The Highlanders have spent the next three weeks changing the storyline.
In a 68-30 rout of rival Avery County on Friday night in North Carolina, Cloudland continued an offensive bounce back that started in a 50-6 whipping of North Greene two weeks earlier.
Against Avery, Jordan Coffey rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns while teammate Josh Blair added 108 yards and three scores. Malachi Benfield got it done through the air, connecting on four of five tosses for 100 yards.
It was Cloudland’s fifth win over Avery in the last six meetings.
A heavy favorite to win Region 1-1A, the Highlanders begin their conference slate next week when they play host to Hancock County. Cloudland (2-1) still has a trio of tough non-league games left on the schedule with Happy Valley (Sept. 21), Hampton (Oct. 5) and Johnson County (Oct. 19).
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Tennessee High already has a Region 1-5A loss, but the Vikings gave a hint they are still a team to be reckoned with in the league with Friday’s 42-21 win over rival Virginia High.
The Vikings are averaging 31 points per game, and can steady their league standing with a win over Morristown East on Friday. The Hurricanes were the preseason favorite in the league, and although they have stumbled to a 1-3 start, the win was their only region decision.
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Cherokee was knocking at the door of its first win of the season but came up three points short (20-17) against Seymour.
The Chiefs got a touchdown pass from Trey Courtney, and his rushing score gave Cherokee a late 17-13 lead. However, Seymour got the go-ahead score with 4:57 left in the game.
Chiefs’ kicker Dawson Walker made an impressive 39-yard field goal to give Cherokee a 10-6 halftime lead.