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Putting on a show… Hampton, Happy Valley get down and dirty in 16-8 Jr. ‘Dog victory

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
All one has to say is Hampton and Happy Valley and you know it’s on like Donkey Kong.

The two middle schools met on the grass at JC Campbell Stadium on Thursday evening and battle each other from one end of the field to the other as the Jr. Bulldogs managed to thwart to late pass attempts by the Jr. Warriors to preserve a 16-8 victory giving the fans their money’s worth for the evening.

Each team was bringing the hammer in the opening quarter as both defenses managed to keep the opposing offense from evening having an opportunity to sniff the end zone as the first quarter ended 0-0.

Hampton responded halfway through the second quarter as AJ Greenless battled through a tribe of Jr. Warriors before extended the ball across the goal line with 4:05 remaining before the half.

The score was made possible by Hampton quarterback Dominque Burleson converted a fourth and two to set Greenless up for the score.

Burleson connected with Connor McKinney for the two-point conversion to stake Hampton to an 8-0 edge.

Happy Valley wasn’t about to take the Jr. ‘Dog lead in stride as the Jr. Warriors responded almost a minute later on a double pass as HV quarterback Drew Blevins hit Jamie Esterline on a backward pass and Esterline made a perfect toss to Freddy Jackson who outran the Jr. Bulldog defense 65 yards to pay dirt.

On the two-point conversion, Blevins found AJ Campbell and the scoreboard read 8-8 with 3:08 left in the opening half.

Neither team could score the rest of the quarter and the half ended knotted at 8-8.

The Jr. ‘Dogs pushed ahead in the third quarter as running back Logan Brochue darted around the end and raced 62 yards for the go-ahead score.

Hampton converted the all-important two-point conversion as Burleson rolled around the end and into the end zone to make it a 16-8 contest with 4:49 remaining in the third quarter.

Both teams entered the fourth quarter with the same score.

The Jr. Warriors had a couple of opportunities to score with less than four minutes to play in the contest but Hampton stopped the Jr. Warriors on a fourth-down play at 3:30 of the game and then broke up a pass at the goal line with under 30 seconds to play and finally intercepted a Blevins pass to thwart the Jr. Warriors hopes of evening the game.

“I feel like there was class shown out there on both sides,” said Jr. Bulldog head coach Alex Payne. “I have been on both sides of this rivalry and its so special because I believe these kids represent both communities well.

“It’s a small town rivalry but it couldn’t get any better than it did tonight as far as I am concerned. I want to give Happy Valley and Coach (Kevin) Kendall and his staff a lot of credit – they came out and out-executed us in the first half and played us tough.

“Our kids represented Hampton well and I couldn’t be happier.”