Trojans blow 'Horns from postseason

By Matt Hill
STAR STAFF

   MORRISTOWN -- Morristown West's major rival may be nicknamed the Hurricanes, but on Friday night the Trojans were the ones that took Burke-Toney Stadium by storm.
   The Trojans scored early and often in a 48-6 rout over the Johnson County Longhorns in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
   "We just made a few mistakes, and you can't make mistakes against a team that good," Johnson County head coach Mike Atwood said. "They were definitely the better ball team tonight. They've got a great team. It's going to be hard for anybody to beat them.
   While the Longhorns finish their season at 4-7, the Trojans improve to 10-1 with I-MAC rival Greeneville set to make a visit to Burke-Toney Stadium next Friday night.
   Even though the score may have been lopsided, Atwood thought his team gave it their all against one of the state's elite programs.
   "Our boys played hard," Atwood said. "We were just outmanned and outcoached.
   If you were dressed out in a Morristown West uniform, you saw action in this contest. Thirteen Trojans had at least one rushing attempt, and West played four quarterbacks, as the starters did their job in the first two quarters.
   The Trojans started the scoring on its first possession as highly-touted quarterback Drew Southerland found Justin Dearing in the end zone from 35-yards out to go on top 7-0.
   West then scored on its next possession when Southerland took it into the end zone himself for a 13-yard scoring run to make it a 14-0 contest with 5:37 to go in the first quarter.
   Southerland wasn't finished when early in the second quarter he connected with Matt Noe from nine yards out to give West a commanding 21-0 lead.
   After the score, Johnson County went three and out, but found themselves in more trouble when a bad snap on a punt put West on the Longhorn 1-yard line, setting the stage for Brandon Reece to bulldoze his way into the end zone to increase West's lead to 28-0 with 7:40 to go in the second quarter.
   West closed out its first half scoring barrage when talented place-kicker Michael Duke belted a 22-yard field goal to make it a 31-0 contest with 3:58 left to go in the half.
   "They just wore us down," Atwood said.
   But the Longhorns didn't quit. They put together a successful drive at the end of the half, which was capped off by an Adam Johnson 8-yard touchdown pass to Justin Allen to cut West's lead to 31-6 at the intermission.
   It was Allen's first touchdown of the year, so Atwood was very happy for the senior.
   "We've been wanting him to get in all year," Atwood said. "I'm glad he got in. I was proud of him."
   West ended any notion of a Longhorn comeback in the opening minutes of the third quarter when Jeff Scoba hit paydirt from 16 yards out to make it a 38-6 contest, leaving Morristown West head coach Don Woods to call off the dogs.
   Another Michael Duke field goal and an Aaron Wittenburg touchdown wrapped up the scoring for the Trojans.
   West finished the night with 290 yards of offense, but that's misleading because they were in Johnson County territory at the start of most drives.
   The Longhorns Adam Johnson did enjoy a productive night, netting 83 yards passing. Tommy Short caught three balls for 43 yards.
   Johnson County was making its third straight appearance in the TSSAA playoffs, but Atwood believes some strong off-season conditioning could reap even bigger rewards next season.
   "They're going to have to get in the weight room," Atwood said.
   Overall, Atwood was glad that the Longhorns could make the playoffs during their first year in the Big Eight.
   "It wasn't quite as good of a season as we wanted or expected," Atwood said. "But at least we made the playoffs."