Unaka drops heartbreaker in a double-overtime doozy, 50-48

Published 2:03 am Saturday, September 7, 2019

STONEY CREEK- If you give 100 percent effort at least you know you did all you could. This was what the Unaka Rangers had to be thinking Friday night after an absolute heartbreaking defeat to Hancock County.
The ebbs and flows of the game were exhaustive and the drama in Stoney Creek this season is at its peak.
The Rangers started the game on the receiving end but were met with an onside kick to open the game. Unaka would recover and begin to feed Logan Benway on three consecutive plays. 
After a facemask gave the Rangers a first down, the Indians defense would step up and force Unaka to punt.
A 55-yard punt from Daniel Shearl would put Hancock County deep into their own territory. The Indians would then begin their ground assault on the Ranger defense with a revolving door of rushers consisting of Jadon Royston, Darran Collins, Devon Blevins, and Ethan Short.
Blevins would find Short to push the Indians into Ranger territory. A few plays later, Blevins would call his own number and carry the ball for a gain of 18.
Three plays later, Blevins would once again keep it this time scampering for 27 yards and a Hancock County touchdown.
The two-point conversion was unsuccessful and the Indians lead 6-0.
Unaka would start the next drive in decent field position but the Indian defense was once again stifling forcing a three and out and another punt from Shearl.
With the ball again, Hancock County would once again begin a venomous march down the field.
After a couple of chunk plays, Hancock County would once again find themselves in scoring position. An 11-yard carry from Ethan Short would set up a first and goal for the Indians.
Two plays later, Blevins would once again find himself in the end zone and after a two-point conversion, the Indians would lead 14-0.
Desperate for some momentum, Unaka started the next drive with vigor as Landon Ramsey found Devin Ramsey for a gain of nine and a first down.
Logan Benway would then break a 15-yard run to set up another first down.
Following a Hancock County facemask, Benway would find the end zone finally putting the Rangers on the board. After an unsuccessful two-point conversion the score rested at 14-6. 
A quick series from the Indians followed by an interception from Unaka saw possession swap back and forth before Hancock County again took over.
Again the ground attack swarmed and the Rangers didn’t have an answer.
The Indians then took a break from the ground game so that Blevins could show off his arm connecting on a 48-yard pass to Gabe Turner. Another successful two-point conversion made it 22-6 to Hancock County.
An odd series of events led to an onside kick from Hancock County, but they would just take a knee to take it into the locker room.
The Indians would get the ball out of the break and it looked to be another poised drive before Devin Ramsey did what he does best and picked off a pass and took it back the other way for a 43-yard touchdown.
Benway converted the two-point conversion making it 22-14.
The swing in momentum brought about an inspired Ranger defense led by senior captain Nick Bowers. The boys from Stoney Creek would make a stand shutting out the Indians and forcing a punt.
It was clear it had become feeding time for Benway as he would start the drive with three straight carries. After a big sack from Hancock County, Landon Ramsey answered with ice in his veins pitching a 33-yard touchdown to Austin Drew.
Shearl would muscle in to make the game all level at 22.
Hancock County was unfazed, however, as Blevins would again lead a seven-play, 65-yard drive and again punch the ball in for his third score of the game making it 28-22.
Heading into the fourth, the Rangers would start a  drive that appeared to be stalled out before Benway converted a huge fourth-down gaining 13 yards.
The very next play, Ramsey would again find Drew, this time for 45 yards and another Ranger touchdown making the score 28 all.
The next Hancock County possession would be quite short-lived as Shearl stepped in front of a pass and took it 68 yards the other way giving Unaka a second pick-six and putting them back on top 36-28 after the two-point conversion was good.
Then it was time for Blevins to take over as he carried the ball four straight times for over 50 yards setting up a Jadon Royston touchdown. The two-point conversion was again successful once leveling the scores.
A couple of minutes later they were heading to overtime for the second straight week at Stoney Creek. 
The Rangers started with the ball and punched it in on a five-yard screen pass from Ramsey to Benway both finishing with three touchdowns. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful.
The Rangers would yield a quick touchdown to the Indians but they too were unsuccessful on the two-point conversion and they would head to a second overtime.
Hancock County would come out and score on their first play of the second OT and would convert the two-point conversion making it 50-48.
Unaka was then held by a very tough Hancock County front but would not be denied another touchdown setting up a do or die two-point conversion. A fumble on the play would see the Rangers fall just short 50-48.
Yet another tremendous game in Stoney Creek for the second week in a row. Both teams found a way to stay in it when they needed and both fought till they had nothing left to give.
Next for the Rangers, a date with Claiborne on Friday which will start the first of three straight road games.

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