TOP PHOTO: It was a beautiful, but windy and cool, evening for Friday’s Campbell football game at East. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WLAF’S CLAYTON CARROLL)

MORRISTOWN, TN (WLAF) – Campbell’s impressive opening drive ended in a fumble at the goal line. That set a turnover tone at Burke-Toney Stadium and was the first of five combined first half turnovers for homestanding Morristown East and the Campbell Cougars. Watch the game HERE on demand.

However, Timmy Gibson came right back after that first Campbell miscue and intercepted an East pass. Gibson’s pick set up the Cougars at the East 37. The Orange-n-Blue drove for a score with Gavin Owens plunging for a one yard touchdown followed by a Rylan Sanders extra point.

East trailed 7-0 to start the second quarter and ended up posting nine points to take its first and only lead of the night. The Hurricanes chopped Campbell’s lead to 7-3 and then forced a fumble deep in Cougar territory. From the 17, East ran the ball twice and scored to go in front 9-7. Timmy Gibson blocked the extra point try.

With 5:29 until halftime, Landen Hensley found Gavin Owens on a middle screen. Owens eluded defenders while weaving his way to the east end zone on a 39 yard pass, catch and run. Sanders PAT pushed Campbell even further ahead at 14-9.

Late in the second quarter, Owens tipped away a fourth down pass. That play stopped East on downs and gave Campbell the ball at its 44 yard line. The Cougars headed for points and came away with a score from Owens on a nine-yard scamper.

With Campbell ahead 21-9, teams swapped interceptions with Luke Lindsay snagging his first of two INTs for the Cougars. East returned the favor and had the ball when the half ended.

Campbell held East on downs on the Canes first possession of the second half. The Cougars ran on first down with Owens rambling 29 yards followed by an incomplete pass and then Hensley on a quarterback draw for a 23 yard touchdown. Sanders PAT extended Campbell’s lead to 28 to 9 with 9:09 left in the third quarter.

East answered with a scoring drive capped by a quarterback keeper for pay dirt. The Hurricanes PAT was good setting the score at 28-16.

An onside kick after the East score was recovered by Campbell on the East side of the 50 at the 49. This Cougars scoring drive was aided by two 15 yard penalties, back-to-back, a personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct. Gavin Owens rang up his fifth touchdown. Sanders snapper and holder could not make a clean snap and hold forcing an errant PAT.

The Hurricanes would not go away on this very windy night. In the closing moments of the third quarter, the Canes blew downfield answering the Cougars score and carving the Campbell lead down to 11 at 34-23.

Keegan Cowan, back from an injury in the Karns game, scooped up a loose football and raced up the north sideline on a 50 yard dash. He was wrestled out of play along the boundary at the 13. With 8:56 left in the game, Gavin Owens tallied his fifth touchdown of the night followed by Sanders PAT giving Campbell a 41-23 advantage.

An errant Cougar pass ends in the hands of an East defender. The Hurricanes complete this latest scoring drive on a picture perfect pass into triple coverage on the doorstep of the end zone and then run for the two point conversion. It was a two possession game at 5:56 left at 41-31.

In a game that was marred by penalties and a scuffle with ejections for both teams, Campbell wins 41-31 to improve to 4 & 9. East drops to 0 & 9. The Cougars play the Wildcats at Oak Ridge on Thursday in their last regular season game before the playoffs. The last game of the season for East will be at Blountville against the West Ridge Wolves on Friday. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/20/2023-10PM)