Hampton to host Unaka in David vs Goliath clash

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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The 2A Hampton Bulldogs will host 1A Unaka on Thursday night at J.C. Campbell Stadium in what looks like a David versus Goliath matchup. The ‘Dogs (6-2 overall) have scored 50-plus points in four consecutive games and have won five in a row.

Unaka (2-6 overall) comes off a tough 22-20 conference loss to North Greene in which a failed two-point conversion cost the Rangers a potential victory.

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“We have just begun our preparation for Hampton,” Rangers head coach O’Brien Bennett said. “Monday is the day we usually watch film and look at what we need to fix from our last game. Hampton is a powerhouse. They are one of the best teams in all of 2A and it starts up front.”

Unaka put up solid numbers in their loss in Baileyton with Connor McKinney completing 11-of-19 passes for 173 yards with two touchdown passes. He also ran for 35 yards.

WR Isaiah White had six receptions for 112 yards and Brynin Repass caught six balls for 72 yards, but it wasn’t enough to earn the win.

Hampton comes off a bye week which should be most concerning to the Rangers as head coach Michael Lunsford has had an extra week to prepare his squad for this contest. The Bulldogs boast a plethora of talented players like junior RB Dominique Burleson who set a school record for single-game rushing two weeks ago and continues to look like a player who will get state recognition.

Burleson has been named Climate Controllers Player of the Week twice thus far.

“Hampton’s defense has been stout all year,” Bennett said. “They can grind you and they have explosive playmakers. For us to be successful we have to play near perfect. We have to lean on our line. We have some talented kids but it is all going to start up front. We have to try to control the line of scrimmage against an aggressive Hampton front line.”

In its last contest, the ‘Dogs took a 52-6 win over conference foe West Greene in which Burleson rushed for 173 yards and three scores and senior quarterback Dylan Trivett completed 3-of-4 passes for 84 yards with a 50-yard touchdown strike just before halftime.

Game time is 7 pm.