Rangers come up short against Thomas Walker 44-26

Published 10:37 pm Monday, October 2, 2023

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BY C.Y. Peters

Coach O’Brien Bennett knew the importance of this game and next week’s playoff aspirations. As the game progressed, he watched with a mix of hope and frustration. “Friday night was a story of missed opportunities and missed tackles,” he reflected after the game.

The Unaka players showed promise, consistently positioning themselves to make crucial plays. Isaiah White, Jake Taylor, and Connor McKinney were standout performers on both sides of the ball. Jacob Nidiffer had the breakout game everyone had been waiting for, electrifying the crowd with his wide receiver skills.

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However, despite their efforts, the team couldn’t convert these opportunities into consistent results. Missed tackles plagued their defense, allowing Thomas Walker High School to capitalize on their mistakes. The scoreboard displayed a final score that didn’t reflect the team’s hard work.

McKinney had a decent night, completing 10 of 24 passes for 94 yards. A.J. Greenless, both a receiver and a defensive powerhouse, played a pivotal role with four catches, one for a touchdown, and seven tackles. Isaiah White and Micah Gray showcased their defensive prowess with a combined 17 solo tackles, while Jake Taylor made eight tackles to contribute to the team’s effort.

Looking ahead, Coach Bennett was optimistic about the next challenge. Unaka will face Hancock County in a critical region game, and the stakes are high. Hancock County boasted a dynamic quarterback, Chandler Parson, who had the ability to extend plays and connect with talented receivers for explosive plays.

Bennett recognized the need to improve tackling for the upcoming game. The team has to find a way to slow down the formidable duo of Parson and his talented receivers. The upcoming match-up will be pivotal for both teams, as they battle for a coveted playoff spot. The anticipation for the next game is already building, and the Unaka Rangers are ready to rally and get back in the win column once again.

Jill Faust was crowned homecoming queen. The Unaka High School football team is determined to learn from their mistakes and put on a better performance in the upcoming showdown against Hancock County. On Friday night, the Rangers will celebrate senior night on their last home game of the season.