a 22-18 decision.
This time around it was a different look with a lop-sided outcome to end Cloudland's record at 6-2 on the season.
"I came in here and expected it to be a lot closer ball game, but we came in and Jordan Hughes did a great job at quarterback and getting everybody together and I'm very pleased," said Cloudland JV coach Robbie Turbyfield. "You couldn't have asked for anything better."
Both teams were holding out kids for this upcoming final game of the season.
It was mostly freshman that fielded the side-lines with Cloudland displaying a little more productive outing with the play of their youth.
"Both teams were pretty young, for we were mainly playing our freshman kids, and I was happy for both of us to get in our young kids and get them some experience," said Cloudland JV coach Robbie Turbyfield. "My whole backfield was made up of freshman, and my lineman were freshman and sophomores, and I felt like we came out and did what we had too to win."
Unaka struggled with the blocking upfront, and so did the 'Landers at times, but it was the big play striking capability of Cloudland which proved to be the difference.
"When we're in the 4-4 defense, we've got four decent linebackers, and then we start blitzing. We were given them a fit, but they was given us a fit too," said Turbyfield. "I just felt like our skilled people stepped it up and did what they had too do."
Cloudland scored on the first two drives of the game with the first one coming off a 70-yard run from Jordan Hughes.
The Rangers finally bounced back after going down 12-0 with a kick return by Steven Lapp which went for 80 yards toward the end of the first quarter.
Unaka forced a turnover down on the 'Landers eight-yard line after breaking through the line for a blocked punt.
Cloudland's defense stepped up and pushed the Rangers back after putting pressure on the quarterback and capturing back-to-back sacks.
"I think if these kids get in the weight room and expect to improve then I think we'll have a decent football team in years too come," said Turbyfield. "I had a couple of eight graders to play out there and I thought they played well."
The 'Landers converted a fourth down when Hughes threw a 79-yard pass to Josh Harrison on the last play of the first-half.
Cloudland enjoyed an 18-6 lead at half-time, as they continued to dictate the flow of the contest for the last two quarters.
A series of sweeps led to a four-yard touchdown from Josh Dugger, who broke a couple of tackles to find the endzone.
The drive began after the Rangers had trouble fielding the snap from center which resulted in the 'Landers capitalizing on wide runs for big gains.
"We had some guys who have played a lot in JV, but some of them hadn't," said Unaka JV coach Tommy Vaughn. "We have some kids that are showing good signs, but for the most part, we've got to go back to the basics like blocking and tackling."
Another Ranger mishap came on their next offensive play from scrimmage, when the exchange on the snap was again mishandled.
This led to yet another 'Lander touchdown with 1:24 left in the third period, when Billy Markland rushed for a 12-yard touchdown down the leftside.
"Cloudland is a tough team and their well coached, and at times, a lot more physical than we are and it showed tonight," said Vaughn. "They were getting to our backfield and busting plays up with a young quarterback and running backs who haven't played much. All and all though our kids tried and played hard and that's all you can ask of them."