Highlanders speed past Unaka, 64-0

Published 11:43 pm Friday, September 28, 2018

The Highlanders didn’t let up any Friday night as they hosted Unaka to Roan Mountain for a Region 1-A matchup.
Cloudland, behind a 100-plus yard passing performance from senior QB Malachi Benfield, topped the Rangers 64-0 for a homecoming win.
Coming into Friday night’s game, the Highlanders knew they would have their hands full with Rangers quarterback John “Boy” Ramsey and his receivers, and Benfield feels the ‘Landers stepped up to the task.
“We played really well tonight,” said Benfield. “Our pass defense hasn’t been too good this year, and we really picked it up tonight. I am really proud of our team for that.”
Right out the gate, the Highlanders struck quick as Benfield found teammate Triston Lacy on a 46-yard passing touchdown to jump Cloudland ahead 8-0 early.
Despite a 29-yard pass play from Ramsey to his brother, Devin Ramsey, that got the Rangers to midfield, Unaka had to punt on the following possession as Cloudland’s Jed Childress landed a fourth-down producing sack.
Cloudland’s second score of the night was set up by a 58-yard run by Highlanders Connor Birchfield. Birchfield’s big run was followed up with Highlanders Jordan Coffey running in from 5 yards out to move the Landers ahead 14-0.
Cloudland moved on out to 22-0 lead with 11:41 left in the second as Coffey ran a 6-yard carry.
The Rangers started picking up steam through the air as Ramsey connected with teammates Nick Bowers and Devon Jarrett. The Rangers drive, however, would be cut short as Lacy picked off a Ramsey pass.
On the following the possession, a 38-yard pass from Benfield to Coffey would highlight the drive before Benfield kept the ball into the end zone from 21 yards out to give Cloudland a 30-0 lead.
The Highlanders got a little tricky late in the second half. On the Rangers 40, Benfield connected with teammate Josh Blair on a 10-yard pass before Blair then lateraled the ball the Coffey who went the remaining 30 yards for a touchdown. The Highlanders then utilized a double-pass from Benfield to Lacy and then to Coffey for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 57.2 seconds left in the half. At intermission, the Highlanders led 44-0.
The only TD of the third came from a 6-yard carry from Benfield to give him his third touchdown out the night and the Highlanders a 52-0 lead in the third quarter.
Cloudland scored twice in the fourth with Damien Black scoring on a 16-yard carry and Seth Birchfield scoring 19-yard run.
Next week, Cloudland will host Hampton while Unaka will host Unicoi.

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