'Landers clobber Greenback, 60-21

By Travis Brown

   The Cloudland Highlanders have been pacing though the season, waiting to unleash the full potential of their offense. Unfortunately for Greenback, Friday night was the ultimate demonstration as the 'Landers defeated the Cherokees 60-21.
   The Killer B's were in action as usual, but what a performance by the Cloudland offensive line. They paved the way for and unprecedented 484 yards on the ground, 288 of those were on the legs of Dakota Benfield.
   Benfield, who also had four touchdowns, owned the Cherokees moving the ball down the field almost effortlessly.
   Lunsford was quite pleased with his boys, who head into the quarterfinals of the TSSAA state playoffs.
   "Great execution, we put this one on the offensive line," said Lunsford. "I'm so proud of them."
   The 'Landers came out ready to play as they exploded for 14 unanswered points in the first three minutes of the game. Benfield capped a 65-yard drive with a 1-yard sprint to give Cloudland the early 6-0 lead.
   Cloudland would recover a fumbled kickoff and two plays later take it in on Benfield's shoulders to go up 14-0.
   The remainder of the first quarter saw both defenses dig in. Neither team could manage a solid drive for the rest of the first stanza, but the 'Landers were ready in second quarter.
   Three touchdowns in the second stanza put Cloudland in the driver's seat for good. Benfield added a 5-yard and a blistering 90-yard touchdown to put Cloudland in control midway through the second quarter. Byrd would add a 5-yard touchdown toss to Odom to go into the locker room leading 36-0.
   The second half saw the Greenback passing attack finally get on track. Despite most of the yards coming against Cloudland's reserves, quarterback Austin James tossed two touchdowns and tailback Cody Long ran in for a score to keep it respectable.
   Gregory Birchfield contributed for the 'Landers in the fourth quarter, picking off a Cherokee pass and taking it 15 yards to the house. The touchdown rounded out the Cloudland scoring effort, and marked the second interception for the Cloudland secondary.
   With this victory behind them, the boys from Roan Mountain are picking up steam in the playoffs. Next week will bring Midway calling at Orr field. Midway will come in with a 10-2 record, and bring some different challenges for Coach Lunsford and his staff to battle.
   "We've got a lot to prepare for," said Lunsford of next week's task, a game that will be only the second time in Cloudland history of reaching the quarterfinals.
   The contest Friday night will surely give the 'Landers plenty of positives to draw from.
   "They know who he is now," said Lunsford of Benfield. "That whole backfield is full of football players, they win with their heart.
   Benfield gave the credit where it was due after the game, with gameballs to the linemen.
   "The line did an excellent job all night," said Benfield. "It was a good team effort."
   Look for that same team effort to welcome Midway next week in what could possibly be a prelude to things to come on the road to Murfreesboro.