Unaka falls to fourth quarter Midway blitz
Published 12:22 am Saturday, November 6, 2021
BY ALLEN LAMOUNTAIN
Unaka looked to be moving on to round two of the TSSAA Region 1-2 A playoff with a 26-14 lead after three quarters were in the books. It takes four quarters to win a game however and Midway senior quarterback Emmett Hegland put his team on his back and the Green Wave scored 28 unanswered points to send the Rangers to a 42-26 defeat on Friday night at Goddard Field.
When asked if penalties and turnovers caused the defeat Rangers head coach O’Brien Bennett said, “Yup. I made a bad call on the fake punt and set them up for an easy score. These kids, they fight and I put them in a bad situation. We had a lead going into the fourth quarter but we couldn’t close the deal.”
Three first-half turnovers by the Rangers stymied their offense as quarterback Landon Ramsey completed just four-of-12 passes for 65 yards with a 50-yard touchdown to Devin Ramsey after Midway scored on a 32-yard Hegland to Ty Mason pass for six gave the Green Wave the early lead.
Unaka (7-4 overall) was unable or unwilling to run the football in the first half gaining just 11 yards on seven tries. Midway rushed for 46 yards on 15 carries with Mason the leading ground gainer with 21 yards on seven carries.
Hegland was good for 9-of-21 passing for 145 yards and two scores in the first half. Hegland connected with senior wide out Seth Gordon on a two-yard touchdown pass and Mason ran in the deuce for a 14-8 lead that Midway carried into the halftime break.
Unaka’s best drive came on one play when Landon Ramsey found Devin Ramsey on a 50-yard strike and Devin also caught the two-point conversion pass to make it an 8-6 Rangers lead with 11:17 left in the opening period.
In the third period, Unaka opened up the run game as junior tailback Jamol Blamo showed his quick-strike ability on a 51-yard touchdown run on the second play of the third quarter to tie the game at 14-14. On the next Rangers possession Devin Ramsey took a screen pass 89 yards for the score for a 20-14 Unaka lead with 4:54 left in the stanza.
Landon Ramsey capped an 18-point Rangers third period with a four-yard run to give Unaka a 26-14 advantage as the third period came to a close. That’s when Hegland put on his Superman cape and led Midway to 28 unanswered points on four scoring runs.
Hegland had touchdown runs of 26, 4, 13 and 11 yards as the Green Wave took advantage of four Ramsey interceptions.
“This win means a lot to me,” Hegland said. “It is my first playoff win after two losses to Cloudland the last two years, so it is really special and I finally got it. I decided when we were down to just put it on my back and that’s what I did.”
Hegland finished with 106 rushing yards on 16 carries and threw for 214 yards on 15-of-35 completions. Ramsey – who was under pressure throughout – completed 9-of-25 for 195 yards but had the four picks and was sacked six times.
TSSAA Region 1-2 A playoff
Midway 14 0 0 28 – 42
Unaka 8 0 18 0 – 26
M – Mason 32 pass from Hegland (kick failed) 8:20
U – D. Ramsey 50 pass from L. Ramsey (D. Ramsey pass from L. Ramsey) 7:17
M – Gordon 2 pass from Hegland (Mason run) 2:59
U – Blamo 51 run (pass failed) 11:03
U – D. Ramsey 89 pass from L. Ramsey (run failed) 4:54
U – L. Ramsey 4 run (pass failed) 0:00
M – Hegland 26 run (Cowell kick) 9:06
M – Hegland 4 run (Cowell kick) 5:23
M – Hegland 13 run (Cowell kick) 4:18
M – Hegland 11 run (Cowell kick) 2:51