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HV looking for payback against Devils

BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
STAR CORRESPONDENT
Last season the Happy Valley Warriors rode into Gentry Stadium with a 3-0 record and feeling pretty good about themselves. At the end of the day, not so much as Unicoi County came away with their biggest win of the season – a 35-0 shutout over the Warriors.
“Last year was very disappointing,” Warriors head coach Jason Jarret said. “Unicoi County just physically beat us in every phase. We will use that as motivation for the rematch of course.
“We’ll remember that beat down and use it in our preparation as motivation. We are all relatively healthy – no one is 100 percent once you put the pads on – but thankfully for the most part no major issues.”
Senior quarterback Eli Ayers returns after taking over for Noah Stevens after his departure last season and he was performing well until struck by the injury bug that kept him out of a crucial contest at South Greene that HV lost 26-7 to fall from potentially first place in the conference to fourth.
Ayers returns for his senior season and has several good weapons at his disposal in junior wide receiver Andrew Little, senior receiver Gabe Nickles, as well as senior running back Matthew Bahn.
This season began with a bang as the Warriors routed county rival Cloudland by a 34-18 tally and ‘Landers head coach Scott Potter said of Bahn, “We just couldn’t get a good lick on him. He was a step ahead of us all night.”
Last week the Warriors opened conference play at Hampton and did not play well as the Bulldogs crushed HV 28-0.
“We just were not physical at the point of attack last week,” Jarrett said. “We took a big step back last week and we have to bounce back and continue to improve each week.”
Before last season’s stumble against the Blue Devils, the Warriors had enjoyed a six-game win streak against Unicoi when they fell to the Devils 33-30 in 2013.
On the line, Kamden Richardson comes into his senior season as the anchor of a strong line offensively and defensively. He is joined by fellow senior Cody Dugger and junior Cameron Cochran.
With so much uncertainty for this season, every win is a big one and this week is no different even though it is a non-conference match you want to play well no matter the opponent and this is a rivalry that goes back a long way.
Unicoi (1-2 overall) suffered losses to South Greene (38-21) and Hampton (32-7) before winning big at North Greene 42-0 last week.
Football is a game of emotion and momentum and coming off a big win could play well psychologically for Unicoi County, but the Warriors will look to restoring pride and using that as a springboard to victory.
Game time is 7:30 pm on Warrior Hill.