Unaka second half rally falls short in opener

Published 11:08 am Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stoney Creek’s gridiron group saw flashes of progress, but North Greene would not be denied.

First half turnovers set the tone as the Huskies knocked off Unaka 26-14 Friday night in Baileyton to open up the 2017 football season.

Working with a goose egg heading into the third, the Rangers banked on key defensive stops and a pair of touchdown throws from John “Boy” Ramsey to Blake Isaacs to pull within a score, 20-14, midway through the period.

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It was the attitude and effort, according to Unaka head coach O’Brien Bennett, that kept the Rangers alive.

“We didn’t get snowballed by that 20-0 score in the first,” he said. “We had three bad snaps. Our kids had the chance to point fingers after that start, and they didn’t.

“We preach attitude, effort, and execution. They had a good attitude and effort,” the coach continued. “They brought the fight and worked hard.”

Led by senior Bryson Street, Unaka’s defense held their own by allowing just six points over the last three periods.

“Our defensive coordinator, Zach Naylor, did a great job of getting our guys into possession,” Bennett said. “I can’t say about the defensive effort.”

After a slow start offensively, the Rangers passing game started to click with Ramsey tossing for over 100 yards.

Ramsey’s first touchdown was setup by a long kickoff return by Devon Jarrett, who also had an early fumble recovery to stall North Greene’s first drive of the game.

“It’s my job to fix the execution on offense,” Bennett said. “We were sloppy but we’ll head into practice and learn from this.”

Unaka will have a bye week coming up before opening up their home schedule next Friday against Hancock County.

(A full breakdown of Friday’s game with statistics, comments from coach Bennett, photos and a look ahead will be featured in Gridiron Weekly, which will appear in the Tuesday edition of the Elizabethton Star.)