Hampton, Cloudland try to keep momentum rolling in second round

Douglas Fritz • Nov 15, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Most teams want to be playing their best football when the playoffs roll around.

Hampton and Cloudland can both check that box.

The Bulldogs have won eight in a row — posting four straight shutouts and allowing six points over their last five games — as they play host to Oneida in the second round of the TSSAA Class 2A playoffs Friday.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders have won four straight since losing to Hampton. They will play host to Oliver Springs in a Class 1A second-round game.

Kickoff for both contests is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Oneida (7-4) at Hampton (9-2)

Defense is a big part of the Indians’ game. In last week’s 35-0 win over Sullivan North, Oneida limited the Raiders to just 52 yards of offense. North totaled only three first downs.

“They play very sound defense with a bend-but-don't-break mentality,” said Hampton head coach Michael Lunsford.

Offensively, Oneida totaled 327 yards on the ground. Junior Kolby Morgan rushed for 117 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.

Lunsford said the Indians like to play physical with their ground game.

“Oneida is a power-run team with the ability to complete passes when they need to,” said Lunsford. “They are big and strong up front, and in the backfield.”

Lunsford said Morgan and Bryson Buttram are the top rushing threats. He said Logan Bell and tight end Hunter Barnhart stand out on the offensive line.

“We have to tackle well and we have to score when we get the opportunity,” Lunsford said. “We can't have turnovers or penalties.”

Oliver Springs (9-2) at Cloudland (6-5)

The Bobcats operate with a 67-33 percent run-pass strategy. They spread the ball around with four running backs over 250 yards on the season. Trey Boswell leads the way with 692 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Quarterback Blake Crass averages just nine attempts per game, but has totaled 660 yards and 10 touchdowns.

When Cloudland has the football, the Highlanders will face a tough defense that has held opponents to one score or less eight times in 11 games.

“They have some very good defensive linemen,” said Cloudland head coach Scott Potter. “We have to win at the line of scrimmage to have any chance.”

Potter said his team also needs to stay focused.

“Late in the season and cold weather leads to loss of focus,” said Potter. “We must be ready to give all we have Friday.”