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Church Hill Middle claims Area 1 title

By JIMMY MOORE, TriCitiesSports.com • Oct 23, 2017 at 9:23 PM

The Church Hill Middle School football team captured the Area 1 championship last week in a nail-biting finish.

The Panthers fought off Johnson County 28-24 in the title matchup on Oct. 19 in Mountain City when Garrison Barrett capped a six-play, 48-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run with just 10 seconds left in the game.

Jared Counts, who ended the night with 90 yards on nine carries, kick-started the game-winning drive with his 5-yard run. Dawson Dykes, the game’s leading rusher with 140 yards on 19 carries, had runs of 9 and 15 yards to extend the march.

Dykes had two touchdowns and took in a pair of 2-point conversions while averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Barrett also scored twice. Counts, playing linebacker, totaled seven tackles, Jaden Cutwright had four stops, and Dykes and Heath Miller made three tackles each to lead the defense for Church Hill (8-1).

Corie Neely led the Longhorns (6-1) with 100 rushing yards on 22 carries. Ethan Icenhour powered the defense with 10 tackles.

The Panthers, whose lone loss of the season was a 26-24 setback against Bluff City, outscored their opponents 269-85. Their year included a 46-0 win over Rogersville Middle and a 20-7 victory over Colonial Heights.