Local teams continue to excel on the gridiron

Published 10:23 pm Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Friday night marks the midway point of the 2021 prep football season and several local teams continue to shine in their respective classifications.

In Class 1-A, Cloudland and Unaka are in the thick for the Region 1-A title chase as Cloudland has the slight edge due to an early-season win over the Rangers on Unaka’s home turf.

The Highlanders have been able to remain in the state’s AP state rankings coming in this week in the 10th spot. Cloudland had last week off but gets back into the thick of the race when they play host to Cosby on Friday night.

Unaka showed they have plenty of firepower last week when they went on the road to Jellico and put a whipping on the Blue Devils scoring 62 points to tie a 21-year-old scoring record. That win kept the Rangers in a position to host a playoff game should Coach O’Brien Bennett’s team continues to take care of business.

On the Class 2-A side of the football, the Hampton Bulldogs continue to put plenty of points on the board scoring a combined 81 points in shutout wins over Cloudland and Happy Valley while not allowing a score in either game.

Hampton is enjoying an off week as they prepare for one of their biggest games of the season next week when the Rebels of South Greene come calling at JC Campbell Stadium. The winner of that contest will take the driver’s seat in Region 1 2-A play.

The Bulldogs have been holding steady in the AP rankings at number three behind Meigs County and Trousdale County but a win over South Greene could help narrow the difference between the first and third spot.

Moving to Class 4-A, after their loss to Greeneville the Elizabethton Cyclones have been struggling to get any respect in the AP rankings dropping to fourth where they have remained behind Tullahoma and Pearl Cohn as Greeneville took over the top spot.

It seems that the state sportswriters would give more respect to a team that had won 31 straight games and two state championships in Class 4-A. No matter the ranking, the Cyclones have taken a business-like approach to the remainder of the season and will be tested once again on Friday as the Mavericks of Anderson County pay the Cyclones a visit.

And while the Warriors of Happy Valley are struggling, hats off to Coach Jason Jarrett and his coaching staff for continuing to coach their team up and the players for their commitment to representing the Warrior Pride.

Good things will come for the program as they continue to work hard in turning the season around.