ERWIN — Johnson County’s rushing attack did the damage and silenced any chance of a third straight win for Unicoi on Friday night.
The Longhorns rode the momentum from last week’s overtime thriller in Mountain City and defeated the Devils, 17-6, victory at Gentry Stadium.
The game was a complete turnaround from last year, when the Devils’ downed Johnson County for the first time in a decade.
“We came in tonight knowing we could be more physical,” said Johnson County coach Mike Atwood. “ Our main goal was to bring down No. 5 (Hunter Abbott). He’s a great back but we were able to get the hits on him.”
Abbott was held to 12 carries and 64 yards, that kept the Devils offense in check.
“Johnson County has made huge improvements this year,” Unicoi coach Jerad Huskins said. “Coach Atwood does a great job in Mountain City.”
The Horns (2-1, 1-0) took nearly six minutes off the clock to orchestrate a 13-play, 67 yard drive capped off by a quarterback sneak by Warren Kerley that put the Horns up 7-0 following a Ryan Mahala extra point.
A Mahala field goal with 30 seconds on the clock in the second frame put Johnson County up 10-0 going into halftime.
The Devils (2-1, 0-1) and Longhorns traded fumbles early in the second half, with Johnson County taking advantage of the opportunities going into the fourth.
The final stamp came from Patrick South early in the fourth, rushing from three yards out to tack on coach Atwood’s final score.
“I give all credit to the line,” said South, who rushed for 167 yards on 28 carries. “ They did their job and opened the holes for me. It was a great team effort.”
Unicoi got on the board late in the fourth with a 15-yard scamper from Keith Arrowood but the ’Horns capped off the night holding the Devils with their lone score.
Chase Kleine showed his arm late in the second quarter, firing a long ball to River Cazire for 40 yards to lead the passing attack for Johnson County.
Cody Jack Rogers was kept in check by the ’Horns’ defense, throwing 7-12 for 41 yards.
Cazire chipped in an interception for the stingy Mountain City defense while Mahala picked up a fumble recovery.
Seth Little and Scotty Tester totaled in five tackles to lead Johnson County, while Unicoi was led by Matthew Johnson’s seven-tackle performance.
The ’Horns enter their bye week while Unicoi will travel to J.C. Campbell Stadium to face Hampton in non-conference action next Friday.