Warriors to ‘Play for Blake’ against Unicoi Co.

Published 1:00 am Friday, September 13, 2019

With two senior starters who clicked together well this season – now gone – one to injury and one to defection, the Happy Valley Warriors will play on Friday night against Unicoi County in a non-conference tilt at Gentry Stadium for the fallen comrade, wide receiver Blake Young.
Young was injured against Hampton on the opening kickoff but continued to play with what he thought was a ‘stinger’.
It turned out to be far more serious as his injury required surgery but he was at HV’s practice on Tuesday shaking hands with his coaches and speaking with his teammates.
“I went to see him and I was the first one there,” assistant coach Justin Bowling said. “But all his teammates came soon after and it got pretty crowded in that hospital room.”
Head coach Jason Jarrett said of his fallen senior, “I have been proud of our kids for going to see him and I have been proud of Blake. He is a terrific young man and we all know the talent level he has and his spirits are good and we all hope for a quick recovery.”
Happy Valley (3-0 overall) are facing a foe they know well in the Blue Devils having won the last five meetings between the two since 2013 when the Warriors fell 33-30.
“They are very dangerous and explosive offensively,” Jarrett said. “They have one of the best running backs in the East Tennessee area in Kody Lewis. He can tote the rock and can score six any time he touches the ball.
“They do a good job getting him the ball and you counter that with quarterback Brock Thompson and the weapons they have on the perimeter.
“Defensively we are going to be challenged to defend the run and the pass. Unicoi has a wide-open offense and it’s a challenge every time we play there.”
The Warriors have thrived with their defense, having not given up more than eight points in any contest thus far and have frustrated strong running teams the likes of Cloudland and Hampton and have not given up a 100-yard rusher to date.
The Blue Devils (1-2 overall) fell to South Greene and Hampton before stomping conference rival North Greene 65-6 last week.
The Devils will have to play that kind of game to have any hope of penetrating the HV defense.
The Warriors front line of Cameron Slone, Kamden Richardson, Mason Hicks and Marquise Cole has been unbending in holding Cloudland to just 156 yards rushing and 190 yards of total offense.
They were even better against Chuckey-Doak giving up just 77 yards rushing and 193 of total offense.
Hampton – the preseason conference favorites – managed to rush for a respectable number of 191 rush yards but were held to 26 yards passing.
The HV linebackers are active and make plays all over the field with senior OLB Will Tittle, MLB Timmy Mounts and OLB Andrew Little and the secondary of Eli Ayers and Ty Pierce will have to play with Young’s replacement at safety – sophomore Blake Garmon.
HV has been a quick strike team offensively and showed their mettle with a late touchdown drive to win the game against Hampton as Ayers hit Gabe Nickles with a 13-yard scoring pass with 14.7 ticks left on the game clock.
So far the running game has been uneven but has shown signs that it could explode with junior Matthew Bahn showing a nice burst but so far has not broken a big one.
Tittle has been more effective in the passing game and that will be needed to take the place of Young who has scored on two long touchdown passes this season.
Also in the mix is Little who took a short pass 47 yards to the house against the Bulldogs and Pierce.
Game time is 7:30 pm.

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