JACKSBORO—Cocke County Fighting Cocks first-year head coach Scotty Dykes’ first game as head coach of his alma mater was an electric one, so to speak.
After waiting out a 90-minute lightning delay early in the second quarter, though, Campbell County prevailed victorious with a 14-0 win over the Big Red in their 2019 season opener.
“Love the effort our kids put out,” Dykes said. “Effort wasn’t an issue, but execution was. If I can get that effort out of them every game this year, we’ll be alright.”
Offensive struggles plagued Cocke County (0-1) for the better part of the night. The Fighting Cocks finished the game with just 94 total yards of offense, only 12 of which came on the ground.
“We can’t seem to find our footing on offense and understand what we can and can’t do,” Dykes said. “We’ve struggled with running the ball consistently, and our passing game just isn’t effective enough. Right now, we don’t know our offensive identity.”
The offense did begin building some momentum after the weather delay, but could still never find the end zone. Their two best chances came at the end of the first half and again in the fourth quarter, but penalties and trouble with execution ultimately led to their demise.
After going for it on fourth-and-short at their own 33-yard line late in the fourth quarter to try and keep a drive alive, Campbell County (1-0) picked up a big stop on the Fighting Cocks and turned it into its second touchdown of the evening to cap off the 14-0 triumph.
“We weren’t going to keep an offense like that out of the end zone all day,” Dykes said. “Thought we had a good situation, and with the weather we were worried about muffing the snap on a punt. Thought we had a good play call, but it wasn’t there.”
It was all Cocke County’s defense could do to keep the game within reason as time wore on.
Despite giving up nearly 100 yards of offense in the first quarter, the CCHS defense held Campbell County to just 226 total yards for the game, as well as a force a pair of turnovers with interceptions by Jesse Sauceman and John Norton, but couldn’t keep the Cougars’ star receiver out of the end zone.
“Great performance by our defense tonight,” Dykes said. “Our defensive staff and unit as a whole did a phenomenal job tonight. Effort was there, but we have to help them out offensively. And it starts with execution and understanding what we’re doing.”
Delvin Dukes had 84 yards on six receptions and two scores for Campbell County Friday night. His quarterback, Hunter White, totaled 121 yards through the air on 10-of-23 completions.
Cocke County struggled with winning the field position battle early in the game.
As a result, it relented the first score of the game when White found Dukes for a 19-yard touchdown strike with 2:57 left in the opening period to break the scoreless tie.
Cocke County’s offense went three-and-out for its first three possessions of the game, and atoned for negative total yards early in the second quarter.
Campbell County was threatening to score again early in the second period before lightning consumed the area and forced a weather delay that last over 90 minutes. On the other side of the delay Cocke County’s defense came up with a much needed stop, and the offense picked up its initial first down of the game with under 10 minutes left in the first half.
The Fighting Cocks’ offense would put together a more inspired effort to finish the second half, including two drives that ended deep in Campbell County territory, but driving deep in the red zone with time winding down they couldn’t get a score to even things going into the half.
The Cougars held a 7-0 advantage at the break, and would continue to keep that lead through the third quarter.
Both teams struggled to move the ball in the third quarter, but the ground game would eventually prevail for the quarters as the clock began to wound down.
CJ Allen carried the ball 23 times for 99 yards, and helped keep the clock moving with a seven-point lead in tow.
Cocke County’s last gasp came on an attempt to go for it on fourth down at its own 33-yard line. Once it was held short, the Cougars took possession and put the final nail in the coffin when White found Dukes for a 38-yard score with 7:14 to play.
The Fighting Cocks couldn’t gain any momentum after that, as they succumbed to the 14-point defeat to open the season.
“We’ll go look at film, break it down and come after it again next week,” Dykes said. “We’re going to go to work, figure it out and come back ready to go next week.”
Cocke County will look to bounce back next week in a Thursday night game at Northview Academy. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.