TOP PHOTO: Cougars Will Lester (left) and Landon Hensley are set for another play in Thursday’s scrimmage with Oneida.

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – When the Campbell Cougars hosted Oneida last June, starting quarterback Hunter White was out of town when the 7-on-7 scrimmage was scheduled on the fly. Quarterbacking was then left up to freshman signal caller Landon Hensley. Yesterday morning on Reynolds Field, it was Hensley, the sophomore quarterback, leading the way for the Cougars again.

Freshman Ryder Bumgardner readies to snap to Landon Hensley as Will Lester is the tailback.

Hensley is White’s successor and certainly played the part showing poise and confidence through each 10-play series he led. “Even though Landon doesn’t have a lot of experience, his skill set will more than make up for that,” said 12th year Campbell Head Coach Justin Price. Price, himself, should know, because he was an outstanding high school and college quarterback in his day.

Price feels like Hensley has a high ceiling. “He has a lot of responsibility as our signal caller, but he knows he has help from those around him,” added Coach Price. The coach is very excited about Hensley for this season.

This team appears to have a lot of leaders, players who have done a good job, played a lot of football and understand what it takes to play at a high level. Will Lester, Mason Shanks, Devon Jones and Ethan Miller are some of those leaders. Experience from these leaders and the several other leaders on this team affords the Cougars teachers on the field showing the younger players around them what it’s going to take to be successful.

Lester’s role expands this season as he’ll not only be needed at his usual linebacker spot on defense, he’ll be counted on as a running back, a position he played all through his record setting middle school career at Jacksboro. “We’ll be finding ways to get the ball in Will’s hands on offense, and we’ll make sure he’s also prepared to play linebacker,” said Price.

“It was a great opportunity to play Oneida and for us to continue to prepare for the 2022 season. This was good for our offense and defense,” said Price. He describes Oneida as an always solid football team.

“I was pleased with our overall performance and the fact that we took advantage of opportunities to make the big plays,” said Price. One of those big plays was a 60-yard catch and run for a touchdown by Lester on a pass from Hensley. Lester came out of the backfield, caught the ball near the home team sideline and sprinted to the east end zone. One Cougar said that was the fastest he’d ever seen Will run.

The Cougars made some big plays on Thursday.

Price liked the way his team “did the little things right.” “The big game changing plays are the hardest to make, and we made some of those today,” said Price.

Campbell and the rest of the state’s high school programs catch a couple of weeks break with the dead period beginning on Monday through July 10. Then it’s right back to work.

Ahead for the Cougars is a 7-on-7 at home with Bearden on Tuesday, July 12. On Thursday and Friday, July 14 and 15, Campbell will play in a tournament style 7-on-7 at Powell. Come Monday, July 18, the acclamation stage of the season begins.

Campbell opens the season on Friday, August 19, at 7:30pm, when the Central Purple Pounders out of Chattanooga visit Dossett Stadium. WLAF will also be there for all the radio, TV and internet coverage as Les Martin and Brent Allen return for their 12th season of calling the action over the WLAF – Doyle’s Tire Shop Sports Network. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/24/2022-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S JOSH PARKER)