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Trousdale County will make its 20th appearance in the semifinal round of the playoffs on Friday night when the Yellow Jackets make a long drive to East Tennessee to face the Hampton Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs are 10-2 with wins over Pigeon Forge (20-14), Johnson County (1-0), Avery Co., N.C. (54-26), Cloudland (33-0), Happy Valley (48-0), Cumberland Gap (42-0), Unaka (51-14), Monterey (21-0), Rockwood (47-18) and Oneida (30-7). The boys from Carter County also have losses to South Greene (28-22) and Class 5A Daniel Boone (27-14).

“They’re notorious for being a powerhouse over in East Tennessee,” TCHS coach Blake Satterfield said of Hampton. “Back in 2005 was the last time we went there when I was playing. They’re big, physical and well coached, and it’s going to be a very tough ballgame for us.”

Hampton is led by three-year starting quarterback Conor Jones (6-0, 190) and in the trenches the Bulldogs have two of the state’s biggest players in Nathan Weatherbee (6-5, 360) and McKinley Kuhn (6-2, 340).

“Hampton’s huge,” Satterfield added. “They’ve got very big offensive lineman, very big defensive linemen, they’ve got big skill guys too. They’ve got some fast kids as well and I think they’re really well coached too.”

Hampton has made three previous semifinal appearances from 2005 to 2007 but has never advanced to the championship game.

The Jackets have faced Hampton once, winning 35-0 in 2005 as Trousdale scored on the first play from scrimmage.

Kickoff Friday will be at 6 p.m. Central and the game can be heard live on WTNK 93.5-FM / 1090-AM and online at Live scoring updates will be available on The Vidette’s Facebook page.

The team is scheduled to leave Friday morning at 9 a.m. with a police escort up Broadway and out Highway 25. Yellow Jacket fans are invited to line the streets as the team departs to show their support.

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