Boyd poses rugged test for 'Landers

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR CORRESPONDENT
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   The games are slowly dwindling down as the Cloudland Highlanders hit the road again this week to face Chattanooga's Boyd-Buchanan Academy.
   Boyd will be a tough test for the Highlanders because they have the most complete offense Cloudland has faced since the Ezell-Harding matchup last season.
   The Bucs are lead by senior Mr. Football nominee Will Healy, who is known for his rushing and passing abilities, as well as his team play. Healy is the bread and butter of the Buccaneer football team and is a tremendous athlete.
   Healy (6-0, 185) is 129-of-251 with four interceptions passing for 2,171 yards and 17 scores, with 95 carries and 377 yards rushing with nine scores.
   Healy punts, kicks and does pretty much everything for his squad, as he leads the Bucs in scoring. He is a fair kicker as well going four of nine in field goals, as well as 29 of 36 in PATs. He holds the majority of the passing records for the Chattanooga area.
   Healy is joined by William Nelson, who averages 6.4 yards per carry running the football with his 16 scores.
   Buchanan has several stellar receivers and is strong defensively, only giving up 12.7 points per game.
   Nelson leads Boyd in tackles with 91, adding 16 for loss with two sacks and an interception; Jeremy Davis also has 91 tackles with a sack and a pick. Lineman Dan Moore has 65 tackles, with 26 for loss and ten sacks for the Bucs.
   Drew Akins is the leading returner for Boyd, as Blake Becham, Alex Jones, and Ryan Headden leads the Bucs in the secondary department.
   It was announced this weekend that the Cloudland Highlanders will play the Boyd-Buchanan Bucs at Finley Stadium on the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga campus.
   The field is short, and well maintained by the crews at Chattanooga. It poses as a breakout spot for speed, and a good passing game unless the weather is bad.
   Boyd will bring different aspects to the game this week, running the football to open up their strong passing game. If the 'Landers can play their best defense and put points on the board, they could stay close in this game.
   The Bucs have made a point to focus on Cloudland's Mark Byrd and stop the highest scoring offense in the state. The Highlanders will need to pull out their bag of tricks this week to hang with the Chattanoogan machine.
   Buchanan has allowed two sacks all season long, both coming in the Ezell-Harding contest which served Boyd a 42-15 loss in week five.
   Boyd had one of the toughest schedules in 1-A this season, including a win over 2-A semi-finalist David Lipscomb in a 31-27 win in week nine.
   It will be a tough test for the Highlanders, who are the underdog in this contest. Many papers around the state are predicting Cloudland to get demolished this week.
   Many are also saying that Cloudland still is weak despite their win over Greenback last week.
   Boyd is an eight-point favorite according to Sonny Moore, while the Massey ratings are predicting Cloudland to be overwhelmed by a large margin. The Memphis Sports Report has picked the Highlanders to lose by a huge margin as well.
   If the polls are any source, Cloudland will be defeated heavily this week. However, I believe this team has the desire to make it back to the 'Boro despite the thoughts of others.
   MY PICK: CLOUDLAND 22-14
   CLOUDLAND NOTES
   - Directions to Finley Stadium: If you are coming from Knoxville take I-75 South to I-24 West to US 27 North (Downtown Chattanooga). Exit at Main Street (Exit 1), then turn left onto Main Street.
   Take an immediate right on to Carter Street. Finley Stadium is straight ahead. Parking lots are available on both sides of Carter Street.
   It should be interesting having this week's contest there, as more Cloudland fans are expected to attend than ETSU fans two weeks ago at the UTC-ETSU game. Cloudland and Boyd's contest will be the last football game to take place there until the NCAA championships later this year.
   - There will be a community pep rally for the Cloudland Highlanders at 8 p.m. this Thursday night. Be sure to wear your blue and gold, and come out to support the team before they travel to face the Bucs.
   PRESEASON B-BALL ALL WESLEY'S
   Basketball season is here, and what a better way to bring in the new season than the first annual All-Wesley Preseason Basketball Awards for Carter and Johnson County, as well as University High.
   There are two teams for the boys and girls, as well as a load of honorable mentions. First up this year is the Preseason Coach of the Year.
   PRESEASON COACH OF THE YEAR: TONY HARDIN, ELIZABETHTON
   Hardin has a returning load of potential this season in his Elizabethton Cyclone machine taking the court this season.
   After a trip to the substate last year, where they were knocked off by Austin-East, the Cyclones have a state tournament caliber team, and nothing less will be expected of the squad.
   PRESEASON MVP: MATT CORNETT, JOHNSON COUNTY
   And now for the most controversial pick of the awards. Matt Cornett was a big player for the Longhorns last season, and should put up bigger numbers this year.
   The reason Vince Redd doesn't take this award is because of his disappointing decline in football this year. Vince is an awesome player, but he didn't live up to his hype this past fall. If he can live up to his hype this year, he will be a nominee for Mr. Basketball.
   PRESEASON GIRLS MVP: TARA HANSON, CLOUDLAND
   Hanson was a dominant player for the Cloudland Lady 'Landers last season, winning a regional MVP award and leading the team in scoring on their way to the state tournament. She should be a force for the Lady 'Landers this season.
   FIRST TEAM ALL-WESLEY'S (B)
   G: B. J. Miller, Elizabethton
   G: Mark Byrd, Cloudland
   F: Rusty Chambers, Unaka
   F: Tim Whaley, Happy Valley
   P: Vince Redd, Elizabethton
   SECOND TEAM ALL-WESLEY'S (B)
   G: Cody Collins, Unaka
   G: Judd Shoun, Johnson County
   G: Walter Brown, Elizabethton
   F: Cole Gouge, Cloudland
   P: Brandon Bradley, University High
   FIRST TEAM ALL-WESLEY'S (G)
   G: Joy Gardner, Hampton
   G: Andrea McQueen, Johnson County
   F: Rikki Baughman, Elizabethton
   P: Amy Storie, Cloudland
   P: Julie Roberson, Unaka
   SECOND TEAM ALL-WESLEY'S (G)
   G: Renee Ensor, Unaka
   G: Brandi Dugger, Happy Valley
   G: Courtney Shaw, Johnson County
   G: Mandy Byrd, Happy Valley
   G: Lacy Lane, Elizabethton
   HONORABLE MENTION
   BOYS: Elizabethton - Lester Bailey, Jordan Lambert; Happy Valley - Cody Whitlock, Jeremy Maddox; Johnson County - Tommy Short, Matt Peters; Hampton - Josh Moss; Unaka - Chris Arnold; Cloudland - Josh Johnson, Aaron Stockton.
   GIRLS: Cloudland - Holly Blair, Stachia Johnson, Nikki Webb; Unaka - Heather Taylor, Kelly Taylor, Coty Townsend; Hampton - Heather Chambers; Johnson County - Nikki Davidson; Happy Valley - Terra Whaley, Crystal Nave; Elizabethton - Tanya Dykes, Brandi Forbes, Jordan Crowe, Valnessha Redd.