BY BRIAN HAMILTON
HAMPTON – Pigeon Forge fell behind 14-0 in the first half against Hampton and were unable to recover, despite a late push by the Tigers.
Hampton would score on the opening drive, as the Bulldogs put together a 10-play, 78-yard drive, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Conor Jones.
Pigeon Forge then fell behind 14-0 when Jones found Johnathan Greenwell for a 24-yard score with three minutes left until halftime.
Junior Ayden Littles returned the opening second half kick-off 71 yards for a touchdown, pulling the Tigers to within 14-7.
A failed fourth down attempt by Hampton gave the ball back to Pigeon Forge near midfield. The Tigers would then embark on a touchdown drive, which was aided by a roughing-the-quarterback penalty, resulting in a 3-yard touchdown run by Little to tie the game at 14-14 with 2:14 left in the third quarter.
Hampton would go on a 10-play drive in the fourth quarter, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Levi Lunsford to regain the advantage, 20-14. The extra-point attempt failed.
Pigeon Forge faced a 2nd-and-39 and Conor Jones then intercepted Tigers quarterback Tyson McFall, setting the Bulldogs up near midfield.
Hampton was unable to run out the clock, as they were stopped on fourth down, giving the ball back to the Tigers with 1:23 left in the game.
The Tigers moved the ball inside the Hampton 20-yard line with just 30 seconds left to play, but Collin Morgan sacked Pigeon Forge quarterback McFall on fourth down with seven seconds left to end the game, giving the Bulldogs the 20-14 win. The Hampton defense limited Pigeon Forge to only 95 yards of total offense on the night.
Pigeon Forge’s Tyson McFall threw for 85 yards on 8-of-16 passing, while Collin Jones ran for 88 yards on 15 carries and Levi Lunsford added 76 yards on 20 carries for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers (0-1) will host Sullivan East (0-1), while Hampton (1-0) will host Johnson County in the Longhorn’s season opener.