Cherokees scalp Unaka in playoff opener, 63-16

Published 1:42 am Saturday, November 7, 2020

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Having a home playoff game for the first time since 2004 the Unaka Rangers ran into a buzzsaw and fell 63-16 to Greenback in the opening round of the TSSAA Region 1-2A playoffs.
“They had a good scheme coming in,” Rangers head coach O’Brien Bennett said. “We have a tough offensive line that has been together for four years and they are a great group of seniors.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these kids. Greenback is a good team with a lot of speed and we just didn’t have an answer for that speed. If we made any kind of mistake they capitalized on it.”
The Cherokees dominated the first half giving up just 42 yards of total offense as the Cherokee’s runoff a 49-0 first-half tally.
Greenback (5-4) had seven possessions in the first half and scored touchdowns on every one of them.
Junior quarterback Micah Franklin completed 9-of-14 passes for 220 first-half yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 74 yards and a pair of tallies.
Unaka (4-7) simply could not move the football with sophomore quarterback Landon Ramsey completing just three-for-seven for 24 yards and the Rangers rushed 13 times for just 18 yards as the cat-quick Greenback line penetrated on every play giving Unaka little room to operate.
“This is my first group of seniors to come through here and we are a long way from competing for a state title,” Bennett said. “But I promised them if they did things the right way and owned the moment so to speak – which is all you ever live in – seven seconds at a time, 100 percent attitude, 100 percent effort, 100 percent execution that if they would do that good things would happen.
“And here we are hosting a playoff game for only the second time in school history.”
For Greenback it was one big play after another as they got touchdown runs of 24 yards from Austin Burger, 24 yards from Franklin and 22 yards from Cason Workman and touchdown passes of 16 yards from Burger and 59 yards from Brennan Duggan, and a 49-yard interception return from Michael Payne.
“At this point, Greenback has had a standard of playing good football,” Cherokees head coach Greg Ryan said. “We have been affected by the Coronavirus probably more than anyone, but the last few weeks we understand what we can do and the guys have executed well.
“Micah played a real good game and you have to take your hat off to our offensive line. They really played well.”
Unaka got a pair of late scores on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Landon Ramsey to Devin Ramsey and a 46-yard scoring play from Ramsey to Ramsey as well as two-point conversions from Ramsey to Ramsey and Ramsey to Daniel Shearl.
Devin Ramsey finished with three receptions for 107 yards and two touchdowns while Landon Ramsey completed six-for-15 passes for 155 yards and two scores with one interception.

TSSAA Class-2A playoff
Goddard Field
Greenback 63-16
Greenback 14 35 7 7 – 63
Unaka 0 0 8 8 – 16
Scoring summary
First Quarter
G – Franklin 4 run (Holmes kick) 9:15
G – Burger 24 run (Holmes kick) 5:20
Second Quarter
G – Burger 16 pass from Franklin (Holmes kick) 11:47
G – Matoy 6 run (Holmes kick) 6:45
G – Franklin 24 run (Holmes kick) 3:49
G – Duggan 59 pass from Franklin (Holmes kick) :56
G – Franklin 4 run (Holmes kick) :23.2
Third Quarter
G – Workman 22 run (Holmes kick) 7:50
U – D. Ramsey 60 pass from L.Ramsey (Ramsey pass to Ramsey) 4:04
Fourth Quarter
G – Payne 39 interception return (Holmes kick) 9:52
U – D.Ramsey 46 pass from L.Ramsey (Ramsey pass to Shearl) 3:12

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