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Rangers take a business trip to Sneedville

BY NIC MILLER
STAR CORRESPONDENT
SNEEDVILLE – After an offseason full of questions for the Unaka Rangers, their time had finally come as they got the season underway on the road Friday night.
The Rangers out of Stoney Creek embarked on a two-hour journey on Friday to take on a team that also held a 0-0 record on the season, the Hancock County Indians.
As is with all high school games this year, the visiting Rangers would receive the ball first and they were able to start the action early as Landon Ramsey was able to find Devin Ramsey on a thirty-two-yard pass that put Unaka inside of the red zone.
But only a few plays later, a backward pass from Ramsey would result in a fumble recovery by Sam Tabler and the Indian defense.
After the Ranger defense was able to force a punt, Unaka came back out looking to fix their mistakes.
And they were able to do just that as running back Daniel Shearl took the handoff thirty-eight yards for the first score of the contest giving his team a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
After yet another impressive effort by the Ranger defense, Unaka was able to take control in Hancock County territory.
But after taking the ball to the two-yard line, Shearl would be stripped by the Indians’ Devon Blevins as he would take the ball ninety-eight yards for a touchdown to even the score at 6-6 in the second quarter.
It was a tug of war for almost the rest of the first half until Shearl would catch a short pass from Ramsey to put the Rangers in scoring position.
From that point, Shearl would once again cap off the drive with a four-yard score as well as a reception for the two-point conversion to put the Rangers back on top 14-6 before halftime.
After a promising drive to start the second half for the Indians, the Rangers would once again hold their ground and regain possession at midfield.
Unaka stuck to the same gameplay as the first half and punished the Hancock County defense with the rush. After taking the ball down to the three with the ground game, the Rangers would punch it in once again as Drew Smith would bust through the line for the score as well as add another two-point conversion for the visitors.
With a quarter and a half to go, it was the Rangers on top, 22-6.
Things were quiet for the rest of the third quarter, but as the fourth quarter began, it was Shearl once again as he took the ball across the goal line from ninety-five yards out to essentially seal the deal with a 30-6 score in the fourth quarter.
After two late-game scores from the Rangers’ Kaleb Collins as well as the Indians’ Paxton Stewart, the visitors would have a fun bus ride back as they claimed the road win over Hancock County by a score of 36-14.
After a great win from his team to start the season, Rangers’ head coach O’Brien Bennett spoke about his team’s performance.
“We have a lot of guys who had a great game tonight like (Daniel) Shearl, (Devin) Ramsey, Ryan Peters, (Drew) Smith and (Landon) Ramsey and when you can run the ball behind a line like we’ve got, it’s always good.
“Overall, we just need to work on not turning the ball over and get prepared for a Claiborne team next week that has already gotten two games under their belt. If we can perform like we did tonight, we’ll be in good shape.”