Unaka welcomes Class 3-A Claiborne

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

STONEY CREEK – Two different styles will collide on Friday night at Goddard Field when the Unaka Rangers welcome Class 3-A Claiborne for a non-conference match. Claiborne (0-5 overall) struggled offensively through the first four games scoring just 28 points before finding their identity last week at Johnson County.
“Unfortunately, I think they found their identity,” Rangers head coach O’Brien Bennett said. “Once you do that offensively you really start clicking and that is what they did last week at Johnson County. They run a split-back veer and so, for us, it’s about responsibility football.”
The veer is an option offense run off an unbalanced line and requires staying in your lane or else you invite a big play. Running this is senior quarterback Landon Wilson who has sophomore running back Josh Bolton and senior Josh Green and a tight end who stretches the seams in senior James Satkowski.
“We have to be able to mix things up a little bit and still know our primary responsibility,” Bennett said. “We have to know who has got the dive, the pitch, and the quarterback. That’s why I call it responsibility football because if you are caught out of position it can become a big play.
” I anticipate that is what they are going to do. They had some trouble in the early part of the season but really had a chance to win late in the game last week.”
Unaka (4-2 overall) has become an offensive juggernaut two of the last three weeks scoring 62 versus Jellico and 52 in last week’s win at Harlan (KY).
The Rangers run game has come to life with the emergence of junior Jamol Blamo’s hard running style and the passing combination of Landon and Devin Ramsey who are able to score from anywhere on the field.
Claiborne comes in averaging just 10.8 points per game but put 26 points on the Longhorns who hung on to win the game. The Bulldogs have given up an average of 37.8 points per game but with the ball control offense that comes with running the veer effectively, they can cut that down considerably.
“We want to make them drive 15 plays if they are going to score,” Bennett said. “We don’t want the big play, nothing cheap and that is where their tight end comes in. He can be hot and dangerous. They can run a seam and have him slip out and have some blocking in front. They can throw it a little but what they want to do is play physically and move you off the ball. Fear the veer.”
That is the assignment for the Rangers on Friday – stop the veer – and have no fear.
The game time is 7:30 pm.