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Blue Devils continue to prepare for opener

Fall camps have been busy in Blue Nation country for the Unicoi County High School football team.
The Blue Devils welcomed in regional powerhouses Hampton and Cloudland last week and saw signs of success preparing for the UCHS season opener at South Greene on Aug. 21, according to head coach Glenn White.
“I thought we responded well against two traditionally good programs,” White told The Erwin Record on Saturday, Aug. 8, after looking over film from the scrimmages.
UCHS welcomed Hampton on Tuesday, Aug. 4, at Bryant Field in Erwin and the Bulldogs struck early with a rushing touchdown. After getting over the shellshock, the Blue Devils were able to respond with a score of their own.
“That’s one of the best Hampton football teams I’ve seen,” White said. “They’re loaded this year and have a great chance of going undefeated and making a run in the playoffs. They got after us on that first series, which I was a little disappointed about, but I thought we adjusted well afterwards. Our defense started crashing in and we put a score on the board. We had a chance for another, but lost a fumble near the red zone.”
Following the Hampton scrimmage, White and company welcomed Cloudland to Erwin on Friday, Aug. 7, with high marks in rainy conditions.
“Our offensive struggled a little bit,” the head coach stated. “It was rainy … muddy, but I thought we started to get after it. Cloudland returns a lot from last year’s team that won around nine games. Our defense did a great job of keeping their triple option in check and that’s always a success.”
The defense has responded well during fall camps, White added. Among those players was Dylon Burgess who, White said, kicked open the momentum for the team on Friday.
“Dylon really set the tone against Cloudland,” White said. “He came up from his spot and smacked down their running back and got things going for us. Overall it has been a solid effort from our entire starting 11 on defense.
“Cloudland just brought their varsity so we went with the varsity all the way through on Friday. Logan Lance and Eddie Martinez did their job well on the line … everybody did their part,” White continued
A change of atmosphere this summer leading up to fall camps has increased the level of confidence, especially from senior signal caller Hunter Hensley, White added.
“The guys have really been more confident this fall,” he said. “I see that the most out of Hunter. You can see when he’s scrambling that he’s looking down field for an open receiver and more confident. I credit him and coach (Doug) Cooper with that. But it goes for everyone. We battled hard with Hampton and had a real good showing against Cloudland and you can see the guys gaining that experience and confidence.”
White also continued to praise his coaching staff, who were actively moving across the field working with players in the rain against Cloudland.
“I can’t say enough about our coaches,” he added. “Friday was a big accomplishment by shutting down the triple option and we responded well after Hampton hit us early on Tuesday.
“In 12 days, we’ll have four scrimmages and that’s what I like. I’d rather us see other teams instead of just hitting each other in practice,” White continued.
UCHS wrapped up their fall scrimmages on Tuesday, Aug. 11, with a trip to Baileyton to face the North Greene Huskies. The team also went through a practice from the coaches’ booth in the press box to work on play calling and signals to help prepare for their season opener with the Rebels.
“That’s it for us,” White said. “Once we finish up with North Greene, we’ll hit the field for practice, then next week is game week for us. We’ll go through the preparations on the field and have our kids attend our local churches; I like to have them in a faith-based environment like that for dinner before games and have them be with the community.”