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Late score tilts outcome in Warriors' favor

Matt Laws • Sep 6, 2019 at 11:00 PM

It was a Carter County thriller on Warrior Hill.

Eli Ayers hit Gabe Nichols for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds remaining to lift Happy Valley to a 14-8 victory over Hampton in a crucial Region 1-2A football clash.

With the win, Happy Valley improved to 3-0 on the season while the Bulldogs slipped to 1-2. It was the league opener for both teams.

Points Come At a Premium

The end zone was well protected on Friday night as points came at a premium for both teams.

Happy Valley took a lead on its opening drive as Noah Stevens found Andrew Little for a 47-yard touchdown pass. The Cameron Cochran extra point gave HV a 7-0 edge.

That would be all the scoring till the final stanza.

Hampton had a pair of lengthy second-half drives, including one that went nine plays and ended when Macon Barden scored on a 4-yard touchdown run. The Bulldogs seized an 8-7 lead as Conor Jones hit Caleb Oaks on a swing pass for the two-point conversion.

The Frantic Ending

After the Bulldogs took the lead, the Hampton defense looked to control the game as the Warriors were forced to punt on the ensuing drive. The Warrior defense, however, repaid the favor giving the offense the ball with just over four minutes to play in the game.

Ayers and the Warriors went to work on a 15-play drive that covered 80 yards. That set-up the game winner for the Warriors in the final minute.

Hampton had one final play from midfield as Jones found Gage Chambers, but the Warriors stopped him short of the goal line to set off the celebration among the HV faithful.

Leaders

Ayers finished 5-of-8 passing for 57 yards, while Little had four catches for 71 yards.

Will Tittle had 43 yards on six carries.

For the Bulldogs, Matt Hughes had 73 yards on 17 carries, while Barden added 48 yards on nine carries. Oaks finished with 43 yards.

Next week, Happy Valley hits the road with a trip to Unicoi County, while Hampton will look to rebound against Cloudland.

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