Area schools take note, if you are in need of offensive advice, last Friday would of been a great showing to get the information you needed.
Offensive production was in full effect when the Devils hosted Hampton, who is currently ranked third in the state within their classification, with a total of 800 yards combined being produced during a highly anticipated contest at Gentry Stadium on Friday, Sept. 9.
Unicoi County (2-2) (1-0) out-gained Hampton (3-0) (1-0), 412 to 388, but was unable to recover from turnovers to come up with a 43-20 loss.
You cant beat the third ranked team in the state with four turnovers, head coach Jerad Huskins said after the game. They came up and made plays when they needed to, and they just had a good game out there.
It was a battle between Devil quarterback, Austin Hensley and Hamptons leading rusher, Phillip Waters, who each combined for 542 yards of the offensive production during the night.
(Waters) runs hard, Huskins said. Hes a talented running back in a real talented scheme. He had a solid night running the ball for them.
Waters finished the night with 275 yards and three touchdowns for the Bulldogs, following a Hampton school record setting 332-yard rushing night against Cosby last Friday.
Waters, (Tyler) Trusler, and (Justin) Adkins are some of the best backs Ive been able to coach, Hampton head coach Mike Lunsford said. Unicoi is the most balanced team weve played this year and best overall. Good quarterback, good receivers, good backs, but we did what we needed to defensively and Waters made plays for us. (Austin) Hensley is a great quarterback, we were able to get to him some but our guys would just tag him and not wrap up and he was able to make some plays on us.
Hensley finished the night going 20 for 34 passing, accumulating 267 yards through the air and showing some scrambling abilities from avoiding four sack attempts with completions through the air and showing his legs by running from the pocket and gaining positive yardage.
Hensley is less than 300 yards from reaching the 1,000 yard passing mark with teams approaching week four of the football season.
Hunter Goddard led the Blue Devil receivers during the night with 117 yards on nine receptions and junior wide-out, Chase Honeycutt, came in not too far behind with a six-reception night tallying in 101 yards.
The duo also showed their speed on special teams combining for more than 100 yards on special teams from kickoff returns.
Our boys are resilient, coach Huskins explained. Weve got a good group of hard workers who continue to better themselves on the practice field. Offensively we had everything going the way we needed it to.
The Devils struck first on the board by capping off an eight minute and twenty-seven second, 72-yard drive on 17 plays with a Hunter Abbott one yard plunge to give the Devils an early 6-0 lead.
The junior power-back finished the night by continuing to add up to his rushing total throughout the year finishing with 127 yards on 21 carries along with all of the Devils three touchdowns during the night.
Abbott is among the top of the scorers in the Three Rivers conference, racking up seven of Unicois touchdowns throughout the 2011 season.
The Bulldogs would follow up going through the air, coming from a Lane Smith 28-yard play action pass to Tyler Trusler along with an Eddie Olivera kick to give the Dogs an early 7-6 lead going into the second quarter.
Hampton would cap off other scores with a 10-yard touchdown run by tailback Justin Adkins and Waters finishing up the rest of the scoring duties.
Turnovers would be the turning point of the night for Devils, with Hampton capitalizing off two interceptions and two fumbles during the night.
Mistakes killed us, Huskins said. We played well but when you go against a team like that you cant turn over the ball like we did.
Defensively for the Devils, bright spots were shown during the offensive showcase put out by both teams with the charge being led by senior defensive lineman, Anthony Harris, picking off a Smith pass with less than two minutes in the second quarter to stall a possible two-touchdown deficit going into halftime, but Hampton was able to pull away behind the running of their backfield.
Josh McKinney, who has emerged as another viable receiver for Hensley after a five-reception 38-yard performance last week, came up from his spot in the secondary to lead the team in tackles with seven and a half.
Not far behind was Willy Edwards with six tackles, including two that aided in loss of yardage for the Bulldogs.
Cody Harris finished with four and a half and Matt Lingerfelt came up from linebacker position to add with four of his own.
Gabe Simery and Brodhi Bradford each finished with two.
Our team always shows heart and Im proud of them for that, Huskins said. They could of given up after the first half but they continued to keep playing hard until the whistle blew.
Jacob Sawyer contributed for the Devils in the second half, coming up with some key plays on the defensive side of things.
Honeycutt, Zach Beard and Luke Fronkoski each paced the Devils with tackles throughout the night.
We talked to the boys during the week, the Blue Devil coach explained. They talked about not liking the way of feeling after losing a game coming off a winning streak. Theyll be ready to get back into their winning ways. Well come into practice, prepare for Happy Valley and come out ready to play next Friday. Just need to work on those turnovers, cant win when youre positive in the turnover category.
Sophomore, Phillip Franklin, left the game in the second half due to an injury, but is expected to make a full recovery and return for homecoming when the Devils face Gatlinburg-Pittman on Friday, Sept. 23. Franklin finished the night with five tackles on defense.
In other results, McKinney finished with 33 yards in the air on two receptions. Zach Beard had three receptions for 11 yards and Clay McNabb brought in a pass from his fullback spot for 4 yards.
Unicoi County returns home next Friday, Sept 16, to face the Happy Valley Warriors (2-2) (0-1) at Gentry Stadium to continue the chase for the top spot of the Three Rivers Conference. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The junior varsity Blue Devils did not play in a game against Johnson County last week, with their next game being against the Bulldogs of Hampton on Monday, Sept. 12, at J.C. Campbell Stadium after the Erwin Records press deadline.
The junior varsity squad of UCHS was riding a two-game winning streak after coming up with wins over South Greene and Chuckey Doak in recent weeks.