Fumbles, flags, mistakes, Rangers must overcome to beat Twin Springs

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2022

By C.Y. Peters
Star Correspondent
Last week what I thought was a highly favored Unaka team took a spanking on their home field.  I also thought Happy Valley would beat South Greene and Cloudland would beat Rockwood, especially at home also.  Sometimes home-field advantage just doesn’t mean much if you fumble the ball, make too many mistakes and see too many yellow flags fly in your opponent’s favor.   Don’t matter how hard you work in practice and what you work on, sometimes its just not to be.  Covering the Happy Valley game last week, although they had a rough first two periods, they were only down 13 at the half and would get the ball to start the third quarter.  So in just a play or two they could be within one score of taking the lead.
Knute Rockne’s famous speech of “Win one for the Gipper” was actually the worst season for Rockne and Notre Dame who was only five and four on the season.  The Irish’s game on Nov. 10, 1928, however, lives on in college football lore. At halftime of the contest between Notre Dame and Army at Yankee Stadium, Rockne told his players the story of the tragic death of George Gipp, the star halfback who passed away in 1920. As the legend goes, Gipp was in his hospital bed, when he asked Rockne to have the team “Win just one for the Gipper” some day. Rockne used the story to rally the underdog Irish to a 12-6 victory against the Black Knights. In this ‘Strong and True’ moment, relive the game through images from the University of Notre Dame Archives.
These kids playing today are making their own history, memories, and stories they can tell their kids and grandkids about their playing days at Unaka, Elizabethton, Happy Valley, Hampton and Cloudland.  We all wanted to play college ball and in the NFL, but for many, like me, those high school football days are our best memories.
Last Friday night against Harlan Landon Ramsey was nine for 16 in passing for 113 yards. Jamol Blamo ran the ball eight times for 34 yards, and Ramsey ran 10 times for 23 yards. Joe-z Blamo led the Rangers in receiving with 47-yards on one catch, brother Jamol caught four passes and Takoda Freeman made two catches for 38-yards.  Just like in the Warriors game, the Rangers suffered five turnovers.  Blamo led the Rangers on defense with seven tackles, and Ramsey followed with six.
This week the Rangers are on the road to Virginia to face a good Twin Springs team that will also be coming off a loss. They won their season opener against Northwood (Saltville) 28-8.  This past week they lost to Holston 42-16.  They will be playing at home in front of their fans.  Last year they scored 14 points late in the game to beat Unaka 28-24 at Goddard Field.  Ramsey had a big game against Twin Springs last year throwing for 279 yards. His brother Devin caught passes for 239 of those yards. Jamol was a terror on defense with 13 tackles in that game.  If the Rangers can hold on to the ball and overcome costly mistakes they can bring a win back to the creek.
Coach Bennett’s words:   “So far our biggest opposition is ourselves. Harlan never scored when they started on their side of the 50. They had two short TD drives of less than 20 yards and another 31 yards off of turnovers. They had one from the 46 aided by 30 yards of penalties and one from 40 yards where we just lacked effort on a 3rd and 8 conversions. We turned the ball over five times against Harlan and gave up a quick flurry of points just like we did against Cloudland. Until we can overcome ourselves, we can’t focus on whoever is across the line of scrimmage. We face another tough opponent this week in Twin Springs. They were a 9-2 team last season and are a good football team again this year. We feel like we are a pretty good football team as well, but to win games against good football teams, you have to start with not helping them out. That’s going to be our top, and maybe only, priority this week.”

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