Rangers fall to 3-A Chucky Doak

Published 11:01 am Monday, August 21, 2023

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By C.Y. Peters
The Unaka High School Rangers were preparing to face off against the formidable 3-A Chucky Doak team. Coach Bennett, with a firm and determined expression, addressed his team in the locker room before the game.
“We knew what we were getting into when we scheduled a 10-win 3-A football team to open the season,” Coach Bennett’s voice resonated with conviction. “We wanted to be put in a tough situation, line up, and compete. We’re here to see what we’re made of heading into the bye week, so that we know exactly what to work on as we head into the meat of the season, including some crucial region games.”
As the game began, the Rangers gave it their all. They held their ground, trading blows with Chucky Doak on the field. The first half was intense, and to everyone’s surprise, Unaka even managed to take the lead by the end of the first quarter. Coach Bennett’s strategy seemed to be paying off.  The first half belonged to the “Big Show” Marcus Shomaker. He sacked the quarterback, stood tall on the defensive line, intercepted a pass, and recovered a fumble.  “We came out shocking Chuckey Doak by being up, and explosive, but mentally we crumbled, causing us to lose that bad,” said Shomaker
“Keep pushing, keep fighting,” Coach Bennett urged from the sidelines. “They are what we thought they were—a tough, talented, well-coached 3-A football team. We’re competing, and that’s what matters.”
However, as the second quarter progressed, mental fatigue began to take its toll. Unaka made a few mental errors that a team of Chucky Doak’s caliber couldn’t ignore. Chucky Doak capitalized on these mistakes, gradually gaining momentum and putting the pressure on Unaka. Before the half, they managed to turn the tide and build a lead.  Quarterback Nicholas Pollazo threw for three touchdowns and at halftime, the Black Knights led 41-18.
“Stay focused, guys!” Coach Bennett’s voice echoed across the field during halftime, “We’re here to compete, and we’re not backing down.”
Despite the challenges, Unaka’s players displayed their determination and resilience.  Brynin Repass showcased his skills with three touchdown passes, two of which were caught by sophomore Connor McKinney. Isaiah White contributed with precision plays, and Connor McKinney’s confidence continued to soar.
On the offensive line, Tyler Smith, Chris Good, Aidan Peterson, and Jake Taylor gave Brynin the time he needed to connect with open receivers. Their blocking prowess was evident, especially on well-executed screenplays. Kian Barton and Micah Gray, new starters, stood out with their Impressive performance.
The final score might not have been what they aimed for, but as the game came to an end, Coach Bennett couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride. “We didn’t get the scoreboard result we wanted,” he admitted, “but we threw some young guys into the fire and saw what they’re made of. They’ve got some pretty good stuff in them.”
The Unaka Rangers walked off the field with heads held high, their spirits unbroken despite the loss. As they headed into the bye week and the challenges that lay ahead, they knew they had gained valuable experience and a deeper understanding of what it meant to compete at a higher level.

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