Warriors welcome Blue Devils for home opener

Published 4:19 pm Thursday, September 8, 2016


Coming off a thriller in Bloomingdale, Happy Valley is expecting another tough task Friday night.

The Warriors (2-0) will welcome Unicoi County to Warrior Hill to revisit a storied rivalry from over the years. Competition runs fluidly over the years when it comes to the cross country rivals, according to Happy Valley head coach Jason Jarrett.

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“You can always expect a highly competitive game when it’s Happy Valley and Unicoi County,” he said. “Even if it is checkers, you can expect both sides to give it all they got. We’re expecting Friday night to be real competitive just like the way the games have been in the past.”

Jarrett’s crew is coming off a 41-24 win over an explosive offense from Sullivan North, and he added that his team will see their fair share of playmakers Friday night.

“They have so many skilled players,” Jarrett said of the Blue Devils. “You look at their quarterback, their running backs, their wide receivers … they’ve got so much talent that they’ll try to wear you down. And they’ll try to do the same on defense, too.”

Sage Haun was the offensive machine for the Warriors last week, tossing for over 200 yards through the air, while connecting with multiple targets, including Brayden Sams, Chris Young, Kai Norman, Skylar Hyatt and Austin Hicks. Dylan Street cut loose for a 100-yard plus game on the ground while Hicks and Dustun Sams provided bruising runs all night long for Warrior fans.

The production on the ground and in the air saw credit garnered in the trenches. Between the offense keeping level-headed and the defense wreaking havoc late to set up the fourth quarter rally, it was a good night for the linemen, according to the head coach.

“That’s one of the, if not the biggest, front we’ll see all year long,” Jarrett said of Sullivan North. “That was very big for our guys to win the battle in the trenches. That’s where the games are won and we’ll need to continue doing that Friday night.”

Unicoi County (2-1) enters the contest following up a win over West Greene in Erwin last week. The Blue Devils are led behind center by Kendrick Williams. Nick Fender and Cameron Higgins handle the bulk of the carries on the ground while Michael Howell, Jacob Smith and Shaddon Peavyhouse expect to be the threats through the air.

Along with a traditionally tough rivalry game, Jarrett added that fans will see some new sights on Warrior Hill, with new stands recently installed.

“We definitely hope to see a good crowd out Friday night,” Jarrett said.

Kickoff for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.