Hancock slips past Rangers, 16-14

Published 11:53 am Saturday, September 1, 2018

SNEEDVILLE—The Rangers were right on the edge of checking off the first box on their march to a region title.
Despite battling for four quarters, Unaka couldn’t put on the finishing touches as the Hancock Indians barely held on for a 16-14 win Friday.
Seeing his team take the loss hard, Unaka head coach O’Brien Bennett reminded the Rangers that the Region 1-A championship is still a possibility with a win over both Jellico and Cloudland.
“If you want to be the champ, you have to beat the champ, and that is Cloudland, right now,” said Bennett. “Still having a chance at that after Jellico is still a big goal of ours. We really wanted this one bad. Our kids really laid it out on the field. You can’t look any one of them in the eyes and say that kid didn’t give 100 percent.”
The Rangers struck first in the opening quarter. After a 50-yard pass play from Unaka quarterback John Ramsey to his brother, Devin Ramsey, the Rangers found the end zone as John Ramsey found Devon Jarrett on a 40-yard touchdown toss. The 2-point conversion came up short, and Unaka led 6-0 early in the first quarter.
Hancock got on the scoreboard in the opening minutes of the second period as Indians senior Seth Hipshire blasted up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown run which was followed up by Hancock QB T.J. Poore sneaking in the 2-point conversion. The Indians took an 8-6 lead with little over 10 minutes left in the first period.
The Indians would go to Hipshire many times throughout the night, and the Rangers struggled to find an answer for the senior running back.
“Those kids are tough (Hancock),” said Bennett. “It seems like he (Hipshire) carried the ball 40 times. When you have a football team that is disciplined enough to march down the field, it is hard to stop. If they can do that without making a mistake, that is what tough football teams do.”
The Rangers, having trouble generating offense in the second quarter, battled to keep Hancock out of the end zone before the half. Unaka’s Devin Ramsey came up big for the Rangers as he picked off an interception deep in Unaka territory to end a potential scoring drive for the Indians.
With 4:09 left in the third quarter, Hipshire struck again as he ran in a 15-yard touchdown. Hancock went to Poore again for the 2-point conversion and the QB delivered to stake the Indians to a 16-8 lead.
In the fourth, a big fumble recovery by the Rangers would set up a 6-play drive from 24 yards that resulted in a 3-yard touchdown run from John Ramsey, who carried the ball five times on the drive. The score and a 2-point conversion pass from Ramsey to teammate Bryson Street allowed Unaka to cut Hancock’s lead to 16-14 with 4:18 left in the fourth quarter.
“John Boy (Ramsey) is a competitor,” said Bennett. “We called a couple called runs to John Boy and let him use his mobility and use his legs. He did a heck of a job, and he is a Warrior.”
Ramsey passed for 195 yards while connecting on 11-of-19 attempts while having 1 passing TD and an interception. Ramsey also carried for 18 yards and a touchdown.
Devin Ramsey had 80 yards receiving on 2 catches, while Jarrett had 90 yards on 6 catches and 1 touchdown.
The Indians drove down the field before eating up the clock on their final possession of the game.
The Rangers will at Midway next Friday.

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