HAMPTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – This weekend, two Carter County high schools take aim at state football championships in their respective divisions, but one school making its first trip to the state championship is receiving an extra boost from the entire county.
Hampton High School defeated Trousdale County 22-20 Friday to advance to the Division 1 Class 2A state championship game in Chattanooga. It is the furthest the Bulldogs have ever made it in state playoffs.
“It’s been a whirlwind since Friday night,” said Hampton Athletic Director Dewayne Humphrey. “This is something that we have worked for as long as I can remember here at Hampton High School.”
Making it to the big game is difficult for small Hampton High School because it means thousands of dollars in expenses across transportation. Luckily, the school is receiving donations to help pay for its trip to Chattanooga.
People across Carter County have donated over $4,000 since Friday’s win. Humphrey said one individual donated over $3,000 so the Bulldogs could ride to the game in a coach bus.
Another $1,000 was donated to help feed the 50 plus players and coaches on the trip.
“As soon as the clock hit zeroes, people were wanting to know how they could help us out. Is there anything the team would need?” Humphrey said. “It’s meant the world to this school and this athletic program. You couldn’t ask for a better reaction to help these kids out.”
Hampton Principal Jeff Bradley estimated the school had about $3,000 of expenses left to cover as of Monday afternoon.
Some of the donations received came from fans of the other Carter County team: the two-time reigning Class 4A state champion Elizabethton High School Cyclones.
David Lacy, an Elizabethton alumnus and a member of the Cyclone Touchdown Club, said he has been challenging other Touchdown Club members and Elizabethton businesses to donate toward Hampton’s trip.
“I want those young men who have worked hard and earned this to be able to go down there and have just as much fun and enjoy it just as much as we’re going to this year,” Lacy said.
Lacy said he and several other Elizabethton fans plan to attend both games this Saturday in Chattanooga. They plan to support Hampton, which plays directly after Elizabethton.
Lacy said supporting Hampton and Elizabethton in their title hunt is a point of pride for Carter County.
“We recognize it’s hard to get there once,” Lacy said. “To get two teams there, it’s very difficult, so we know what this is about.”
Elizabethton plays Tullahoma High School at 11 a.m. Saturday for the Class 4A Championship. Directly afterward, Hampton plays Westview High School at 3 p.m. for the Class 2A Championship.