Sometimes Dreams don’t come true, Rangers looking to bounce back

Published 8:14 pm Monday, August 29, 2022

BY C.Y. Peters
Star Correspondent
Last Friday night in Roan Mountain the Rangers played pretty good football.  When you play a really good football team like Cloudland, you have to play better than pretty good, make only a few mistakes, if any, and score more points than your opponent.  This just didn’t happen and the Rangers’ chances of a conference title became really slim.
The game was all it was made out to be.  The Rangers were convenient; Ramsey had the arm to carry them through, Jamol Blamo looked like an Emmitt Smith or Barry Sanders on the field, but the mistakes overwhelmed Unaka. They played great defense it holding Cloudland on the first series and forcing them to punt.  Mistake number one, Cloudland faked the punt, got the first down and continued on to score the game’s first touchdown.  It not only was a costly mistake but it gave the Landers some fuel they needed to know they can win this game.  Receivers dropped some perfect strikes thrown by Ramsey, they were penalized way too many times for costly yardage.  They got a penalty on the one yard line for delay of game.  This one they overcome and scored, but in big games, this can’t happen.
On the good side. The defense was on the field for over 30 minutes of the game and made tackle after tackle. They made big plays and big stops or Cloudland scores more points than they did. On one series Cloudland played what the old timers call  “smash mouth football”  where you just push the ball right up the middle.  According to long-time coach Henry Wayne Ensor, the lowest man wins the battle, and the Landers played low to the ground.
Ramsey made a great kick-off sending the ball back to the one yard line.  Should have been great field position for the Rangers, but Gage McKinney pick it up and ran 99-yards for a score.  When this happened the Rangers were only down two points, now going into the half, they were down ten.
McKinney was unstoppable scoring four touchdowns and over 300 yards on the night.  Rangers were still in the game late but after a score and missed PAT, they trailed by two scores.
The best thing I saw about the Rangers was they are for real; they didn’t quit even when they were down.  When you thought Cloudland would blow them out, they battled back.  Ramsey and the Rangers receivers were weapons, and Blamo could turn a game around in a few seconds.  The fans stayed until the end and both teams’ fans enjoyed this game.
Coach O’Brien Bennett Comments:  “Key mistakes killed us. We gave up a 99-yard kickoff return going into half-time with momentum, Gave up 3 drives extending long yardage conversions including a 3rd and 59 TD on a misalignment, and turned the ball over twice. You can’t make mistakes like that and beat good teams. To our kids’ credit, most of them played their guts out until the end and never stopped trying to claw back into it. Landon Ramsey, Jamol Blamo, Johnny Douglas, and Takoda Freeman made plays all night on both sides. Brynin Repass really stepped up big on defense as well. Ryan Peters gave a gutsy performance battling all night on the defensive side. The only thing to do is move on and learn. We have to make a good opponent beat us. We can’t afford to help them out any. I don’t think Marcus Shomaker ever stepped off the field. The kid played his heart out. You have to give a lot of credit to Cloudland. We had them seemingly stopped on several occasions and their kids made a play and we didn’t.”
Unaka Stats against Cloudland
Unaka Stats: Passing: Ramsey 19-27 272yds 2 TD 1 2pt
Rushing
Jamol Blamo 6-106 1 TD 1 2 pt  – Ramsey 7-16 1 TD  – Thomas 1-2
Receiving:  Repass 1-3 – Jamol Blamo 5-56 1 TD 1 2pt – Freeman 8-133 1TD – Joe-Z Blamo 1-13
A.J. Greenless 2-42 – Johnny Douglas 2-25
Defense Tackles
Ramsey 18, Jamol Blamo 7 , Joe-Z Blamo 1, Freeman 4, Peters 2, Repass, Thomas 6, Douglas 7
Shomaker 4, Tyler Smith 1 asst, J. Wilson 1 solo, 1 asst, 1 TFL 1 sack, Peterson 1 asst, Greenless 1
This week the Rangers are playing at home against Harlan, Kentucky.  Harlan lost this week 40-20 to Hazard.   Both  Harlan and Unaka teams will be looking to get back into the win column.  Harlan can score they put up 63 points in their first two games, mostly on the ground.

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