Rangers lose Conference game to Jellico, look forward to Warriors

Published 12:08 pm Monday, September 18, 2023

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BY C. Y. Peters
As Unaka Rangers trudged off the field, heads hanging low, after a painful loss to Jellico. It was a defeat that seemed to drain the life out of their hopes for the region championship. Jellico had struck early, scoring with 7:47 left in the first quarter, and just before halftime, they added another touchdown, leaving Unaka trailing 14-0 at the half.
The loss stung even more due to the unfortunate injury to their star quarterback, Bryinn Repass. Coach O’Brien Bennett had been forced to reshuffle his team, moving players to new positions in a desperate attempt to adapt. Unaka’s performance that night was marred by a series of mistakes, the kind that made it nearly impossible to win a football game.
The Ranger defense found themselves on the field for the majority of the game. Micah Gray and Isaiah White, two defensive stalwarts, stepped up with eight tackles each, doing their best to stem the tide of Jellico’s relentless offense.
On the offensive side, A.J. Greenless led the charge with 63 hard-fought rushing yards on 13 carries, while Connor McKinney contributed 48 yards on 15 carries. The passing game was virtually nonexistent, with Unaka managing to make only two catches throughout the night.
Coach Bennett, speaking with a mix of frustration and determination, said, “We may be trying some young players up front in the coming weeks as we attempt to find a new identity that matches the strengths of our new personnel. We have some great kids who are hungry for the opportunity, while others are trying to get healthy.”
With a somber gaze, he continued, “We hope to finish our region schedule off strong and make the playoffs. Hopefully, we can go into them healthy with a lot of depth.” The future hung in the balance for the Rangers.
Their next challenge was a home game against Happy Valley, a team coming off a big win over Eagleton Academy. A victory would undoubtedly provide a glimmer of hope and set the stage for the upcoming conference road games. However, a loss or the absence of key players could dim the Rangers’ prospects further.
The road ahead is uncertain, but one thing was clear: Unaka Rangers would continue to fight, hoping to reclaim their lost glory and secure a spot in the playoffs.

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