Green Wave crashes into Orr Field

By Travis Brown

STAR Staff

   As the TSSAA state playoff race heats up, the Cloudland Highlanders are looking to put another notch in their belt this week when they square off against the Midway Green Wave.
   In weeks past the 'Landers (11-1) have proven their mettle against teams from Region 2, and this week's clash marks the contest between two number one seeds in a battle to determine quarterfinal surpremacy.
   With this game, a new set of challenges will come to Roan Mountain, and judging by its track record to this point, Lunsford is hoping his club will continue to adapt and conquer.
   "We'll have to play well all over the field," said Lunsford. "They are a very balanced team."
   That balance is shown by the statistics of Green Wave starting quarterback Jeremiah McClure. The 6-1 senior has over 800 yards passing, more than 700 yards rushing, and is solid in the option offense.
   Tailback Shane Gordon is also a solid contributor, compiling over 1,000 yards this season and rushing for over 200 last week against Oneida.
   Despite the talent that Midway (10-2) will bring to the table, the 'Landers feel as if they can match up well with the Wave, especially on the defensive side of the footbal.
   "I think we can get into our base defense more often," said Lunsford. "They match up size wise a little better than most teams we've played, so we'll have to find out what we can do."
   That size Lunsford is referring to is an average of 260 pounds across the line, and a big fullback in Joe Harmon (6-0, 260). Although this team brings more beef into the contest, the 'Lander power I will still be called upon to pace Cloudland.
   Lunsford was particularly pleased with the play of his linebacking corps. Backers Gregory Birchfield, Dane Christman, Dakota Benfield and Mark Barnett have met the challenge all season, and have contined to progress throughout the year.
   A good key to watch will be the linebacking groups from both teams, as the Wave will be represented by John Allen and Jake Campbell in the middle.
   'Lander fans can expect Lunsford to have a few surprises in store for the visitors this week. Aside from a back-to-basics defensive approach, the 'Landers will continue to focus on spreading the ball to different playmakers.
   Look for the Highlanders to augment the rushing game by incorporating a solid chunk of passes, as well as some new looks from the Cloudland offensive unit.
   For Midway, look for coach Craig Moser and his boys to pound the football inside, while setting up the option, and as mentioned earlier, they will not hesitate to throw the football.
   Cloudland looks to avenge a second-round loss to Midway from 1988. In that year the Green Wave rolled over the Highlanders 40-7.
   However that was the only year that Midway has seen success considering their playoff record until this season was 2-9.
   Regardless of the past, tonight's matchup will be decided on the basis of who wants it more. If anyone is interested in seeing just who does, you can catch the action at Orr Field. Kickoff is at 7.