Taking a step of faith… Unaka travels to Greenback to take on Goliath-sized opportunity

Published 1:02 am Friday, November 8, 2019

This week’s first-round playoff game for Unaka against Greenback will be almost like watching the movie Facing the Giants as Coach O’Brien Bennett and his Ranger team will be facing the same odds as the small team from the movie going up against not only a larger school as far as players on roster but in stature as well.
With that in mind, Bennett has turned to pulling out a small rock that he picked up on his trip to Israel recently that came from the same stream as the stone that David picked his stones from when he faced off with the biblical giant Goliath.
The message was simple – the rock had nothing grand about it that lent itself to doing such a feat but it was the heart behind David that led to the victory.
“There was nothing significant about it and they looked at the rock and it was white and nothing special about it,” Bennett said about the kid’s reaction to the stone. “It was something small and unremarkable that killed Goliath and they were like that’s cool.
“It wasn’t the rock, it was the faith to step out and face Goliath and that’s what we need to have is faith to step out. That doesn’t mean that God cares about the result of a football game and it doesn’t mean that we are going to win Friday night, but it can guarantee that we are not going to win if we don’t take that step of faith and stand up without fear and with faith.”
Unaka is coming off a refreshing contest where everything played out in the Ranger’s favor and as a result, a ‘W’ was entered into the win column. Bennett felt like the win couldn’t have come at a better time for his squad.
“It was huge,” Bennett stated about the win over Sunbright. “Coming off a big win Friday, we really needed that for our confidence and for our season. The kids came out and we played a pretty good ball game. We didn’t make a lot of mistakes and that was key.
“Going into this week, we are kind of playing against a team that literally has giants out there,” Bennett said about Greenback. “They have a 6’6 offensive lineman and defensive lineman committed to Virginia Tech and another kid that is 6’5 getting offers from Mississippi State and everywhere.
“They also have a wide receiver 6’5 that has D-1 offers. Their quarterback transferred from Maryville where he started last year and is leading the state in passing this year.
“So, they have a lot of talent out there,” Bennett continued. “We talked to our kids about it being a great opportunity to measure yourself up and how you shouldn’t be intimidated by that type of talent but excited about it.
“It’s an opportunity to play against guys that you are going to see on Saturday and maybe one day that you will see on Sunday and see them on TV and know where you stand up against it.”
As with every other team in the state, the regular-season records have been tossed out the door and a new season begins tonight and will require a different approach than in regular season.
“Right now you are 0-0 because it doesn’t matter what your record was in the regular season,” Bennett added. “It doesn’t matter who you beat or who beat you. Everybody is on even ground.
“That’s the great thing about playoffs is if you go 1-0 this week you advance and if you don’t you go home. There are 32 teams here and we control our own destiny.
“If we win this Friday then all we have to do is repeat and that is everybody’s strategy.”
All games have a 7 pm kick off this week.

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